Formed in London in 1988 by songwriters Wendy Robinson (b. 6 April 1964, Huddersfield, Yorkshire, England; vocals), Polly Hancock (b. 16 July 1964, Berkshire, England; guitar/vocals) and a drum machine, the Popinjays evolved out of the influential Timebox Club at the Bull & Gate pub in Kentish Town, north London (the duo later ran their own Pop Club at the same venue). Dana Baldinger (b. 26 December 1963, California, USA; bass) joined in 1989 as the offer of a combination of sweets, comics and biscuits won the band a recording contract with One Little Indian Records. Badlinger departed after one single, to be replaced by fellow countrywoman Anne Rogers (b. 17 October 1962, New York, USA) a move that was followed by a flood of critical recommendations for their 1990 debut, Bang Up To Date With The Popinjays, on which the band strove to perfect the ultimate pop formula. Ever conscious of the importance of fun in music, their promo video for the ‘Vote Elvis’ single featured much Monkees -style running around with special guest Cathal Coughlan from the Fatima Mansions. Seamus Feeney (b. 19 November 1964, Middlesex, England) caused the drum machine to be sacked at the close of the year, just as the Popinjays were beginning to garner appreciative attention from America. Flying Down To Mono Valley did little to embellish their reputation, and it was left to their 1994 album to produce a significant stylistic departure. Tales From The Urban Prairie saw forays into country rock and singer-songwriter melancholia, an affecting performance but one that left their traditional fanbase in some degree of confusion.
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