Who and/or what is Adam Whittby?

Purchasers of the extended Extra Goodies version of my new mini-album Greetings from Adventure Bay will receive a series of demos called The Adam Whittby Suite. These were songs written and recorded when I was living in Nantes, France, in 2014, and are now being released properly for the first time.

  • The Cool Kids
  • Fact Checker Blues
  • Falling Away

The conceit of these tracks came from a sort of writing-prompt exercise. I decided to write and record some songs that might have been written by a tortured artist type character, an English musician making records in the early 1980s. And so I did so.

This effort was partly inspired by the fact that I had once created such a figure. Back in 2005, in Hobart, Tasmania, I was invited to a fancy dress party. I visited a charity shop to find something to wear, and came out with a tight (almost too tight) black jump suit as a basic costume. A British pop star from the early 1980s seemed like an appropriate character to inhabit such a costume. So, indulging in my music-geekiness, that very afternoon I gave him a name and constructed a feasible brief biography and discography.

In the interests of completeness, I offer it herewith below.

Adam Whittby

  • Early 80s figure fitting somewhere between the New Romantics and the more intellectual punks. 
  • First noticed: Thin Trees, Laugh at me, 1981, from the album Timeshaft.  Minor hit, loved by critics, but no follow up. 
  • Launched solo careeer in 1983 with In the Name of Nothing.  The single Scissor Cut reached UK Top 10, charted in Australia.
  • In 1984 had his biggest success with the album Blueness, with the hits Hilary Said and Loveshiver.  
  • Played Live Aid in a purple jumpsuit (thought to be his downfall)
  • Blueness (1984) was listed at number 27 in all time best British pop albums in Q Magazine in 1998.  
  • Timeshaft (1981) was listed at number 33 in the British Rock Critics list of the most influential albums of the 1980s.
  • He was successful in Britain, New Zealand (where Blueness was number 1 album for 3 weeks in 1984) and Australia, but never made a dent in the US. 
  • Reformed Thin Trees in 1997, toured Europe. 

Biggest hits: 

  • Loveshiver (1984)
  • Scissor Cut (1983)
  • Hilary Said (1984)
  • Laugh at me (1981) (Thin Trees)

Albums:

  • Timeshaft (1981) (Thin Trees)
  • In the Name of Nothing (1983)
  • Blueness (1984)
  • Dimly lit (1985)
  • Ape Eel Appeal (1988)
  • Loveshiver: The Adam Whittby Collection (1990)
  • Parson’s nose (1993)
  • Live in Munich (1998) (Thin Trees)
  • The Essential Adam Whittby: Millenium Edition (2000)

Note: the demos (The Cool Kids, Fact Checker Blues and Falling Away) appear to be deep album cuts that didn’t appear as singles. Or possibly they were B-sides.

So now you know.

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