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Factory – The Flying Pickets


Great song, beautifully performed and remembered very fondly from the early 1980s when introduced to this singing group by some very good friends.

The name ‘Flying Pickets’ refers to mobile strikers who travel in order to join a picket. The band of six was founded by Brian Hibbard in 1982 from a group of actors who had been active with him in John McGrath’s “7:84 Theatre group”, a fringe theatre organisation who had sung a cappella in their production of the 1981 play One Big Blow. The Flying Pickets came up with the then novel concept of transferring the art of a cappella to the pop music scene.

Joining Hibbard in the Group were Rick Lloyd (who also wrote the music to One Big Blow), Gareth Williams, David Brett, Ken Gregson and Red Stripe (real name David Gittins). The members of the group were internationally renowned for their flamboyant appearance: Hibbard’s huge sideburns, Stripe’s thick eyeliner, and 4 others showing off gaudy suits and large hats.

“Only You”, their debut single, was the UK Christmas number one in 1983 spending a total of five weeks at the top, and also doing well around Europe.

Despite the radical Socialist politics of The Flying Pickets then Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher obviously unaware of this proclaimed to much amusement that it was her favourite record.

A second single, featuring Van McCoy’s “When You’re Young and in Love” originally written for Ruby and the Romantics reached number 7 but their third, a cover of the Eurythmics’ “Who’s That Girl” barely charted.

Source Wikipedia

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