Lost in Music 

A lot of us have aspirations to be in a band when we are teenagers and I was lucky enough to achieve modest success with the London-based outfit Animal Nightlife which I joined in 1981. This constantly evolving line-up was born out of the explosion of dance and club culture spawned from iconic London clubs such as Billy’s, the Blitz, Le Beat Route etc, and the love of jazz, funk, soul and disco. Taking the ethos of the punks and the confidence of the 80s era, we formed a band at the same time as many other club contemporaries.

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Animal Nightlife bands reputation was as a live act


Swing Out Sister, Blue Rondo A La Turk, Sade and Culture Club were friends as well as part of a rich club scene that included fashion designers, graphic designers, photographers and other creatives. Although at times nerve-racking, live performance provided the highlights of the experience and it was the enthusiastic response of local and regional audiences of fans who were just like us that helped us win a record deal.

Our sound combined jazz and soul in what some people called “sophisti-pop”. Love is the Great Pretender is probably our more definitive song and still sounds pretty good today thanks to the sympathetic production and the beautiful piano work of John Crichinson, the piano player with Ronnie Scott’s band.

This page highlights some of the photographic images, memories and sounds created by Animal Nightlife in its different line-ups between 1980 and 1988 which landed four tunes in the UK singles charts. I’m grateful to Gary Austin for these photos currently being posted, which were taken during live performances of the band which he recently sent to me.

Animal Nightlife,John Critchinson , pop music
Nightlife in 1985: The legendary John Crichinson on piano, with Steve ‘Flid’ Brown on guitar and Mac London on bongos

Fan site for Animal Nightlife