Pixies

This article is about the band named Pixies. For pixies of folklore, see pixie.

The Pixies are a band which toured and recorded in the late 1980s and early 1990s, then reunited in 2004 and began touring again. The band's lineup consists of Black Francis a.k.a. Frank Black (vocals, guitar), Joey Santiago (lead guitar), Kim Deal (bass, vocals), and David Lovering (drums). Their style of music influenced many aspects of alternative rock throughout the 1990s. Most notable was their use of soft verses and hard choruses, which was later popularized by Nirvana.

History

The band was formed in 1986 in Boston, Massachusetts by Joey Santiago and Black Francis (born Charles Thompson IV). Bassist Kim Deal joined the band after she responded to a classified ad Black Francis had placed which requested an unusual combination of musical influences. Reportedly, the ad asked for a bass player who liked The Mamas and the Papas and Husker Du.

They arrived at a name ("Pixies") by selecting an entry from the dictionary at random, and began playing shows in the Boston area.

During a concert with Throwing Muses, the band was noticed by Gary Smith, a producer at Fort Apache Studios. Smith became the band's manager and produced a 17 track demo (known as the "Purple Tape", publicly released in 2002). The demo fell into the hands of Ivo Watts-Russell, owner of 4AD, who signed the band. Eight tracks from the demo were selected for the Come on Pilgrim EP, the band's first release. It was followed by their first full-length album, Surfer Rosa in early 1988.

4AD was a British music label, and the notoriously rabid British music press immediately clutched the Pixies to their collective bosoms and refused to let go. The band remained unsigned in the US for a while, but after a foray up the UK pop charts and some inroads into American college rock stations, they were picked up by Elektra Records. For the remainder of their career, the Pixies remained large-scale stars in Britain and cult figures in the US.

Their sophomore album, Doolittle, featured three prominent singles: "Debaser," "Here Comes Your Man," and "Monkey Gone to Heaven." It was a top 10 hit in the UK and reached the top 100 in North America.

After Doolittle, Black Francis temporarily went solo, while Kim Deal formed The Breeders with Tanya Donelly of Throwing Muses and Deal's sister, Kelley. During this time, Black Francis limited Deal's contributions to the band; the first two albums had been partly written by Deal, but when Bossanova was released in 1990, all songs were by him. Deal was not pleased, and unilaterally announced an apparent break-up of the band on-stage during the following tour. The Pixies were at the height of their popularity, however, and while headlining at the Reading Festival in 1991, they played a highly enthusiastic version of "Debaser" which has become legendary among fans.

Break-up announcements notwithstanding, one more album was to follow. Trompe le Monde still featured little input from Deal and wasn't as critically regarded as their first few albums. Without telling anyone, Black Francis ended the band, and it wasn't until a year later that he faxed an official notice to the other members.

After the break-up

Black Francis renamed himself Frank Black, and released several solo albums. He then went on to form a band with Scott Boutier, Eric Drew, Rich Gilbert, David McGaffrey, and Dave Phillips called Frank Black and the Catholics. Deal returned to the Breeders, and scored a hit with "Cannonball" from that group's Last Splash in 1993. However, for several years they struggled to produce another album, mainly due to Kelley Deal's struggles with heroin. The album, Title TK, finally appeared in 2002, with only Kim and Kelley remaining from the previous Breeders lineup. Kim Deal has also recorded with The Amps. Lovering dropped back into obscurity, making occasional appearances as a "scientific phenomenalist", performing experiments on stage; he also drummed on one of Tanya Donelly's solo albums. Santiago has appeared on Frank Black's solo albums, writes music for FOX television, and has a band called The Martinis with his wife, Linda Mallari.

Musically, the Pixies were just slightly ahead of their time. Right at the moment they were imploding, Nirvana was recording Nevermind, the album that would break alternative rock into the mainstream. There are substantial parallels between the two groups' sounds and Kurt Cobain was known to have been a fan—in fact, in a Rolling Stone interview he claimed "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was his attempt to write a Pixies song. This revitalized some interest in the band after they were gone.

Reunion

In the 11 years since the band broke up, there were a number of rumors that would circulate regarding reunion tours. Roughly once a year on April Fool's Day someone would be led to believe that the band had re-united. It wasn't until 2004 when the Pixies would play their first "post-breakup" concert on April 13 at The Fine Line Music Cafe in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota and a 15 concert warmup tour of the western United States and Canada, culminating in the performance at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Tickets for shows on this tour often sold out minutes after going on sale despite some rather moderately sized Canadian cities such as Winnipeg and Regina being stops. It is rumoured that these dates hold the world record for fastest selling shows ever.

