There are many famous 80’s music bands, but we review some of the lesser well known or maybe ones that you have forgotten about, but whose music was still inspiring
Aztec Camera or Roddy Frame (depending on what title is convenient to him at the time) are a band originating from East Kilbride a town just outside of Glasgow in Scotland.
Formed in 1980 by Campbell Owens and Dave Mullholland, Aztec Camera started their career on Alan Horne’s Postcard label. After releasing several promising EP’s under Horne’s guidance, the group attracted the attention of Rough Trade who they promptly signed with. Disaster struck in late 1982 when both Owens and Mullholland left the band, leaving Frame to solely write and organise the material which would later make up the ‘High Land / Hard Rain’ LP.
The album was released in 1983 to wide critical acclaim. The release also caught the public’s imagination which was particularly fuelled by the release and success of the excellent ‘Oblivious’ single.
The band would not emulate such success again until 1988 with the release of L.O.V.E. which spawned the hit singles ‘Somewhere In My Heart’ and ‘Killermont Street’
Since then Roddy has been releasing work relatively consistently over the years, most of which is aimed mainly at his existing fanbase.
In the late 1990’s he finally put rest to the Aztec Camera title, opting to release albums under Roddy Frame instead. Recently he has teased fans on the possibility of bringing the name back again.
What are they most famous for?
The band are undoubtedly best remembered by their freak Top 5 hit ‘Somewhere in My Heart’ a song which was initally penned to be nothing more than a fun out-take. The fame was short lived with their next single ‘Working In A Goldmine’ narrowly failing to hit the Top 30.
Roddy also famously collaborated with an aging Mick Jones on the politically-geared and somewhat ill informed ‘Good Morning Britain’ which reached the Top 20 in 1990.
Why aren’t they as famous?
Roddy’s tendancy to continually seek out different sounds and directions is mainly responsible for his band failing to make a considerable lasting impact upon the general public. Soul-inspired tracks such as ‘How Men Are’ seemed to alienate much of the post punk audience who latched onto the band after the success of the rockier ‘High Land / Hard Rain’
Where to start
For the ideal introduction to Roddy Frame’s/Aztec Camera’s work ‘High Land, Hard Rain’ is a must have. From start to finish the album showcases Roddy’s versatility and ingenuity as a song writer. Stand out titles include the hit single ‘Oblivious’, ‘Walk Out To Winter’ and the wistful ‘We Could Send Letters’.
Alternatively if you wish to sample Roddy’s latter work your best bet is either ‘Surf’ or the ‘The North Star’. The latter release contains the phenomenal track ‘Reason for Living’ which is also available on ‘The Best of Aztec Camera’