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From: Belfast

Active: 1968-1986 approx

Style: Pop

Lineup: (1978 LP)


Chips' roots date back to the mid-60s Belfast band The Dominoes who played laid back pop and soul. The Dominoes became The Group when pianist Dick Pentland left to join Heart And Soul, who included ex Beat Boys drummer Robin Lavery in the lineup. Both bands then merged in 1969 to become Chips. Chips performed harmony pop covers (Beach Boys, Mamas and Papas, the Fifth Dimension, etc). They reputedly recorded a single for Emerald Records, but I have no more information about this, and I am not sure it exists.

Paul Lyttle (ex Carpetbaggers) joined Chips in 1970 and became the driving force in the band. The debut single "Today I Killed A Man" was banned by RTE because of the political situation in Northern Ireland at the time. The A-side was included on the "What Is Truth" compilation LP released by Polydor the same year. The band released a poor followup single on M And M Records.

Chips at The Hangar, Galway on 7 August 1972.

In January 1972, after just two singles, Paul Lyttle and Linda Martin left to form Lyttle People. A new Chips lineup was assembled by manager Roger Armstrong. This band adopted a more rock-oriented sound which went down well with contemporary audiences in Dublin. The only vinyl record of this period is a single released during the summer. "Open Your Eyes" / "Earth" is excellent and is well worth tracking down. It was self-released by the band through Release Records and was picked up by RCA in the UK a month later. The heavier, almost proggy style was at odds with the material they'd recorded earlier, and must've been the source of confusion for some.

This band included Reno Smith, former drummer with Truth (the post Them band), who joined Chips as replacement for Robin Lavery in June 1973. Then Frank Boylan (ex Creatures, Mellow Candle, Gary Moore Band, etc) joined on bass in October 1973. Other new members included singer Nicola Kerr, later to find fame with The New Seekers, and possibly Stuart Bingham, who later (re)formed his band Sunshine. They played a free Open Air Concert at the Phoenix Park with Horslips in July 1973 and headlined Liberty Hall on 12th September. Recording sessions for what would have been the bands debut LP were planned for September at Rockfiled Studios with John Anthony producing but these never came to pass. If anyone has any recordings from this period please get in touch!

Meanwhile, Lyttle People disbanded in November 1973 and Paul Lyttle and Linda Martin rejoined Chips circa 1974 while Nicola Kerr was out but then in again in 1974. Founding member Robin Irvine, who'd played bass with the band since 1969, left in 1974 to join Jody Pollard and Ken Wilson in Bananas who moved to NYC in 1975 with another ex Chips member Robin Lavery (drums). Bananas split in 1976. Irvine's replacement was bassist Sean Magee, ex Sunshine.

Chips recorded a number of good pop singles for Decca during 1974-75. They had a measure of success in France and elsewhere across Europe with a single called "King Kong" released under the name Lily and Chips in 1974. "Twice A Week" (1975) features a good arrangement of Steeley Dan's "Reelin In The Years" on the B-side and is worth tracking down. The A-side was a minor hit -- did they perform it on Top Of The Pops? Adrian Mullen entered "My World" in the National Song Contest (which selected the Eurovision entry) in 1974. Chips own recording was subsequently released as a single by Polydor. The 1974 contest was actually won by a Paul Lyttle song "Cross Your Heart" which Chips never recorded. As with all National Song Contest finalists that year, it was performed by Tina (see The Real McCoy).

Nicola Kerr left to become Catriona Walsh's co-singer in Dublin group Stacc in 1975. Kerr and Walsh would later join the New Seekers in 1979. Sunshine provided a replacement again in the form of singer Irene McIlroy, and again in 1978 when Sean Magee was replaced by Trevor England.

Chips contined to record and tour into the early 1980s. They supported the Bay City Rollers on their UK tour of 1976. They entered the National Song Contest again inm 1977 with "Goodbye Goodbye". Their debut LP finally came out in 1978, comprised entirely of previously released singles. Chips appeared on TV many times over the years and even had their own BBC Northern Ireland TV series Chips & Friends, one episode of which included a guest appearance by MacMurrough (in among all the Glen Curtins and Fran O'Tooles and other mid-70s mediocrities). They did Opportunity Knocks (ITV) and entered the National Song Contest three years in a row (1976-78) as performers (Paul Lyttle may also have entered as a songwriter). The last of these, 1978's "Happy Days", does not appear on vinyl. This speaks volumes for where their ambitions lay. There was also an hour long live performance from 1981 which was broadcast by RTE TV in its "Best of the Bands" series. Chips last release was in 1982. The split in 1986. Linda Martin launched a successful solo career, including two Eurovision song contests.

Disambiguation: No relation to the early 80s German disco outfit on RCA Records.


