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Numbers, The

The rise of Australian band The Numbers seemed meteoric to the casual observer. One minute nobody had heard of them, the next they had an independent single and a support on the first XTC tour down-under.

The sister/brother duo of Annalisse and Chris Morrow were the driving force behind the group, who began life as a powerpop trio in 1978 with drummer Marty Newcombe (replaced by Simon Vidale in 1979, though Newcombe eventually returned).

They had two hit singles, The Modern Song and the sublime Five Letter Word, and an impressive self-titled debut album (1980).

Then followed a rough patch, with the single Jericho failing to even nudge the charts and an abortive excursion into a more “sophisticated” keyboard-oriented sound.


A second album – named 39:51 as a veiled reference to criticisms the band endured over the brevity (28 minutes) of their debut album – was released in 1982.

Newcombe and Roberts departed soon afterwards.

The group returned to the road with drummer John Bliss and Colin ‘Polly’ Newham (ex-The Reels) on keyboards, although both the newcomers left the band in September 1982 just as the new single, Dreams From Yesterday was released.

The band re-emerged in March 1983 with Craig Bloxom (Spy v Spy) on bass, Marcus Phelan on guitar and old drummer Simon Vidale returning.

By August they were back to a trio, with Bloxom and Phelan departing.

Shortly thereafter, Annalisse and Chris decided to dissolve the band, later forming an outfit called Maybe Dolls.

Annalisse Morrow
Vocals, bass, guitar
Chris Morrow
Guitar, vocals
Marty Newcombe
Simon Vidale
Gary Roberts
Bass, vocals
John Bliss
Colin “Polly” Newham
Craig Bloxom
Marcus Phelan
Russell Handley