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Good Personality: The Ultimate Guide To Radio Stars - 45th anniversary edition
By Steve Wright
Anyone who ever kept an eye on '60s survivors as they made their way into the 1970s and beyond will, it is likely, know the Radio Stars story. Andy Ellison, ex-of John’s Children, linking with Martin Gordon of Sparks in Jet (JC’s Chris Townson was on board as well). When that band crashed, Radio Stars were born, and punk rock had its own court jesters.
There was, even at the time, nobody like Radio Stars. Live, they were a blur of action and anticipation as Ellison embarked upon a one-man mission to discover just how much punishment his body could withstand (a lot), while his bandmates egged him on with mach-one velocity riffery.
On record, they were the Dollar Store of delightful puns, drawing upon everything from current news headlines to misprinted restaurant menus, from former bandmates to deceased rock idols, from kidnapped missionaries to presidential quotes. And across two albums, a host of singles and an almost endless schedule of live shows, Radio Stars were TV, chart and stage stars, too. Superstars, in fact,
Author Steve Wright has followed Radio Stars since the band’s inception, and this second edition of his band biography has to be the last word on the group. Fully revised from its original form, with literally hundreds of photos, many of them in color, fresh info and data, band members’ scrapbooks… it’s the sort of tome every group’s biggest fans think they deserve, but which precious few ever get to see.
It is thorough. Opening with the Jet story, Good Personality follows Radio Stars from cradle (1976) to grave (1979); and then on through the myriad reunions that have shaped the past 40 years — the latter a story that has never been documented in such detail. A 20-plus page discography will answer all your collecting questions, the gigography expands even on the monster version that graced the last edition, and there's guides to lineups, labels, record sleeves, the lot. It’s like a scrapbook in its own right, but compiled with such care and attention to detail that — even at 312 pages — it feels like twice as much.
Radio Stars’ own story still continues. Just this March, the long-lost “third” album, recorded after Martin Gordon’s fled the coop, received its first ever release, and the book is current enough to include both that, and the publication this summer of Andy Ellison’s autobiography. In fact, the only thing missing is the pile of CDs that you’re going to want to be playing while you read through the pages.
Unless, of course, you already own them….