"In the whole history of Liverpool music, two bands
matter most - one is The Beatles and the other is Deaf School. If that seems
like a sweeping statement then consider this - after the pop revolution of the
1960s led byte Beatles and other Merseyside groups, it looked as if the city's
music scene had dried up forever. But in 1975 there came a motley band of
Liverpool art students called Deaf School. And they were the catalyst for the
most dramatic revival since Lazarus. Their impact on the city is with us to
Deaf School were an inspired, chaotic live act who never
numbered less than eight and sometimes well into double figures. They played a
wild amalgam of cabaret and pop; they were camp and theatrical but rocked like
crazy too. They were supreme entertainers. They were signed to Warners by The
Beatles' droll confidante Derek Taylor and between 1976 and 78 made three
albums, each to be cherished. They galvanised our moribund local live scene;
they were the figureheads of the newly opened Eric's Club and set the template
for a generation of younger Liverpool acts, from Echo & The Bunnymen to
Frankie Goes To Hollywood.
So why aren't Deaf School better known? They were a band
in the right place (Liverpool) but the wrong time - on the cusp of punk rock.
Deaf School's wit and verve were, in hindsight, a bridge between glam rock and
new wave, but in between came the year of the Sex Pistols and The Clash and
Deaf School simply didn't fit. Liverpool loved them always - they were a
bridge, as well, between the arty collegiate crowd and down-to-earth Scousers.
Everyone recognised a good time when they saw it and Deaf School were exactly
that. But the message got lost in its translation to the wider world. Much of
the band's talent was not lost however. Guitarist and chief songwriter Clive
Langer found fame producing acts including Madness (who were in Deaf School's
London fan contingent), Dexys Midnight Runners, Morrissey and Elvis Costello
(with whom he wrote the spellbinding song "Shipbuilding"). Male lead vocalist
Enrico Cadillac, alias Steve Allen, formed The Original Mirrors with Ian
Broudie before a new career as a top record executive; bassist Steve Lindsay
became The Planets; female lead vocalist Bette Bright, alias Ann Martin, made
some brilliant solo records before marrying Madness's lead singer. (It's
sometimes said she became "Mrs Suggs" but we prefer to think of Suggs as "Mr
A few reunion shows since their glory days have seen Deaf
School delight diehards and converts alike with the power-pop punch of "Hi Jo
Hi", "What A Way To End It All" and a dozen other classic souvenirs of that
brief, fabled career. The re-born Picket, happily restored to the heart of a
resurgent city, is the perfect place to witness Deaf School together once more
- both band and venue are living symbols of Liverpool's musical resilience".
Beach Boys and Byrds publicist Derek Taylor.
"I won't forget Deaf School. They were a great group: we
knew that, you knew that, Liverpool knew that. So I'd be going 'Deaf School!
'Deaf School! Listen to Deaf School!' Like the Byrds, these are not people who
will ever be forgotten. They may not become rich and they may not become
famous. But remember you heard it here first!"
"There was nothing happening in Liverpool before Deaf
I was so taken by Deaf School that I married the singer.
Clive Langer, their guitarist went onto produce all of Madness' records".
More information about Deaf School at