Sunday Old School: Tygers Of Pan Tang
Ask any fan of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal to name five of their favourites and chances are Tygers Of Pan Tang will be amongst that list. The band may not be quite as well known now, but during the N.W.O.B.H.M.'s period of popularity, they were certainly considered one of the standout groups in the pack, and they had the songs to back it up. The band was formed in 1978 in the town of Whitley Bay, which is located in the North East of England near Newcastle, and quickly signed to Neat Records, which was known for releasing many records from British heavy metal bands at the time including Venom, Raven and Jaguar. The partnership with Neat was only to last for the single, "Don't Touch Me There" however, as the Tygers signed to major label MCA soon afterwards. Following a few more single releases, the group finally released it's debut full length album in 1980 entitled, "Wildcat." The album did well in the United Kingdom, debuting at number 18 on the British Albums Chart. The band was soon to see a big change in terms of lineup however, when they recruited John Sykes, formerly of Streetfighter, as second guitarist and split with singer Jess Cox after he and the rest of the band had a falling out. The band decided to replace Cox with Jon Deverill, best known as the vocalist of Persian Risk and this lineup recorded a second album entitled, "Spellbound," which was released in 1981 and once again entered the British Album Charts, though this time peaking at the lower place of number 33, as well as spawning the single, "Hellbound," which also saw chart success, peaking at number 48 in the United Kingdom.
The next year, Tygers Of Pan Tang released a third album called "Crazy Nights," which was unable to spawn any successful singles but did enter the British Albums Chart at number 51. Following this record, Sykes decided to quit the band in order to pursue a position as Ozzy Osbourne's guitarist, which he didn't fulfil, though he was recruited as the new guitarist for hard rock heroes Thin Lizzy soon after. Sykes was replaced by guitarist Fred Purser and the band got to work on their fourth album, "The Cage." "The Cage" ultimately proved to be the band's biggest success in terms of chart performance, entering the U.K. charts at number 13 and featuring three successful singles in the form of "Love Potion No. 9," "Paris By Air" and "Rendezvous." Despite the good commercial reaction to the album, the band decided to call it a day soon afterwards as a result of tensions with their record company. A new version of the band was formed in 1985 however, featuring Deverill and drummer Brian Dick and released a new album named, "The Wreck-Age" the same year. The record was the first Tygers album not to chart in the United Kingdom, and following poor reviews of their next album, "Burning In The Shade," they disbanded once again.
In 1998, Jess Cox was invited on stage at Germany's now famous Wacken Open Air festival by fellow New Wave Of British Heavy Metal veterans Blitzkrieg, during which he performed three Tygers Of Pan Tang songs. The audience reaction to the performance was overwhelmingly positive and to celebrate the band's 20th anniversary, along with the 10th anniversary of Wacken, Tygers Of Pan Tang were invited to perform on the main stage the next year. Although the band did perform, they featured only two original members in the form of Cox and guitarist Robb Weir, though they did release the set as the "Live At Wacken" album in 2001. Weir decided to keep the band going on a permanent basis, leaving him as the only founding member and the group released their comeback album, "Mystical" through Z Records in 2001. While the band performed at festivals across the globe, they were unfortunately dropped from their label in 2002, as a result of lackluster record sales.
Following the departure of vocalist Tony Liddell, the group recruited new singer Richie Wicks in 2004, and recorded and released a new album called, "Noises In The Cathouse" that same year, though the vocalist position was not to be filled for long by Wicks, as he left before the year was out and was replaced by Italian singer Jacopo Meille.The band's first recording with Meille came in the form of a five track EP in 2007, entitled, "Back And Beyond," which featured reworkings of three old Tygers songs, as well as two new ones. A full length album was finally released in 2008 in the form of "Animal Instinct" and the band has been performing live in support of the album since then. The band now tends to tour mostly in the United Kingdom and Europe, where they retain an underground cult following but owing to their brilliantly crafted earlier works, have cemented in their place in the history of British heavy metal music, particularly in the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, where, while they might not have been the most succesful, they were certainly one of the best.
Tygers Of Pan Tang - Love Potion Number 9
Tygers Of Pan Tang - Love Don't Stay
Tygers Of Pan Tang - Raised On Rock
Tygers Of Pan Tang - Hellbound
Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.
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