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31 January 1961, Buxton, Derbyshire, England. Despite his birthplace, this literate singer-songwriter emerged from Glasgows post-punk renaissance. The Commotions, Neil Clark (b. 3 July 1955; guitar), Blair Cowan (keyboards), Lawrence Donegan (b. 13 July 1961; bass) and Stephen Irvine (b. 16 December 1959; drums) completed the line-up responsible for 1984s Rattlesnakes, a critically lauded set that merged Byrds -like guitar figures to Coles languid, Lou Reed -inspired intonation. A representative selection from the album, Perfect Skin, reached the UK Top 30 when issued as a single, while a follow-up album, Easy Pieces, spawned two Top 20 entries in Brand New Friend and Lost Weekend. However, the style that came so easily on these early outings seemed laboured on Mainstream, after which the singer disbanded his group.
Retaining Cowan, Cole switched bases to New York, and emphasized the...