5 Bands from the 1970s and ’80s That Never Released an Album

Shortly after electro-pop trio Planet Ha Ha—consisting of brothers Tony Mansfield (New Musik) and Lee Mansfield and Rob Fisher of the British new wave duo Naked Eyes—released “Home,” everything fell apart. The single, an homage to Steven Spielberg’s 1982 classic, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, was withdrawn by EMI to avoid legal issues with the film and brought an abrupt end to the band, who were never able to release their album and moved on to other musical projects.

Sliding off the glam rock era of David Bowie, T. Rex, and Slade, the Yorkshire, England-bred Jackal released one obscure single in 1974, the Chinese zodiac-inspired “Year of the Tiger.” The band disappeared afterward though bassist Geoff Appleby, who previously played with Mick Ronson in the late ’60s, went on to play on Ian Hunter‘s eponymous 1975 debut and with the short-lived Screen Idols.

Throughout music history, there were plenty of one- and no-hit wonders and those bands that barely lasted beyond a single or two. Here are five more bands that had a single, or singles, but never released a full-length album together.

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1. Electric Eels (1972-1975)

Electric Eels were together between 1972 and 1975 and had already split by the time they were signed to Rough Trade, alongside bands like Scritti Politti and Cabaret Voltaire. Within their three-year lifespan, the Cleveland, Ohio protopunk rockers only played five public shows and became known for their confrontational and often violent performances. Long after the band split in 1975, several compilations of their music were released, but they never released an album while they were together.

In 1975, Electric Eels and members of the Mirrors formed The Men from UNCLE, which only lasted two rehearsals. Eels singer Paul Marotta later formed the Styrenes that year, which featured his former bandmate guitarist John D. Morton at one point.

Years after their demise, the Electric Eels’ singles were released including “Agitated” and “Cyclotron” in 1978; “Spin Age Blasters” and “Bunnies” (1981): and “Jaguar Ride” from the 2014 compilation Die Electric Eels. Several more Electric Eels compilations were released between 1989 and 2001.

Oh, I’m so agitated, so agitated
Run through a washing machine, agitated
I’m so agitated, I’m so convoluted
I don’t know what I know, but I’d just like to shoot it
And it’s five A.M., and I’m crawling the walls
Just waiting for imaginary telephone calls

2. Banbarra (1975)

The Washington D.C.-based disco/funk group Banbarra’s discography can be summed up in one song: the two-part “Shack Up,” released in 1975. Written by Banbarra’s Joe Anthony “Bunny” Carter and Moe Daniels, the song was crafted from the duo’s instrumental “Boogie on the Other Side of Town” and went to No. 4 on the Billboard dance chart and spent eight weeks on the Disco chart.

“Shack Up,” became a favorite among DJs, and was also co-produced by Mantis Recs and guitarist Lance Quinn, who also plays on the track. Quinn was a session player on Gloria Gaynor’s albums Never Can Say Goodbye and Experience and later co-produced the Talking Heads‘ debut Talking Heads: 77, and Bon Jovi’s 1984 debut.

The song was later sampled in De La Soul‘s 1989 song “The Magic Number” and has been covered five times, including a rendition by The Baker Brothers in 2009.

Wipe out the problems of past society
(Shack up, shack up)
Is that we can live together baby, unless you can feel the heat
(Shack up, shack up)
We can love together, work together, sleep together
(Shack up, shack up)
So why can’t we live together?
And shack up baby, shack up

You can talk about the wedding ceremony
(Shack up, shack up)
And I know its just a phony
(Shack up, shack up)

3. The Bodysnatchers (1979-1981)

The seven-piece all-female band The Bodysnatchers was a rarity among the mostly male-dominated 2 Tone ska scene, in the UK during the late ’70s and early ’80s, when The Specials, Madness, and The Selecter emerged.

The band played their first shows in 1979, including one supporting Shane MacGowan‘s pre-Pogues band The Nips at the Windsor Castle pub in West London and another gig at Debbie Harry‘s birthday party. They also appeared on Top of the Pops in March 1980 and in the 1982 documentary Dance Craze.

