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Articles Home » 1979 Articles » Flash And The Pan - 1979 Flash And The Pan
Flash And The Pan - 1979 Flash And The Pan

ARTIST: Flash And The Pan
ALBUM: Flash And The Pan
SERIAL: PE 36108
YEAR: 1979
CD REISSUE: 1999, Repertoire, LC 08065 (with bonus tracks)


LINEUP: Harry Vanda - guitar, vocals * George Young - synthesizer, lead vocals

Additional Musicians: Les Karski - bass * Ray Arnott - drums * Warren Morgan - piano

TRACK LISTING: 01 Hey St Peter * 02 Man In The Middle * 03 Walking In The Rain * 04 The African Shuffle * 05 California * 06 Lady Killer * 07 The Man Who Knew The Answer * 08 Hole In The Middle * 09 And The Band Played On (Among The Dead Man) * 10 First And Last

Created by former Easybeats Harry Vanda and George Young (older brother to AC/DC's Malcolm and Angus) as a studio only project; Flash And The Pan became an international sensation with 'Hey, St. Peter' and a debut selling way beyond expectations. There are two different versions of the record and three different sleeves. The original Australian Albert Productions release has a different running order and hideous Roger Dean inspired art work while both the UK and American issues have the same sequence, the former's cover features a stylish photo of a blindfolded Woman holding a Blackbird (?) while the American version is the more often seen with its strange Hipgnosis influenced Frisbee's on the beach photo. It's that issue we'll review here.

The Songs
This was a high school favourite because they sounded so much like prime-time 10CC and after buying the record, I remember playing it every day for 2 weeks straight which I'm sure annoyed my parents! Researching for this article I didn't realize 'Hey, St. Peter' was released as a single in Australia in 1976. Brimming with hooks, it made the top 10 down under, bridging 10CC's humor with ELO's classicism and while some tend to categorize Flash And The Pan as new wave, on this album they successfully fell into the progressive pop genre which is alright by me. Other than a few choruses there's very little actual singing from George Young, but a lot of witty, at times silly spoken word and this works exceedingly well on the moody 'Walking In The Rain' which was later covered by Grace Jones giving the Disco diva a minor hit in both Germany and The Netherlands. 'The African Shuffle' is a lot of fun and I like the somber tone of the Hitchcock-esque 'The Man Who Knew The Answer' but my favourite cut is 'Down Among The Dead Men'. Piano driven with a disco beat, the song's about the sinking of the Titanic and while the subject matter is grim, it's catchy and difficult to resist.

In Summary
Several more albums followed with varying degrees of quality although I really liked 1987's 'Nights In France' disc which was almost a strong as the debut. Unfortunately, it's long out of print but the debut has been reissued numerous times. Avoid the Renaissance version and opt for the Repertoire release for the best sound and three bonus tracks offering single versions of 'Down Among The Dead Men', 'The African Shuffle' and the lovely 'First And Last'.

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#1 | Nick C on March 06 2015 01:21:15
I remember liking their song Media Man off their album Lights in the Night which I think came out after this one? It was all over the radio in Canada back in 1980 (amongst other things) so much so I thought they were a Canadian's only after reading this that I found they weren't. Can't remember how the song went but back then I thought it pretty nifty.
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