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"We've never hung around in London or with other bands. Being in Wigan or Warrington keeps you pretty well isolated from everything."
- James Walsh

When Pride Of Manchester originally wrote our Starsailor pages, prior to their debut single in 2001, we said (quote) "Expect to see Starsailor become 'The Big Thing' in 2001". With hindsight, even we'd have to admit we couldn't have predicted how good a year they would actually have:

20 year-old James Walsh from Chorley, Lancashire was brought up on a diet of his older brother's Oasis, Blur and Charlatans record collection. He didn't fit in very easily at school and was shy and withdrawn. Music gave him the ideal outlet and he started to get some focus to his life when he went to music college in Wigan, Greater Manchester, where he met the Warrington lads, James Stelfox and Ben Byrne. The line-up was completed with the arrival of Barry Westhead, also from Warrington, and Starsailor played its first gig in London in April 2000.

Named after a Tim Buckley album, Starsailor were spotted by a NME journalist at another London gig in July and his glowing report set them on the road to stardom, with EMI signing them up.

They were the first band without a record release to their name to be given a slot on the NME Brats Tour and at this point, were already building up a head of steam, tipped to be the big find of 2001.

Their debut single, 'Fever' was released in Feb 2001 and immediately charted at Number 18, amid mainstream media hype. It appeared though that all their fans had bought the single on its day of release, as the following week it had dropped out of the charts completely.

Their music has a bleakness with lyrics riddled with angst and tales of lost love, similar in a way to fellow Manchester groups Elbow and Witness. Walsh's voice heightens the fragile quality of the lyrics and he has been compared to Richard Ashcroft.

Their next single, 'Good Souls', received huge media attention and was played to death on MTV and VH1 before going straight into the UK charts at Number 12 on its release in April 2001. Its longevity in the charts, three weeks, proved they'd already come a long way since 'Fever'.

They toured extensively, playing all the major summer festivals of 2001, including a great performance at V2001, alongside fellow Manc acts Ian Brown, The Charlatans, Doves, David Gray, Witness, Rae & Christian and Alfie. Whilst clearly over-whelmed by their sudden popularity, they played an amazing set and increased their fanbase even further. All this with out even an album being released!

Boosted by this ever-increasing fanbase, their third single, the brilliant 'Alcoholic' charted at Number 10 in the UK, heralding the long-awaited debut album, 'Love Is Here'. It remained in the charts for three weeks.

When the album finally hit the shops in October 2001 even their biggest fans and the music press, who were heavily hyping the band by this point, could not have predicted how well it would do. The album reached an incredible UK No.2 chart placing, pipped by Kylie - an amazing achievement to say the least for a debut album from such young musicians.

On December 14th 2001, Starsailor supported The Charlatans, at the Manchester Evening News Arena. The interest for their short set was arguably as great as that reserved for the Madchester heroes. Again they delivered an amazing performance, which included the beautiful 'Lullaby'.

The track was released as a single two days later, and despite recieving lots of radio airplay, only just scraped into the UK Top 40, peaking at No.36 - it disappeared without trace the following week.

The fifth and final single that was to appear on 'Love Is Here', was comfortably the favourite with many fans. 'Poor Misguided Fool' was a more upbeat, catchier, rocky tune. Had it been released before the album, it could have arguably been the band's biggest hit to date. Instead it achieved a respectable UK No.23 placing in March 2002; an impressive achievement considering that most fans had been playing 'Love Is Here' to death for a full 5 months.

Starsailor's eagerly awaited second album, 'Silence Is Easy', was heavily inspired by the success the lads had enjoyed, as well as the birth of James' daughter. Produced by the legendary Phil Spector and recorded at Abbey Road Studios, it debuted at Number 2 in the UK charts in September 2003. The single of the same name, had early reached UK no.9.

With 'Love Is Here' having sold over a million copes and 'Silence Is Easy' expected to better that, you can expect Starsailor to go stellar in 2003. Although, you know what happened last time we made a prediction on these pages...

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[see Starsailor discography]

..manchester music appeal

Manchester Music news wanted
(December 2002)
Pride Of Manchester

Are you a fan of Starsailor or other Manchester musicians, or do you work for a record label? If so, can you help us compile the most up-to-date guide to Manc music on the internet. We're after news, biographies, demo's, promo disc's and updates of all the latest releases. If you can help, please contact us.

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buy Starsailor - Silence Is Easy - only £8.99
buy the classy starsailor alcoholic t-shirt online
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buy Starsailor - Love Is Here - only £8.95
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Live It Like You Love It - The Charlatans live at the MEN Arena 14th Dec 2001 - the homecoming gig they were supported by Starsailor
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