This was followed by a three-month world tour and four-month return to the US, ending on December 18 at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City (see tour dates (http://www.pixiesmusic.com/live_04.php) for detailed information).

In spring 2004, 4AD released Wave of Mutilation: The Best of the Pixies and a companion DVD which features a full concert, the music videos, and a documentary on the Pixies. A "new retrospective compilation CD" is set for release in the near future. Many of the reunion shows, including that April 13 show in Minneapolis, were sold by DiscLive (http://pixies.disclive.com/) in sets of 1,000. The entire edition size has now sold out.

Discography

Studio Albums

Compilations

Samples

  • Download sample of "Holiday Song" from Come on Pilgrim

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The entire edition size has now sold out. Here is a list showing the amount of chart toppers Cliff has scored in each decade:-. Many of the reunion shows, including that April 13 show in Minneapolis, were sold by DiscLive (http://pixies.disclive.com/) in sets of 1,000. He will have to score a #1 single between now and December 2009 in order to maintain the record, although he can claim the record for being the only act to score a #1 single in every decade in the first century of the inception of the UK Singles Chart. A "new retrospective compilation CD" is set for release in the near future. Cliff is the only act in the UK to score a #1 single in each and every decade since the inception of the UK Singles chart in 1952, with the exception of the 00's, which are not over. In spring 2004, 4AD released Wave of Mutilation: The Best of the Pixies and a companion DVD which features a full concert, the music videos, and a documentary on the Pixies. Interestingly enough, he has only scored 1 million selling single, "The Young Ones".

This was followed by a three-month world tour and four-month return to the US, ending on December 18 at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City (see tour dates (http://www.pixiesmusic.com/live_04.php) for detailed information). Cliff has sold more singles in the UK than any other act with sales exceeding 20.1 million records. It is rumoured that these dates hold the world record for fastest selling shows ever. Cliff Richard has scored 14 #1 singles in the UK; more than any other artist with the exception of Elvis Presley and The Beatles. Tickets for shows on this tour often sold out minutes after going on sale despite some rather moderately sized Canadian cities such as Winnipeg and Regina being stops. He also featured on the 1989 christmas number one by Band Aid II, thus appearing at the top of the charts for three consecutive Christmases. It wasn't until 2004 when the Pixies would play their first "post-breakup" concert on April 13 at The Fine Line Music Cafe in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota and a 15 concert warmup tour of the western United States and Canada, culminating in the performance at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. In later years, he often released songs with a christmas or other religious theme:.

Roughly once a year on April Fool's Day someone would be led to believe that the band had re-united. His first christmas number one (on some charts) was in 1960, but it was not a yuletide-themed song:. In the 11 years since the band broke up, there were a number of rumors that would circulate regarding reunion tours. Cliff Richard has aimed for the Christmas number one single on several occasions, sometimes successful and others not. This revitalized some interest in the band after they were gone. Britons are always surprised that he is a virtual unknown in America. There are substantial parallels between the two groups' sounds and Kurt Cobain was known to have been a fan—in fact, in a Rolling Stone interview he claimed "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was his attempt to write a Pixies song. The Shadows had decided to re-form for one final tour of the UK, with this concert heralded as their final ever concert as the Shadows.

Right at the moment they were imploding, Nirvana was recording Nevermind, the album that would break alternative rock into the mainstream. After having not performed as Cliff and the Shadows since 1989/1990, Cliff joined the Shadows on stage on June 14, 2004, at the London Palladium. Musically, the Pixies were just slightly ahead of their time. Sir Cliff has become joint owner of the Arora International Hotel in Manchester, which opened in June 2004. Santiago has appeared on Frank Black's solo albums, writes music for FOX television, and has a band called The Martinis with his wife, Linda Mallari. The Ultimate Pop Star, a Channel 4 programme screened in 2004, revealed that Cliff Richard had sold more singles in the UK than any other music artist, ahead of the Beatles in second place and Elvis Presley in third. Lovering dropped back into obscurity, making occasional appearances as a "scientific phenomenalist", performing experiments on stage; he also drummed on one of Tanya Donelly's solo albums. Sir Cliff is number 56 in the 2002 list of 100 Great Britons (sponsored by the BBC and voted for by the public).

