|Flash and the Pan|
Years: 1976 - 1993
Styles: New Wave, Pop Rock, Power Pop
Harry Vanda - Guitar, Keyboards, Lead guitar, Vocals (in band: 1976 - 1993)
George Young - Guitar, Keyboards, Lead vocals, Rhythm guitar, Synthesizer, Vocals (in band: 1976 - 1993)
Flash and the Pan were an Australian new wave musical group (essentially an ongoing studio project) formed in 1976 by Harry Vanda and George Young; both are former members of the Easybeats and were a production and songwriting team as Vanda & Young. The group's first chart success was their 1976 debut single, "Hey, St. Peter", which reached number five in the Australian Kent Music Report Singles Chart. The next single, "Down Among the Dead Men", peaked at number four in Australia in 1978; it was re-titled as "And the Band Played On" for international release.
Their eponymous debut album followed in December 1978, featuring the track "Walking in the Rain", originally the B-side to "Hey St. Peter". The song was later covered by Grace Jones, and released as the last single from her album Nightclubbing (May 1981). Her version was most successful in New Zealand, reaching number 34. Flash and the Pan's second album, Lights in the Night (early 1980), peaked at No. 1 on the Swedish Albums Chart. "Waiting for a Train", the lead single from their third album, Headlines, reached number seven on the UK Singles Chart in 1983.
The group's debut album, Flash and the Pan, was issued in Australia in December 1978 on Albert Productions, and internationally in the following year on Mercury, Ensign and Epic. It was recorded at Albert Studios in Sydney; the duo co-produced it and co-wrote nine of its ten tracks. Aside from Vanda and Young, the studio musicians included Ray Arnott on drums, Les Karski on bass guitar and Warren Morgan on piano. Arnott was signed by Vanda & Young to Alberts for a recording contract; Karski produced Arnott's solo debut album, Rude Dudes (1979), as well as providing bass guitar. The Ray Arnott Band, which included both Karski and Morgan, toured to support the album.
For the group's second studio album, Lights in the Night (early 1980), Vanda and Young again used Arnott, Karski and Morgan. All eight tracks were co-written by Vanda and Young, who also co-produced it. The album reached the top 100 in Australia, and peaked at No. 1 on the Swedish Albums Chart in June. It provided two singles, "Welcome to the Universe" (July 1980) and "Media Man" (December 1980).
Headlines, their third studio album, appeared in August 1982. Joining Vanda and Young in the studio were Arnott; Alan Dansow; Lindsay Hammond on backing and lead vocals (on loan from Cheetah); Ian Miller on guitar; Ralph White on brass instruments and keyboards; and Stevie Wright on backing vocals, as well as lead vocals on two tracks, "Where Were You?" (July 1982) and "Waiting for a Train" (December 1982), both of which were issued as singles. Headlines reached No. 13 on the Swedish Albums Chart.
Hammond's group, Cheetah, had been signed by Vanda & Young to Alberts in 1978. Arnott, Karski and Miller were all members of Cheetah during 1982, alongside Hammond and her sister, Chrissie. Wright was the duo's bandmate from the Easybeats, and they had written and produced material for his solo career, including his number one hit "Evie" (April 1974).
"Waiting for a Train" reached the top 100 in Australia, but had greater chart success in Europe when issued there in April 1983: it peaked at No. 7 in the UK, No. 15 in Belgium and No. 26 in the Netherlands.
Late in 1984, they issued their fourth studio album, Early Morning Wake Up Call. Their next studio album, Nights in France, appeared in October 1987 via Epic Records. It provided two singles, "Ayla" in September and "Money Don't Lie" in April 1988. Their final studio album, Burning up the Night, was issued in October 1992 with two further singles, "Burning up the Night" (October) and "Living on Dreams" (March 1993). Thereafter the duo concentrated on their songwriting and production work for other artists.
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