The Flying PicketsView in iTunes
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Socialist-fringe theater group 7:84 was using a cappella singing in a production in 1982 when they realized they enjoyed the singing more than the theater aspect of their group. They renamed themselves the Flying Pickets and began performing in the pubs and clubs of London. There were no other groups performing at the time with the same style at all, and they decided to introduce themselves on album with a live performance, 1983's Live at the Albany Empire. The sales were impressive enough to catch the attention of Virgin Records, which signed the group the same year. Their first single, "Only You," was a number one hit in the U.K. and spilled over into the rest of Europe soon after. They began to release albums, and although they were not huge successes, the band was content and continued on. In 1989, they were commissioned to write a musical theater production for the Theatre Royal Stratford in London. The show, which was based on working life in England, was a big success during its four-week run. They also branched into television music for the BBC, and continued to release albums. They worked throughout the '90s, releasing albums and touring very regularly. In 2001, they were still together and working on a new album, their first since 1998. ~ Bradley Torreano