Belle Starswere an all female British band which was formed in London, England, in 1980 by members of the former group, The Bodysnatchers. They were Stella barker (guitar player), Sarah-Jane Owen (guitar player), Miranda Joyce (sax player), Penny Leyton (keyboard player), and Judy Parsons (drummer). The girls decided to form their own band and they recruited Leslie Shone (bass player), and a lead vocalist, Jennie McKeown. They had their first performance on Christmas Day in 1980. They became very popular in the London area and appeared on the cover of the Sounds Magazine in 1981. They signed on with Stiff records and were very successful because of their act, Madness. They had a debut single called, Haiawatha/ Big Blonde, which was released in the spring of 1981. They promoted their song by doing supporting acts for The beat and Madness band. The single did not make it on the charts. Their second single called, Slick Trick, with flip song, Take Another Look, and it did not chart either. After their third single also failed to chart, they decided to use a different angle and released songs from other groups. They did released their signature single , Sign of the Times, in January, 1983. This single reached number 3 and was a chart success all over Europe. Their music video was played a lot on MTV in the United States. After that there were no more chart singles although the group did not stop trying.
The band followed this a month later with their debut album, Sign of the Times, and it reached number 15 on the U. K. Albums chart. This album was the peak of the groups success and it took them another year before they had another hit. 80's Romance reached number 71 in August, 1984. Also by 1984, Stiff records were hurting so they merged with Island Records and in 1985 it was liquidated and bought by ZTT. ZtTT was owned by a husband and wife team of producer Trevor Horn and Jill Sinclair. With Horn’s supervision, the remaining three girls recorded a new album with the 4th & Broadway team in New York City. The band still continued to tour around Europe, and after that McKeown left the band because of the lack of success. Other members followed her and it finally came down to just Owen, Joyce, and Shone. These three continued on and finally made a big U. S. Chart hit when they released, Iko Iko. The song reached number 14 on the Billboard Top 100 chart in March, 1989.The song was used on the soundtrack of the movie, Rainman, which starred Tom Cruise, and Dustin Hoffman. The song was a favorite of Hoffman’s.
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