Originally an R&B band, the Cortinas were formed in July 1976 in Bristol, England, by Jeremy Valentine (vocals), Nick Sheppard (guitar), Mike Fewins (guitar), Dexter Dalwood (bass) and Daniel Swan (drums). The advent of the late 70s ‘new wave’ brought a change to their usual live set of 60s cover versions, which were replaced with self-penned tracks such as ‘Television Families’ and ‘I Wanna Have It With You’. The remainder were given the ‘punk treatment’, which created an exciting live spectacle. In the beginning of June 1977, ‘Fascist Dictator’ was released on the Step Forward label, perfectly capturing the raw energy of the time, although it lacked any real originality. This new-found popularity brought with it problems, as many of their home town gigs ended in trouble, prompting the band to cut their ties with punk. Consequently, the live set saw a return to cover versions, where even ‘Fascist Dictator’ was excluded. True Romances was released on CBS Records in 1978 and contained a remake of Smokey Robinson’s ‘First I Look At The Purse’, together with 12 originals. The album had lost the power and bite of previous offerings, the result being mediocre. One last single, ‘Heartache’, was extracted before they split at the end of the year. Mike Fewins joined Essential Bop, whereas Nick Sheppard formed the Spics, two of the most prominent new wave bands to emerge from Bristol in 1979. Swan resurfaced in the Anglo-American indie pop outfit, the Sneetches.
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