Meet Sniff ‘n’ The Tears [PHOTOS/VIDEOS]
“Sniff ‘n’ The Tears” is a British rock group with a “one-hit-wonder” at the end of the 1970’s…and even though it came at the end of the decade, its one of my personal faves of the whole decade!
An early version of “Sniff ‘n’ The Tears” played small venues around England as early as 1973…but when founder/singer/songwriter Paul Roberts couldn’t secure a record deal, he broke up the band, and moved to France!
But wait…as often happens in rock ‘n’ roll…that’s not the end!
Around 1975, Roberts, and Luigi Salvoni, the drummer for a band called “Moon,” cut some songs, and put them on a shelf.
Some time goes by, and Salvoni is giving the songs another listen…and this time he hears potential! He gets ahold of Paul Roberts, and suggests that they approach Chiswick Records.
In 1977, “Sniff ‘n’ The Tears” debuts as a six-man band: Paul Roberts handling vocals and acoustic guitar, Loz Netto and Mick Dyche on guitar, Chris Birkin on bass, Alan Fealdman on keyboards, and Luigi Salvoni on drums and percussion.
This is the lineup on the band’s first album, “Fickle Heart.” Salvoni is the producer.
Although “Fickle Heart” was recorded in 1978…it sat on the shelf for a year! Sound familiar? This time, it wasn’t the band’s fault…Chiswick Records was changing distribution! Atlantic Records would get the distribution deal here in America.
The lead single, “Driver’s Seat” was an instant hit! (#15/1979).
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Sadly, the band started having having internal problems, resulting in Birkin, Fealdman and Salvoni all leaving within months to pursue other interests!
Nick South became the band’s new bassist, and would become a permanent member.
On tour, “Sniff ‘n’ The Tears” was joined by drummer Paul Robinson, and Keith Miller on keyboards. Its Miller who plays the “moog solo” on “Driver’s Seat.”
In 1980, the band consisted of Roberts, Netto, Dyche, South, and new keyboard player Mike Taylor. There was no permanent drummer…and several session drummers would step up and fill the void.
Sniff ‘n’ The Tears second album, “The Game’s Up” was a commercial flop…there were no hit singles!
Now, Netto would leave the band, to concentrate on a solo career. He took Mick Dyche with him!
This meant that Paul Roberts was the only original band member…and he decided to keep going!
Roberts recruited Les Davidson as Sniff ‘n’ The Tears’ new guitarist. Jamie Lane was hired as the permanent drummer.
Now a five man band (Roberts, Davidson, Lane, South and Taylor), the guys recorded two albums:
Love/Action (1981) and Ride Blue Divide (1982).
Sadly, neither album yielded any hit records…and after getting dropped by Chiswick Records…Sniff ‘n’ The Tears broke up (again) in 1983.
In 1991, “Driver’s Seat” was used in a commercial in Europe…and this 1979 song immediately went to #1 in Holland!
Seeing a good thing, Paul Roberts reformed Sniff ‘n’ The Tears in 1992…and toured Holland and Germany. Les Davidson rejoined the band, and new recruits included Jeremy Meek on Bass, Steve Jackson on drums, and Andy Giddings on keyboards.
This lineup put out the band’s first new studio album in a decade: “No Damage Done (1992).
Perhaps you’ve seen the 1997 movie “Boogie Nights.” “Driver’s Seat” is prominently featured in the movie, and on the soundtrack album!
2001 brought another album, “Underground.”
Roberts is credited with singing and playing almost everything: vocals, guitars, mandolin, harmonica, keyboards, bass and drum programming. In truth, Davidson also played drums on the album, and new guy Robin Langridge handles most of the keyboards.
After another long hiatus, the band’s seventh album, “Downstream,” was released in 2011!
At this time, “Sniff ‘n’ The Tears” is: Paul Roberts (vocals, guitars, bass, keyboard), Les Davidson (guitars), Robin Langridge (keyboards), returning member Nick South (bass) and new guy Richard Marcangelo on drums. Its interesting to note that Marcangelo had played drums on the 1980 album “The Game’s Up.”
Currently, Chris Birkin is a math teacher in Suffolk, England.
Give that teacher an apple!
Check out Sniff ‘n’ The Tears’ official website here!
“Driver’s Seat” lives on as part of “Jersey’s Favorite Hits” on weekends…and on 1970’s music compilations, like the “Have A Nice Day” series!