|Pele were formed on
Merseyside in 1990 by guitarist and frontman Ian Prowse and keyboard
player Andrew Roberts. They were joined by Dally on drums, James McCallister on bass guitar and finally Nico on violin.
By the time they split in 1996, the full list of band members past and
Ian Prowse - guitar and gob
Andrew Roberts (Robbo) - hammond and piano
Andrea Nicholson (Nico) - violin
P Dallison (Dally) - drums
James McAllister - bass
Wayne Morgan - bass
Tony Kiley - drums
After gigging around Liverpool and Chester the band were signed to brand
new label M&G Records after the head of A&R (and old admirer of
Ian's previous bands) heard a rough demo of Megalomania. Within weeks
the band set about recording their debut LP, Fireworks, at
Metropolis studios in London with producer Gary Langan.
the album took shape the record company decided to rush out the first
fruits of the sessions by releasing
Raid The Palace as the first single. Everybody was stunned as
BBC Radio 1 put the single on it's playlist for six weeks, especially as
the songs lyrics suggested people should scratch the cars of the rich
and then shoot them!
a hit single?
Musically Pele had
set out their stall: unbelievably melodic pop music led by a fiddle or piano
riff, married to a set of words that were never throwaway. Whilst everybody
warmed to this brand new band the record company were taken by surprise and
their were no records in the shops resulting in no hit single and the first
suspicions in the Pele camp that this new record company might not be up to the
In the week after release Pele hit the road with a gig at Kingston University, they
basically didn't stop until 1995 with a gig at Treforrest (University of Wales).
In between, the band played hundreds of gigs all over Europe and any Pele fan
will tell you that it was on the stage that the band truly shone.
In February 1992 second single Megalomania was released. Again
BBC Radio 1 playlisted the single and the band nearly died of surprise when the
song went to number one in South Africa.
The following month
Fireworks the album was released to
excellent local and national reviews. The album was a riot of infectious Celtic
tinged, extremely lively pop. Dexy's were mentioned, the Waterboys were
mentioned but most of all the live shows were not just being mentioned but raved
The summer saw the release of Fair Blows the Wind for
France as the third single - although in truth the album was made up of
twelve potential singles - and it was the bands biggest hit yet.
Huge tours with Del
Amitri and The Pogues followed and the year was rounded off with Fireworks
Celtic Rumour EP, including live favourite Moondance, and their biggest
headline tour yet.
||The band then went straight into Rockfield studios in Wales to record the
follow up album with producer Jon Kelly, picked because he had worked on Kate
Bush's first album. Fat
Black Heart was the band's first single off the new album and was also
the bands first ballad.
After the album was finished Jim mysteriously disappeared and only surfaced in
June of 1998 year in exactly the same clothes! He was replaced on the bass
guitar by the gorgeous
Wayne Morgan. The day after Wayne joined the band Pele
did a festival in Estonia shouting out the chords as they went along, then
returned for their best-ever show at The Phoenix Festival in England sending
4,000 Pele fans mad.
second long player
Don't Worship Me was Pele's sixth single - (a hit in Holland
and Germany) and was followed in early December by The
Sport Of Kings album. This second album was a reaction to criticism
that the first album was relentless in it's upbeat vibe. It included a few more
ballads used huge string riffs and was better produced than the first LP.
Despite many great songs, the album didn't capture the essence of the band the
way Fireworks did. The band themselves felt some of the songs were easily the
best work they had done yet, but the so far excellent relationship between the
label and the band was about to take a massive downturn.
In spite of the fact that the band had not had a major hit M&G decided to
'pick up the option' and make a third Pele album. At this very time Steve Kutner
- the A&R man who had signed and championed the band - decided to leave the
company, his replacement Jack Stevens came from a dance music background and on
the very dawn of Britpop told the band that reckin' live guitar bands were over
and done with.
A cumbersome attempt to split the band and sign Ian as a solo star was
comprehensively rejected. Legally the record company had to make an album the
new A&R man didn't want to make, a stand off ensued that rapidly diminished
into a fierce and futile legal battle.
||Against their own legal advice the band agreed to let the label release a live
mini-album, A-Live A-Live-O
in the hope the company might see things from the band's perspective. With nil
promotion and selling to mailing list fans only, the live album was perceived as
a stop-gap to the already written and demoed third LP.
But alas M&G Records redoubled their legal efforts and managed to drop the
band on a technicality, and after a truly bitter fight, M&G were free of
their financial obligations, leaving the band deep in debt.
Injunctions meant the band didn't own anything not the songs or the name, so a
period of depression ensued, only lifted with the news this year that M&G
Records had closed down and the band could do what they liked with the name and
the songs. All of a sudden (arguably) Britain's most exciting live band were
free to record and play live again.
All the members of
Pele have in fact played music locally under assumed names in the last few years
but now is the time for a new Pele chapter to begin. How exciting is that?! From
Loughborough to Portsmouth from Glasgow to Canterbury, this band is not
2001 saw the release of the third Pele album This Time Next Year,
a collection of recorded songs and demos from 1994/5 that gives an indication of
the direction Pele were going in. This album is available to but now from the
Lead singer/songwriter Ian has now formed a new band Amsterdam,
who released their
official debut album in 2005. Visit
for the latest news on this. You can even catch the odd classic Pele
song at Amsterdam gigs!