I first heard Billy Mackenzie on, the legendary DJ ,John Peel’s radio show at the end of the ’70s. His band The Associates were a strangely attractive hybrid of punk, John Barry and Bowie’s ‘Station To Station’. There was a buzz about this Scottish duo,Alan Rankin was the other half . They were very cinematic, both musically and lyrically and The Voice was good.Very good.
Then there were the scattershot of singles including Q Quarters, White Car In Germany, Club Country until they found mainstream success with Party Fears 2. They had hits.They gave great and funny TV performances and made enough money for Billy to put his pet greyhounds up for the night in The Savoy.
The Associates were a cracking band but it was almost all about Billy and The Voice. Billy inevitably went solo and recorded covers such as You Only Live Twice, Wild Is The Wind, Free. And his own material too like Breakfast, Baby and The Rhythm Divine, which he wrote with Swiss electronica band Yello and was invariably recorded by Shirley Bassey, who was one of the few people who could do it justice.
In January 1997, not even forty, and not long after the death of his mother, Billy Mackenzie killed himself.
A Billy Mackenzie Tribute site is here
You can listen to Wild Is The Wind here
Listen to Breakfast here.
Billy & Yello’s version of The Rythm Divine is here
There is more Forgotten Music at Scott D Parker’s blog.