The Flying Lizards

Last updated

The Flying Lizards
OriginUnited Kingdom
Years active1976–1984
Labels Virgin, Statik
Past members

The Flying Lizards were an experimental English new wave band, formed in 1976. They are best known for their eccentric cover version of Barrett Strong's "Money" featuring Deborah Evans-Stickland on lead vocals, which reached the UK and US record charts in 1979. [2] [4] They followed with their self-titled album that year, reaching number 60 in the UK albums chart. [5]



Formed and led by record producer David Cunningham, the group was a loose collective of avant-garde and free improvising musicians, such as David Toop and Steve Beresford as instrumentalists, with Deborah Evans-Stickland, Patti Palladin and Vivien Goldman as main vocalists.

In August 1979 the band appeared twice on BBC's Top of the Pops performing their hit single "Money (That's What I Want)."[ citation needed ] They also appeared in February 1980 performing follow up single "TV." Virgin Records extended the band's recording contract after the success of "Money." [2] The group released their début album The Flying Lizards in 1979. The album included two songs – "Her Story" and "The Window" – written and sung by Goldman. [6] Their single issues included their postmodern cover versions of songs such as Eddie Cochran's "Summertime Blues" and "Money." [5]

The 1981 album Fourth Wall received praise from critics but did not sell well. [2] Top Ten (1984), with vocalist Sally Peterson, released by Statik records, consisted entirely of covers, done in a similarly deliberately emotionless, and robotic style, (described by the NME at the time as "Sloane Rap"), including two singles, James Brown's "Sex Machine" and "Dizzy, Miss Lizzy" as well as an album track of Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne". Cunningham and Peterson worked together on music production for film and advertising after Top Ten was released, [2] including a re-recording of "Money."

The Flying Lizards version of Barrett Strong's "Money" remained popular, and was used in the film soundtracks for The Wedding Singer , Empire Records , Charlie's Angels and Lord of War , as well as in the Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning American television medical drama Nip/Tuck and the follow-up to the UK TV drama Life on Mars , called Ashes to Ashes . It was also used in the episode "Venus Rising" of WKRP in Cincinnati , the episode "Follow the Money" of "Family Guy",and in a commercial for Taco Bell in 2011.

An album of dub instrumentals, The Secret Dub Life of the Flying Lizards, recorded by David Cunningham mostly in 1978, was finally released in 1995. [2] The first two albums, The Flying Lizards and Fourth Wall, were re-released by RPM in 2010, with the catalogue number RETROD883.[ citation needed ]

"Money" reached the UK Top 40, and was the band's only single to do so. [7]

Band members




See also

Related Research Articles

Japan (band)

Japan were an English new wave band formed in 1974 in Catford, South London by David Sylvian, Steve Jansen (drums) and Mick Karn, joined by Richard Barbieri (keyboards) and Rob Dean the following year. Initially a glam rock-inspired band, Japan developed their sound and androgynous look to incorporate electronic music and foreign influences.

The Fatback Band is an American funk and disco band that was popular in the 1970s and 1980s. The Fatback Band is most known for their R&B hits, "(Do the) Spanish Hustle", "I Like Girls", "Gotta Get My Hands on Some (Money)", "Backstrokin'" and "I Found Lovin'". Their 1979 single "King Tim III " is generally considered the first commercially released hip hop single.

Crazy Little Thing Called Love 1979 single by Queen

"Crazy Little Thing Called Love" is a song by the British rock band Queen. Written by Freddie Mercury in 1979, the track is included on their 1980 album The Game, and also appears on the band's compilation album Greatest Hits in 1981. The song peaked at number two in the UK Singles Chart in 1979, becoming the group's first number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US in 1980, remaining there for four consecutive weeks. It topped the Australian ARIA Charts for seven weeks. It was the band's final single release of the 1970s.

Spyro Gyra American jazz fusion band

Spyro Gyra is an American jazz fusion band that was formed in Buffalo, New York, in 1974. The band's music combines jazz, R&B, funk, and pop music. The band's name comes from Spirogyra, a genus of green algae which founder Jay Beckenstein had learned about in college.

The Ruts

The Ruts are an English reggae-influenced punk rock band, notable for the 1979 UK Top 10 hit single "Babylon's Burning", and an earlier single "In a Rut", which was not a hit but was highly regarded and regularly played by BBC Radio 1 disc jockey John Peel. The band's newfound success was cut short by the death of lead singer Malcolm Owen from a heroin overdose in 1980. Despite this the band continued under a different musical style as Ruts D.C. until 1983 when they disbanded, the band later reformed in 2007.

Marshall Hain were a British pop-rock duo known for their 1978 hit "Dancing in the City", a UK No. 3 single in the UK Singles Chart in mid-1978 and number 3 in Australia.

