Where were you in 1991?

Wherever you were, chances are Amsterdam singer Ian Prowse visited your town that year.

The Merseyside songwriter was on the road with his first band Pele, who had just released their debut album Fireworks. It’s a record that Prowse has never been able to leave behind.

When the Culture Company came calling in 2008, asking Prowse to sing for a visit of The Queen, the continuing notoriety of Pele’s first single, Raid The Palace, made sure they were given short thrift. Likewise at Amsterdam gigs these days, you know a massive sing-a-long is coming when initial singles Megalomania, Fair Blows The Wind For France, Fireworks or fan favourite Policemen get an airing.

Nostalgia is big business now and not just with artists who see a chance to continue a connection with an audience – music fans want to look back too. Have a glance down our local venue listings if you don’t believe us. See?

In times of austerity and uncertainty most people want value for money and a guaranteed sing-a-long… and nobody did melodic sing-a-longs better than Pele back in the day.

With that in mind – and with Amsterdam preparing to play in full the record voted 27th in Liverpool.com’s Top 50 Albums poll a few years back – we asked Ian Prowse to talk us through his memories of those early Pele singles…

Fireworks: “The fourth single from the album and the best of the videos. A much loved song of mine, I remember we played this live on TV in Belfast at the height of the troubles and we stayed in the Europa, the most bombed hotel the world has ever seen.”

Raid the Palace: “An anti-monarchy rant. It astounded everyone in the band when the label chose this as the debut single. The record company themselves were wrong footed when it roared onto the Radio 1 A list for 6 weeks too. Did we get a childish thrill from hearing the line “Line ’em up against a wall in Kensington or Chelsea,” blaring out of every radio in the land? Damn right we did!”

Megalomania: “We’re out of the road and I’m sat in a Leicester hotel when the phone goes and it’s a mate on the line from South Africa: “You’re Number 1 over here, ” he says. A quick call to Polydor confirms it’s true and they want us over there… sorry, there’s a cultural boycott still in place and I ain’t gonna play Sun City – like Freddie and Elton.”

Fair Blows the Wind for France: “If there’s a signature Pele song then I guess this is it. Our biggest UK hit and the Pele song people most congratulate me for. Making the video in Paris was immense fun too… a terrible tale of Gallic infidelity.”

Amsterdam play Fireworks and Amsterdam classics
Saturday, 5th March
O2 Academy, Hotham Street

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