It Bites second single, 'Calling All The Heroes', was released in June 1986 and made No.6 on the UK charts. It along with the debut and their third single, 'Whole New World', appeared on The Big Lad In the Windmill, which has been described as Pop-Prog. Prog is not music generally associated with catchy melodies, yet It Bites debut is full of wonderful hooks. They had a wonderful way of building a chorus and offering key changes that added to the dynamics, the ballad 'You'll Never Go To Heaven' shows off their unique style to perfection. Given their success with their second single it is surprising that their debut album could only make No.35 on the charts. It is a record that has lasted better than many of its contemporaries. It has a timeless appeal.
It's been suggested that It Bites may have failed to fully embrace one musical style and therefore confused people as to what kind of band they were. Their second album, Once Around The World, came out in March 1988 and was less Pop Prog and arguably more Genesis-like (late '70s version). Certainly the title track, a fourteen-minute full-on Prog Rock opus, was definitely harking back to earlier times. Three tracks were released as singles: 'Kiss Like Judas' and 'Midnight' did carry on when the first album ended. However, their third single 'Old Man And The Angel', edited from the nine plus minute album track, was one of the first recordings for the album and it is one that falls between the two styles. Crucially, the album was well received by their hardcore fans.
1989 and the band's third album and there was another shift in musical direction. Eat Me In St Louis was music with a far harder edge and met with critical acclaim from the rock press, and had some commercial success with the single 'Still Too Young To Remember'. Sell out UK dates in the spring of 1990 preceded the band going into the studio in Los Angeles to begin work on a new album. It all ended acrimoniously with Dunnery leaving the band, while they attempted to soldier on with a new singer, Lee Knott from the band innocence lost. They even changed their name to Navajo Kiss but the move failed and the band split up.
The band did get back together briefly in 2003 and ever since there have been a revolving door of band members with John Beck and Bob Dalton the only two originals in the line up. Francis Dunnery has pursued a solo career, which began with the Virgin album Welcome To The Wild Country, released in 1991. In 2012 Dunnery sang lead vocals on 'Supper's Ready' and 'Dancing with the Moonlit Knight' on Steve Hackett's Genesis Revisited II album.
Words: Richard Havers
The debut album produced by Alan Shacklock of the Cumbrian band which was released in 1986. The style is an unusual mix of various musical genres which includes pop, hard rock, funk, power ballads and even progressive rock Three singles were released from this record – ‘All in Red’, ‘Whole New World’ which were minor hits and their biggest single release of their career ‘Calling all the Heroes’ which went to No 6 in the UK chart. This is an album that just gets better and proves that they are one of the most interesting bands to emerge during the 1980s.
This album was released in 1988 and was produced at the legendary Manor Studios in Oxford. Most of the tracks were produced by Steve Hillage with the balance including the title track ‘Once Around the World’ (which is almost 15 minutes long) produced by the band – and outstanding it is too. This is an album which never got the exposure it deserved – it has been called a Prog Rock masterpiece with words like “genius” used by reviewers. Ignore this record at your peril.
This live album was released n 1991 after the band had split up. They were believed by many to be on the verge of real commercial success. But Francis Dunnery decided to leave the band and he was the major driving and creative force. Stand out tracks on this album are their only major hit ‘Calling all the Heroes’ and a great version of ‘Underneath Your Pillow’.
That says it all, really. Apart from the title track, most people have never even heard of this group. Unlike REO Speedwagon, Toto, Starship etc. who kind of disappeared, this lot, for whatever reason, quit whilst they were ahead. If you're looking for "feel-good", driving tracks then you can't go wrong. All the tracks on this album will have you rockin' on the highways! (There's even a Christmas one!).
Words: Dave Knight
This double CD compilation is somewhat unusual in that it is not packed with tracks that every prog lover will already have. The selection has been chosen by Jerry Ewing, editor of Prog magazine, clearly a man who knows his prog. This is an EMI sampler so all the bands featured are from labels associated with EMI. The compilation can roughly be divided into a first CD that contains mainly classic prog bands from the 70s, and the second CD that concentrates more on tracks that go right up to the present day. The tracks have been chosen for their proggyness, length and relative unfamiliarity. So with Hawkwind, instead of the ubiquitous Silver Machine, we get The Psychedelic Warlords from Hall of the Mountain Grill. There are will known classic period bands such as Jethro Tull and Barclay James Harvest but in amongst them are real finds from relatively unknown bands like Rare Bird and Eloy. There are then prog contributions from bands like Roxy Music and ELO that you wouldn't normally expect to see on such an album. The second CD continues with classic bands like Tangerine Dream and Marillion but then takes us through Pallas and The Flower Kings to some of the cutting edge prog bands like Frost* and Beardfish. There are no fillers on this album at all. The album comes in at 2 hours 34 minutes. The tracks are all worth listening to and they are all definitely prog. The booklet has an introduction from Jerry Ewing, full details of each track and includes a thumbnail sized photo of the front of each album. Well worth five stars.
Words: R. Hughes