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Television Personalities

Britain's Television Personalities enjoyed one of the new wave era's longest, most erratic, and most far-reaching careers. Over the course of a musical evolution that led them from wide-eyed shambling pop to the outer reaches of psychedelia and back, they directly influenced virtually every major pop uprising of the period, with artists as diverse as feedback virtuosos the Jesus and Mary Chain, twee pop titans the Pastels, and lo-fi kingpins Pavement readily acknowledging Television Personalities' inspiration.

Television Personalities were the brainchild of singer/songwriter Dan Treacy, who grew so inspired by the nascent punk movement that he recorded a 1977 single, "14th Floor," with his friends in the group O Level. The BBC's John Peel became a vocal supporter of the group, which was soon dubbed Television Personalities. A year later they issued the Where's Bill Grundy Now? EP, featuring their lone hit, "Part-Time Punks."

Always a loose-knit group, the first relatively stable TVP lineup consisted of Treacy, organist/vocalist Ed Ball, and guitarist Joe Foster, who recorded the band's 1980 debut, And Don't the Kids Just Love It, a step into psychedelic pop typified by songs like "I Know Where Syd Barrett Lives." Treacy and Ball soon founded their own label, Whaam! (later renamed Dreamworld after threats from George Michael's attorneys), to issue 1981's Mummy Your Not Watching Me, which made the Personalities one of the figureheads of a London psychedelia revival.

Ball exited around the time of the release of 1982's They Could Have Been Bigger Than the Beatles, a collection of re-recordings along with renditions of the Creation's "Making Time" and "Painter Man." Released in 1984, the dark and moody The Painted Word was followed the next year by the live set Chocolat-Art, by which point TVPs were in dire straits -- broke and without a label, they could do little but infrequently perform live for several years, and were forced to watch the C-86/anorak pop groundswell (a movement they directly presaged) from the sidelines.

Comprised of Treacy, ex-Swell Map Jowe Head, and drummer Jeffrey Bloom, the band finally won a contract with Fire Records in 1989, and resurfaced later that year with the EP Salvador Dali's Garden Party, followed in 1990 by the mod-flavored Privilege. After a handful of singles and EPs, Television Personalities issued the 1992 double-LP Closer to God; despite critical approval, the album failed to find an audience, and Treacy reportedly fell prey to depression and drug problems. After several more years of occasional singles, they issued the harrowing I Was a Mod Before You Was a Mod, followed in 1996 by Top Gear.

By the time that Don't Cry Baby...It's Only a Movie was released in November of 1998, Treacy had gone missing. Rumors of mental illness, drug abuse, homelessness, and even death were tossed about until finally in 2004 Treacy wrote a letter to Iain Baker, an old friend and DJ at London's XFM. In it he disclosed that he was incarcerated on a prison boat in Dorset. Following his release in June of 2004, Treacy set about resurrecting TVPs, playing some gigs and posting a hilarious web journal. Finally, in March of 2006 a new album, My Dark Places, was released on the influential Domino label. Are We Nearly There Yet? followed one year later, although some of its material had been recorded just after Treacy's release from prison. Numerous live gigs and tours followed during the rest of the 2000s, including a spot on December 2009's All Tomorrow's Parties event (curated by My Bloody Valentine). In June of the following year, A Memory Is Better Than Nothing appeared on the Rocketgirl label, and the band earned high praise as well as publicity when MGMT debuted "Song for Dan Treacy" on their album Congratulations. Late in 2011, however, news broke that a critically ill Treacy was in a coma after undergoing surgery to remove a blood clot from his brain. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: A Memory Is Better Than Nothing

1. A Memory Is Better Than Nothing

2. The Girl In The Hand Me Down Clothes

3. She's My Yoko

4. Walk Towards The Light

5. Funny He Never Married

6. Except For Jennifer

7. People Think That We're Strange

8. My New Tattoo

9. If You Don't Want Me

10. Come Back To Bed

11. The Good Anarchist

12. All The Things You Are

13. You Freed My Spirit

x

Track List: My Dark Places

1. Special Chair

2. All The Young Children On Crack

3. Sick Again

4. Ex-Girlfriend Club

5. Dream The Sweetest Dreams

6. Velvet Underground

7. My Dark Places

8. I'm Not Your Typical Boy

9. You Kept Me Waiting Too Long

10. They'll Have To Catch Us First

11. She Can Stop Traffic

12. Tell Me About Your Day

13. Knock It All Down

14. I Hope You're Happy Now

15. No More I Hate You's

16. There's No Beautiful Way To Say Goodbye

x

Track List: Yes Darling, But Is It Art?

