Starry Eyed & Laughing

About Starry Eyed & Laughing

Originally a distinctly Byrds-influenced duo of guitarist/vocalists Ross McGeeney and Tony Poole (and thus instantly comparable to an early R.E.M.), Starry Eyed and Laughing were one of the most individual acts to gravitate toward the London pub rock scene as the 1970s neared their midpoint. Formed in the midlands city of Northampton during 1973, within a year the band had swollen to a quartet comprising McGeeney, Poole, bassist Steve Hall, and drummer Nick Brown and were packing venues across the capital. This lineup survived only a matter of months, but did bring the band to the attention of CBS. With a new rhythm section of Iain W hitmore and the splendidly named drummer Mick Wackford, plus a cast of guests including Russ Ballard, Lindisfarne's Ray Jackson, and BJ Cole, Starry Eyed and Laughing cut their eponymous debut album in mid-1974, alongside the single "Money Is No Friend of Mine." A second album, Thought Talk, followed in 1975, together with further singles "Nobody Home" and "Good Love," and that fall, Starry Eyed and Laughing made their U.S. debut with a short, but very well-received tour. Upon returning home, however, McGeeney quit the band -- he was replaced by Roger Kelly for the 1976 single "Don't Give Me a Hard Time," before bassist Whitmore, too, departed. Opting to continue on as a trio, the band abbreviated its name to Starry Eyed alone, but never recaptured the excitement of earlier years and broke up soon after. ~ Dave Thompson

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