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Disambiguation: For the light novel see Kiddy Grade Secret Affair.
Secret Affair

Secret Affair on the cover of Smash Hits, September 1979

This file is a candidate for speedy deletion. It may be deleted after Wednesday, 20 January 2010.
Background information
Origin London, England
Genres Mod revival
Years active 1979-1982
Labels I-Spy
Associated acts New Hearts
Ian Page (vocals, keyboards, trumpet)
Dave Cairns (guitar)
Dennis Smith (bass)
Seb Shelton (drums)
Paul Bultitude (drums)
Dave Winthrop (sax)

Secret Affair was a mod revival band, formed in 1978 and disbanded in 1982. It reformed to perform and record in the 2000s.



In a period of a little over two years, Secret Affair posted five releases in the UK Singles Chart and released three albums. The debut single "Time For Action" sold over 200,000 copies and reached number 13 in the UK chart, putting the band at the forefront of the mod revival movement. More chart success followed with "Let Your Heart Dance", "My World" and "Sound Of Confusion".

Formed after the demise of the CBS Records signed power pop band New Hearts, singer Ian Page and guitarist Dave Cairns spent the second half of 1978 writing songs that would form the basis of the first two Secret Affair albums. They also drew up plans for a smart-dressing youth movement - the Glory Boys – based around the idea of 1960s gangster chic and influenced by the movie, Performance.

After spending January 1979 demoing songs, Page and Cairns enlisted the services of bassist Dennis Smith from the power pop band Advertising and Young Bucks drummer Seb Shelton. Saxophone player Dave Winthrop would join later in the year.

From its very first gig, opening for The Jam at Reading University in February 1979, the band was adopted by a group of East End Mods, who readily embraced Page’s Glory Boy concept. This group of fans began referring to themselves as Glory Boys, often tattooing the name on their arms or inner lips as a badge of allegiance. Secret Affair had become so closely linked to the emerging mod revival that in March 1979 Cairns wrote what would become the youth movement's main anthem, "Time For Action".

Just a few months later, Secret Affair had signed to Arista Records and formed its own label, I-Spy Records and "Time For Action" was in the chart. It was soon followed into the charts by "Let Your Heart Dance", "My World" and "Sound Of Confusion". The first two albums, Glory Boys (December 1979) and Behind Closed Doors (September 1980), with its more complex orchestrated arrangements, proved successful and in its first year Secret Affair regularly appeared on the BBC Television show Top Of The Pops and was a cover star of many UK music magazines, including New Musical Express, Sounds and Smash Hits. I-Spy Records also released singles by ska legend Laurel Aitken, Eddie Floyd and Squire.

The music videos for several of the band's songs were directed by Steve Barron.

Likened to Jimmy Pursey, Page was asked to appear on UK television programmes and was viewed as an articulate spokesman for his generation, although his opinionated views alienated as many potential fans as they won over.

The mod movement that had swept Secret Affair into the pop charts had all but evaporated by mid 1980, losing out to the rival 2 Tone fashion movement, and after the release of the band's second album, drummer Shelton quit to join the "Come On Eileen" era Dexys Midnight Runners. Secret Affair regrouped, recruiting ex-Advertising drummer Paul Bultitude and embarking on a lengthy tour of the United States, before returning in late 1981 with its final chart hit, "Do You Know".

One more single followed, "Lost In The Night", before the release of Business As Usual, an album that saw the band return to the rock-soul fusion of its earlier work. Although a spirited album, it was a commercial failure and Secret Affair split-up midway through 1982.

Cairns went on to form a band called Flag, with Archie Brown from The Bureau and signed a recording contract in the U.S. He subsequently teamed up with Scottish singer Alan King in Walk on Fire, writing the majority of the band's material and playing keyboards on tours. Signing to MCA in the U.S., the band released the album Blind Faith in 1990 and toured supporting Foreigner, Nils Lofgren and the Dan Reed Network before Cairns joined Gibson Guitars USA as Special Projects Manager. Page released two solo singles before leaving the music industry.


In June 2002, Page, Cairns, Smith, Bultitude and Winthrop reformed for three gigs, including a performance at London's Shepherds Bush Empire. They returned in June the following year, playing at The Scala in Islington to promote the release of Time For Action: The Anthology (Sanctuary), a major CD retrospective of hits, rarities and previously unreleased tracks. The concert was filmed and released on DVD.

In 2006 Page and Cairns attempted to mend their sometimes fractious relationship and started work on a fourth Secret Affair album, recording five new songs. The album remains unfinished, but in 2008 Page and Cairns put their differences behind them and have reformed Secret Affair as a touring band with a new line-up. In 2009 they have been playing regularly around Britain and further afield, having played their first ever concerts in Dublin, Madrid and Moscow. Future shows; HoImfirth Picturedrome, Nov 28th, DubIin, Dec 12th & 100 CIub, Iondon, Dec 13th.

Band members


UK Singles Chart

  • "Time For Action" - 1979 - Number 13
  • "Let Your Heart Dance" - 1979 - Number 32
  • "My World" - 1980 - Number 16
  • "Sound Of Confusion" - 1980 - Number 45
  • "Do You Know" - 1981 - Number 57

[1 ]

UK Albums Chart

  • Glory Boys - 1979 - Number 41
  • Behind Closed Doors - 1980 - Number 48
  • Business As Usual - 1982 - Number 84

[1 ]

See also


  1. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 487. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.  
  • Sleevenotes to the CD reissues of Glory Boys, Behind Closed Door and Business As Usual, by Chris Hunt

External links

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