Long-lived yet virtually unknown outside of Canada, Toronto’s 80’s New Wave band “Blue Peter” enjoyed a couple of hits with “Don’t Walk Past” and “Radio Silence.” The band’s original line-up was comprised of Geoff McOuat, Mike Bambrick, Ron Tomlinson, Chris Wardman, Paul Humphrey, Owen Tennyson, Rick Joudrey and Jason Sniderman.
Blue Peter’s sound is basically unique, more piano-driven than synthesized, and heavy on bass riffs; however, the more I listen to tracks like “Falling,” “Take Me To War,” “All Your Time,” and “Unchained Heart” from the 1983-released album Falling, the more Bryan Ferry/Roxy Music-esque influence is apparent. Paul Humphrey’s voice is strong and descriptive, conjuring images of love, lust, heartache, and a heavy dose of reality tossed in for good measure. They may have tired of the comparisons to David Byrne, Roxy Music, and David Bowie when Blue Peter was trying to break into the music scene, but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. When someone new and musically exciting comes along, the tendency exists to describe them in relation to someone or something well-known.
Blue Peter’s songs remain timeless, lacking the signature 80’s New Wave sound which shackles a lot of their contemporaries to that decade. Much of that is owed to spare use of keyboards/synthesizers and a more heavy accent on guitars and rhythm. Their popularity as a local Toronto attraction remains strong twenty years later, fueled by a hard-core group of dedicated fans. There aren’t an abundance of quality current Blue Peter videos on YouTube, but their video for their best-known 80’s hit never fails to raise a goose-bump or two.
Blue Peter ~ Don’t Walk Past from YouTube user johnmcboston:
Blue Peter ~ Video Verite from YouTube user orbitalpopdog:
Here’s an amateur video taken from a live concert in Toronto last year. The energy and talent is still there after all these years.
Blue Peter ~ Radio Silence from YouTube user FritzBacharach:
I know I sound like a broken record, reaching the same oft-repeated conclusion in all of my “Criminally Underrated” posts, but I am adamant about this: Blue Peter should have caught a hugely deserved break here in the U.S. With a musical prowess that rivaled all of the acts they were ultimately compared to, this band earned the privilege of being in heavy radio and MTV promotion, yet they were allowed to drift into oblivion. The only winners are the fans that have stood by them all these years, being paid back for their loyalty with superb live shows and first rate music.
Purchase Blue Peter while it’s still in print:
All Through the Night