Nick Gilmartin's Weblog

And he used to be such a nice, quiet boy

And this week it’s Kajagoogoo who are to reform

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And they used to get laid dressed like this

And they used to get laid dressed like this

Does any of you sixties or seventies children remember this lot?  Kajagoogoo, the band that defined the eighties we would rather forget.

Not that their music was bad, just their fashion.  Dodgy bleached hair brushed at funny angles, ripped jeans and brightly coloured shirts minus a few buttons.

Well they are the latest in an ever growing line of eighties bands who are looking to make their big comeback.

Kajagoogoo were formed in the late seventies in Leighton Buzzard, UK.  They started out as an avent-garde instrumental group called Art Nouveau with the original line up consisting of Nick Beggs, Steve Askew, Stuart Croxford Neale and Jez Strode.

Early sales of records proved poor in spite of a play on John Peel’s show.  It was time to take a long hard look in the mirror.

In 1981 they put an advert in for a lead singer.  The first few were poor, mad, stupid or just plain tone deaf.  Then this guy turned up called Christopher Hamill.  He wasn’t bad actually.. should they hire him?  Yeah why not.

Chris had a bit of an image problem, though.  In spite of being a nic enough lad and a great singer he was a bit, well, plain.  They decided to give him a new name by using an anagram of his surname, re-christening him Limahl.  They they changed their band name to Kajagoogoo, as in a baby bands first sounds.

The boys worked hard and played gig after gig.  They were reliable, they sounded brilliant, and they got on well.  Their efforts paid off when three top labels began competing for their services.  Finally they chose EMI records.

They also developed a working relationship with the band Duran Duran who helped produce their record.  In between their own gigs they supported the band, Fashion, who rapidly went nowhere.

Their debut single ‘Too Shy’ went in straight at the top of the charts (much to Duran Duran’s envy).  Two further singles both made the top twenty.

And then, as is often the case, simmering tensions began to boil over.  Limahl was sacked by the other members of the band, with Nick Beggs taking over on vocals.  He just couldn’t reach the notes the way his predacesser did.  A further hit ‘Big Apple’ made the top ten but after that the band began to run rapidly out of steam.  Their album, Islands, was a financial disaster, not even making the top 35.

Jez Strode also left the band at this point and a reboot was called for.  The remaining three members re-styled themselves as Kaja.  One more album, Crazy People’s Right to Speak, was launched before the band folded.

A short-lived re-union took place in 2004 for VH-1’s Bands Reunited programme.  They did have some success and some of the old magic came back, but so did the old problems.  They planned to release a new album, Gone to the Moon, but this was postponed indefinitely.  It is however, available on the bands website, which is below.

The clothes are better but the hair is still toss

The clothes are better but the hair is still toss

They reformed again for Retrofest, a scottish music festival which takes place in an actual castle.  The organiser of the festival, Bradley Snelling, talked them through their problems and became their new manager.  A photoshoot took place for the first time in two decades and now tour dates have been agreed.  The band are quoted as saying: “The mood was relaxed and jovial, for the first time in 25 years Kajagoogoo, as a five-piece, are back.”

To see them live check out their website:


Written by Nick Gilmartin

May 15, 2009 at 8:55 pm

Posted in music

Tagged with , , ,

One Response

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  1. wow nice to see them again… “Too Shy” will always be my favorite…long live the 80’s

    Jonathan (philippines)

    January 2, 2010 at 8:49 am

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