January 1985 saw King finally break onto the charts. Over three weeks 'Love & Pride' leapt into the top 10. King were primed for action and with ponytails flying to the thump of multi colored DM's the band leapt from the nations TV sets straight out into another nation wide tour but this time as a hit pop band.

For two years King had been perfecting their glam-boots and braces beat machine. With Paul spouting his by now well-practiced justifications of the bands importance. It seemed over the next few months that every radio station, television channel and magazine front cover had fallen for their Coventry charm.

ALBUM : Steps
01 BAND - s rock

CBS on the other hand appeared less charmed or convinced.

King it seemed were a bit too rough for the Wham camp, not rough enough for the Clash gang, too pop for Springsteen's crowd but not pop enough for the Michael Jackson fans. 

With a reissued 'Steps in Time' inside the album chart top 10, King were now a hit band but where did they fit in the Columbia portfolio?

With only a junior A&R to argue their musical potential the companies senior management decided that King were a multi coloured pop novelty and as such not eligible for long term investment. Rather than develop their DM wearing protŽgŽs CBS would instead opt to exploit and seek a swift financial return.

So despite being only two hit singles and twelve weeks into the chart life of their debut album, CBS ceased any further promotion on 'Steps in Time' and requested a second long player for release that summer.

03 Italy Cover

As Love & Pride began to chart across the planet the groups international promotional activity was exponentially increased. With a second UK tour started, Columbia's lack of commitment to 'Steps in Time' combined with the pressure to deliver a new album stirred internal friction.

By April 85 cracks in the groups unity were starting to emerge. Paul K's amiable and articulate interview style that led the bands press profile was beginning to fuel internal insecurities. Jim, Mick and Tony believed media focus was shifting to far from King the group and to much attention was spent on Paul King as lead singer and star.

Regardless of this growing resentment and its inevitable outcome the CBS pop machine had now been engaged and as such it was impossible to derail. Columbia saw a short window of opportunity in which to guarantee a financial return so their strategy of maximum exposure, regardless of quality or integrity, would continue to roll forward.


The band was in a compromised position. If they gave Columbia the finger and refused to participate in the revised CBS promo campaign then their recording career was finished. On the other hand if they participated there was a least the potential of overcoming their UK labels lack of faith by reaching international audiences and of course should their second album deliver major sales then CBS would no doubt reconsider their thinking.


Having battled to get this far no one was in the mood to just give up. So the group and lead singer jumped onto a conveyor belt of countless press articles and magazine covers along with a schedule of radio, television and publicity appearances that would have today's fame chasing whores green with envy.

07 Jerry Hall

As youths of the '70's King had witnessed their musical heroes appear in both the serious and the more teen orientated music media. Consequently they had always maintained that both avenues were equally valid for any real pop fan... But times were changing.

In the 80's the tabloids had a new fascination with all things pop and its chart stars were no longer just musicians they were also celebrities. Today this is the excepted norm but in 1985 the lines were still evolving as to how far down the red carpet artists could stroll and still expect to be considered musically valid.

Rather than attracting critical negativity today's music star is expected to shamelessly promote their own brands of perfume, fashion wear or alcohol and are applauded as they happily open up their cribs to reveal their favorite stylists and predilections.

By comparison Kings commercial relationship with Dr Martin or their lead singers partiality for glamorous beauties, can seem very tame. But from a 1985 perspective the bands compromised quality control meant any media credibility they had created was now collapsing under a weight of teen magazine covers, tabloid features and mainstream TV.

05 Sam Fox

By that summer despite another Europe wide hit courtesy of 'Alone Without You' Kings music profile in the UK was struggling and earlier positives were now being turned on them as negatives.


Their ambition was relabelled as calculated, their musical arrogance as contrived and their cheeky attitude as mere manipulative image. At the same time their original fan base was shifting as the guys who had identified with Kings glam meets boot boy image were finding themselves heavily outnumbered by excitable females in painted Dr Martins.  


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