Saturday, April 19, 2008

Nobody Told Me

The Monitors were an Australian studio group formed in 1980 and fueled largely by the creative genius of established music producer Mark Moffatt and advertisiing guru Terry McCarthy. Moffatt had already worked with the likes of the Saints and would later collaborate in the studio with Mondo Rock and Mental As Anything among others.

The Monitors scored their biggest hit with a question, what will we be 'Singing In The 80s', quite an appropriate question given its time of release, mid 1980. The song reached #16 on the Oz charts and was followed by another top 40 hit 'Nobody Told Me' (#32).

Arguably the most memorable aspect to The Monitors short lived tenure were the Blakeney twins, Gayle and Gillian, who became the public face of the group. In the video clip to 'Singing In The 80s' the then 13 year olds donned KISS makeup, and many thought that The Monitors really were a couple of Aussie school kids, a misconception not fought against by Moffatt and McCarthy who employed the image of the Blakeney girls for the promo clips to their next two singles 'Nobody Told Me' and 'Having You Around'.

I can recall having a heated debate with friends at one time over who was the artist behind the hit 'Singing In The 80s'. They argued strongly that it was the Buggles. Well, that wasn't the case but I can understand their confusion over the issue, given the Buggles were also a studio project (of producers Trevor Horn & Geoff Downes) and their hit 'Video Killed The Radio Star' (released late '79) similarly posed a question over the state and future direction of pop music. The Buggles phrase proved to be strongly prophetic.

Whilst 'Singing In The 80s' is a great song in its own right, I have a soft spot for their follow up hit 'Nobody Told Me' (no connection with the posthumously released 1984 hit for John Lennon).

Take a trip on the following link back to 1981 to see what I mean:


Anonymous said...

I have the " Back From Their Recent Illness " Album & i gotta say i liked this album, along with their well known tunes, i really thought " Wishful Thinking " was a great tune, i'm always playing that one.
Why did'nt they come out with even more hits, the vocals were quite good actually.
Wonder exactly how many vid's they made, i've seen 3 so far.

A. FlockOfSeagulls said...

Hi Mickster,
thanks for your comment. I haven't heard the Monitors' album you mentioned. I had the two hit singles on 45 and eventually tracked them down on CD via compilations. I'm not surprised the album is good though, given Mark Moffatt and Terry McCarthy were behind the whole thing. Apparently Ricky Fataar also played a big role in the recording.

I'm not sure what the reasons were behind the Monitors not going on to release more material. Maybe Mark Moffatt was just too much in demand as a producer for other artists. I've only seen two of the videos, the ones for 'Singing In The 80s' and 'Nobody Told Me'. I'm guessing videos were made for the other two single releases 'Who Do You Think It Was?' and 'Having You Around'. Might have to do a bit of a YouTube search.