During their three years together, The Bodysnatchers only released two singles in 1980: “Let’s Do Rock Steady,” which peaked at No. 22 on the UK Singles Chart, and “Easy Life.” Though five of the original Bodysnatchers later formed The Belle Stars, who had a hit in the UK with their cover of “Iko Iko” in 1989—later featured in the film Rain Main, starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise—they never released an album in their earlier iteration.

Lead vocalist Rhoda Dakar, went on to sing with The Special AKA while remaining Bodysnatchers members joined other bands following their demise in ’81.

People get ready, you got to do rocksteady
People get ready, you got to do rocksteady
Do rocksteady, do rocksteady
When you’re feeling blue, all you got to do
Do rocksteady, do rocksteady

4. Liquid Liquid (1980-1983; 2008-Present)

Dance punk rockers Liquid Liquid emerged from the experimental no-wave scene in New York City in the late ’70s, which birthed Suicide, Lydia Lunch, Sonic Youth, Swans, and Bush Tetras. Formed in 1980, Liquid Liquid gained some traction with their single “Cavern,” which was later used without permission by the Sugar Hill Records house band on rapper Grandmaster Melle Mel’s 1983 single “White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It).”

Consisting of singer Salvatore Principato, guitarist Dennis Young, bassist Richard McGuire, and drummer Scott Hartley, Liquid Liquid released three EPs through Optimo in 1983—recorded in a studio on top of Radio City Music Hall—and their self-titled compilation in 1997 before reforming in 2008. The band has remained together ever since and made their television debut performing “Cavern” with The Roots on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon in 2010. A year later, they supported LCD Soundsystem at a Madison Square Garden farewell show in New York City.

Nearly 45 years after forming, the band has never released a full-length album together.

[RELATED: 7 Songs You Didn’t Know Jimmy Fallon Wrote]

What side
What on
Hard to decide
What to put on

Messing with my head
So precious to my brain
Slip in and out of phenomenon
Slip in and out of phenomenon

What you do to me, hon
Keeping all my personal pessimism down
Keeping all my personal pessimism down

5. Intaferon (1983-1984)

The short-lived British synth-pop duo Intaferon consisted of Simon Gillham and Simon Fellowes, who started his career as a journalist for the music publication NME in London and remained together from 1983 through 1984. After getting signed to Chrysalis, Intaferon—named after the “natural substance that helps the body’s immune system fight infection and other diseases, such as cancer,” according to the National Cancer Institute, released singles on The Max Headroom Show, including “Steamhammer Sam,” “Get Out of London,” and their final “Baby Pain” in ’84 before calling it quits. After their breakup, Fellowes released music as Simon F, including Gun in 1985, which featured his Intaferon bandmate Simon G on guitar, and Never Never Land in 1987.

Fellowes released another album, Here Comes the 21st Century, under the moniker F Machine in 1989. Fellowes went on to make films and became an author, penning Don’t Breathe the Air (2013), My Name is Ferdinand (2014), and 10 Dead Mexicans (2016)

Though they never recorded together beyond their singles, nearly two decades after the release of “Get Out of London,” written by Fellowes and Dillham, reemerged in the 2001 Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen film Winning London and again in 2003 when the Pretenders covered it for Disney animated film The Wild Thornberrys.

Hold tight
Monday morning, wake up yawning
Break an egg, bust my head, maybe it’s a warning
Ring on the bell, says it’s half-past eight
Keys on the TV, hey, I’m gonna be late
I’m walking on the pavement, skipping all the lines
So the bears don’t eat me, send me to the salt mines
Get on the bus, but the bus don’t stop
My feet are sitting downstairs, my head on the top
I can’t see out the window ’cause there ain’t no sun
I think somebody’s tellin’ me to get out of London

Photo: Liquid Liquid on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon by @brainofjoacohen / Twitter

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