News Stories


The 1980’s was an amazing decade for Birmingham bands and music. We are all familiar with those that went on to world wide success. Of course there are always a few that somehow slipped through the cracks.

Sommerville are one of those bands.

Formed in 1983 from the ashes of three of Birmingham’s most popular post punk bands. Sommerville were :

Paul Adams (guitar) TV Eye, The Hawks

Simon Colley (bass) Duran Duran , The Hawks, Dance

Matthew Edwards (vocals) Dance

Paul Comaskey, drums The Nervous Kind.

They recorded their first demo in 1983 , and were soon in negotiations with Virgin Records.  More demos were recorded at The Barge Recording Studio in London, and within a months they were signed to Virgin Records dance label 10 Records.

The progression from post punk guitar bands to concise popular dance tracks had felt quite natural for all the members. Now with all the classic 80’s equipment at their fingertips, they were ready to roll.

The year that followed saw the band write and record their first two potential singles  only to have the label sit on them; more recordings languished in the Virgin office, and 18 months slipped away. With no live shows and no record releases, completely frustrated, Paul Comaskey left the band and headed to New York where a reformed Nervous Kind needed a drummer .

The three remaining members, still believing wholeheartedly in their music, took up the challenge of letting the world know they were here. What followed were some legendary live shows.

A massive 12 piece band kicked off a huge dance /pop extravaganza in Birmingham. Managed by DJ Dick of Rockers Hi Fi fame, their shows were events not to be missed. Even the posters for the shows depicting a gun toting Elvis or Jimmy Cliff or reinventing the iconic Che Guevara became collectors items.

The music progressed to become even more dance oriented.

After an acrimonious split with Virgin 10 Records, and legally unable to release songs as Sommerville, the band by passed Virgin by releasing tracks on Swordfish Records as Django Three, Mephisto Love and Flamenco Massive, channeling their tracks into the burgeoning Rave scene. They enjoyed their anonymous club success.

As the 80’s danced toward the 90’s, band life was anything but a party. After having their studio and equipment stolen twice in a matter of months, Sommerville finally called time on the project. The three members leaving Birmingham for far flung destinations in different parts of the world….. Only to meet again in San Francisco a few years later, but that’s another story! 

Back then Sommerville recorded some great songs. Songs that never saw the light of day and were only heard by a handful of fans. After more than thirty years hidden from the public, five Sommerville songs are available to hear for free on YouTube.

Each song is accompanied by a video. They contain live footage, photos and lyrics to each song.

Life With The Lions was part of a demo recording that got the band signed, featuring the full Power of Paul Comaskey’s electronic Simmons kit and Paul Adams guitar synth. 

Make You Stay was recorded at Air Studios and produced by Pete Walsh and featuring Wham’s brass section and backing vocals by P P Arnold.

Trust, again recorded at Air Studios with the same line up as above.

Bad Money was recorded as three piece and features Simon Colley’s exceptional bass synth playing and Matthew’s easy interpretation of the modern soul vocal while Paul’s guitar is the perfect counter point to the rhythm. 

Take Me To The City was one of the final recordings Sommerville made, short simple commercial and full of energy.

You can find them all here ( ). Take a journey back to the eighties with Birmingham’s lost band Sommerville.

Vision Collision

Vision Collision were a late 1970s pop/rock band. Two of their members were Terry Lilley, who played bass, and Andy Wickett, who sang lead vocals; he would later become the lead singer of Duran Duran. Vision Collision never released any material.

Terry Lilley, who had previously been a member of punk band Dennis & the Din Makers, formed Vision Collision with singer Andy Wickett and other musicians. They borrowed their equipment and rehearsal space from Duran Duran, playing in Wickett’s room at Cheapside, Birmingham where Duran Duran also rehearsed (Stephen Duffy’s band, The Hawks, played downstairs on the veranda).

