With their smart suits and ability to actually play their instruments The Pleasers were at the forefront of the new wave of guitar-based groups that swept through the Britain’s music industry in the late 70’s. They wrote and performed great songs with superb harmonies, jangling guitars and pure sixties drum fills, and their live shows brought back the fashion for being surrounded by cool guys wearing thin ties and screaming mini skirted girls.
As proud Londoners, the group described their sound as Thamesbeat but you might know it better by the name their music was given by press of the time: Powerpop. Yes The Pleasers were the group who gave birth to the title that defines strong melodic pop to this day.
Teenage magazines, Music papers and National press alike named The Pleasers as the Sound of 1978 and toward the end of that year the sound, the look and the clean cut image evolved into a huge Mod revival that became a whole scene in itself. But that as they say, is another story. Always a major feature of their live act, the groups enthusiastic studio cover of the Who’s 1966 anthem ‘The Kids Are Alright’ brought a host of favorable reviews and comments when it was released in Spring ’78 from, among others, the songs composer Pete Townshend.
If you were there at the time and were lucky enough to catch The Pleasers on one of their sell out tours, this will bring the memory back for you and if you weren’t, then you will certainly want to know what you missed. Listen then to some of their recently re-mastered tracks from 1977-78* on that still stand today as fresh, quality, powerful pop. No less than the original Powerpop.
*Produced by Tommy Boyce, Ron Richards & Geoff Haslam & now available iTunes.
The Pleasers formed at the end of 1976 and spent most of the following year working live in and around London using a regular Saturday night gig at The Stapleton Hall Tavern in Crouch End as the springboard for their launch onto the established London circuit. It was difficult to coax the Record Company A&R men to the spit and sawdust North London pub to watch the boys strut their suited stuff, but strut it they did to ever growing crowds. The Stapleton was better known as a football and billiards bar, but the regulars took the Pleasers to their hearts turning out in bigger numbers week after week to the point where the Pub management were forced to charge and entrance fee in a bid to control the numbers.
It was at one of theses sell out nights that Pete Hawkins and Chips Chipperfield spotted the boys and immediately signed them up and arranged for Arista Records to finance some recordings.
The first of these was The Thamesbeat EP, recorded at Decca’s West Hampstead studio in Oct 1977 and released on Carlin’s Solid Gold label to wild acclaim in the New Wave and alternative charts on both sides of the Atlantic. The three original tracks captured perfectly the exciting energetic drive of the group who by now were setting the wider London scene alive with their two hour shows featuring tight, three minute self penned compositions which sat very well alongside the Soul and R&B covers they featured.
“Their vivacity prevents any accusation of sterility” said Time Out. NME wrote: Thamesbeat!! That’s what The Pleasers play. Revivalists? Certainly they are, the most authentic pure beat revivalists I can recall seeing”. While Sounds added”…The Pleasers’ Thames Beat is every bit as contemporary as The Clash, The Sex Pistols, The Stranglers or Generation X. A worthy part of today’s Pop jigsaw.
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Having generated a huge amount of press coverage, The Pleasers spent most of December and January up and down the motorways of England playing the pubs and clubs to increasingly bigger and enthusiastic crowds with their support act Joe Jackson. They developed a particularly fanatical fan base in and around Leighton Buzzard and it was at the nearby and legendary Nags Head in High Wycombe that the group was seen by Tommy Boyce the American writer/producer who had worked successfully with the Monkees in the 60’s and more recently given The Darts two hit singles and a chart album here in the UK.
The boys have made their debut on TV which was very well received by the nation’s teenagers and are set to start work with Tommy in Pye Studios Marble Arch in London at the end of February.
The cross cultural appeal of The Pleasers is demonstrated by such widely varying papers as Fleet Street’s Mail and Sun, pop papers Sounds, Record Mirror and NME and a whole range of teen mag’s and punk fanzines all tipping The Pleasers to break it big in 1978.
WeChat & The Pleasers
4th November 2013 The Pleasers song ‘Troublemaker’ (composed by Benham / McNerney) is to be used for a new Europe wide TV / Online Promotional Ad Campaign for the Chinese mobile social media App WeChat.