The Motors – Dancing The Night Away

24th June 2022 · 1970s, 1978, Music

With their jangly guitars and vocal harmonies rubbing shoulders with an, ahem, driving beat, The Motors had were the prototype for Power Pop.

It was a sound that somehow fitted in with the energy of the New Wave, though they were anything but new, emerging from the ashes of pub rock veterans Ducks Deluxe.

Their first single, Dancing The Night Away, catches the ear with guitar arpeggios reminiscent of The Flamin’ Groovies while hitting you in the gut with its relentless rhythm, before finally reaching its anthemic chorus.

On the extended 12-inch version I have, it’s fully two minutes before the singing comes in, and another half a minute to get to the chorus. I remember they did a version on the OGWT that lasted even longer, but this is the one for me.

I don’t think I knew at the time that the band was formed by two former members of Ducks Deluxe, Nick Garvey and Andy McMaster, because the rules of the day dictated that a lot of people pretended to be significantly younger than they were in order to fit in with that New Wave rolling in.

The duo joined forces with vocalist/guitarist Bram Tchaikovsky and drummer Ricky Slaughter (cousin of Vibrators front man Knox) to form The Motors.

Their signature sound blended energetic rhythms, strong melodies, guitar interplay by Garvey and Tchaikovsky, and three-part vocal harmonies – a formula that would soon come to be known as Power Pop.

What I never knew til now was that in between Ducks Deluxe and The Motors, Garvey and Slaughter (then plain ol’ Richard Wernham) had had a band called The Snakes.

The singer was Robert Gotobed, who would go on to form Wire, and they released a solitary single, Hold On (Have You Seen My Baby).

The Motors, meanwhile, went on to make two albums, the second of which produced the harmony-drenched hit single Airport, produced by my old drinking buddy Pete Ker.