Tuesday, April 22, 2008

For A Relaxing Stay Check-In To The...

'Halfway Hotel' was the one and only big hit for UK quartet Voyager (not to be confused with the similarly named Voyage who were a European disco group around the same time). 'Halfway Hotel' reached #33 on their home charts in 1979 but the song enjoyed a longer stay on the Australian charts, spending 24 weeks inside the top 100 and peaking at #15. The song was aided by a clever promo clip that featured several times on Countdown's playlist. The band did have a second hit (in a strictly technical sense only), with 'Judas' charting for 3 weeks in early 1980 (peak #93). Both tracks were lifted from the band's eponymous debut album.
Voyager's lineup consisted vocalist/keyboardist Paul French, guitarist Paul Hirsh, bassist Chris Hook and drummer John Marter, formerly with 70s outfit Mr. Big (1977 top 10 hit 'Romeo'). They released two more albums over the next two years but failed to achieve the five star success that 'Halfway Hotel' offered them. After touring in support of ELO during 1982 the lads went their separate ways. Marter continued his status as rock journeyman by joining the lineup of Marillion (1985 UK #2 'Kayleigh'). Guitarist Hirsh played on tours with artists such as Status Quo and Chris Rea. Singer Paul French took a different musical direction becoming a fulltime composer.

Following the release of a retrospective CD in 2004, the original lineup reunited for an album of original material in 2006 entitled 'Eyecontact'. They have their own presence in cyberspace as well with a website at: http://www.supergroups.biz/voyagerhome.htm - though it's primarily a promo page for their latest album. For a more detailed account of the intervening 25 years have a look at their MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/voyageruk

For almost 20 years 'Halfway Hotel' was unavailable on CD format until it appeared on the BMG compilation 'Living In The 70s: Volume IV'. An acquaintance of mine Steve Scanes compiled the track list for this release and he told me that to obtain the release rights for the song, BMG had to send a North American rep to an old farmhouse in the Canadian countryside where the song's writer Paul French was residing at the time. But it was worth the effort for 'Halfway Hotel' is the quintessential 70s pop classic!

Check out the retro-cool promo clip for 'Halfway Hotel' here:

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