The Lookalikes formed in Dublin in late 1978 or early 1979 as a "pseudo-funk ultra-technical new wave band". The original lineup included founder members Paul Bell on keyboards and Mike Mesbur on drums. Both left the Eric Bell Band to form the new group, which was originally announced as Nancy Kid And The Lookalikes. Bell had previously played with The Bates Band in his native Wexford before moving to Dublin to join Homegrown and then Eric Bell.
This early, twin keyboards phase of the band lasted about a year. Guitarist Stephen Rekab joined Dublin reggae band Zebra and was replaced by Sean O'Connor. When Sean's powerpop songs began to dominate the band's sound and attract positive attention for record labels, Bell became disillusioned. Unhappy with the more commercial powerpop direction, he left the band in 1980, and went on to form Zerra 1.
The Lookalikes demo tape attracted a lot of A&R attention. Some of the songs are reminiscent of The Cars early hits. They were offered a one-off single deal by Virgin which they turned down. They finally opted for Rod Stewart's Riva Records label. They toured the UK supporting Thin Lizzy in 1980 and released three great powerpop singles on Riva during 1980-81, but their relationship with the label eventually soured and plans for releasing an LP on Riva were scrapped. Instead the band recorded their debut LP for WEA Ireland. This proved to be the last recording session of the original band.
After a successful support slot on Thin Lizzy's European tour in early 1982,
the Lookalikes announced that Keenan, Doyle and Mesbur would be leaving the
band once all remaining commitments had been fulfilled. This trio had become
frustrated at not being involved in songwriting for the band but the split
from Sean O'Connor was reputedly amicable. Keenan, Doyle and Mesbur officially
left in July 1982 and announced their new band C'est Clave in September.
O'Connor released a couple more singles under the name Sean O'Connor & The Lookalikes before moving to the USA, where he was based for most of the 80s/90s, before returning to Ireland. His website is here.
Spent 2 weeks in the Irish charts in Nov/Dec 1980, peaking at #23; re-entered the charts in January 1981 for a 3 week stretch, peaking at #22.
Charity single in support of The Roisin Dubh Trust, set up to pay for the statue to Phil Lynott erected in Dublin city centre.
Special silver cardboard package with 3x stickers and Lookalikes badge. This is not a complete discography CD alas; the Riva singles are absent. On the other hand it includes 5 previously unreleased songs and/or versions. The remastering ("Digital Transfer from Original 1/4" Masters") is very bright and crisp, a little too much so perhaps as it lacks bottom end. The CD includes a multimedia session with (brief) band history, illustrated discography (incomplete) and a photo gallery, including some scans nicked from this very site! But the reason for getting this set is of course the DVD, which contains several vintage videos. It looks very tasty but I have yet to view it so stay tuned for further details.
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