The Flying Lizards

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The Flying Lizards
OriginUnited Kingdom
GenresExperimental rock, New Wave
Years active1976–1984
LabelsVirgin, Statik
Past membersDavid Toop
Steve Beresford
Michael Upton
David Cunningham
Vivien Goldman
Robert Fripp
Bob Black
Deborah Evans-Stickland
Patti Palladin
Peter Laurence Gordon
Sally Peterson
Julian Marshall
 
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The Flying Lizards
OriginUnited Kingdom
GenresExperimental rock, New Wave
Years active1976–1984
LabelsVirgin, Statik
Past membersDavid Toop
Steve Beresford
Michael Upton
David Cunningham
Vivien Goldman
Robert Fripp
Bob Black
Deborah Evans-Stickland
Patti Palladin
Peter Laurence Gordon
Sally Peterson
Julian Marshall

The Flying Lizards were an English experimental rock band, who were formed in 1976 in England. They are best remembered as New Wave one-hit wonders, thanks to their deliberately eccentric cover of Barrett Strong's "Money", which became a UK and US chart success in 1979.[1][2][3]

Career[edit]

Formed by and led by record producer David Cunningham, the group was a loose collective of avant-garde and free improvising musicians, such as David Toop and Steve Beresford as instrumentalists, plus Deborah Evans-Stickland, Patti Palladin and Vivien Goldman as main vocalists. It also included the painter Michael Upton.

Cunningham's recording contract with Virgin Records was for only two singles, but when "Money" started to climb the charts they signed him to a new contract.[1] The group released their début album The Flying Lizards in 1980. The album included two songs – "Her Story" and "The Window" – written and sung by Goldman.[4] Their single issues included their postmodern cover versions of songs such as Eddie Cochran's "Summertime Blues" and "Money".[5]

The album sold enough copies to justify Virgin's financing another Flying Lizards album, but 1981's Fourth Wall put its focus on the eclectic experimentalism of Cunningham's music. Despite the presence of another mangled cover of a pop standard (Curtis Mayfield's "Move On Up") the album was a commercial disappointment, though it received strong reviews.[1]

The 1984 album Top Ten consisted entirely of covers, done in a deliberately emotionless, harsh and robotic style, including James Brown's "Sex Machine", and Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne". By this time Cunningham was devoting much of his time to producing other artists (including This Heat and Wayne County). After releasing 1984's Top Ten, which combined Cunningham's eccentric take on pop with electronic textures and the vocals of Sally Peterson, Cunningham retired the Flying Lizards.[1]

Their version of Barrett Strong's "Money" remained popular, and was used in the film soundtracks for The Wedding Singer, Empire Records, Charlie's Angels and Lord of War, as well as in the Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning American television medical drama Nip/Tuck and the follow-up to the UK TV drama Life on Mars, called Ashes to Ashes. In 2011, the song was used in a commercial for Taco Bell.

An album of dub instrumentals, The Secret Dub Life of the Flying Lizards, recorded by David Cunningham mostly in 1978, was finally released in 1995.[1] The first two albums, The Flying Lizards and Fourth Wall, were re-released by RPM in 2010, with the catalogue number RETROD883.[citation needed]

With only one single making the UK Top 40,[2] the Flying Lizards join the list of one-hit wonders – a list that includes other UK punk or New Wave acts such as The Banned, John Cooper Clarke, Jilted John, 999, Radio Stars, Rich Kids and The Vibrators.

Band members[edit]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Singles[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Biography by Mark Deming". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 6 October 2009. 
  2. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 206. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  3. ^ "Allmusic ((( The Flying Lizards > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles )))". 
  4. ^ Allen, Mark (April 2001). "The Flying Lizards: A Pop Band Arranged According to the Laws of Chance". No. 6 (Sound Collector). Retrieved 2008-11-18. 
  5. ^ a b c d Strong, Martin C. (2003) "Flying Lizards", in The Great Indie Discography, Canongate, ISBN 1-84195-335-0

External links[edit]