Whirlwind Biography

One of the UK revivalist rockabilly bands of the late 70s, Whirlwind came together after Mike ‘Redhead’ Lewis watched Nigel Dixon (d. 3 April 1993) singing with another band in Uxbridge, Middlesex. With Lewis (guitar), Chris Emo (bass), and Phil ‘Foghorn’ Hardy (drums) they began playing gigs with the rock ‘n’ roll disc jockey, Fifties Flash, using his PA as their sound equipment. They released a one-off single - ‘Full Time Thing’ - on Pye Records in January 1977 and then manager Doug Smith secured them a contract with the independent Chiswick Records plus support slots to punk and new wave acts, the Clash, Ian Dury and Elvis Costello. Ironically, this led to the band finding some popularity at punk venues at expense of losing some of their original ‘teddy boy/rockabilly’ fans. Their first album, Blowin’ Up A Storm, available on both 10- and 12-inch formats, mixed classics like ‘Blue Moon Of Kentucky’ with Lewis-Dixon originals. Hardy had departed by the time of Midnight Blue which represented an altogether more sophisticated brand of rock ‘n’ roll. Despite touring with Blondie, Whirlwind were unable to sell records in any significant quantity and split up soon afterwards. Dixon released a solo single, ‘Thunderbird’, on Stiff Records late in 1980, but did not return to the limelight until the late 80s when he fronted ex-Clash member Paul Simonon’s group, Havana 3AM.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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