Happy Birthday Claire Grogan.

This post is dedicated to Bake Town and Todd.

Actress, TV host, and lead singer of Altered Images, Grogan formed the band with ex-school friends Michael 'Tich' Anderson (drums), Tony McDaid (guitar) and Johnny McElhone (bass guitar) and sent a demo tape to Siouxsie and the Banshees, which soon gave themselves a support slot on their Kaleidoscope tour of 1980.

After being championed by legendary DJ John Peel, they quickly garnered enough attention to be offered a deal with Epic Records, but mainstream success was not immediate. Their first two singles ("Dead Pop Stars," and "A Day's Wait") missed the top 40. "Dead Pop Stars" was particularly controversial at the time, sung at the viewpoint of a "has-been" icon with much irony, perhaps badly timed in its release as John Lennon had died shortly before, even though it was recorded prior to his death. It was also exempt from any of their studio album releases.

With additional guitarist Jim McKinven, Altered Images recorded their debut LP Happy Birthday, which saw them continue their link with Siouxsie and the Banshees, as the band's bassist Steve Severin produced several tracks.

The song "Happy Birthday" saw them catapulted to fame when it went to #2 on the UK singles chart, establishing the band as one of the biggest New Wave acts around. This was confirmed when they were voted "Best New Group" at the NME awards in 1981.

After a successful headlining tour, they released Pinky Blue in 1982, showing them following a more pop route than before, providing two more top 20 hits, "I Could Be Happy" and "See Those Eyes." The album also went top 20, and soon after, they began to work with pop producer Mike Chapman, who provided them with another hit, "Don't Talk To Me About Love."

After Altered Images, Grogan had an attempt at a solo career, signing to London Records with one single and an unreleased album in 1987. On television she was significantly more successful however, starring as Kristine Kochanski in the cult BBC sitcom Red Dwarf, and much later, in EastEnders and Father Ted, and has done a lot of presenting work for VH1. With Steve Lironi she formed Universal Love School although no recordings were ever finalised, and again she left the music scene.

Much to their fans' joy, Altered Images reformed in 2002 for the Here and Now UK tour, showcasing a revival of popular bands of their era alongside the likes of The Human League, and ABC, and again for some separate shows in 2004.

Material: wikipedia.org