Television Personalities to an undiscerning ear is low fi noise pollution. Formed in 1977 by Daniel Treacy and Edward Ball, they quickly forced their way on to the John Peel Show and I soon became aware of them. Their 1st LP, "And Don't The Kids Just Love It" is a classic of its time. Dan Treacy emerged to me in my Glasgow bedsit as a formidable songwriter. To say Television Personalities changed my life is an understatement. Creation Records in 1983, for a start, lock stock and barrel hi-jacked their idea of punk merged with psychedelia. After a couple of years, I had taken it in my own direction but the initial idea was me implementing the TVP vision via my own label, Creation Records. I also met my best mate when I used to put the TVP's on in 1982, Edward Ball. He had by now formed his own band, The Times, and used to come and watch them: Dan, Joe Foster, Dave Musker, Empire and Mark Flunder do their TVP thing circa 82-84 in my club, The Living Room. I also met Joe Foster, who was to musically inspire me as much as anyone over the next few years with his encyclopaedic vision of the 60's. Joe became an integral part of Creation and, like Ed, still to this day works with me, running his own madcap vision of pop music, Revola Records. Dan Treacy I will always love but to this day never understood. He had a different take on like from anyone I had ever met at the time. As I got older and smarter, I realised a lot of this was shyness but he will remain as much a mystery to as much as he is one of my favourite ever songwriters. A truly great songwriter - I will always remember him with great fondness. To me, the great TVP LP is undoubtedly "The Painted Word". I think it was that LP that told the story of Dan better than any other. "Someone To Share My Life With" is such a beautiful sad song, it still makes my eyes water. I loved them, I still love them. They changed my life, I hope they change yours. (And they should have been bigger than The Beatles!!)

- Alan McGee, head honcho of Creation Records label

Probably the most prolific and longest lived new wave band, the name dropping Television Personalties began life in London as 'O Level'. Dan Treacy (vocals/main songwriter) was so inspired by the punk movement that was happening all around him, he recorded a single in 1977, called 14th Floor. Surprisingly, the single caught the attention of BBC radio DJ John Peel, and he became a big fan of the group. Changing their name to the Television in late 1978, they released an EP a few months later entitled Where's Bill Grundy Now?. This album contained their only hit (and most well known) song; 'Part Time Punks'.

Television Personalities realeased their first album a year later, 1980's And Don't The Kids Just Love It, a delightful effort consisting of well written psychedelic pop songs (I Know Where Syd Barrett Lives) with a bit of punky new wave (Geoffrey Ingram). Fiercely DIY, the album is typefied with a sound and mix that can only be described as amateurish, yet was remarkably influential and holds up very well today. Recorded by Dan Treacy, Ed Ball (vocals/organ), and Joe Foster (guitar), the line up was to last another two years, and allowed Ball and Treacy to set up their own record label; Whaam! (which later changed to Dreamworld, probably because of legal recriminations from George Michael of Wham! fame).

Mummy Your Not Watching Me (sic) was released in 1981 on their own label, and coated Treacy's earnest, self-destructive (sometimes a little too much so) lyrics with phased guitar, and walls of keyboard sound. The trio added a dedicated bass player, and the local press and music glitterati quickly hailed the Television Personalities as the vanguard of London's psychedelia revival. However, with the release of the next album in 1982; They Could Have Been Bigger Than The Beatles, things started taking a turn for the worst. Ed Ball left to persue a job at (the now defunct) Creation Records and the album, a collection of re-recordings of old songs with a couple of covers (ironically enough, the Creation's 'Making Time' and 'Painter Man') didn't take off.

The Television Personalities continued on, releasing another album and a live recording but by 1986 they were out of money, only able to play the odd show here and there. New blood revitalised the line-up though, with Jeffrey Bloom (drums) and former Swell Maps member Jowe Head (bass) joining in 1989, while the goup were invited to join Fire Records. Returning to their psychedelic mod roots, they released the EP Salvador Dali's Garden Party that year, following up with another mod style record; Privilege in 1990. Despite being back in the critic's approval, the Personalities went on to release three more albums and some singles without ever becoming popular on successful.

Tragically, Dan Treacy went missing in 1998 - he was a schizophrenic and had not been taking his medication, and has not been found since. Although the Television Personalities were never extremely famous, they have been namechecked by many bands of various styles, in particular; Fall lovers Pavement and distortion pioneers The Jesus and Mary Chain. A very worthwhile band to get into, but hard to separate the wheat from the-really-good-wheat. Personally I recommend Mummy Your Not Watching Me and Privilege as the albums to get, but better buys for a Television Personalities initiate would be Yes Darling, But Is It Art?, which focuses on their early achievements, and Part Time Punks: The Very Best Of Television Personalities as a exceptional overview of their lifespan.


Discography

1979: Where's Bill Grundy Now? (EP)
1980: And Don't The Kids Just Love It (album)
1981: Mummy Your Not Watching Me (album)
1982: They Could Have Been Bigger Than The Beatles (album of re-recordings of their old songs)
1984: The Painted World (album)
1985: Chocolat-Art: A Tribute to James Last (live album)
1989: Privilege (album)
1989: Salvador Dali's Garden Party (EP)
1991: Camping In France (live album)
1992: Closer to God (album)
1995: Far Away And In Joy (EP)
1995: I Was A Mod Before You Was A Mod (album)
1995: Yes Darling, But Is It Art? (compilation of early songs)
1996: Do You Think If You Were Beautiful You'd Be Happy (EP)
1996: Top Gear (live album, from 1994)
1998: Made In Japan (live album, 1994)
1998: Don't Cry Baby... It's Only A Movie (album, outtakes from 1992)
1999: Part Time Punks: The Very Best Of Television Personalities (compilation)
2000: The Boy Who Couldn't Stop Dreaming (compilation)
2002: Fashion Conscious (compilation)

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