Breaking The Ice With Bette Bright…43 Years Later

Bette Bright had a brief solo career outside of Deaf School

I never heard Deaf School until sometime in the early 90s when a friend have me the US 2xLP compilation of “2nd Honeymoon/Don’t Stop The World” and I finally got to hear the fascinating group. Sure, I’d heard the name a few times, but that sort of English Hothouse Art Pop never “transplanted well” in the land of AOR at the time.

[…Flash forward 30 years]

It was last year when I was [finally] giving credence to the thought that maybe I should get all of the Bette Bright solo material for a neat and tidy REVO edition? Goodness knows that I saw several of the Bette Bright singles in the import bins throughout the New Wave Prime period of 1980-1983 but at the time, I could not have named anyone in Deaf School, and hearing even that band was almost a decade in my future. In the context of 1981 and onward, Bette Bright was just another singer I’d never heard.

As I said, last year, I finally bit on her one solo album when a favorite dealer in the States had an inexpensive copy. Now my goal is to get the bonus tracks for the inevitable CD-R to compile it all. Here’s what it will entail:

bette bright -rhythm breaks ice UK LP sleeve
Korova | UK | LP | 1981 | KODE 4

Bette Bright: Rhythm Breaks The Ice – UK – LP [1981]

  1. When You Were Mine
  2. On A Night Like This
  3. Hello, I Am Your Heart
  4. All Girls Lie
  5. Take What You Find
  6. Talking Whispers
  7. Thunder And Lightning
  8. Shoorah, Shoorah
  9. Some Girls Have All The Luck
  10. Tender Touch
  11. Hold On

The LP was produced by the Clanger/Winstanley team who were by 1981 a very established production team, but one where Clive Langer had gotten his start as the guitarist in Deaf School before joining Allen Winstanley as half of the production team by the late 70s. The album was released in 1981, but most of the solo singles had a different band/branding. In 1978-1979, Bette had a band called The Illuminations who had released a few singles on Radarscope Records.

bette bright + the illuminations - my boyfriend's back cover art
BBRadar Records | UK }| 7″ | 1978 | ADA 18

Bette Bright + The Illuminations: My Boyfriend’s Back – UK – 7″ [1978]

  1. My Boyfriend’s Back
  2. Hold On I’m Coming

The first solo single was a pair of classic pop covers. The Angels Pop classic and the Isaac Hayes Soul classic. The Illuminations were like a Who’s Who of [largely Liverpudlian] British pop. Ian Broudie, Glen Matlock, Rusty Egan, Clive Langer, and Henry Priestman were all playing on the track. The cover was courtesy of Malcolm Garrett branded as Amatory Images.

bette bright + the illuminations - the captain of your ship  cover art
Radar Records | UK | 7″ | 1979 | ADA 21

Bette Bright + The Illuminations: The Captain Of Your Ship – UK – 7″ [1979]

  1. The Captain Of Your Ship
  2. Those Greedy Eyes

Her second single from 1979 was in another [very rhythmic] Garrett cover. This time named as Active Images! Speaking of covers, the A-side was the Reparata + The Delrons tune, which I’m not familiar with. And the B-side was a band-penned tune. I saw this one a LOT back in the day, but never bit.

bette bright hello, this is your heart
  cover art
Korova | UK | 1980 | KOW 3

Bette Bright: Hello, This Is Your Heart – UK – 7″ [1980]

  1. Hello, This I Am Your Heart
  2. All Girls Lie

The third single from the following year [see the pattern?] showed a shakeup. The Illuminations were gone, and now the branding was strictly Bette Bright. Label allegiance shifted from Radarscope to The Bunnymen’s Korova imprint. All firmly Liverpudlilan in scope. The two songs seem to be on the album, but does anyone know if the single tracks were recut from the album sessions for a single, as was common on that time period?

bette bright + the illuminations - when you were mine cover art
Korova | UK | 1981 | KOW 14

Bette Bright + The Illuminations: When You Were Mine – UK – 7″ [1981]

  1. When You Were Mine
  2. Soulful Dress

Another year, another single. This time, Bette was first to strike on the already classic Prince tune from the year prior. I saw this one in the import bins as well as its picdisc version to excess. The non-LP B-side is why I need to buy it now. The Illuminations branding is back, but Messrs. Egan, Matlock, and Priestman had all moved on.

bette bright + the illuminations - some girls have all the luck cover art
Korova | UK | 1981 | KOW 18

Bette Bright + The Illuminations: Some Girls Have All The Luck – UK – 7″ [1981]

  1. Some Girls Have All The Luck
  2. Tender Touch

Bette’s last solo single was another cover. This time of The Pursuaders 1973 classic that has had many cover versions with Rod “The Mod” Stewart having by far the biggest hit with it. Has anyone ever heard the original? The B-side is also from the album. Can anyone state whether the versions here were from the album or not? I always get nervous at assuming that they are and then finding out that I bypassed some “buried treasure” tracks a decade [or more] later. Fortunately, most of these singles are easy to source from American dealers. I just need the chump change to buy them. So join me in seven years when I’ll relate the actual making of the CD that’s shaping up…in my mind [taps cranium].


About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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11 Responses to Breaking The Ice With Bette Bright…43 Years Later

  1. Taffy says:

    I’m not at all familiar with Bette Bright, but surely if there’s a single called My Boyfriend’s Back, it’s a cover of the big hit by The Angels, not The Crystals. And while I’m at it, wasn’t Hold On, I’m Coming done by Sam and Dave?


    • postpunkmonk says:

      Taffy – It’s a Hayes/Porter classic that everyone from Sam + Dave to Mr. Ferry [and his pet ferret] has covered. Including Ms. Bright, who has been married to Suggs from Madness for ages now. Angels…Crystals… thanks for setting me straight.


      • diskojoe says:

        Sam & Dave were the first artists to do “Hold On I’m Coming”, which Issac. Hayes & David Porter wrote for them. The story goes that one of the writers was looking for the other, who was in the can & replied “Hold on, I’m coming!”


  2. KeithC says:

    Not familiar at all with Bette Bright but while checking my iTunes balance a few minutes ago (re my kids’ apps and cloud storage), I see the ‘The Rhythm Breaks the Ice” was added in late Aug-2021along with 3 singles including ‘Soulful Dress’.

    I’m giving it a listen now; first quick preview wasn’t bad but need a full listen to evaluate.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      KeithC – Really? iTunes sometimes shocks me. My question is now do I source those singles on 7” or just DL? But one B-side is still AWOL.


      • JT says:

        >7” or just DL?

        7″ is gonna be low-fi and crackly, DL is gonna be data compressed. Not a great choice either way, but at least you won’t have to spend time restoring the DL. If it’s a 320kbps version you may do well.


        • postpunkmonk says:

          JT – A conundrum I wrestle with all of the time! Also, don’t forget that many DLs may also be sourced from vinyl and some are done with less care than in my home! Another layer of anxiety to deal with!


  3. Ade.W says:

    The Deaf School albums I still play now, 2nd honeymoon amongst my all time faves. I bought the Bette Bright 7″s when they came out but I felt the material just wasn’t as strong as the deaf school stuff. I don’t play them much. In the storage box she is filed along side Little Nell, oh well.


  4. McRonson says:

    That Bette Bright Captain of your ship picture sleeve did things to me when it came out. I recall she was/is married to Suggs of Madness.


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