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world of twist - quality street
The Hollies
"Graham and I played clubs in Manchester, doing an Everly Brothers-type thing. The Everly Brothers were our real inspiration, because of the two-part harmonies."
- Allan Clarke on forming The Hollies with Graham Nash

Significantly, World Of Twist were one of the first bands to be making quirky retro electronic pop music of the kind of that bands like Pulp (who at one point supported WOT live), Air and Stereolab would later be exploring and gaining wider success with.

World of Twist Initially formed in Sheffield in 1985 the band line up was James Fry (Vocals), Andrew Hobson (Bass), Gordon King (Guitar), Tony Ogden (Drums), Rory Conolly (Saxophone), Nick Phillips (Organ) and Andy Robbins (Synthesiser). This World Of Twist soon fell to pieces and it was another three years until a new Manchester line up would emerge.

The 1989 version of World Of Twist had Tony Ogden (Now singer and co-songwriter) and Gordon King (Guitar and co-songwriter) joined by Andy Hobson (Synthesisers), Alan Frost aka Adge (Visual effects. Synthesisers), Julia aka M.C. Shells (Swirls and Sea Noises), Angela Reilly (Visual Effects). Nick Sanderson (Drums) joined a little later.

A four track demo tape (The Storm, Blackpool Tower Suite, The Spring, She's A Rainbow) released early 1990 had considerable local alternative radio play and rave reviews in the local press - the inevitable London A & R frenzy soon followed.

World Of Twist finally settled for Circa Records, believing they would meet the bands creative needs better than anyone else. Within a the year, they had released the critically well received singles The Storm / She's A Rainbow (one of Martin Hannet's final productions) and Sons Of The Stage. Both only just failed to make the top 40.

The band toured the UK and Europe gaining a cult following along the way with their extravagant and eccentric stage shows. The music press all the time showering them with excellent reviews. It seemed nothing could go wrong.

This and excellent Radio 1 sessions for John Peel & Mark Goodyear hinted at what the debut album might sound like, but when Quality Street finally did appear it failed to live up to the expectations for many - including most reviewers. The fault lay mostly with the lacklustre production (by the Grid) which failed to capture the colour and energy of either the band live or the earlier singles. That said, the charm of the songs underneath is still there, and if you can turn a blind eye to some occasionaly un-inspired production there's a great collection of songs lurking within.

Quality Street was a modest success and Circa continued to have faith in the band. Work soon began on a follow up album and there were plans for further touring. However, problems emerged when Tony Ogden decided that he no longer wanted to sing and this reached the point where auditions were held to find a new singer. Additionally, creative difference's within the band and also pressure from Circa to have a hit all started to contribute to a breakdown.

However, work on the album did reach a stage where there were a dozen demo versions of new songs by Tony and Gordon. Some had vocals by Tony and some by Viv Dixon (who sang on Sons Of The Stage and the seminal Voodoo Ray), others remained only instrumentals. All these tracks have a fragile and beautiful quality about them that suggests that WOT would have produced greater things had the ride been smoother. The final track on this album is an epic cover version of McArthur Park sung by Tony Ogden, which coincidentally, the song which the first single, The Storm, made references to with the line "I've left the cake out in the storm". Things had neatly come full circle, and as soon as Circa caught wind of Tony's decision not to sing they were reluctant to re-new the bands contract. World Of Twist offically ceased to be in June 1992.

So, sadly the future never happened and what remained, if you like, was World Of Twist's very own 'Smile' album that few have heard. Ironically, in true Beach Boy's style, Tony Ogden soon after disappeared from the Manchester music scene and became something of a mythical and reclusive Brian Wilson character. Occasionally there are rumours that he's been seen out, but as no one really knows what he looks like other than he has long hair and a long beard. According to the handful of people he occasionally speaks to, he's working on an albums worth of tracks under the name Bubblegum with fellow musician John West. Despite everything, his flair for song writing appears to be alive and well. A four track demo tape for Bubblegum quietly circulating the local scene has it's fans - including Badly Drawn Boy!

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