Kim Deal has also recorded with The Amps. He reached the pinnacle of his career when he was knighted. The album, Title TK, finally appeared in 2002, with only Kim and Kelley remaining from the previous Breeders lineup. Cliff remained a tennis fan, however, delighting Wimbledon crowds with an impromptu singalong on one rainy afternoon in 1996. However, for several years they struggled to produce another album, mainly due to Kelley Deal's struggles with heroin. Later, his relationship with Sue Barker was the subject of much gossip, but they disappointed those who expected them to marry. Deal returned to the Breeders, and scored a hit with "Cannonball" from that group's Last Splash in 1993. In 1974, he denied the rumor that he had asked his good friend Olivia Newton-John for her hand in marriage.

He then went on to form a band with Scott Boutier, Eric Drew, Rich Gilbert, David McGaffrey, and Dave Phillips called Frank Black and the Catholics. The Shadows later re-formed (and later again split), and recorded on their own, but reunited with Cliff in 1978 and 1984 for some concerts. Black Francis renamed himself Frank Black, and released several solo albums. Strangely enough, those who were initially sceptical of his move into other types of songs, later changed in their own beliefs and did similarly on their own records. Without telling anyone, Black Francis ended the band, and it wasn't until a year later that he faxed an official notice to the other members. He has become an artist who has not been categorised in one single mould, but has been a wild rock n roller, a ballad singer, a heavy rock singer, who even found it natural to move into dance beats. Trompe le Monde still featured little input from Deal and wasn't as critically regarded as their first few albums. Although many fans, such as John Lennon, had in the early 60s regretted Cliff trying out songs which were not strictly in the rock n roll area, this process of slowly getting used to recording with the Shadows as the "rock group", while at other times singing with other musicians, without a doubt is at least partly responsible for Cliff becoming what he has become.

Break-up announcements notwithstanding, one more album was to follow. Cliff had already become used to not having his Shadows with him in recording sessions, and was able to record in any setting. The Pixies were at the height of their popularity, however, and while headlining at the Reading Festival in 1991, they played a highly enthusiastic version of "Debaser" which has become legendary among fans. After the Shadows split in 1968, resulting also in the split of Cliff Richard and the Shadows, Richard had to record without his band. Deal was not pleased, and unilaterally announced an apparent break-up of the band on-stage during the following tour. As time progressed, he balanced his life and work out, enabling him to still be the most popular singer in Britain while also one of the best known Christians. During this time, Black Francis limited Deal's contributions to the band; the first two albums had been partly written by Deal, but when Bossanova was released in 1990, all songs were by him. He still recorded secular songs with the Shadows, some of which introduced revolutionary recording techniques which influenced the Beatles and other groups, but he gave a lot of his time to Christian work.

After Doolittle, Black Francis temporarily went solo, while Kim Deal formed The Breeders with Tanya Donelly of Throwing Muses and Deal's sister, Kelley. Soon after, Cliff re-emerged and performed with Christian groups and recorded some Christian material. Their sophomore album, Doolittle, featured three prominent singles: "Debaser," "Here Comes Your Man," and "Monkey Gone to Heaven." It was a top 10 hit in the UK and reached the top 100 in North America. After intending to become a teacher instead, Christian friends told him that he didn't have to give his career up just because he had become a Christian. For the remainder of their career, the Pixies remained large-scale stars in Britain and cult figures in the US. Although his image had already become tamer due to his film roles and well spoken voice on radio and TV, he still rocked on stage. The band remained unsigned in the US for a while, but after a foray up the UK pop charts and some inroads into American college rock stations, they were picked up by Elektra Records. First of all Richard believed that he should quit rock n roll, as he thought he could no longer be the rocker who had in the early years been called a 'crude exhibitionist' and 'too sexy for TV' and a threat to parents' daughters.

4AD was a British music label, and the notoriously rabid British music press immediately clutched the Pixies to their collective bosoms and refused to let go. To stand up publicly as a new Christian was a big and brave decision which affected his career in various ways. It was followed by their first full-length album, Surfer Rosa in early 1988. Another important aspect of Cliff's life was his conversion to Christianity in about 1966. Eight tracks from the demo were selected for the Come on Pilgrim EP, the band's first release. He also did more work with Olivia Newton-John, and to cap the decade off, filled the Wembley Stadium for a few nights with a spectacular simply titled "The Event". The demo fell into the hands of Ivo Watts-Russell, owner of 4AD, who signed the band. In the space of a few years he had worked with Elton John, Mark Knopfler, George Harrison, Julian Lennon, Freddie Mercury, Stevie Wonder, Phil Everly, Janet Jackson and Van Morrison, to name a few.

