Visage’s biggest hit was Fade To Grey in 1981. By then, Currie and Ure were resurrecting synth-pop group Ultravox, but Visage would continue until the middle of the 80s with a couple more changes of personnel. Unfortunately the hits didn’t continue for the whole of this period:Fade To Grey was their lone Top 10 single and although they continued to chart regularly for another year or so after it, the highest they reached was the #11 of The Damned Don’t Cry. Problems with their management company were blamed for the delay between their second and third albums, and when that third album did appear (in 1984), it seemed the public had moved on without them and the band split the following year.
Strange put his lack of prominence on the music scene in the late 90s down to his struggles with drug addiction. His public profile increased when in 2002 when he joined a ‘Here and Now’ tour, an event reviving popular acts from the 80s. This in turn led to a resurrection of Visage, with Strange as the only returning member. In addition, Strange’s association with, and knowledge of, the New Romantic era made him a regular on ‘talking-head’ nostalgia shows in the 21st Century, as well as an informed commentator on pop culture generally. Although these events created a lot of press interest, and led to reissues of past material, there was little new product from this incarnation of the group despite it lasting over five years.
The third and current incarnation of Visage began in 2012, when former member Steve Barnacle (1982-1985) and Strange reunited and recruited others for the recording of the fourth Visage album, Hearts and Knives (2013 – released on the band’s own label Blitz Club). Several singles were taken from this set and it was followed by Orchestral, a collection of Visage tracks performed with a symphony orchestra. This was released shortly before Strange’s death, from a heart attack, while on holiday last month. Many of his fellow Smash Hits cover stars of the 1980s paid tribute on Twitter when they heard the news.
NEW SINGLES on sale from Mar. 5
VISAGE (Steve Strange) The Damned Don’t Cry (Polydor POSP390)
DEAD OR ALIVE (Pete Burns) That’s The Way I Like It (Epic A4271)
UB40 Cherry Oh Baby (DEP International DEP10)