It Bites consisted of Francis Dunnery (guitar and vocals), Richard Nolan (bass), John Beck (keyboards) and Robert Dalton Drums).
This history of It Bites has been compiled by Mandy from various sources.. all credited at the end.
How they met
Francis, Richard and Bob were all born in Egremont, Cumbria and had grown up together from a young age. Bob and Francis went to Primary School together and met Richard at Wyndham Comprehensive School at the age of 11. John lived just up the road in Whitehaven and met them at a later date whilst playing at a gig.
Each of them had musical families. Francis had a musical family, his dad played for Jimmy Shand's band and his brother Barry played guitar for Ozzy Osbourne and Violinski. Bob had a 'drum' family and unlike many up and coming drummers was actually able to rehearse!. John played the accordian at the age of five and he used to play Country and Western with his father at gig's from the age of 11.
It is widely known and referenced that they were influenced by YES, Genesis and Weather Report. It isn't surprising that when a poll collated by Pete Telford around 1989 that the Fans Top two bands were Genesis and YES. (Full Results are HERE!).
In the Beginning
It Bites were formed in 1982. They had all played together in various bands, usually cover bands. Francis Dunnery spent a time with a punk band called Waving at Trains. Francis Dunnery used to work as an engineer and the rest of the band's previous occupations ranged from a bricklayer to Factory work.
At first they played cover versions on the Cumbrian Circuit, frightening as it may seem they performed covers of the likes of Level 42 and Haircut 100.. (Mandy shudders). Francis felt the need to move on and in 1984 moved to London, six months later the rest of them followed him down and spent some time squatting in Peckham and barely being able to survive, but this time enables them to write music and with sheer persistance sent demo tapes to record companies and despite the lack of response they managed to, with a chance meeting of Martin Mayhead signed a record deal with Virgin Records for 8 albums in 1985.
Calling All The Heroes
Their debut single was released in March 1986, but it wasn't until June 1986 when they released Calling All The Heroes, their second single, that they recieved their first and only top ten hit single.
This classic pop song, which incidently is played about 4-5 times a month on my local radio station, recieved massive Radio One airplay and introduced a large audience to It Bites, Their appearances on Wogan, Whistle Test, and the Saturday Picture Show and coverage in popular magazines such as Smash Hits gave their debut album, The Big Lad in the Windmill a push to feel the edge of the UK Album Charts, Their Debut Album reached Number 35.
Today, It Bites are remembered in the UK for Calling all The Heroes, you mention It Bites and people automatically burst into a mimic-ey chorus, not fully understanding the unique blend of instrumental talent - until the knowledgable introduce them to it!!!
Strange But True
Strangely this was It Bites biggest moment of glory, despite not getting any more top ten singles, they continued to produce two more highly unique albums which managed to make the UK Top 50 album charts in March 1988 and June 1989. However, they continued to go on successful tours and anyone that ever saw them live will understand exactly how they managed to survive. Their stage presence was fantastic and they proved that Music is about being able to play infront of an audience who upon leaving are touched by something undescribable, that many of the other bands around at this time were totally unable to do.
They have been described as a blend of genesis and YES, Progressive keyboard orientated rock. The Guiness Book of Hit Albums calls them a Male Vocal/Instrumental Group and other books and magazines claim their influences to range from 10cc to Led Zeppelin.
It Bites split in 1991 and reformed as Sister Sarah and then Navajo Kiss.
Record Collector Magazine, The Great Rock Discography, IBAS Society Magazine,
Page Last Updated 24/09/00
site : http://www.mandy.co.uk/it-bites/