Money (Thats What I Want) 1959 song by Barrett Strong

"Money " is a rhythm and blues song written by Tamla founder Berry Gordy and Janie Bradford, which was the first hit record for Gordy's Motown enterprise. Barrett Strong recorded it in 1959 as a single for the Tamla label, distributed nationally on Anna Records. Many artists later recorded the tune, including the Beatles in 1963 and the Flying Lizards in 1979.

(Keep Feeling) Fascination 1983 single by The Human League

"(Keep Feeling) Fascination" is a 1983 song by the British synthpop group The Human League. It was composed by Jo Callis and Philip Oakey, and produced by Martin Rushent.

Atomic (song) 1980 single by Blondie

"Atomic" is a 1980 song by American rock band Blondie from their fourth studio album, Eat to the Beat (1979). Written by Debbie Harry and Jimmy Destri and produced by Mike Chapman, the song was released as the album's third single.

Raydio is an American funk and R&B vocal group formed in 1977 by Ray Parker Jr., with Vincent Bonham, Jerry Knight, and Arnell Carmichael.

The Egg are a British electronic dance music band, consisting of Ned Scott (keyboards), Maff Scott (drums), Paul Marshall (bass) and Matt White.

Gillan (band) English rock band fronted by Ian Gillan

Gillan was a rock and metal band formed in 1978 by Deep Purple vocalist Ian Gillan. Gillan was one of the hard rock bands to make a significant impact and commercial success in the United Kingdom during the early 1980s, with five silver albums. They sold over 10 million LPs worldwide.

David Cunningham is a composer and record producer from Northern Ireland.

Odyssey (band)

Odyssey is originally a New York City, United States-based singing group, best known for their 1977 hit "Native New Yorker", and a series of other mainly dance and soul hits in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Now based in the United Kingdom, the band is led and fronted by Steven Collazo and continues to perform and record.

Babe (Styx song)

"Babe" is a song by the American rock band Styx. It was the lead single from the band's 1979 triple-platinum album Cornerstone. The song was Styx's first, and only, US number-one single, spending two weeks at No. 1 in December 1979, serving as the penultimate number-one single of the 1970s. "Babe" also went to No. 9 on the Adult Contemporary chart. It additionally held the number-one spot for six weeks on the Canadian RPM national singles chart, charting in December 1979 and becoming the opening chart-topper of the 1980s. It was also the band's only UK Top 40 hit, peaking at No. 6. It also reached No. 1 in South Africa.

Woman in Love 1980 single by Barbra Streisand

"Woman in Love" is a song performed by Barbra Streisand and taken from her 1980 album, Guilty. The song was written by Barry and Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees, who received the 1980 Ivor Novello award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically. It is her fourth of four Platinum records, and is considered her greatest international hit.

My Love Is for Real 1995 single by Paula Abdul

"My Love Is for Real" is a song by American singer Paula Abdul with backing vocals from Israeli singer Ofra Haza. It was released as the first single from Abdul's third studio album, Head over Heels, on May 30, 1995. Intended as Abdul's comeback single, "My Love Is for Real" reached number one in Hungary and the top 20 in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, but it stalled outside the top 20 in the United States, peaking at number 28 on the Billboard Hot 100, and failed to make a major impact in Europe.

Rush Rush (Debbie Harry song) 1983 single by Debbie Harry

"Rush Rush" is a song by American singer Debbie Harry. Released as a single in 1983, it is taken from the soundtrack album of the film Scarface (1983).

<i>The Flying Lizards</i> (album) 1979 studio album by The Flying Lizards

The Flying Lizards is the 1979 self-titled debut album by The Flying Lizards and was released on the Virgin Records label.

<i>Fourth Wall</i> (album) 1981 studio album by The Flying Lizards

Fourth Wall is the second studio album by English rock band The Flying Lizards, released in 1981 by record label Virgin. The album features numerous collaborators, including Robert Fripp.


  1. Greene, Doyle (2014). The Rock Cover Song: Culture, History, Politics. McFarland & Company. p. 11. ISBN   978-0-7864-7809-5.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Deming, Mark. "The Flying Lizards – Artist Biography". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 6 October 2009.
  3. Cheal, David. "The Life of a Song: 'Money (That's What I Want)'". Financial Times . Retrieved 20 January 2020.
  4. "Allmusic ((( The Flying Lizards > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles )))".
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 Strong, Martin C. (2003) "Flying Lizards", in The Great Indie Discography, Canongate, ISBN   1-84195-335-0
  6. Allen, Mark (April 2001). "The Flying Lizards: A Pop Band Arranged According to the Laws of Chance". No. 6. Sound Collector. Retrieved 18 November 2008.
  7. Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 206. ISBN   1-904994-10-5.
  8. 1 2 3 Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 114. ISBN   0-646-11917-6.
  9. "RPM Top 100 Albums - April 12, 1980" (PDF).
  10. "RPM Top 100 Singles - April 19, 1980" (PDF).
  11. "RPM Top 100 Singles of 1980 - December 20, 1980" (PDF).