Artists – V

Venetians, The

Australian band The Venetians formed in late 1982 when vocalist Rik Swinn arrived in Australia with a 24-track master demo of a song he'd recorded in England. He read a newspaper advert placed by two musicians looking for a lead singer and within weeks had hooked up with David Skeet (guitar), Matthew Hughes (keyboards), Peter Watson(...)

Venom

In the early 1980s, this darkly humorous Newcastle thrash trio belonged nowhere. They combined deadly themes and stories of the netherworld that had nothing in common with the burgeoning poodle gloss of British heavy metal. Yet their 1982 album Black Metal arguably spawned a genre in its image. Bleak and barely produced, its punk-metal charcoal thrash said(...)

Ventures, The

Original lead guitarist Bob Bogle, alongside fellow masonry worker Don Wilson, founded The Ventures in Washington State in 1958, performing at local clubs and bars (originally as The Versatones). They pressed a twangy, rocked-up version of Johnny Smith's Walk Don't Run on their own Blue Horizon label, which was later picked up by Dolton Records. It became(...)

Venus Flight

Venus Flight was my first high school band. I formed the band with Tony Smith and Mark Colwell in 1976 over a number of sessions in our high school library where we would lock ourselves in one of the Audio-Visual rooms, stick three sets of headphones into a cassette player and listen to Paul McCartney &(...)

Vernons Girls, The

Vernons Girls, The

The Vernons Girls were assembled in Liverpool by the Vernons football pools company in the 1950s when Vernons - employers to 8,000 female coupon checkers - decided to collect together female members of staff to form their own choir. The original number was 70 members but gradually, over the years, the choir was reduced in(...)

Verve, The

On 15 August 1990, an un-named band played its first gig at the Honeysuckle pub in Poolstock, Wigan. It would be six months before they would play again - by which time they were called The Verve. From the beginning, Richard Ashcroft (pictured) was the focal point of the group. A brooding, gangling vocalist whose(...)

Vibrators, The

One of the great myths in rock & roll is that only serious, dedicated musicians can make great records; a philosophical tract dictating that great rock & roll is not the province of bandwagon jumpers, poseurs, fakes and commercially minded trend groupies . . . The reality is that great rock & roll can be(...)

Vice Squad

This Bristol punk band formed in late 1978 and was fronted by blonde vocalist Beki Bondage (real name Rebecca Louise Bond), who became for a while rock's leading pin-up in the music press (especially Sounds). The rest of the band were Dave Bateman (guitar), Mark Hambley (bass) and Shane Baldwin (drums). Their first single, Last Rockers, was(...)

Village People

Part clever concept, part exaggerated camp act, the Village People were worldwide sensations during disco's heyday and seemed to keep reviving like the phoenix. French disco producer Jacques Morali assembled the group in April 1977 designed to attract gay audiences while parodying - some would say exploiting - gay stereotypes. He landed the record deal with Casablanca(...)

Vince Eager

Grantham's Roy Taylor was a self-confessed "turnip wrangler from the Redneck Riviera" until he was enflamed by skiffle and touched by the transformative wand of the UK's first pop impresario, Larry Parnes. On his first night in the mogul's "Stable of Stars" he was nearly touched by something else of Parnes's, and only a night of sleepless vigilance(...)

Vince Jones

There was a time when I thought I hated Jazz. I hadn't listened to anything worth a second listen and Dixieland really got up my nose (and still does). Once I was introduced to Vince Jones, all that changed. Born in Glasgow, Vince and his family moved to Australia when he was 11 years old.(...)

Vince Taylor

Vince Taylor was born Brian Maurice Holden on 14 July 1939 in Isleworth, Middlesex, England. He was raised in New Jersey (USA) but returned to the UK to create the finest fleeting moments in British rock 'n' roll. Taylor looked and sounded like Gene Vincent, cutting loose with two 50's Parlophone singles - including Brand New Cadillac (later(...)

Vinegar Joe

Vinegar Joe formed in late 1971 out of the ashes of jazz-fusion combo Dada, who had released a single album for Atlantic Records the previous year. Atlantic supremo, Ahmet Ertegun, decided that the multi-membered Dada was financially unviable and too much of a drain on his label's coffers. Ertegun brokered a deal for the trimmed-down(...)

Violent Femmes

With their geeky, nervous folk-pop, Violent Femmes became one of the biggest cult bands of the 1980s. They formed in the early 80s in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, were "discovered" by James Honeyman-Scott of The Pretenders while busking, and released their self-titled debut in 1982. The album received widespread critical acclaim, became a favourite on college radio,(...)

Vipers, The

The Vipers, featuring a young singer called Wally Whyton, became the first group to earn a residency at the famous 2i's coffee bar in London's Soho. Wally Whyton was also a successful TV presenter. He died from lung cancer in January 1997.

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