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Not 25 Years!

By admin Published: January 21, 2010

In case you're curious about things not Conan, after the jump is a rather long press release about Kimberley Rew, who wrote the Katrina & The Waves classic "Walking on Sunshine" -- a song marking its 25th anniversary as a huge and much replayed hit. You can find a list of its movie/TV inclusions here.
Recordings of Rew's pre-"Sunshine" material are being reissued.

For those of you tuning in late, Rew is a man; the vocalist on the song was Katrina Leskanich.

Since you probably have the Waves' version stuck in your head, here's another rendition of "Sunshine":

Kimberley Rew, best known as an accomplished guitarist and songwriter who wrote one of the best known pop classics of the 80’s -“Walking On Sunshine,” has also written hit songs for The Bangles and Celine Dion and with his band Katrina & The Waves even won the Eurovision song contest in 1997 with “Love Shine A Light.”

It is Kimberley's less known works, however, that caught the ear of renowned music website BrooklynVegan. The site has signed up some of their favorite bands to help get the word out about Rew's under-recognized great songs. Not only are they going to be featuring stories about Kim, but they are also releasing a tribute EP of his songs covered by some of the most talented artists in the world of indie music. BrooklynVegan writer Bill Pearis states, “Kimberly Rew is one of the '80s great, unheralded pop songwriters. Sure, ‘Walking on Sunshine’ was a huge joyous smash, but the album it’s from has nine more songs just as good, some (‘Going Down to Liverpool’) maybe even better. It's all hits.”

Inspired by this renewed interest in his work, Rew has put together a retrospective of four albums that draw from his highly creative output in the decade prior to his first hit single. These albums, released in late Spring 2010, are; Kimberley Rew – The Bible Of Bop (Special Edition) ’81; The Waves – Shock Horror (Special Edition) ’82; Katrina & The Waves – Katrina & The Waves (Special Edition) ’83 and Katrina & The Waves – Katrina & The Waves 2 (Special Edition) ’84. These special releases are all leading up to the Summer celebration of the 25th Anniversary of his first hit single “Walking On Sunshine,” which is officially one of the most played summer songs of all time.

Rew’s career started after leaving university in 1974 to form the first incarnation of THE WAVES with drummer Alex Cooper. Their psychedelic folk rock sound was big news on the band scene in Cambridge, England but the band never released any records. However a 1976 recording session is included as a bonus on the special edition of Shock Horror.

In January 1978 Kimberley was asked by Robyn Hitchcock to join THE SOFT BOYS, the hugely influential English neo-psychedelic band. They were signed to the short-lived Radar Records, who also had Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe at the time. THE SOFT BOYS also gave Rew the chance to attend his one and only punk gig when opening for The Damned. The band recorded two cult albums, A Can of Bees and Underwater Moonlight, but split in 1981 never achieving the commercial success of contemporaries on the London pub scene like Squeeze and the Police.

Kimberley Rew’s first solo album, The Bible Of Bop (released in 1981) was compiled from four different recording sessions with three different bands – New York’s The dBs, THE SOFT BOYS (with Hitchcock on guitar) and the second incarnation of THE WAVES (now featuring Katrina Leskanich and Vince De La Cruz). There are three previously unreleased songs from these sessions on the special edition of The Bible Of Bop.

In early 1983, KATRINA & THE WAVES (as they were now called) pooled their meager resources to fund the recording of an album's worth of original material - all songs written by Rew and sung by Leskanich - intended to be sold at live shows. Numerous labels on both sides of the Atlantic were approached, but only Canadian indie Attic Records, which had previously released recordings by THE SOFT BOYS (and documentary heavy metal heroes Anvil), responded with an offer. Consequently, KATRINA & THE WAVES' debut album Walking On Sunshine was released only in Canada, despite the band being based in the UK. Support from Rolling Stone magazine and critics such as Dave Marsh began to create a buzz. More importantly; radio play of the first version of “Walking On Sunshine” led to a Canadian tour, and, due to their well-honed live skills, their fan base grew quickly. 1984 saw a follow-up album, Katrina And The Waves 2, again only in Canada, which included the airplay hit “Mexico” (from bassist De La Cruz), and the excellent “Do You Want Crying” and “One Woman.”

Fueled by constant touring and the added mystique of their releases only being valuable on import in the UK and USA, things progressed but it was the kind of lucky break that money can't buy which helped to put them on the music industry map. Los Angeles-based girl group The Bangles chose to cover Rew's song, “Going Down To Liverpool,” on their major label album All Over The Place. With the help of an odd-ball video starring Leonard Nimoy, the single became an MTV hit, inspiring various labels in LA to trace the source of the song; Rew and Katrina & The Waves. Finally, after four long years, the band were snapped up worldwide by Capitol Records and began to enjoy their “overnight” success!

With this retrospective the world will have the chance to really hear the talent that brought it all to the forefront and his name is Kimberley Rew.

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