Last Man in Europe
Formed in the cauldron of the punk era, The Blades were Dublin's cool clean heroes. Starting life in the summer of '77 when five friends got together to play a gig at their local CYMS Hall in Ringsend, the line-up was quickly whittled down to three, with Paul Cleary on bass and vocals, brother Lar on guitar and Pat Larkin on drums. It was this line-up that provided the memorable sweaty gigs in Dublin's Magnet bar, a venue that The Blades became synonomous with, as well as the residency with U2 at the Baggot Inn. The summer of '79 was a particulary vibrant time for music in Dublin, and The Blades were at the cutting edge of that exciting scene. Sharp-suited and relevant, they quickly established themselves as one of Dublin's likeliest contenders, and soon they were attracting attention from abroad. A deal with Energy Records in the UK saw the release of their first single 'HOT FOR YOU' in 1980, followed by the classic 'Ghost Of A Chance' in 1981. That deal was for two singles and an album, but despite all the promise and expectancy created by the media, Energy failed to proceed with the album and disillusioned, Lar and Pat left the band. Paul was the creative energy in the band, and with new additions Brian Foley on bass, and Jake Reilly on drums, and Paul himself switching to guitar, The Blades were soon back in business. The band signed to Irish label Reekus, and a double A-sided single, 'THE BRIDE WORE WHITE'/'ANIMATION' was released in March '82. They were considered by many to be the best live act in Ireland,with their gigs attracting larger numbers all the time. THE BRIDE WORE WHITE ANIMATION was voted best single In the Hotpress National Poll that year, ahead of U2's Celebration, and Clannad's 'Harry's Theme'. The Blades were also voted the most promising act in Ireland while Paul was voted best songwriter, ahead of the likes of Van Morrison, Phil Lynott, and Bono. With the addition of the Blue Brass, in the form of Frank Duff and Paul Grimes, which added a distinctive Soul/Stax sound to the music, as evidenced on the single 'Revelations Of Heartbreak', released in October '82, The Blades continued to delight and surprise their ever increasing following. Paul Cleary released a solo single 'SOME PEOPLE SMILE', early the following year, which received extensive airplay and won him many new fans. Considered one of the best songs ever to come out of Ireland, The Blades' 'DOWNMARKET' was released later that year, and continuing attention from abroad culminated in the band signing a major American deal with Elektra.