Meet Wang Chung [PHOTOS, VIDEOS]
Did you know that “Wang Chung” means “yellow bell” in Mandarin (Chinese)? It’s also the first note in the Chinese classical music scale!Jeremy Ryder, known professionally as “Jack Hues” (vocals/guitar) and Nick Feldman (bass) would eventually form the core of Wang Chung.
They first met in 1977, when Hues answered Feldman’s ad for a musician in the classifieds! Paul Hammond joined on drums…and the band “The Intellektuals” was born. The band would last about a year.
Hues and Feldman then joined up with future Wang Chung drummer Darren Costin, Leigh Gorman on bass, keyboardist Simon Campbell, and vocalist Glenn Gregory. The new band, “57 Men,” lasted for about 18 months. Great track record, right?
Hues, Feldman and Costin stayed together and renamed themselves “Huang Chung.”
They would claim at the time that Huang Chung translated roughly as “perfect pitch.” They would later claim on “American Bandstand” that it was the sound a guitar made.
Coincidentally, at the beginning, all the members performed under pseudonyms! Jeremy Ryder was “Jack Hues”, Nick Feldman was “Nick DeSpig”, and Darren Costin was “Darren Darwin” (and later, “Darwin”).
Huang Chung signed with 101 Records. The first Huang Chung song, “Baby I’m Hu-man”, appeared on a compilation album in 1980.
Three live tracks were released on another 101 Records compilation in 1981.
Later in 1980, the independent record company, Rewind Records, signed the guys to a two-single deal.
“Isn’t It About Time We Were on TV” was followed by “Stand Still”.
Neither single charted.
Despite the lack of attention by the record-buying public, Arista Records (the big time) signed Huang Chung to a two-album deal in early 1981.
Now, sax player Dave Burnand joined the band. In keeping with the all-pseudonymous nature of Huang Chung, Burnand was known as “Hogg Robinson” for the first Arista single. Later, simply “Hogg”.
Two Arista singles in 1981, and one more in early 1982, failed to chart. Oops! The band’s first album, Huang Chung, came out in 1982…and it failed to chart!
To add insult to injury, in early 1982, Burnand departed, citing “musical differences.”
Undeterred, Huang Chung went back into the studio to start work on their second album for Arista Records. However, their manager David Massey convinced Arista to drop Huang Chung…and he signed a deal with Geffen Records.
One of the first things the new label requested was that the band change their name to “Wang Chung.” Allegedly, it was to make the name easier to pronounce in the English-speaking world. Later, VH-1′s “Pop Up Video” claimed that people called the guys “Hung Chung.”
On the subject of names, Nick Feldman and Darren Costin now decided to be known by their real names.. only Jack Hues would keep his pseudonym.
“Wang Chung” spent most of 1983 in the studio, recording “Points On the Curve.”
Now, it was time for some success!! Finally!
“Don’t Let Go” was the band’s first charting single (#38/1984).
I cranked up “Dance Hall Days” on the radio (#16/1984)…and it was an even BIGGER hit on MTV!
A whole bunch of movie soundtrack songs would follow…including:
“To Live And Die In L.A. (#41/1985)
and, you might recognize “Fire In the Twilight,” if you are a ”Breakfast Club” movie fan!
In the summer of 1985, Costin left the band. Hues and Feldman continued to record new material, using producer Peter Wolf as their new drummer. Wolf never became an official member of Wang Chung.
Wang Chung’s fourth album, “Mosaic,” gave them their biggest hits!
“Everybody Have Fun Tonight” soared to #2 for two weeks in late 1986.
“Let’s Go” kept the band in the “top 10″ (#9/1987).
Their final top 40 single was “Hypnotize Me” (#36/1987).
“The Warmer Side Of Cool” would be the band’s fifth album.
Although it was considered a commercial flop, the album yielded a single: “Praying To A New God” (#63/1989).
Hues and Feldman moved on to other projects, with other bands…and Wang Chung effectively called it quits in 1990.
But, as we’ve seen before in the world of Rock & Roll…that’s not the end!
Wang Chung stepped back into the public eye in 1997, with the release of “Everybody Wang Chung Tonight,” a greatest hits compilation. The CD included a new song “Space Junk.”
Wang Chung, with Hues and Feldman, toured the U.S. in 1997…and in 2000, with Hues, as the only original member.
2009 saw Wang Chung touring with other 1980′s bands including: ABC, Berlin, Cutting Crew, and Missing Persons!
In 2010, Wang Chung released a digital “double EP” called “Abducted By The 80s.” It grew to be a double CD set in 2011.
In December of last year, Wang Chung released “Tazer Up!” their first full-length studio album in 23 years.
It includes a remix of “Dance Hall Days,” and several new songs!
See what else “Wang Chung” is doing…check out their official website here!