Saturday, April 7, 2012

"Feels Like Heaven" by Fiction Factory - April 7th 80's Quest Song/Band of the Day

In 1984 when I was a Senior in high school, I worked all year as a cashier at a department store to save up money to go on a trip to London, England with our school’s Foreign Language Club in April of 1985.  They took an international trip every year, and my friends and I specifically joined the club that year, because we heard they were going to London, and we wanted to be there.  During the early 80’s all of the best bands, fashions, and clubs were all from England and we were all quite Anglophiles in that regard.  It was a dream trip.  Twenty-seven years later my friends and I still talk about the trip we took that week and look back on it fondly as one of the best weeks of our entire lives.

Of course one of the things we wanted to do while in London was to hit the record stores and bring home some cool new music that had not hit our shores yet.  We tuned our ears and heard some new bands during our stay such as Haywoode, Go West, Paul Hardcastle, and the Rah Band, which were being played frequently that April 1985 in London.  Another band we heard over there was Fiction Factory, I bought their album Throw the Warped Wheel Out at the HMV record store and took it back home with me.  I rarely ever heard them played on the radio in America.  Maybe only a handful of times over the years as an underground kind of band, but they never achieved the same popularity that they seemed to have in England at the time.  Imagine how surprised I was to hear the song used in a mainstream television commercial for candy a few years ago!  That’s the way it seems to go these days.  I used to get chided back in high school for what was considered to be “underground” bands that my classmates had never heard before on mainstream radio, and now I hear all of these songs appearing in modern day television commercials and movie soundtracks.
Fiction Factory formed in Perth, Scotland in 1983.  Members Kevin Patterson (vocals), Eddie Jordan (keyboards), Grant Taylor (trumpet) and Chic Medley (guitar) had played together in a skinhead ska band called The Rude Boys/or The RB’s, as it was later shortened.

CBS Records showed interest in them but wanted them to have a more full-fledged sound, so they brought on Graham McGregor (bass) and Mike Ogletree (drums) who had formerly played with the band Simple Minds.  Fiction Factory’s debut album, Throw the Warped Wheel Out was released in 1984 and spawned the single “Feels Like Heaven” which was a Top 10 hit in the U.K. , Germany and Switzerland.  Other singles included “Ghost of Love” (#64 in the U.K.), and “All or Nothing”.

The band released a second album in 1985 called Another Story.  It did not achieve the same success and the singles released (“Time is Right”, “Not the Only One”, and “No Time”) did not chart well.  Fiction Factory broke up in 1987.  Singer Pattinson eventually left the music business.  He has a wife and two children and now works in the IT department at the University of Dundee in Scotland.  Guitarist Medley continued working in the music realm with world music band Mouth Music. 

In 2009 the song “Feels Like Heaven” was used in a television commercial for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.  In 2011 original members Pattinson, Medley, McGregor and Jordan reformed for a performance at the Rewind Festival, and 80’s music festival taking place at Temple Island Meadows near Henley-on-Thames, England.  Other bands who shared the bill with Fiction Factory included Holly Johnson of Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Village People, Billy Ocean, Bananarama, Haircut 100, Howard Jones, Hue and Cry, ABC, The Human League, Kim Wilde, Ali Campbell's UB40, Earth, Wind & Fire Experience feat Al McKay, Average White Band, Nik Kershaw, Candi Staton, and more.

Heaven is closer now today
The sound is in my ears
I can't believe the things you say
They echo what I fear
Twisting the bones until they snap
I scream but no one knows
Say I'm familiar, cold to touch
And then you turn and go

Feels like heaven
Feels like heaven

See how we planned for saddened eyes and tears
To pave the way
I fought the fever as I knew
My hair, it turned to gray
Study your face and fade the frame
Too close for comfort now
We can recall the harmony that lingered but went sour

Feels like heaven
Feels like heaven

You wanted all I had to give
See me, I feel
See me, I live
Whoa oh

Feels like heaven
(heaven is closer, heaven is closer)
Feels like heaven
(heaven is closer, heaven is closer)
Feels like heaven
(heaven is closer, heaven is closer)
Feels like heaven
(heaven is closer, heaven is closer)

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