Act existed only briefly, recorded an LP that bombed, and then broke up. End of story? Not quite. Act just happened to feature a musician who wrote one of the '80s most memorable songs. After releasing a self-titled album with Alfalpha on EMI Records in 1977, Nick Laird-Clowes (vocals, guitar) formed Act in 1979. Also featuring Mark Gilmour (guitar) (the brother of Pink Floyd's David Gilmour), Sam Harley (bass), and Derek Adams (drums), Act's lifespan didn't extend beyond 1981's Too Late at 20, a full-length of Elvis Costello-styled new wave pop. The album went nowhere, and the group split up. In 1982, Laird-Clowes flew to New York to receive music lessons from Paul Simon, whom he had met at the Grammy Awards. A year later, Laird-Clowes created the Dream Academy with keyboardist Gilbert Gabriel and multi-instrumentalist Kate St. John. In 1985, the Dream Academy had a U.S. and U.K. hit with "Life in a Northern Town" and then disbanded in the early '90s when they were unable to mirror that success.
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