Led by vocalist/guitarist Dave Fenton, The Vapors are a new wave guitar group that is best known for the spiky pop single "Turning Japanese." Fenton formed the first version of The Vapors in 1978, yet he was the only member to survive that lineup; in 1979, former Ellery Bops members Ed Bazalgette (lead guitar) and Howard Smith (drums) joined the band, and bassist Steve Smith came aboard shortly afterward. One of the band's first concerts was seen by the Jam's Bruce Foxton, who asked them to perform on his group's Setting Sons tour. Before long, the Vapors were managed by Foxton and John Weller, the manager of the Jam, as well as the father of the group's leader, Paul Weller.
The Vapors signed to United Artists, releasing their first single, "Prisoners," at the end of 1979. "Turning Japanese," the band's second single, became a major hit, reaching number three on the U.K. charts in March of 1980. New Clear Days, the band's debut album, was released two months later. In 1981, the Vapors released the more ambitious Magnets, however the group disbanded shortly after its release.
After the Vapors broke up, David Fenton joined the legal profession in the early 1990s, concentrating on the legal aspects of the music industry, and from 1999 he worked as a London-based in-house solicitor for the Musicians’ Union. Edward Bazalgette became a television director; his credits include a 2005 BBC documentary about Genghis Khan and two episodes of Doctor Who in 2015. For many years Howard Smith ran an independent record shop, People Records in Guildford, the band's home town. Steve Smith formed the band Shoot!Dispute, which appeared in John Peel sessions, and toured in support of Bruce Foxton; and later joined the rap/rock band 1ST.
On 3 March 2020, the reformed Vapors announced that they would be releasing a new album titled Together and issued “Crazy” as the lead single.
Together was released on 15 May 2020. It was the first album from The Vapors in 39 years, marking one of the longest gaps between studio albums.
On 30 August 2020, “Girl from the Factory”, the third single from the album, reached number one on the United DJs Heritage Chart. The Follow up single “Wonderland” reached the top of the ‘’Heritage Chart’’ on 22 November 2020.
Videos | That Was Then ... This is Now
Editions | That Was Then ... This is Now
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