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Curiosity Killed the Cat

Ben Volpeliere-Pierrot of Curiosity Killed the Cat at the Lafayette Parc Hotel, Lafayette, California - 1987
Background information
Also known as Curiosity
Origin England
Genres Pop
Years active 1984–1992
Former members
Ben Volpeliere-Pierrot, Julian Godfrey Brookhouse, Nick Thorpe, Migi Drummond
For the proverb, see Curiosity killed the cat.

Curiosity Killed the Cat was a British pop band that found success in the UK Singles Chart in the late 1980s and early 1990s.[1 ]

Contents

Career

The band played soulful, jazzy, and funky pop music[2][3] and was initially signed to Phonogram Records' Mercury imprint. They first came to notice of the UK music press when they hooked up with Andy Warhol for the video of the 1986 single "Misfit". This featured the band in New York and at one point featured frontman Ben Volpeliere-Pierrot dancing down a side street whilst Andy Warhol referenced Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues" by dropping pieces of white card in time to the music (an effect originally done in a long-form promotional film by Bob Dylan for "Subterranean Homesick Blues" in 1965 and also copied by Warhol as well as INXS in their video for "Mediate" in 1988 as well as many other bands).

The band's first album, Keep Your Distance, entered the UK Albums Chart at number one in May 1987, and stayed in the Top Ten for 13 weeks, although the release of that album's "Free" as a single only reached number 56 in the UK Singles Chart.[1 ] Just before that, a re-release of the first single, "Misfit", had reached Number 7, continuing the group's Top Ten placement which ended with "Free".[1 ] "Misfit" was also their only U.S. chart single, peaking at number 42.

The band's second album, Getahead, was led by an upbeat funky track called "Name and Number". This record was a hit, reaching number 14 in 1989,[1 ] but the "Hey How You Doin'" refrain would find itself in the Top Ten two years later as part of the De La Soul song "Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)".

After the lack-lustre performance of Getahead and second single "First Place", Curiosity (as they were now billed) found themselves dropped from Mercury Records. However, three years after the release of that single they returned to the UK Top Ten as a three piece on RCA Records, with a cover of Johnny Bristol's "Hang On In There Baby".[1 ] However, the band's follow ups (covers of "I Need Your Lovin'" and "Gimme the Sunshine") flopped, which resulted in the album Back to Front only being released in Japan and selected overseas markets.

In the 2000s, the band reformed for an appearance on a National Lottery midweek show on BBC 1, and since then Volpeliere has toured under the name Curiosity Killed the Cat, on a number of 1980s revival packages.

Band members

Albums

  • Keep Your Distance (1987) UK #1
  • Getahead (1989) UK #29[1 ]
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Billed as Curiosity

  • Back to Front (1994)

Singles

  • "Misfit" (1986) [Mercury / CAT 1]
  • "Down to Earth" (1986) UK #3 [Mercury / CAT 2]
  • "Ordinary Day" (1987) UK #11 [Mercury / CAT 3]
  • "Misfit" (re-issue - 1987) UK #7 U.S. #42 [Mercury / CAT 4]
  • "Free" (1987) UK #56 [Mercury / CAT 5]
  • "Name and Number" (1989) UK #14 [Mercury / CAT 6]
  • "First Place" (1989) [Mercury / CAT 7]

[1 ]

Billed as Curiosity

  • "Hang On In There Baby" (1992) UK #3
  • "I Need Your Lovin'" (1992) UK #47
  • "Gimme the Sunshine" (1993) UK #73
  • "Relax"

[1 ]

Trivia

  • Volpelierre-Pierrot was best known for wearing a Frank Spencer-style beret in most pictures of the band. He later revealed it was in fact a peaked fisherman's hat, turned round with the peak to the rear so that it resembled a beret.
  • Ben VP (as he was billed on a number of solo singles in the mid 1990s) was frequently referred to as Ben Vol-au-vont-Parrot in Smash Hits magazine.
  • Volpelierre-Pierrot appeared as a male model on the front of Mike Read's Pop Quiz board game.
  • In 1995, Migi Drummond and Nick Thorp set up Naked Records which was acquired a year later by software maker Eidos Plc.
  • Like Wet Wet Wet, the band had an additional 'fifth member' called Toby Anderson. However, unlike that Scottish band, Toby Anderson was a 'mystery member', and the band was accused of not only hiding Toby due to his looks, but also being a front for his writing, as in the case of The Brothers credit for Bros.
  • On Name and Number, the band and co-writer get writing credits; however, on De La Soul's "Ring Ring Ring" only the co-writer gets a credit, even though it utilises the chorus of the Curiosity song.
  • Session drummer Jeff Porcaro played on three tracks on their Getahead album

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 130. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.  
  2. ^ Keep Your Distance at Allmusic
  3. ^ Get Ahead at Allmusic

External links


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