I have actually had a request to review this group, but as I do happen to know a little about them, I decided that they are worth featuring. The Blow Monkeys are a British group who formed in the early-80s, and their frontman is Robert Howard, who is also known as Doctor Robert. They released their first single in 1982, and their first album in 1984.
In 1984 Robert took part in an article in Number One magazine featuring acts who were tipped for big things, alongside some woman called Danielle. But it was in March 1986 when they caught a lot of people’s attention for the first time, when “Digging Your Scene” reached no. 12. It was also around this time that they were placed into the “sophistipop” genre, like many others, as they looked as stylish as they sounded, and it was also noted that some of their lyrics had a political edge.
Following this success, Robert appeared on the cover of Record Mirror, where they claimed that he plays with whips, winds up coppers, and stubs cigarettes out on his friends. Their peak came in January 1987 when “It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way” reached no. 5, to become their first Top Ten hit single. The follow-ups ended up not doing so well though, and in August 1988 “This Is Your Life” reached only no. 70.
It was then decided to try something a little different. Their next single was in something more of a house music style than The Blow Monkeys songs usually were, so it was decided to credit this to Robert alone. And he teamed up with the American dance diva (and there were a lot of these on the chart around this time) Kym Mazelle. In January 1989, “Wait” was released, and pleasingly the move paid off as this reached no. 7.
Because of this success, it was decided that maybe it would be a good idea to make more of this type of music in the group as a whole, so in April 1989 a house remix of “This Is Your Life” was released, which did make the Top 40 this time. Next in July 1989 was “Choice”, featuring a guest vocal from Sylvia Tella, but this would turn out to be the final time that they made the Top 40.
Not long after though, their best of album “Choices” made the Top Ten. In October 1989 “Slaves No More”, again featuring Sylvia Tella, reached only no. 73. After one more minor hit in 1990, The Blow Monkeys split, and Robert went off to concentrate on his solo career, and he has released seven albums. Like most groups though, they did eventually get back together, and although they haven’t reached the chart again, they have made more acclaimed albums, their 11th being released in 2021.