Deaf School at CBGBs
        New York 1977

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Forty years ago a chaotic student group played their debut show, at the Liverpool Art School Christmas dance. They were called Deaf School because they rehearsed in a former School for the Deaf. It was a throwaway name, for a pop-up band, who took defiant pride in being below-average musicians. And yet, somehow, they seemed to do something right.

Word spread, their audiences grew. Record companies came sniffing. Large cheques were produced and champagne corks popped. Twelve years earlier the Liverpool music scene had given the world The Beatles. Could lightning strike twice in the same place? A lot of entirely sane people agreed this band could be the future of British rock’n’roll.

They weren’t, of course. Chart success eluded Deaf School, for reasons that are still being thrashed out in pubs around the country. Most of all their timing was unlucky. They played a brash, splashy, infectious sort of rock cabaret, just as punk rock was about to explode. (‘They were a great band,’ said the Sex Pistols’ manager Malcolm McLaren, ‘but it’s just as bad being too early as too late.’)

Deaf School broke up in 1978, somewhat disillusioned. Eventually, though, after varied and often spectacular solo careers, its members reunited and played to joyful audiences. Some very major pop stars acclaimed them as an influence. That’s why I start from the premise that Deaf School are an artistic success and not a commercial failure.

Posterity has its own hit parade and I think Deaf School will be high in it. It’s a measure of this band’s strange, anomalous position in British pop that their story connects such disparate names as Queen and Elvis Costello. They don’t sit along any neat continuum. In fact they inhabited a fracture-line between two eras, and they nearly slipped right down it, forever.

Deaf School were pop art, they were their own mad kind of punk rock, and they were always a guaranteed non-stop party. They should have been big, but that doesn’t matter now. They are something to celebrate and to cherish. Deaf School are such a delicious secret, it’s almost a shame to share it.

Paul Du Noyer,  Introduction to The Non-Stop Punk Rock Pop Art Party 
Liverpool University Press, 2013

Bette Bright  (Anne McPherson) - vocals
Enrico Cadillac Jnr  (Steve Allen) - vocals
Cliff Hanger  (Clive Langer) - guitar
Ian Ritchie - sax & woodwind
Rev Max Ripple  (John Wood) - keyboards
Mr Average  (Steve Lindsey) - bass guitar
Gregg Braden - drums

Passed Members
Eric Shark  (Sam Davis) - vocals  (1950–2010)
Tim Whittaker - drums  (1952–1996)


1976:  2nd Honeymoon
1977:  Don't Stop the World
1978:  English Boys / Working Girls
2011:  Enrico & Bette xx
2015:  Launderette
2017:  Let's Do This Again Next Week

Live Album
1988:  2nd Coming: Liverpool '88

Compilation Albums
2003:  What a Way to End It All: The Anthology
2021:  Parigi My Dear

1976:  What a Way to End It All / Nearly Moonlit Night Motel
1977:  Taxi / Last Night
1978:  All Queued Up / Golden Showers
1978:  Thunder & Lightning / Working Girls
2011:  The Survivor Song
2017:  Bed & Breakfast / Loving You