Smith became the band's manager and produced a 17 track demo (known as the "Purple Tape", publicly released in 2002). In the next years into and through the 1980s, Cliff was the biggest pop star in the country, and he became a magnet for other music greats. During a concert with Throwing Muses, the band was noticed by Gary Smith, a producer at Fort Apache Studios. A true Cliff revival was happening. They arrived at a name ("Pixies") by selecting an entry from the dictionary at random, and began playing shows in the Boston area. A number of other strong albums were produced, and in 1979 he went to number one with We Don't Talk Anymore. Reportedly, the ad asked for a bass player who liked The Mamas and the Papas and Husker Du. People like Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, and Elton John began being seen sporting big "I'm Nearly Famous" badges on their clothes, so pleased that their icon was getting heavily back into the heavy rock that he began his career in.

Bassist Kim Deal joined the band after she responded to a classified ad Black Francis had placed which requested an unusual combination of musical influences. It wasn't just Cliff and the fans who were excited that the man who had begun and led British rock from the start was back in strength, but also a host of big music names. The band was formed in 1986 in Boston, Massachusetts by Joey Santiago and Black Francis (born Charles Thompson IV). The collaboration produced the landmark Cliff album "I'm Nearly Famous", which brought about the classic rock guitar driven track "Devil Woman" and the haunting "Miss You Nights". Most notable was their use of soft verses and hard choruses, which was later popularized by Nirvana. He was in everyone's homes, and gave enjoyment to all the family, and although still recording and being successful, Cliff and others like his former Shadow Bruce Welch decided that they would once again bring Cliff out as a "rock" artist again. Their style of music influenced many aspects of alternative rock throughout the 1990s. The tv shows made Cliff into a tv personality and not necessarily primarily a recording singer.

Frank Black (vocals, guitar), Joey Santiago (lead guitar), Kim Deal (bass, vocals), and David Lovering (drums). During the 1970s, Cliff became heavily involved in tv shows, like 'It's Cliff Richard', many of which also starred Hank Marvin. The band's lineup consists of Black Francis a.k.a. The Beatles had became huge once America took to them, and this in turn opened up the path across the Atlantic. The Pixies are a band which toured and recorded in the late 1980s and early 1990s, then reunited in 2004 and began touring again. However he did not have the advantage the new acts had of being able to release music and having it go directly to the USA as well. Download sample of "Holiday Song" from Come on Pilgrim. Throughout the 1960s, Cliff stayed at the top, even at the height of Mersey music.

The record set the Shadows on a path of their own, and soon became the greatest instrumental group of all time. In 1960, the Shadows (though having previously recorded as the Drifters without Cliff) released 'Apache', which saw the birth of British rock guitar instrumental music. Hits in this mould included It's All in the Game, Constantly, The Minute you're Gone and Wind Me Up. In the early days, Cliff sometimes recorded without the Shadows, mainly to cater for other styles.

He also represented the UK twice in the Eurovision Song Contest, both times unsuccessfully, though his first attempt, Congratulations, was a massive hit in Britain and most of the world and has become a standard, still sung on suitable occasions.. These movies created their own genre known as the "Cliff Richard musical" and led to Cliff being named the Number One Cinema Box Office Attraction in Britain for both 1962 and 1963. Cliff's first straight acting role took place in the 1968 film "Two a Penny, which saw him as a young man who gets involved in drug dealing while questioning his life after his girlfriend changes her attitude. Cliff and the Shadows appeared in a number of films, most notably in The Young Ones (which would give its name to 1980s TV sitcom The Young Ones), Summer Holiday, Wonderful Life and Finders Keepers. The Beatles were taken to Cliff and the Shadows concerts and instructed about clothes, stage presence and various other things, and being of the same fold at Abbey Road, were good friends with the band.

Most well known groups of the 1960s and 1970s started off as imitators of Cliff and the Shadows, singing and playing only Cliff and the Shadows' material, and groups were trained by following how they did things. It was due to them that Parlophone were looking for a 'second' Cliff and the Shadows, and eventually took the Beatles. Cliff and the Shadows basically re-wrote convention in British recording companies and opened EMI up to the importance and strength of rock n roll. It was the same with their appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show (which was responsible for much of the Beatles success, but didn't really help Cliff and the Shadows).

