Yachts - YACHTS

Yachts - Band


Formed: Liverpool, Merseyside, England, UK

Band Bio / Lineups / Discography

This fine band formed out of the remains of Albert Dock, "a satirical, performance-oriented outfit". Despite releasing a batch of excellent, witty and very catchy singles, all of which should have made the Radio 1 playlist but many mysteriously didn't, Yachts did not achieve any notable success and broke up in early 1981. They couldn't even capitalise on a tour supporting The Who, glowing reviews in the States, working with top producers like Clive Langer, Richard Gottehrer and Martin Rushent, and gimmicks such as releasing records in four different sleeves, die-cut sleeves, semi-transparent sleeves, or on coloured vinyl. The problem was probably their boring name and image - they were much less quirky-looking than similarly poppy bands such as Squeeze, XTC or Madness - as well as their lyrics, which were a bit too politely piss-takey and smart-arsed for mass consumption. A case in point is the ultra-catchy Box 202, which concerns a young man who places a lonely hearts advert after his beloved dies in a plane crash. They did not attempt to ride the punk bandwagon, but although they opted for lush powerpop with harmony vocals and middle eights galore, they still played with enough spunk and fire to place them at the soft end of the punk spectrum.

I really like them, but not everyone did.

Yachts - Shipping UnitsYachts - We Don't Want To Sleep With GirlsYachts - Look Back In Love (Not In Anger) Advert

Alan Anger, Live Wire fanzine, late 1977: I went to the Nashville expecting to enjoy the Yachts. After all, I don't mind their single. The place was only half full and the nice crowd sat at their nice tables drinking their nice drinks and waiting for the nice band to come on. The Yachts, are indeed very nice - too damned nice. They wore bright coloured clothes and put on smiles that would put Tony Blackburn to shame. The songs themselves weren't very good and a little too long. The organ sound smacks of XTC and the bassist looks as if he's leant his foot movements from Jean Jacques of the Stranglers and his mouth movements from toothpaste adverts on TV. In fact they are a nice little pop band with boring old songs (not even good pop songs).

They formed in April 1977, and made their live debut at Eric's in Liverpool, as support act to Elvis Costello. Initially a quintet with John (J.J.) Campbell on vocals, by the end of the year he had left, leaving in his wake two singles, Suffice To Say (which came out on Stiff) and Brutality, Rhythm And A Dance Beat, a split single they shared with Big In Japan. On this latter release the Yachts were, for one reason or another, called the Chuddy Nuddies. Campbell's departure did not split the group, but it did mean that they were not seen in public until the following summer, by which they were perceived a power pop band.

John Campbell, November 1977: Seems to me I was always a clean living lad who enjoyed a crease in his trousers too much to get into the Punk image.

Bob Bellis, October 1978: If you called us power pop I'd pour coffee over ya.

Yachts - BandYachts - Yachts

The Yachts tenure at Stiff lasted just one single, and along with Costello, Nick Lowe and others they went with former Stiff supremo Jake Riveria to make records for his new label, Radar, where they stayed until 1980, releasing several singles and two LPs, the second with Glyn Harvard of The Edge on bass. Each album was also issued in the US by Polydor, where they enjoyed some radio airplay.

Andy Gill live review, September 1979: "...they're a band noticed by many for making "great pop music", which only goes to show how many people (unconsciously) see pop music in formal, structural fashion. What they really make is a bombastic, powerchord laden pastiche of pop based on the muddled, nostalgic ideals of old music biz lags. They're a powerpop band who forgot to go Mod, and ended up in limbo doing sub-cabaret re-runs of '24 Hours From Tulsa' for kids too young to compare them with Gene Pitney. They end with 'On And On', a number about boring people. Presumably autobiographical.

Yachts - There's A Ghost In My House AdvertYachts - Yachts Without Radar

They split in 1981 after releasing A Fool Like You on Demon Records.

Yachts - Band


Lineup 1 (April - November 1977):

Guitar: Martin Watson
Bass: Martin Dempsey
Keyboards: Henry Priestman (born Henry Christian Priestman)
Drums: Bob Bellis
Vocals: John (J.J.) Campbell

This lineup recorded Suffice To Say and (I think) the Chuddy Nuddies side of Brutality, Rhythm And A Dance Beat. After which Campbell left, eventually forming It's Immaterial.

Lineup 2 (Late 1977-Janaury 1980):

Guitar/Vocals: Martin Watson
Bass/Vocals: Martin Dempsey
Vocals/Keyboards: Henry Priestman
Drums/Vocals: Bob Bellis

Recorded: Yachts. Dempsey then joined Pink Military.

Lineup 3 (1980-1981):

Guitar/Vocals: Martin Watson
Bass/Vocals: Glyn Harvard (ex-The Edge)
Vocals/Keyboards: Henry Priestman
Drums/Vocals: Bob Bellis

Recorded: Yachts Without Radar.

Lineup 4 (1981):

Guitar/Vocals: Martin Watson
Bass/Vocals: Mick Shiner
Vocals/Keyboards: Henry Priestman
Drums/Vocals: Bob Bellis

Recorded: A Fool Like You 7".

Ray "Chopper" Cooper also played bass at some point.



Singles & Albums / Extraneous Releases / Various Artists

Yachts - Suffice To SaySuffice To Say (7", 1977)

Yachts - CoverBrutality, Rhythm And A Dance Beat (7", as The Chuddy Nuddies, split, 1977)

Yachts - Look Back In Love (Not In Anger)Look Back In Love (Not In Anger) (7", 1978)

Yachts - Yachting TypesYachting Types (7", 1978)

Yachts - Love You Love You...Love You Love You... (7", 1979

Yachts - YachtsYachts (LP/LP+7", 1979)

Yachts - S.O.S.S.O.S. (LP, 1979)

Yachts - Box 202Box 202 (7", 1979)

Yachts - Now I'm Spoken For...Now I'm Spoken For... (7", 1979)

Yachts - There's A Ghost In My HouseThere's A Ghost In My House (7", 1980)

Yachts - Yachts Without RadarYachts Without Radar (LP, 1980)

Yachts - I.O.U. (In The Oddments Drawer)I.O.U. (In The Oddments Drawer) (7", 1980)

Yachts - A Fool Like YouA Fool Like You (7", 1981)

Extraneous Releases

Yachts - Complete Singles CollectionComplete Singles Collection (CD)

Yachts ‎– Suffice To Say - The Complete Yachts CollectionSuffice To Say - The Complete Yachts Collection (3xCD, box set, 2018)

Various Artists

Excerpts From Stiffs Greatest Hits UK 7" 1977 (Stiff): Suffice To Say

Sharp Holland LP 1979 (WEA): Yachting Types

1-2-3-4 Punk & New Wave 1976-1979 UK 5xCD 1999 (Universal): Suffice To Say

If It Ain't Stiff... (A Stiff Records Collection) UK CD 2001 (Metro): Suffice To Say

North By North West - Departure 1976 Arrival 1984 UK 2xCD/3xCD 2006 (Korova): Suffice To Say

Revolutionary Spirit: The Sound Of Liverpool 1976-1988 UK 5xCD Box Set 2018 (Cherry Red): Suffice To Say

Harmony In My Head: UK Power Pop & New Wave 1977-81 UK 3xCD Box Set 2018 (Cherry Red): Suffice To Say






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