City Boy

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City Boy were an English rock band formed in the mid 1970s. They featured strong melodies, clever lyrics, complex vocal arrangements, and heavy guitars. The band consisted of Lol Mason (lead vocals), Steve Broughton (lead vocals, guitar), Max Thomas (keyboards, vocals), Chris Dunn (bass, acoustic guitar), Roger Kent (drums), Mike Slamer (lead guitar), and later, Roy Ward (drums, vocals). Their most popular songs were "5.7.0.5.", "What A Night", "The Day the Earth Caught Fire", and "Speechless".

Lol Mason and Steve Broughton (Lunt) met at 7 years of age, at school in Birmingham. They remained best friends throughout the years and started writing and recording their early songs in their mid to late teens. In the early 1970s, Lol and Steve started playing for beers in a few acoustic clubs around the Midlands. At one of these clubs they met ragtime guitarist Chris Dunn, who immediately became a third member. Soon thereafter they enlisted Lol Mason's friend, Max Thomas, to play 12 string guitar and bongos. The four of them toured the folk clubs for a while, until around late '74/early '75, when they made the decision to turn electric and added Mike Slamer (guitar) and Roger Kent (drums) to the lineup. Soon afterwards they secured a recording contract with Vertigo, a new sub-label of Phonogram Records, and changed their name from Back In The Band, to City Boy.

City Boy's first five albums were produced by Robert John "Mutt" Lange, who was recommended to them by Phonogram A&R guy Chris Peers, and their debut album entitled City Boy, was the first full album that Mutt produced after relocating to the UK from South Africa. Lange became the de facto seventh member of the band, helping Chris Dunn hone his bass guitar skills and assisting with vocal arrangements. "Shake My Head and Leave", City Boy's first single off their eponymously titled debut album, was released in 1975 and received decent airplay. Their next single, "The Hap-Ki-Do Kid" earned them an appearance on BBC's Top Of The Pops, where they became the first act to ever perform 'live' on the show.Their first national tour saw them open for labelmates Thin Lizzy.

City Boy's follow up album, Dinner At The Ritz, garnered powerful reviews. The NME wrote, "Not even the highest ballyhoo of praise could do justice to City Boy's masterwork, Dinner At The Ritz...you hear a composing style which has been influenced by, respectfully, Lennon and McCartney, novelist Ian Fleming, and Noel Coward. Very English...but very strange." However, chart success still eluded them. Roger Kent left the band before their third album, Young Men Gone West, and was temporarily replaced, for immediate recording purposes, by session drummer and ex-Crawler member, Tony Braunagel. Despite showing commercial growth this album also failed to supply the hit single they needed. Before the next album, Book Early, Roy Ward became the band's permanent drummer and fortuitously Book Early yielded the international hit single, "5.7.0.5.", which reached the Top 10 in the UK Singles Chart.The single peaked at No. 27 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, and was a major hit in many European territories. In support of this album, they toured extensively in Europe and the United States, where they played 66 gigs, 56 of which were with Hall & Oates.

In 1979, City Boy parted ways with their US label, Mercury Records, and signed with Atlantic Records for the US and Canada. Their first album under this new deal, The Day the Earth Caught Fire, received strong reviews and produced a minor hit with the title song. The album marked an early recording appearance by Huey Lewis, who played harmonica on the second track, "It's Only the End of the World". They continued to tour heavily in Europe, the US and Canada. However, this album would prove to be the last album with the six man lineup.

In December 1979, original members Broughton and Dunn parted ways with the band. The remaining members of the group went on to release their next album, Heads Are Rolling, as a quartet in 1980. The soft rock track "Speechless" made the band briefly popular in the Philippines. Their final album, It's Personal from 1981, failed to attract any attention. Unable to secure a recording contract with any of the major labels, the band split up in 1982.

City Boy Available on CD:

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