This week’s One Hit Wonder, featured a few moments ago, was the 1988 hit for the Sunderland band, Tribe Of Toffs.
Formed in 1986 by four pupils from Bede Comprehensive School, the group were noticed after sending a tape of their songs to children’s TV presenter Andy Crane and ended up performing on the BBC Saturday Morning show But First This. They went on to make a number of appearances on big TV shows of the time including Wogan (the Graham Norton of his day 😉 ). Their single about a UK weather forecaster went to number 21 in the UK Singles Chart in 1988, which was quite an achievement as it charted in December when a lot of big artists were releasing stuff to try and get the coveted Christmas number 1 spot.
When people hear this song there are always two questions that people ask. The first one is the question that everyone asks about One Hit Wonders, “What happened to the band after this?”
Well, afterwards, the band were keen to release some more serious songs. However, unable to secure a recording contract they decided to try their hand a lighter subject, releasing the a second humorous single in 1989 called Terry Wogan’s On TV (Again). Sadly, it failed to make any impact.
Andy Stephenson, Phil Rogers, ‘Motch Bondouche’ and Stephen Cousins who made up the band, all left the full-time music scene, as far as we are aware. Lead singer Andy was actually at Bible College (AKA a vicar factory 😉 ) when the band had their big success. People who met him at the time said he was famous for saying something along the lines of “Say what you like about the song but it paid my tuition fees!”. Andy eventually became a Psychiatric Nurse as, coincidently, did guitarist, Stephen Cousins, who also formed part of the band Ruth. Bass player Motch became an IT consultant but no one knows what happened to percussionist, Phil. In true Spinal Tap style, an air of mystery surrounds the fate of the drummer.
Writing in the Guardian several years ago, Cousins asked himself the question, “Did the Kettley song have such an effect on us? It can certainly come back and haunt you from time to time. Especially when one is trying to forge a serious music career. It often does not help that your biggest success is a novelty song.”
However, the second question is slightly more unexpected and that is, “Who was John Kettley?”. Actually, that’s a fair question, given that most of the other lines in the song, written about the celebrities of the time, are obviously made-up. But, believe it or not, John Kettley did work for the BBC as a forecaster and so was indeed a “Weatherman”…and so was Michael Fish…and so was Billy Giles…and so was Ian………………McGaskill. (And so was Wincey Willis.)
As ever, If you’d like to hear it again, there are links to the video on YouTube and also to purchase it on iTunes and Amazon.
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