Brief History of Broken Records

A Brief History of Broken Records

Dave Stewart was keyboard player with Egg, Hatfield & The North, National Health & Bruford, Barbara Gaskin was lead vocalist with the English folk-rock group Spirogyra. The two first met in 1969, and Barbara subsequently appeared as guest vocalist on some of Dave's bands' LPs in the 70s. In 1981 Dave struck out on a solo career, recording a version of the old Tamla tune 'What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted' with Colin Blunstone on guest vocals. The single, issued under the catalogue number 'Broken 1' (lifted from the song's title), was a hit in the UK. Dave and Barbara then recorded a tongue-in-cheek version of the old Lesley Gore classic 'It's My Party', which roared to the top of the U.K. charts and stayed there for 4 weeks. The single went on to become a hit worldwide, selling over a million copies.

Somewhat surprised by these events, Dave and Barbara decided to stick together and record an album. In late '81, they vanished into the studios, emerging six months later with their first LP, Disappear. The album remained unreleased for a few years while the duo released a series of singles on their own Broken Records label, some of which reached the lower reaches of charts. Dave and Barbara's fame spread to the USA and Japan, and in 1986, US company Rykodisc released the 14-track compilation Up From The Dark in the USA., making available for the first time the recordings from the Disappear sessions. Midi Records in Japan produced their own compilations Broken Records - The Singles (a collection of the first 6 Stewart/Gaskin singles plus their B sides) and As Far As Dreams Can Go - the remainder of the Disappear tracks plus 2 extra songs, 'The Locomotion' and 'Make Me Promises'. In 1987, Dave and Barbara started work on a new album, their first to be conceived as such since Disappear - this epic work was finally finished in May 1989, and christened The Big Idea.

Realising that they had just spent the best part of a decade in the studio, the duo decided to venture out and perform live, and achieved this objective (with the aid of guitarist Andy Reynolds and a mountain of equipment) with a 12-date tour of the USA East Coast and Midwest in October 1991. on returning to the UK they polished off a new album Spin, which was completed in July 1991. After its release, Dave, Barbara and Andy Reynolds played a successful concert tour of Japan, then in November 1991, topped the bill at Keyboard magazine's 'Cyberarts' festival in Los Angeles. The duo then retreated back to the safety of the studio to begin work on a new album, emerging in 1996 to perform at London's Queen Elizabeth Hall and more recently to play in Japan, accompanied on one occasion by Gavin Harrison on drums.

From 1981 to the present day Dave & Barbara have maintained artistic independence by releasing their music on their own Broken Records label. For a complete list of Stewart / Gaskin releases please go to Discography and CD Releases.

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