(Fire Records, England )
Television Personalities split up in 1982, after five years as D.I.Y. pioneers. It turned out to be a temporary development (although Ed Ball, Dan Treacy's artistic foil, never did return, busying himself by turning his side project, the Times, into a full-time ‹ sorry ‹ proposition), but the split was marked by the mysterious compilation They Could Have Been Bigger Than the Beatles. An unannotated collection of re-recorded versions of tracks from their first two albums, early singles, and unreleased outtakes, this should by all rights be a complete mess. Funnily enough, it works a treat, being more consistently entertaining than 1982's Mummy Your Not Watching Me, though not as conceptually perfect as 1981's excellent And Don't The Kids Just Love It. Highlights include a much-improved new version of 'David Hockney's Diaries' and the gentle freakbeat of 'The Boy in the Paisley Shirt' and 'Psychedelic Holiday'. Treacy also pays tribute to the then-forgotten Creation, with enthusiastically sloppy versions of 'Painter Man' and 'Makin' Time'. - Stewart Mason, AMG
Britain's Television Personalities enjoyed one of the new wave era's longest, most erratic and most far-reaching careers. Over the course of a musical evolution which led them from wide-eyed, shambling pop to the outer reaches of psychedelia and back, the group directly influenced virtually every major pop uprising of the period, with artists as diverse as feedback virtuosos the Jesus & Mary Chain, twee-pop titans the Pastels and lo-fi kingpins Pavement readily acknowledging the TVPs' inspiration.
The Television Personalities were the brainchild of singer/songwriter Dan Treacy, who grew so inspired by the nascent punk movement that he recorded a 1977 single, '14th Floor', with his friends in the group O Level. The BBC's John Peel became a vocal supporter of the group ‹ soon dubbed the Television Personalities ‹ and a year later they issued an EP, 'Where's Bill Grundy Now?', which featured their lone hit, 'Part-Time Punks'.
Always a loose-knit group, the first relatively stable TVP line-up consisted of Treacy, organist vocalist Ed Ball and guitarist Joe Foster, who recorded the band's 1980 debut And Don't The Kids Just Love It, a step into psychedelic pop typified by songs like 'I Know Where Syd Barrett Lives'. Treacy and Ball soon founded their own label, Whaam! (later renamed Dreamworld after threats from George Michael's attorneys), to issue 1981's Mummy Your Not Watching Me, which made the Personalities one of the figureheads of a London psychedelia revival. - AMG