The story of pop geniuses Furniture
"You're at the stage, when you want your words heard and everybody's ready..."
Furniture had a hit in the UK charts in 1986 with "Brilliant Mind", the song that most people will still remember if you sing it at them. It was an unusual and moody single but shot into the Top 20.
Almost as soon as Furniture were finding success, their nightmares with the music industry began. As soon as the first pressing of their breakthrough album, The Wrong People, sold out, Stiff Records (catchphrases: "Pure pop for now people" and "We came, we saw, we left") deleted it. Soon after that, Stiff stiffed, and the band were among many caught up in legal wrangles that would tie them in knots for years.
That the 30,000 pressed copies of The Wrong People sold out so quickly should have set alarms bells ringing in the industry. A&R men should have jumped at the chance to sign up Furniture.
They didn't, and when the second album proper, Food Sex and Paranoia, was released by Arista in 1990 most people had forgotten about Furniture. Singles from the album were not a success, and it disappeared to the nation's bargain bins.
Maya Gilder left the band. There were a few final gigs in 1990 and 91, after which Furniture folded.
Here are Jim Irvin's comments on one of the last gigs at the 1990 Reading Festival:
Sally (Still) was there playing bass, as always, and singing Song For A Doberman. Maya's departure meant that we all had to run around playing bits of keyboard - including Hammy who came down from the drums to play sampler during Doberman and Farewell. (Funnily enough, I remember that show as being rather euphoric and we were told by the organisers that it was one of the best crowds in the tent that year - it certainly felt like a lot of people.)
Apart from a compilation album of singles, B-sides and rarities (She Gets Out the Scrapbook), released by Survival Records in 1991, nothing else ever emerged.
Jim Irvin became a music journalist. He worked for some time at Mojo magazine. He has a MySpace page with at least one new song on it. His profile says he's "a former singer and current songwriter and producer. He used to front the band Furniture and wrote their hit Brilliant Mind. Nowadays he mostly writes songs for others."
Hamilton Lee and Tim Whelan were founding members of Transglobal Underground, a very successful world/dance outfit.
Maya Gilder went to work for the BBC.
There are some videos on YouTube:
Someone's put some info and music files on MySpace: myspace.com/thewrongpeople. Wikipedia has a page about Furniture, although much of the information there came from this page. Allmusic.com has a little more info.
To talk to like-minded fans, subscribe to the Wrong People mailing list. Membership is moderated (by me) to keep down spam, so when you subscribe, include a little note to say you're a fan of the band - perhaps mention your favourite song - so I know you're more likely to be a genuine fan and not a spammer.
My old copy of Wrong People / Food Sex and Paranoia has worn out. Can you make me a copy?
No, sorry. I just don't have the time. I know that there are various bits of Furniture lurking on file sharing networks - you can try hunting there.
Maybe you know someone else who might help?
Sign up to the Wrong People mailing list and ask. Can't guarantee anything, mind you.
Are there going to be any new Furniture releases?
Rumour has it that there will be some re-releases soon. Watch this page for news updates.
What's the Wrong People mailing list like?
Not terribly busy, so you don't need to worry about your inbox getting overloaded. Every once in a while there's a thread of interest, usually relating to the prospect of future releases, or those rare occasions when Furniture are mentioned in the media.
How do I contact the band?
The only way I can think of is by writing to Survival Records, the independent record company that owns the publishing rights to most of Furniture's back catalogue. Survival's contact details are: Survival Records, PO Box 2502, Devizes, Wiltshire, SN10 3ZN. Tel: 0845 860500. Email: email@example.com. The forums on the Survival web site used to have snippets of useful information, but right now appear to be overwhelmed by spam.
You used to have some photos here didn't you?
Yes but they were terribly quality scans, mainly because 10 years ago I didn't understand how to use a scanner properly. If you have any decent quality images that I could use to liven up this page, by all means send them my way.
This page was created on 7th September 1997. The last update was 20th February 2012.
My name is Giles Turnbull and I made this page partly to learn how to do HTML. I've moved on somewhat since then, technically, professionally, and musically - although I do still listen to Furniture albums every now and then. If you'd like to get in touch, feel free to email me at giles at gilest dot org.