1. 14th Floor

2. Oxford St, W1

3. Part Time Punks

4. Where's Bill Grundy Now?

5. Happy Families

6. Posing At The Roundhouse

7. Smashing Time

8. King And Country

9. I Know Where Syd Barrett Lives (Original Version)

10. Arthur The Gardener

11. The Prettiest Girl In The World

12. That's What Love Is

13. Three Wishes

14. And Don't The Kids Just Love It

15. A Sense Of Belonging

16. How I Learned To Love The...Bomb

17. A Girl Called Charity

18. She's Only The Grocer's Daughter

19. Now You're Just Being Ridiculous

20. God Snaps His Fingers

21. The Dream Inspires

22. Favourite Films

23. Me And My Desire

24. Miracles Take Longer

x

Track List: I Was A Mod Before You Was A Mod

1. As John Belushi Said

2. I Was A Mod Before You Was A Mod

3. I'm A Stranger To Myself

4. Little Woody Allen

5. Long Time Gone

6. Evan Doesn't Ring Me Anymore

7. Things Have Changed Since I Was A Girl

8. Haunted

9. I Can See My Whole World Crashing Down

10. Something Just Flew Over My Head

11. Everything She Touches Turns To Gold

x

Track List: Closer To God

1. You Don't Know How Lucky You Are

2. Hard Luck Story Number 39

3. Little Works Of Art

4. Razorblades And Lemonade

5. Coming Home Soon

6. Me And My Big Ideas

7. Honey For The Bears

8. I See Myself In You

9. Goodnight Mr. Spaceman

10. My Very First Nervous Breakdown

11. We Will Be Your Gurus

12. You Are Special And You Always Will Be

13. Not For The Likes Of Us

14. You're Younger Than You Know

15. Very Dark Today

16. I Hope You Have A Nice Day

17. This Heart's Not Made Of Stone

18. Baby, You're Only As Good As You Should Be

19. Closer To God

x

Track List: Privilege

1. Paradise Is For The Blessed

2. A Good And Faithful Servant

3. Conscience Tells Me No

4. My Hedonistic Tendencies

5. All My Dreams Are Dead

6. Salvador Dali's Garden Party

7. The Man Who Paints The Rainbow

8. What If It's Raining?

9. Sad Mona Lisa

10. The Enginge Driver Song

11. Sometimes I Think You Know Me Better Than I Know Myself

12. Privilege

13. The Room At The Top Of The Stairs

14. This Time There Is No Happy Ending

15. Part One - Fulfilling The Contractual Obligations

x

Track List: They Could Have Been Bigger Than The Beatles

1. Three Wishes

5. King And Country

7. Games For Boys

8. Painter Man

10. 14th Floor

13. When Emily Cries

14. The Glittering Prizes

16. Mysterious Ways

x

Track List: ...And Don't The Kids Just Love It

1. This Angry Silence

2. The Glittering Prizes

3. World Of Pauline Lewis

4. A Family Affair

5. Silly Girl

6. Diary Of A Young Man

7. Geoffrey Ingram

8. I Know Where Syd Barrett Lives

9. Jackanory Stories

10. Parties In Chelsea

11. La Grande Illusion

12. A Picture Of Dorian Gray

13. The Crying Room

14. Look Back In Anger

Comments

Report as inappropriate
Love TVP, pyschedelic pop at its best
Report as inappropriate
Bad & Beautiful... . . o f f key, out of tune and right on....stay out of jail bud!
Report as inappropriate
Stop and Smell the Roses is beautiful
Report as inappropriate
"I Hope you're Happy Now"...
Report as inappropriate
diary of a young man cool two-skis
Report as inappropriate
i love "you don't know how lucky you are"...never heard of these guys before. here's hoping their other songs are good :)

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