Associates (duo)

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The Associates were a Scottish post-punk and new wave band of the early 1980s.[1] They were known for the operatic voice and theatrical antics of singer Billy Mackenzie, who committed suicide in 1997.



1979–1982: Associates mk. 1

Mackenzie and guitarist Alan Rankine met in Dundee in 1976 and formed the cabaret duo The Ascorbic Ones.[1] In 1979 they recorded songs under the name of Mental Torture before finally changing their name to The Associates. They then recorded their debut single, a cover of David Bowie's "Boys Keep Swinging". Their version attracted a good deal of attention, not least from David Bowie, as it was released in June 1979 just six weeks after Bowie's version had hit the UK Top 10 in April. A string of highly regarded singles were released and two albums The Affectionate Punch and Fourth Drawer Down.

In 1981 Rankine and MacKenzie also released a version of "Kites" under the name "39 Lyon Street" with Christine Beverage on lead vocals, the b-side track "A Girl Named Property" was credited to The Associates. The band's breakthrough came in 1982 with the release of the single "Party Fears Two". Buoyed along by the popularity of synthpop at the time, the song reached number 9 on the UK Singles Chart.[1] Two other hits soon followed, "Club Country" and "18 Carat Love Affair". That year the band released their most commercially successful album, Sulk.

1983–1990: Associates mk. 2 and commercial decline

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