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29 October 2014
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Biography
Associates
Formed in Dundee in 1979 by Billy MacKenzie (vocals) and Alan Rankine (guitar/keyboards, etc). The duo had worked together before and released a cover of Bowie's Boys Keep Swinging on their own Double-Hip label....

Signed to Fiction in 1980, their debut album, The Affectionate Punch, featured Robert Smith (of The Cure) as a guest guitarist.

The band released a string of singles in 1981 on Situation 2 and second album, Fourth Drawer Down.

It was the following year that things started to change for the duo. Their third album, Sulk, was released and went to no.10 in the UK album charts. The sound is indescribable - MacKenzie's unique high-pitched vocals coupled with the white soul backdrop were starkly different from the New Romantic movement that saturated the singles chart, but somehow they seemed to fit right in there.

The three singles from Sulk, Party Fears Two, Club Country and 18 Carat Love Affair, were big hits and the band's future seemed assured. They split, however, and though they reformed in 1984 they never regained their form.

The duo released one single before Rankine left to join Paul Haig. MacKenzie continued to record as The Associates with a string of musicians. Next album, Perhaps, made the Top 30 in 1985, but the singles were only minor hits.

MacKenzie recorded more material in the late 80's/early 90's before finally going solo in 1992.

He had just signed to Nude when in 1997 he committed suicide at his home in Dundee, apparently after a depression following the death of his mother.

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