The Records were an English power pop band formed in 1978. They are best remembered for the hit single and cult favourite "Starry Eyes".
The Records formed out of the ashes of the Kursaal Flyers, a pub rock group featuring drummer Will Birch. In 1977, John Wicks joined the band as a rhythm guitarist, and he and Birch quickly started writing songs together, Wicks as composer, Birch as lyricist. The Kursaal Flyers dissolved three months after Wicks joined, but he and Birch continued to write songs together with the hopes of starting a new four-piece group with Birch on drums and Wicks on lead vocals and rhythm guitar. Birch soon came up with a name for the formative band: The Records. The group's lineup initially included bassist Phil Brown and lead guitarist Brian Alterman, whose guitar riffs have been compared to that of the Byrds. Alterman played on two early demos that were later included on the album Paying for the Summer of Love, before joining another band. Alterman was replaced by Huw Gower in 1978. Like Birch and Wicks, Gower and Brown were music veterans: Gower had played with a band called the Ratbites from Hell and Brown had been the bass player for the Janets.
The new group was heavily influenced both by British Invasion bands like The Beatles and The Kinks and early power pop groups such as Badfinger, Big Star, and Raspberries. Power pop was experiencing a renaissance on both sides of the Atlantic, thanks in large part to the burgeoning punk/new wave movement.
They were hired to back Stiff Records singer Rachel Sweet on the "Be Stiff Tour '78". The Records opened the shows with a set of their own. Birch and Wicks also wrote a song for Sweet's debut album entitled "Pin a Medal on Mary". The songwriting duo also penned "Hearts in Her Eyes" for the Searchers, who made an unexpected comeback with their power pop oriented album The Searchers in 1979.
Based on their demos (later released as Paying for the Summer of Love), the band was signed to Virgin Records in 1978. Their debut single, "Starry Eyes", was released in the UK that December and has since become their best-known song and an oft-covered power pop standard. Allmusic called it "a near-perfect song that defined British power pop in the '70s". Due in part to its clear influence by American power pop, the song was a bigger hit in the US than in the UK; it peaked at No. 56 on the Billboard Hot 100 in October 1979.
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