One of the most commercially successful a capella pop groups of all time, London band The Flying Pickets have been recording songs for nearly 20 years now. Formed in 1982, their debut single (a cover version of Yazoo's beautiful Only You) became the 1983 Christmas Number 1 in Britain, a position it held on to for five weeks, before reaching the same spot in nearly every European country.

An unlikely looking bunch of pop musicians, the Pickets had a few other chart successes in their home country in the following years, but never reached the same success that they had started out with. Far from fading into obscurity however, they were attracting an ever-increasing following across Europe and Australia and have carried on recording and touring ever since. Today they have seven albums and 4 world tours under their belt, and although only one member of the original line up remains, their sound is still unmistakeable.

Their name arises from travelling union members. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, a period of considerable industrial unrest in Britain, it was not uncommon for striking union members to travel to other sites in an attempt to persuade their comrades to strike in sympathy with their dispute. Because of the way in which they caused picket lines to spring up at what seemed to be the drop of a hat, they got nicknamed flying pickets. The band say that their name is completely apolitical, they just liked the sound of the phrase.

Their albums were:

I always liked the fact that they were a bunch of "resting actors" who were trying to make a few quid between acting jobs. You'll often see one of them or another on British TV.

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