80’s Music Rules ~ Criminally Underrated Artists/ Bands ~ The Sound

the-sound-1The Sound was a remarkable band with a message, perfectly delivered with a driven and purposeful style. The original lineup of The Sound consisted of Adrian Borland (vocals, guitar), Graham Bailey (bass), Mike Dudley (drums) and Benita “Bi” Marshall (keyboards, saxophone, clarinet). In 1979, the band produced their first album called Jeopardy, which garnered critical success.

Their second album, From the Lions Mouth, also received accolades from the music industry, but did not bring the band commercial success. Korova, The Sound’s record label at the time, pressured Borland and company to create something more commercially appealing. Basically, the band’s response was to tell the record company to go stuff it, and instead they recorded All Fall Down, an album with a decidedly non-mainstream bent.

In 1981, The Sound toured with contemporaries (and also underrated) Comsat Angels. Further extensive touring brought The Sound their greatest success in the Netherlands, and also their most devoted following. They performed the single “Sense Of Purpose” on the TV show Old Grey Whistle Test, and also made a couple of stops in the US.

After All Fall Down, The Sound parted company with Korova and sought out another record label. In 1984, they signed the-soundwith Statik, an independent outfit. In 1985, The Sound released an EP, Shock of Daylight, and an album Heads and Hearts. Also that year, Borland began to show signs of mental illness thought to be brought on by the stresses he and the band had suffered. While touring in Spain in 1987, The Sound had to cancel several appearances when Borland had a complete breakdown. In early 1988, the band made the difficult decision to split up.

For about a decade after the break-up, Borland somehow maintained a solo career. Never really cured of his depression, he committed suicide on April 26th, 1999, by throwing himself under a train at Wimbledon station.

Further supporting my conclusion that this band was criminally underrated are these quotes from voices in the music industry:

“The Sound were tragically overlooked in their time and have remained unjustly neglected since.”  ~  Sun Records Music Store

“It’s hard to understand why this London quartet never found commercial success. At their best, the Sound’s excellent neo-pop bears favorable comparison to the Psychedelic Furs and Echo & the Bunnymen.”  ~ Trouser Press

“The Sound? Just one of the finest bands of the 1980s.” ~ Jack Rabid of Big Takeover magazine


“I Can’t Escape Myself” via YouTube user godisatan:



“Sense of Purpose”via YouTube user petsounds19:


“The Unwritten Law” via YouTube user mozportugal:




the-sound-propagandaPropaganda (1979, Reissued by Renascent) – Available for Purchase






the-sound-in-the-hothouseIn The Hothouse (live 1985, Reissued by Renascent) – Available for Purchase






the-sound-jeopardyJeopardy (Korova, 1980) – Out of Print




From the Lions Mouth (Korova, 1981) Out of Print



the-sound-all-fall-downAll Fall Down (Warner Bros. [WEA], 1982) Available as Import



the-sound-heads-and-heartsHeads and Hearts (Statik, 1985) Out of Print



the-sound-thunder-upThunder Up (PIAS, 1987) Available as Import

10 thoughts on “80’s Music Rules ~ Criminally Underrated Artists/ Bands ~ The Sound

  1. I absolutely love the Sound stuff I’ve heard (Shock of Daylight and Heads and Hearts)! Then again, I have found that I rather like anything and everything labeled ‘post-punk’…:P


  2. Heya ((((Marilyn))))

    Well, I obviously think your taste in music is tops! Thank you for the kind words – coming from you they mean a lot.



  3. I love the Sound and Adrian Borland almost as much as the Comsat Angels, and will be thinking of Adrian on April 26th, the 10th anniversary of his suicide. BTW, Thunder Up is the only album by the Sound that is available on iTunes. Too bad none of the others are….



  4. Hey Laura 🙂

    Being a close second on your faves list means a lot because I *know* how much you love the Comsat Angels. Are you packed yet??? I envy you and all the rest of the gang for having the chance to see the Comsats in Sheffield this month. Have a wonderful trip and I look forward to the post-action report.

    All the best,


  5. Great post, will be back for more!
    The Sound / Adrian have such a body of work and it sounds as good today as back in the day. You can almost imagine a motion picture being made and all this music providing the soundtrack. Fantastic.


  6. Hey Dave,

    Thanks for stopping by. I agree – what a soundtrack their collection of music would make! And it is timeless…not too many others from that era can make that claim, although I think The Chameleons and The Comsat Angels definitely fit into that category. Look forward to hearing more from you.

    All the best,


  7. Happened to see this now. I always thought The Sound as one of rock musics most underrated bands. Wich I think is proven by modern bands as The Killers who’s first album is heavily influenced by The Sound. I saw The Sound the first time in London 1980. I was fifteen at the time. I was totaly blown away by Adrian Borland appearance. Musicaly The Sound is one of my favorite bands. But Borland on stage goes beyond that. His energy on stage was far more intence then anybody on the post-punk scene. And his precence can only be compared to rock histories greatest like Bob Marley or Curt Cobain. Though his persona and music was of course very different. It’s kind strange that i can’t come up with a living person with that kind of energy. I’ve seen the Sound on five occations and met Borland twice. We talked for hours both times. He was nicest musician I’ve ever met. He truly deserved succes.

    Sorry for the miss spelling. I’m dyslekktikk and Swedish

    All the best
    Bo (which is my name and was Borlands nickname as a kid)


  8. Hi Bo – no need to apologize – thank you for your heartfelt comment. I really appreciate hearing from fans who have either a big interest in, or who have met the bands I write about.

    You have wonderful memories – thank you for sharing them.



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