Age of Chance

The Age of Chance was quite a unique rock and dance crossover band that made its debut in Leeds, England and was active in the mid-eighties until 1991. They were most famous for their cover of Prince’s “Kiss,” which soared to the top of the UK indie charts in 1986, even though it slightly missed reaching “hit” status in 1987; the song reached #50 in the UK, and even though the band was signed onto Virgin and was favoured by a lot of UK press, they never had one major hit in the UK. But it may be useful to know that “Don’t Get Mad…Get Even” had soared up to #5 in the dance chart residing in the US.

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As for as the band’s style and musicality, they sounded like a combination of hip hop, dance, punk, industrial rock, and northern soul. With perhaps one of the most rare nasal vocal styles ever heard, which in some cases included the use of a megaphone, the band honed a very unusual sound. Moreover, their amazing cover art that was a collaborative effort between The Designers Republic and the band itself was an unlikely breakthrough of sorts. One of their famous contemporaries was Pop Will Eat Itself, whose bizarre music featured guitar, samples, rock beats, and “Pop” found themselves immersed in groups like The Jamms and Coldcut.

In 1985, The Age of chance came into the music world with their single, “Motorcity/ Everlasting Yeah,” which belonged to their own label. Eventually, Riot Bible was helped by a larger entity, Radio 1 DJ, John Peel. It was time for another recording session to ensue, and at Maida vale studios, four songs were recorded, some of which featured collaborative efforts with other stars of the independent music scene.

The second release for the band was entitled “Bible of the Beats/Liquid Jungle” in 1986. And due to the success of this single, the band was invited for a compilation for the NME C86. Officially, the band had made their debut in July 86, and then shortly thereafter, a second peel-sessions had been recorded with the following songs: “How the West Was Won,” “From Now On,” “Be Fast, Be Clean, Be Cheap,” and “Kiss.” After this engaging and collaborative effort, the band signed on with Sheffield, an indie label that remixed several of the band’s songs, placing them among many peers within the Festive 50 in 1986.

It was not until January 1987 that the band signed with the label giant, Virgin, whereby a nationwide tour began. Moreover, the band recorded a song with producer Howard Grey, at which point, their very first album for Virgin Records was underway. Some of the songs from their album included “One Thousand Years of Trouble,” Don’t Get Mad, Get Even,” and Channel 4 began playing some their music for an American football programme that ran for three years. Soon after their first effort with Virgin, the band started on another record with the label, which was recorded in Wales.

Difficulties began to arise for the band, as the original singer, Steven-E, had departed in late September 1988, which occurred during the recording of only their second LP; this created an urgency to find a new lead singer. As often is the case in situations of this nature, the chemistry was disturbed, and the image of the band was altered, even though the band was enthused with the soulful nature of the new singer, Charles Hutchinson. Some of the vocals needed to be redone of course. A two-year stint for the vocalist allowed for a successful single to be produced, namely “Higher Than heaven,” but it just fell short of the charts at #53 in the UK. Shortly thereafter, the singer left, which meant that Perry had to take on any duties that the position of lead singer proscribed. The band split after Hutchinson’s leaving, and the interesting mix of disco, hip hop, and rock was a far cry from some of the sounds that were coming from the US at the time; both indie and larger scale bands were making their presence heard, specifically The Stone Temple Pilots, The Happy Mondays, Crash Poetry, Faith No More, and a host of others.

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