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The Escape Club

Topping the charts with their first single in America, England's Escape Club were hardly an overnight sensation, having been together for five years before their breakthrough. The group formed from the remnants of two groups, the Espressos and Mad Shadows, which had both been gaining momentum in London clubs before suffering personnel changes. Lead singer Trevor Steel and lead guitarist John Holliday were members of Mad Shadows, but when their drummer left, Espressos drummer Milan Zekavica was invited to join. By 1983, bass player Johnnie Christo had also been recruited by Mad Shadows and the group, renamed as Escape Club, began to play shows.

Escape Club soon released a single, "Breathing," through a small independent label, but it had little commercial impact. As a live act, though, the group's growing popularity led to a record deal with EMI. Their debut album, White Fields, was recorded with noted producer Scott Litt, but, despite garnering slots supporting tours with China Crisis and the Alarm, the band again failed to make any inroads commercially. They reentered the studio (this time with producer Chris Kimsey) and chose to pursue a direction that would integrate more dance elements into their sound. When the record was rejected by EMI, Atlantic signed Escape Club, releasing their album Wild Wild West in 1988. The title track, aided by heavy play of the accompanying video on MTV, climbed the charts in the States, ultimately topping it that fall and going gold along with the album. They managed to notch another Top 40 single with "Shake for the Sheik," and a minor hit with "Walking Through Walls."

In 1991, they released Dollars & Sex, opting for a more rock-oriented sound, but the lead single, "Call It Poison," which featured a sample from Deep Purple's Ian Gillan, stalled at number 44. More successful was the next track, "I'll Be There." Written in reaction to the death of a friend's wife, the song built momentum through listener requests and climbed into the Top Ten, earning Escape Club a second gold single. However, faced with heavy debts despite having two fairly successful records, the members of Escape Club drifted apart. Christo and Zekavica went on to pursue other projects, while Steel and Holliday became involved in writing and producing for others. Although they wouldn't record again as Escape Club, the band remained a known entity as '80s revivalists continued to embrace "Wild Wild West" into the new millennium.


The band first formed in 1983, comprising Mad Shadows members' lead singer/rhythm guitarist Trevor Steel and guitarist John Holliday, along with former Expressos members bassist Johnnie Christo (a.k.a. John Christoforou and drummer Milan Zekavica. The seeds for the formation of The Escape Club were sown when Zekavica joined Steel and Holliday in Mad Shadows, who would subsequently perform on an album by the obscure early 1980s Stephen Milford-fronted new wave outfit, Planning by Numbers. Before long, Christo had also joined the lineup, and The Escape Club was born. The fledgling band quickly released the single, "Breathing."

In 1985, The Escape Club signed with EMI and recorded the album White Fields, which was released in the following year. In 1987, the group moved to Atlantic Records and began recording their next album, Wild Wild West. The album was released in the summer of 1988 and spawned the single "Wild, Wild West", which climbed to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart while the song's distinctive video received a lot of MTV airplay. However, it was banned from being used in their homeland for being allegedly sexist and offensive.

In 1989, they released two more singles from Wild Wild West: "Shake for the Sheik," which climbed to No. 28, and "Walking Through Walls," which peaked at No. 81. The Escape Club's cover single of The Doors' "20th Century Fox" appeared on The Wonder Years: Music From the Emmy Award-Winning Show & Its Era, which also received airplay on MTV. The band's official website reported that the song was produced by Ray Manzarek.

In 1990, the band returned to the studio to record what would be their final album, Dollars & Sex, which saw a March 1991 release. The first single, "Call It Poison" failed to crack the US Top 40. Atlantic Records then released the song "I'll Be There," which the group said was heavily influenced by the death of a friend's wife. The song has become an anthem among those who have experienced losses of their own. "I'll Be There" reached No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 and achieved gold status in the U.S. The group disbanded in 1992. The Escape Club is the only British band to have a No. 1 hit in the U.S., while not charting at all in the UK.

Trevor Steel and John Holliday reunited in 2009 for a new album and a handful of live shows, and released a new studio album, Celebrity, in February 2012.


The Escape Club was an English rock band based in London and formed in 1983
The band consisted of lead singer/rhythm guitarist Trevor Steel, guitarist John Holliday, bassist Johnnie Christo and drummer Milan Zekavica.
In 1986, they signed with EMI and recorded the album White Fields which was released in 1987.
Later in 1987 the group moved to Atlantic Records for their next album, Wild Wild West. The album was released in the summer of 1988. The first single, "Wild, Wild West" climbed to no. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and the song's distinctive video received a lot of MTV airplay.
In 1989 they released two further singles from Wild Wild West; "Shake For The Sheik", which climbed to no. 28, and "Walking Through Walls", which peaked at no. 81. Hitting their stride, The Escape Club had a cover single of The Doors' "20th Century Fox" on the The Wonder Years: Music From the Emmy Award-Winning Show & Its Era which also received long airplay on MTV. The band's official website reports that the song was produced by Ray Manzarek.
In 1990, the band returned to the studio to record their what would be their final album, Dollars & Sex which saw a March 1991 release. The first single, "Call It Poison" failed to crack the U.S. Top 40 which did not bode well for the quartet. Just when it seemed they would be considered a one-hit wonder, Atlantic Records next released the song "I'll Be There". The group said the song was heavily influenced by the 1990 box office hit movie Ghost. "I'll Be There" reached no. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100. The group disbanded in 1992.

 

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Wild Wild West

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