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One of the first significant bands to emerge from the British rockabilly revival scene, Whirlwind was a potent live attraction in the U.K. and helped establish a tenuous but important link between the roots rock community and the growing punk rock underground. Whirlwind was formed in 1976 by singer Nigel Dixon and drummer Phil Hardy, both of whom were regulars at the Unit One Club in Uxbridge, near West London. Both Dixon and Hardy were fans of first-era rock & roll, and joined forces with Mike Lewis on guitar and Chris Emo on bass to begin storming the London club circuit. After a successful residency at the legendary club the Speakeasy, Whirlwind became a hot attraction in London and earned many fans on the burgeoning punk/new wave scene by opening for the likes of the Clash, Elvis Costello & the Attractions and Ian Dury & the Blockheads. Chiswick Records, home to such proto-punk notables as the Count Bishops, the Gorillas and Johnny Moped, signed Whirlwind to a recording contract in 1977, and after a pair of singles issued the group's debut album, Blowing Up a Storm, in January 1978. Not long after the album was released, Hardy left the band, but the group remained busy, with Gary Hassett taking over behind the traps. The group supported their second album, 1980s Midnight Blue, with a major U.K. road trip opening for Blondie, but by the end of the tour, Hassett had developed a serious health problem; between this and the poor sales of the second album, the members of Whirlwind decided to call it a day. Nigel Dixon later sang with Havana 3 A.M., led by Paul Simonon, formerly of the Clash. Dixon lost his life to cancer in 1993; the disease also claimed Phil Hardy the same year. An anthology of Whirlwind's Chiswick material, In the Studio, was released in 1995. ~ Mark Deming