Vision Collision were an opening act for Duran Duran at the now-defunct Star Club in Birmingham in 1979, one of their first ever performances. Entrance fees were only 50p. After the gig, Andy Wickett would eventually become Duran Duran’s lead vocalist, while Terry Lilley would form pop band Terry and Gerry, effectively breaking Vision Collision up.

Info from Duran Duran wiki:

P45 live at The White Horse Inn 28th Nov 1980

Cuba live at The White Horse Inn 28th Nov 1980

Thanks to Steve Palmer

The Scent Organs

Future Duran Duran star Roger Taylor was in this punk band before he shot to fame!

Would love to know more!

Crucified Toad

Future Duran Duran star Roger Taylor was in this punk band before he shot to fame!

Would love to know more!

World Service

Formed in 1988 by Andy Wickett, ex of The Xpertz, Duran Duran and TV Eye, they were the first British band to tour North Africa and the Sahara regions picking up music and cultural influences on the way and would go on to support Duran Duran in the 1990s.

Nick Aletti, a member of The Androids, have sent in this video he made of World Service while studying at Birmingham Polytechnic (now Birmingham City University).

As Nick recalls:

I hadn’t seen it for years and Andy just got in touch and asked me if I still had it. It took me ages to find it as the VHS tape had been stuffed in a box and kept in storage all this time. Basically it was the final project I did for the video module of the Communications Studies course at Brum Poly. Hardly anyone saw it at the time because it wasn’t completed until late June 1987 when most people had left. I knew Andy from the Birmingham music scene and saw World Service play a few times before approaching him about this. He wasn’t at Brum Poly at the time. They had just done a demo and this was one of the standout tunes on it. The others weren’t bad either.

This is a beautiful version of The Beatles ‘A Day in the Life’ and a great video to boot!

More of Andy and his music can be found at

Duran Duran

Duran’s first gig upstairs at the Communist book shop in Birmingham at a club called The Star Club

Duran Duran were created by Andy Wicketts, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor and Stephen Duffy, with the later addition of Roger Taylor, Andy Taylor, and Simon Le Bon, though none of the Taylors are related. The group has never disbanded, but the line-up has changed to include guitarist Warren Cuccurullo from 1986 to 2001, and drummer Sterling Campbell from 1989 to 1991. The reunion of the original five members in the early 2000s created a stir among the band’s fans and music media. Andy Taylor left the band in summer 2006, and London guitarist Dom Brown has been working with the band since.

Duran Duran were one of the most commercially successful of the new romantic bands and a leading band in the MTV-driven “Second British Invasion” of the United States. Since the 1980s they have placed 21 singles in the Billboard Hot 100 and 14 in the Top 10 of the UK Singles Chart, and have sold more than 100 million records.

A selection of the band’s hit singles from the 1980s include, “Girls on Film”, “Rio”, “Hungry Like the Wolf”, “Save a Prayer”, “Notorious”, and the James Bond theme “A View to a Kill”. In the early 1990s, the band released, “Ordinary World” and “Come Undone”, and released “Sunrise”, and “What Happens Tomorrow” in the 2000s. “Falling Down” was released from their 2007 album, Red Carpet Massacre.


* Duran Duran (1981)
* Rio (1982)
* Seven and the Ragged Tiger (1983)
* Notorious (1986)
* Big Thing (1988)
* Liberty (1990)
* Duran Duran (The Wedding Album) (1993)
* Thank You (1995)
* Medazzaland (1997)
* Pop Trash (2000)
* Astronaut (2004)
* Red Carpet Massacre (2007)

Special Thanks to Keith Law at for content.

TV Eye

Formed in 1976  by Andy Wickett, Eamon Duffy and Dave Kusworth (later of The Jacobites) who left Moseley Art School in Birmingham and formed TV Eye, a band named after an Iggy and the Stooges song.

The Xpertz

Reggae/Dub/Electro group featuring Aleem Panwar and Andy Wicketts, TV Eye, Duran Duran and World Service.

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