• Today I Killed A Man / Quintan Sunday
7" - Polydor Records - 2078 011 - IRL - 1971 - PS, both sides identical

• Sock It To 'Em Sister Nell / Let Us Learn To Love One Another
7" - M & M Records - FFMS 10005 - UK - February 1971

• Open Your Eyes / Earth
7" - Forever/Release Records - FOR1 - IRL - June 1973 - PS
7" - RCA Records - 2392 - UK - July 1973 - no PS
A Forever Records Production.

• King Kong / Love For An Angel
7" - Decca - ??? - UK - February 1974
Lily & Chips - King Kong / Love For An Angel
7" - Barclay - 74250- France - 1974 - PS
7" - Barclay - 74250- Germany - 1974 - PS
7" - Barclay - 74250- Turkey - 1974 - PS
7" - Movieplay/Barclay - SN 20847 - Spain - 1974 - PS
7" - Editions Peter Plum Publications - BCS 9 CD - Angola - 1974 - PS
Lily & Chips - King Kong / Love For An Angel [other side by Hot Dogs]
7" - Musart - EXI 40098 - Mexico - 1974 - PS
Made in Mexico by Panamericana de Discos.
Other side by Hot Dogs - Tchip Tchip / Nothing
Songs titles printed in English and Spanish.
"King Kong" was written by manager Ted O'Neill and Tony Gregory.
Lily & Chips - King Kong [other side by Tritons]
7" - Barclay/Banglad - B-47-S - Chile - 1974 - no PS
A-side by Italian band Tritons - Satisfaction (Rolling Stones cover)

• My World / After The Goldrush
7" - Polydor Records - 2078 044 - IRL - August 1974
A-side by Adrian Mullen.

• Love Matters / Gentle Teacher
7" - Ton Records - TO 701 - IRL - 1975
7" - Decca Records - FR13574 - UK - April 1975

• Twice A Week / Reelin In The Years
7" - Rex Records - R.11104 - IRL - June 1975
7" - Decca Records - FR13604 - UK - June 1975
7" - Decca Records - 6.11775 - Germany - 1975 - PS
7" - Decca Records - 105 26471 Y - Belgium - 1975 - PS

• I'm A Song (Sing Me) // Living Is Ours / We Can Fly
7" - Decca Records - FR13632 - UK - November 1976
• I'm A Song (Sing Me) // We Can Fly
7" - Rex Records - R.11115 - IRL - 1977
B-side "We Can Fly" (by J. & G.Brown) entered in the 1976 National Song Contest.
Arranged by Jim Doherty, produced by Nick Tauber.

• Goodbye Goodbye / Just A Little Bit Longer
7" - Rex Records - R.11116 - IRL - April 1977
A-side "Goodbye Goodbye" (Hurley/Hickey/O'Loughlin) entered in the 1977 National Song Contest.
Arranged by Liam Hurley, produced by Nick Tauber.

• Shine A Light / Living Is Ours
7" - Decca Records - F13687 - IRL - February 1977
With Henry McCullough

• Here In My Arms (or It's Over) / Our Love Will Grow And Grow
7" - Rex Records - R.11118 - IRL - March 1978
• It's Over / Our Love Will Grow And Grow
7" - Decca Records - F13756 - UK - 1978
With Henry McCullough

• The Sooner the Better / I Want to Celebrate Our Love
7" - Decca Records - FR 13802 - UK - September 1978
With Henry McCullough

• self-titled
LP - Rex/Decca Records - SPR 1018 - 1978
With Nicola Kerr, but her replacement Irene McIlroy pictured on cover

• Automobile / Put On Your Dancing Shoes
7" - Spider Records - WEB 018 - IRL - June 1980
12" - Spider Records - WEB 018 - IRL - June 1980

• New Romance (It's A Mystery) // After The Goldrush / New Day
7" - Spider Records - WEB 046 - IRL - 1981

• David's Song (Who'll Come With Me) / Celebrate The Love
7" - WEA Records - IR 18942 - IRL - January 1982
7" - Tube Records - TUBE4 (45668) - UK - 1982 - PS

• Hi-Lowe / Tissue Of Lies
7" - WEA Records - IR 19234 - IRL - 1982
Produced and arranged by Paul Lyttle.
A-side by John Wright, B-side by Paul Lyttle.

Compilation Appearances:

• various artists - Cosmarama (Blow Your Cool Vol.2)
CD - Psychic Circle - ??? - UK - 2008
subtitled 20 Top Prog/Psych Rock Behemoths from The UK & Europe

The liner notes read: "Chips were an Irish showband based in Sligo. They were formed by members of three Belfast bands, The Dominoes, Heart &l and The Group. As with many showbands, their repertoire ranged from chart pop to prog rock and all points in between. Chips were one of Northern Ireland's top acts and continued well into the 80s with many different line-ups. Earth was their third single."

See also: Lyttle People, Stacc, Sunshine

Help!: We need your help to complete this entry. If you can tell us more about this band then please do! We welcome any corrections, missing details, connections to other bands, where are they now, etc. We also need photos, scans, copies of releases or live or demo recordings, and any other memorabilia gathering dust in the attic. If you can help, then please get in touch.

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