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Bucks Fizz - the Band

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Bucks Fizz were a band manufactured to perform the 1981 British entry in the Eurovision Song Contest. They were four young bleach-blonde performers:

The Original Members

  • Mike Nolan - Mike was born on 7 December, 1954, in Dublin, Eire, but raised in Essex. Prior to joining Bucks Fizz he had been in two previous groups Trend and then Brooks.

  • Bobby G - Bobby Gee was born 'Bobby Gubby' in Epsom, Surrey on 23 August, 1953, and had been a builder before getting his break with a six-month run in London's West End with Jesus Christ Superstar.

  • Cheryl Baker - Born 'Rita Crudgington' on 8 March, 1954, in Bethnal Green, London, Cheryl had previously been to the Eurovision Song Contest in 1978 with Co-Co, singing 'Bad Old Days', which reached number 12 in the charts.

  • Jay Aston - Jay was the youngest member of the group's original line-up. She came from a theatrical family; her dad was a comedian, her mother an ex-dancer before becoming her husband's straight 'man', and her brother had actually been to Eurovision the year before Bucks Fizz with the band Prima Donna.

Making a Band Up

Bobby Gee answered an advert in a paper for an audition, the other three were all asked to try out for the group as the management, Andy Hill and Nichola Martin, had already decided on the format of the band. Copying the formula used seven years earlier by Swedish Group Abba - having two male and two female voices - the band's 'Making Your Mind Up' won the 1981 Eurovision Song Contest, held in Ireland. The song was performed as a 1950s style rock 'n' roll dance with the girls dressed in knee-length circular satin skirts. However, at the line 'If you want to see some more' the guys tugged at the girls' skirts, pulling them away to reveal identically-coloured mini-skirts beneath.

The song that won Eurovision became the band's first number one single. Through their career together, they went through a major image change from the clean-cut parent-friendly Eurovision winners to a raunchy leather and ripped t-shirts image. But they continued to produce records and toured successfully for the next three years producing a quick succession of top 20 hits including the subsequent number one singles 'The Land of Make Believe' and 'My Camera Never Lies'.

Disaster and Evolution

In December 1984, whilst on a UK tour, disaster struck. The coach in which they travelling in Newcastle collided with an articulated truck and Mike, who was sitting near the front, suffered severe head injuries. Initially it was not sure if he would survive, then whether he would be able to sing or perform again. After many months of recuperation he slowly made it back to be a point he could work again with the group. However, Jay had decided in the meantime that her time had come and she left early in 1985.

A new girl was needed. Thousands turned up for auditions to become part of the Eurovision winning formula. The successful winner was Shelly Preston.

  • Shelley Preston - Born on 4 May, 1964, her only previous experience before joining the group was as a nightclub singer in Sri-Lanka.

Shelley joined the band during their promotional tours for 'You And Your Heart So Blue', even though she didn't actually sing on the record. The new line-up's first single, 'Magical' failed to make an impression on the charts, but their follow-up, 'New Beginning (Mamba Seyra)' reached number eight in the summer of 1986. Sadly, that was to be their last significant hit. Shelley left in 1990 and the group continued as a threesome for the tenth anniversary tour and live album in 1991.

In 1993, Cheryl Baker decided to pursue a television career and finally left the band. Cheryl had already presented a number of shows, including the Saturday children's show Get Set, alongside Mark Curry, so it was no surprise when she later became a regular presenter on the BBC TV show Record Breaker's alongside Roy Castle.

The time finally came for fresh girls in the group. Amanda Swarzc and Heidi Manton (who would later marry Bobby) joined the group and they continued to tour. In 1996, both Amanda and Mike left to be replaced by David Van Day and Karen Logan. Van Day had enjoyed considerable success in the early 1980s as one half of pop duo Dollar alongside Theresa Bazar. When Theresa left the act, Karen replaced her. Karen lasted about six months with Buck's Fizz, but when she left she too was replaced, by Louise Hart. David himself left in 1997 and was replaced by Graham Crisp. But David's connection with the band was not over yet.

Second Bucks Fizz

The year after leaving the band, David decided to set up a rival Bucks Fizz. He quickly poached Mike Nolan for the new band along with new singers Lianna Lea and Sally Jacks. They released a dance version of 'Making Your Mind Up' in 1998 and an album containing Bucks Fizz material and some new stuff. Mike has since left this band but David still tours it around the country - much to the dismay of Bobby, as the only original member in a band to bear the name.

Now Those Days Are Gone

The original members have not been quiet over the years.

Bobby is still performing in the continuous line up of Bucks Fizz. In 1984, he released a single of his theme song for the BBC series Big Deal which peaked at number 46 in the charts.

Jay is now part of a cover band called Monster Boogie who perform theme evenings - music from the '70s, '80, '90s, country and more. She has also been in the line up for the 'spot the pop-star' round of BBC2's Never Mind the Buzzcocks.

Mike formed the rival Bucks Fizz with David Van Day as well as starring in a pantomime.

Cheryl has hardly been off our screens since she left Bucks Fizz; as well as Record Breakers she has hosted The Really Useful Show and Eleventh Hour. She'd also presented How Dare You?, which she had been asked to appear on just before the 1984 coach crash, The Saturday 6 o'clock Show with Michael Aspel and also managed to combine cookery and pop music in Eggs 'n' Baker and has appeared as a celebrity cook on the daytime television show Good Morning with Anne and Nick. Michael Aspel has also managed to surprise her with the Red Book for This is Your Life.

The Albums

  • Bucks Fizz
  • Are You Ready
  • Hand Cut
  • Greatest Hits
  • I Hear Talk
  • Writing On The Wall
  • The Story So Far
  • Live At The Fairfield Halls

The Singles

  • 'Making Your Mind Up' (Number 1)
  • 'Piece Of The Action' (12)
  • 'One Of Those Nights' (20)
  • 'The Land Of Make Believe' (1)
  • 'My Camera Never Lies' (1)
  • 'Now Those Days Are Gone' (8)
  • 'If You Can't Stand the Heat' (10)
  • 'Run For Your Life' (14)
  • 'When We Were Young' (10)
  • 'London Town' (34)
  • 'Rules Of The Game' (57)
  • 'Talking In Your Sleep' (15)
  • 'Golden Days' (42)
  • 'I Hear Talk' (34)
  • 'You And Your Heart So Blue' (43)
  • 'Magical' (57)
  • 'New Beginning (Mamba Seyra)' (8)
  • 'Love The One You're With' (47)
  • 'Keep Each Other Warm' (45)
  • 'Heart Of Stone' (50)
  • 'You Love Love' (-)

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