Stray Cats biography
The Stray Cats are an American rockabilly band formed in 1980 by guitarist/vocalist Brian Setzer (Bloodless Pharaohs/Brian Setzer Orchestra), upright bassist Lee Rocker and Slim Jim Phantom (drums) in the Long Island town of Massapequa, New York. The group had numerous hit singles in the UK, Australia, Canada and the U.S. including "Stray Cat Strut", "Sexy and 17", "Look at That Cadillac," "I Won't Stand in Your Way", "Bring it Back Again", and "Rock This Town", which the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has listed as one of the 500 most important songs in the history of rock and roll.
Formation and move to UKThe group, whose style was based upon the sounds of Sun Records artists and other artists from the 1950s, were heavily influenced by Eddie Cochran, Carl Perkins, Gene Vincent and Bill Haley & His Comets. The Stray Cats quickly developed a large following in the New York music scene playing at CBGB and Max's Kansas City as well as venues on Long Island. When the Cats heard a rumor that there was a revival of the 1950s Teddy Boy youth subculture in England, the band moved to the UK. They then spearheaded the nascent rockabilly revival, by blending the 1950s Sun Studio sound with modern punk musical elements. In terms of visual style, the Stray Cats also blended elements of 1950 rockabilly clothes, such as wearing drape jackets, brothel creepers and western shirts with punk clothes, such as tight black zipper trousers and modern versions of 1950s hair styles. thumb The band first appeared in the middle of 1979 as "Brian Setzer and the Tomcats". In 1982 they joined The Rolling Stones' US-tour as an opening act called "The Stray Cats". Since 1983 they have used only "Stray Cats" as their name. The band name Stray Cats had already earlier appeared in the 1973 rock 'n' roll film That'll Be the Day and its 1974 sequel Stardust.
In the middle of 1980 the Cats found themselves being courted by the elite of the music world including Virgin Records, Stiff Records and Arista Records. Word quickly spread and soon members of The Rolling Stones, The Who and Led Zeppelin were at their shows. After a gig in London, Stray Cats met producer Dave Edmunds, well known as a roots rock enthusiast for his work with Rockpile and as a solo artist. Edmunds offered to work with the group, and they entered the studio to record their self-titled debut album, Stray Cats, released in Britain in 1981 on Arista Records. They had three hits that year with "Runaway Boys", "Rock This Town", and "Stray Cat Strut". The UK follow-up to Stray Cats, Gonna Ball, was not as well-received, providing no hits. Yet the combined sales of their first two albums were enough to convince EMI America to compile the best tracks from the two UK albums and issue an album (Built for Speed) in the U.S. in 1982. The record went on to sell double platinum in the US and Canada and was the No. 2 record on the Billboard album charts for 26 weeks.
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