Best known in the U.K. and U.S. for their 1986 Top 20 hit “Digging Your Scene” and for their cover of Lesley Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me” from the multi-platinum soundtrack for 1987’s Dirty Dancing, British sophisti-pop quartet the Blow Monkeys were formed in 1981 with singer/songwriter/guitarist/keyboardist Dr. Robert (born Bruce Robert Howard), saxophonist Neville Henry, bassist Mick Anker, and drummer Tony Kiley. On the strength of seductive live performances, the band was signed to RCA for its debut, 1984’s Limping for a Generation, which was followed by the EP Forbidden Fruit in 1985.
The group’s commercial breakthrough came with 1986’s Animal Magic, which featured the hit single “Digging Your Scene” and reached the Top 40 on the U.K. and U.S. album charts. Their next two albums, 1987’s She Was Only a Grocer’s Daughter and 1989’s Whoops! There Goes the Neighbourhood, failed to maintain their success in the U.S. but charted in the U.K.’s Top 20 and Top 50, respectively. Choices: The Singles Collection was also released in 1989 and hit number five at home. In 1990 their fifth LP, Springtime for the World, had a disappointing reception, and the band split, with Dr. Robert pursuing a solo career that included collaborations with Paul Weller and Beth Orton in the ’90s.
In 2007, the Blow Monkeys reunited with their original lineup intact and released Devil’s Tavern in 2008. Still a sultry live band, they recorded Travelin’ Souls: Live! at the Legendary 100 Club in 2009 for a 2010 CD/DVD package. While Dr. Robert continued to release solo material, they issued studio albums Staring at the Sea in 2011, Feels Like a New Morning in 2013, and If Not Now, When? in 2015 with a part-rock, part-swing sound reminiscent of their ’80s days without seeming to imitate it.
The Blow Monkeys is available for corporate events, private shows, milestone celebrations (birthday, anniversary), fundraisers, festivals, and more.