This British R&B-band was formed in London in 1979 by Peter Staines (guitar, vocals), Bill Hurley (vocals), Tony Oliver (guitar), Jim Russell (drums) and Ben Donelly (bass).
The Inmates were part of the British pub rock scene and their influences included The Animals, The Pretty Things and – not surprisingly – Dr Feelgood.
The breakthrough for the group was a version of the old Standells punk classic, Dirty Water, from their great debut LP, First Offence (1980).
Bill Hurley’s raw, distinctive voice, and the dynamic interaction between guitarists Peter Gunn and Tony Oliver gave a hard punky edge to The Inmates’ repertoire.
But their real strength lay in their discriminating choice of material, with well-executed covers of lesser-known songs by Arthur Conley, Bobby Womack and The Soul Brothers.
Despite their capability to write excellent original material, The Inmates were never afraid to experiment with cover versions and make them their own songs.
Love Me Two Times and Unchain My Heart, both taken from the live LP, True Live Stories, (1984) are shining examples of the band’s ability to pick old songs and make them into Rock & Roll while still paying respect to the original.
This is also evident on the album, The Inmates Meet The Beatles: Live In Paris, an album the band recorded as a tribute for the twentieth anniversary of The Beatles‘ Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) – It goes without saying that they couldn’t help but perform The Beatles’ songs sounding like The Rolling Stones.
Other albums included Shot In The Dark (1980), Five (1984), Fast Forward (1989), Inside Out (1991). Also, Bill Hurley: Double Agent (1985).
Except for Inside Out, all albums were produced by the late Vic Maile, who played a significant part in the distinctive sound of The Inmates.
Peter “Gunn” Staines