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Private Lives

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If dinosaurs can be divided into different periods so can new wave bands. Time stands still for Private Lives as they will always firmly belong in the mid-‘80s, when the New Romantics began taking inspiration from R&B and Motown records. British artists such as Tears for Fears, Howard Jones, and the Human League introduced elements of blue-eyed soul in their synthesizer-based sounds while their peers like Nik Kershaw, Paul Young, and the Style Council embraced it completely. Private Lives could be seen as forefathers of England's late-‘80s sophisti-pop movement -- Johnny Hates Jazz, Living in a Box, etc. However, the group is barely remembered. Essentially a duo comprised of vocalist John Adams and guitarist Morris Michael, Private Lives delivered angst-ridden tales of love and loss with slickly produced, often danceable and soulful new wave grooves a la Fiction Factory. Like Fiction Factory's Kevin Patterson, Adams has a deep, distinctly European voice that is most effectively utilized in the band's single "Living in a World (Turned Upside Down)". "Living in a World" didn't chart stateside, but it became a radio staple in Manila, Philippines, especially on the city's new wave radio stations. In 1984, Private Lives released their only LP, Prejudice & Pride, on EMI. The album featured guest stars such as singer Kiki Dee and bassist Nick Beggs of Kajagoogoo; however, it didn't sell, and the group split up. In 1986, Adams produced Tom Robinson's single "Nothing Like the Real Thing". Because of its obscurity, Prejudice & Pride became a sought-after collector's item among hardcore new wave devotees in the late ‘90s; it even reappeared on bootleg CDs. Because they faded from view so quickly, Private Lives' influence can't be accurately measured but their cult following in the Philippines and Japan continues to grow, and "Living in a World" is still played on many ‘80s flashback programs on Asian radio stations. ~ Michael Sutton

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