The band were very successful playing the club and university circuit
and started out playing mostly covers of rock songs, although their
trademark was to choose songs that were less well known or technically
difficult to play well. By the end of 1978 the band were playing
mostly original material and had begun to tour extensively in both the
North and South of Ireland, making a name for themselves in many of
the more popular rock venues. Brian was forced to leave the band for
personal reasons in October 1978 and was replaced by another former
Jay Arthur Band bassist, Billy McNeill.
Ironically, Streetís biggest break came in November 1978 when they
asked The Jay Arthur Bandís founder and guitarist, John Hilton, to
manage them, despite having already poached three members of his band.
Under Johnís management, the band began to play larger venues, touring
regularly and growing in popularity, particularly in the South, where
they achieved virtual Ďcultí status.
What made their music unique was the fact that all of the band members
were multi instrumentalists and each was influenced by different
genres encompassing blues, rock, folk and R & B. This mixture of
influences was apparent in both their live performances and studio
work. Their performances would move effortlessly from raunchy
progressive rock into a solo instrumental acoustic set and on into
blues and psychedelic rock. But, despite the range of styles, you were
never in any doubt that you were listening to Street.
A trademark of the band was the five-part harmony vocals that featured
in many of their songs. This even included a vocal only track in the
middle of an R & B set.It was also not unusual to see the drummer
playing blues harp while the lead singer played the drums, or the lead
guitarist and bass player exchanging roles. Street were also very much
about entertaining and involving the crowd and will be remembered,
even in larger venues, for taking a fully miked floor tom-tom into the
audience and allowing fans to play along to improvised riffs. The
bandís versatility was further enhanced in April 1979 when rhythm
guitarist Robert Agnew was replaced by Stevie Browne, formerly of
Badger, who brought a country rock edge into the mix.
The final line-up of the band now consisted of: Terry Gordon, Trevor
'Huck' Russell, Stevie Browne, Timmy Davis and Billy McNeill.
As well as major venues like the Ulster Hall in Belfast, Leisureland
in Galway, Downtown Campus, The Showboat in Waterford and the
Universities, the band made regular appearances at the top rock venues
of the time including The Pound, Kellyís, The Toll Bar, The Rocking
They also had a bit of a reputation for upstaging some of the bigger
bands they occasionally supported. At one memorable gig in Waterford,
having finished their support slot for the reggae band Steel Pulse,
Street were asked by Steel Pulse to return to the stage, when the
crowd chanted for them. The night ended with both bands jamming
together in the encore.
Street recorded their first single, Sweet Chelsay (commonly misspelt
as Chelsea or Chelsae) at Wizard Recording Studios in Belfast. It was
released under the Okey-Doke label in March 1979. The single was
widely acclaimed, selling thousands of copies on the bandís subsequent
tour. By May it was being played on Radio stations across Ireland and
was record of the week on both the John Peel and Kid Jensen Shows in
the same week.
The band had also started recording an album, due for release in
December 1979 and had been lined up for an appearance on The Old Grey
Whistle Test to coincide with its release. Given the unique mix of
musical preferences, it is hardly surprising that the album
(Boulevard) featured everything from heavy metal, to blues, to folk.
However, it was around this time that things began to go wrong for
Due to issues with the record company (Okey-Doke), a second printing
of the single was never issued and, despite a massive demand, there
were simply not enough singles in the record shops and it never made
the UK charts. These same issues stopped the album from being released
and, without an album, the Whistle Test appearance had to be
Despite these setbacks, the band continued to work, waiting for the
record company to sort out the problems. They went on to support Motorhead in February 1980 at the Ulster Hall and turned down the
opportunity to tour with them because they had already been tipped to
support Thin Lizzy on their ten date Irish tour in April 1980.
As it happened this was not to be. A van carrying much of the bandís
gear was involved in a serious accident in …ire that destroyed a lot
of expensive equipment and left one man seriously injured. To add
insult to injury, a clause in the insurance contract made it invalid
outside the U.K. and, with no cash to replace the equipment, Street
were forced to cancel their touring commitments for the foreseeable
future. (The Thin Lizzy tour was later offered to The Tearjerkers).
You could be forgiven for thinking that Street were one of the
unluckiest bands in the world. With cancelled tours and television
appearances, an album that was recorded but never released, a dynamite
single that never hit the record shops, no transport and no equipment,
the band finally decided that fate was against them. In May 1980 the
band mutually agreed that it was the end of the road or should we say
- the end of the Street.
Many of the band members are still playing in local bands. Terry
Gordon went on to front Midlands rock outfit Desperate Measures which
featured James Morrisonís mum, Susie Gale on vocals.