Great Moments In Pop – The 80s Part 22.

This is a British group who became famous in the late-80s, and sum up that era of pop music to me more than most. Part of the reason that Curiosity Killed The Cat succeeded with people was because of their singer, the man who they call Benedict Volpeliere-Pierrot. He was was known for often wearing a beret-style hat, and for his rather bendy-legged dancing.

Before this, Ben was a model and had appeared in a few adverts in those weekly magazines for girls (Jackie, My Guy, Patches, Blue Jeans, there really were too many of them, weren’t there), and he also appeared on the cover of Mike’s Big Super Pop Game or whatever it was called. In September 1986, their first single “Misfit” was released. Now few people seem to believe this, but it really is true.

The video for “Misfit” was directed by Andy Warhol, who was a fan. He died not long after this (but it wasn’t “from shame” as some people have tried to claim), surprisingly though, this only reached no. 76. In December 1986, “Down To Earth” reached no. 3, to become their first hit single. This was followed in April 1987 by “Ordinary Day” reaching no. 11.

And not long after, their album “Keep Your Distance” was a chart-topper for two weeks. In June 1987, it was decided to give “Misfit” another go, as this just had to be a hit, and this time reached a much more satisfying no. 7. There’s no doubt that Curiosity Killed The Cat were one of the hottest bands around at this time. Proof of this was that they were great for Smash Hits.

They appeared on the cover, their interviews were entertaining, and Ben’s name was always spelt wrong (the ultimate honour in pop music was having your name deliberately misspelt in Smash Hits, that was proof that you’d made it). Around this time, Ben also appeared in an advert for Philips, where it seemed that if you played “Misfit” on their fancy new machine, he really would jump out of the screen at you.

In September 1987 “Free” only reached no. 56, although the album had been milked for singles by now. There was change to come. In September 1989, they returned, and “Name And Number” reached no. 14. This was also an influence on De La Soul’s 1991 hit “Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)”, and Little Mix’s 2013 hit “How Ya Doin'”. But in November 1989, their second album “Getahead” didn’t do as well as expected.

After another break, they returned in April 1992, under the shortened name of Curiosity, and the line-up had just about reached the “Ben and some blokes” point by now. Their cover of Johnny Bristol’s 1974 hit “Hang On In There Baby” reached no. 3, surprisingly taking them back into the Top Ten for the first time in almost five years. The follow-up singles failed to make the Top 40 though, and by the end of 1993, it really was all over.

One thought on “Great Moments In Pop – The 80s Part 22.

  1. floppyloppy says:

    Good read. Bunch of us queued behind him, with him still in his distinctive cap, at an airport in the 90’s. No one really noticed bar one chap, who said loudly “He looks like that bloke from Curiosity Killed the Cat…”, at which point Ben spins round theatrically “Well, I might just be..!” , grinned, and then wondered off, chuckling.

    Like

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