They toured the United States and most often stole the show from the accompanying American acts of the time. The problem was that the record company didn't get behind them strongly enough with distributing albums etc and so the chances were lost. In the period between 1958 and 1963, Cliff Richard and the Shadows stood as the biggest thing in Britain. The Shadows had a few more bass players and also took in Brian Bennett on drums. A serious accident halted Jet's success, but he later re-emerged with Jeff Beck (Yardbirds), Ron Wood (Rolling Stones), and Rod Stewart as The Faces; however this group didn't last long.

One member of Jet and Tony's band was John Paul Jones, later a member of Led Zeppelin, and Jimmy Page also recorded with them. Tony Meehan and Jet Harris eventually left the group and teamed up very successfully in the charts. If Sheridan had been in the club that day, The Beatles may have never been heard from. Hank then said he teamed with Bruce Welch, and so Foster on that day brought in two new members to the Drifters.

Foster was then told of a guy who was a brilliant guitarist, and so Foster met Hank Marvin. Tony wasn't there when Foster arrived, and Foster was in a hurry and couldn't wait long. The man being looked for was Tony Sheridan, who the Drifters knew, and who later recorded in Hamburg with The Beatles as his backing band, which led them to getting a recording contract in Britain. He went back to the '2 I's club, a popular hangout for musicians.

On that day, Cliff's manager, John Foster, was looking for a new lead guitarist. As Jet Harris, Tony Meehan, Hank Marvin and Bruce Welch joined, some very significant 'lucky events' happened, for the band, and also for the world. Popular music could have been totally changed if certain events did not happen, especially in one single day in Soho. By that time, the band's line up had changed. The Drifters didn't back Cliff on record until his third release, Livin' Lovin' Doll (not to be confused with the subsequent smash Living Doll).

Another possible reason for the flip was that influential TV producer Jack Good, who grabbed the act for his TV show "Oh Boy!", said the song to be sung on his show had to be "Move It!" The single was flipped and went to number 2 in the charts. One story says that their producer Norrie Paramor, played the record to his daughter, and she raved about the B-side instead of the A-side. There are a number of stories about why the A-side song was replaced by the B-side. This was "Move It", written by Ian "Sammy" Samwell, who was at the time a new member of the group.

But Cliff was allowed to record one of their own for the B-side. Norrie Paramor provided a rather bland number called 'Schoolboy Crush', a cover of an American record by Bobby Helms. But back to the first record in 1958. Typically, the Shadows closed the first-half with a 30 minute set of their own and then backed Cliff on his show-closing 45 minute stint.

In the early 60s, Cliff and the Shadows were virtually inseparable as the biggest concert draw in Britain. They continued to appear and record with Cliff and wrote many of his hits. Within a short period, they won an EMI recording contract of their own and were making major instrumental hits by the middle of 1960. However, they were not a backing group just like any other.

For instance, Cliff and the Drifters (subsequently the Shadows) would be contractually separate entities and the group would not receive any performer royalties for the records they made backing Cliff. From now on, he would be a solo star rather than merely member of a group. This marked a major point in Cliff's career. The producer, Norrie Paramor, had little faith in the Drifters and consequently brought in two experienced session men, Ernie Shear & Frank Clarke, to provide critical backing on lead guitar and bass.

Cliff (not the group) gained a contract with EMI in the summer of 1958 and went into Abbey Road Studios to record his first record on July 24. At the suggestion of a manager, who thought it would be good to have someone's name out front, they became Cliff Richard and the Drifters and later Cliff Richard and the Shadows. Cliff Richard, a guitarist and lead singer, was one of the founding members of The Drifters (not to be confused with the American group of the same name). Sir Cliff Richard (born Harry Webb in Lucknow, India, on October 14, 1940) is the stage name of one of the UK's most popular singers.

2000s - 0; his closest was "Santa's List" which made #5 in December 2003. 1990s - 2; "Saviour's Day", "The Millennium Prayer". 1980s - 2; "Living Doll", "Mistletoe & Wine". 1970s - 1; "We Don't Talk Anymore".

1960s - 6; "Please Don't Tease", "I Love You", "The Young Ones", "The Next Time/Bachelor Boy", "Summer Holiday", "The Minute You're Gone", "Congratulations". 1950s - 2; "Living Doll", "Travelling Light". 2003: "Santa's List" (#5). 1999: "Millennium Prayer" (#1, but dropped off the top before christmas).

1990: "Saviours' Day" (#1). 1989: "Whenever God Shines His Light" (duet with Van Morrison, #20). 1988: "Mistletoe & Wine" (#1). 1982: "Little Town" (#12).

1960: "I Love You" (#1).

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