The Farm are a British band from Liverpool. Their first album, Spartacus, reached the top position in the UK Albums Chart when it was released in March 1991; it includes two songs which had been top 10 singles the year before. In 2012, they toured with their Spartacus Live shows and formed part of The Justice Tonight Band, supporting The Stone Roses at Heaton Park, Phoenix Park, Lyon and Milan. The Justice Collective had the 2012 Christmas number one with their recording of "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother".
The band was formed in early 1983 and initially comprised Peter Hooton, Steve Grimes, John Melvin and Andrew John "Andy" McVann, who was killed in a police chase on 1 October 1986 at the age of 21, and to whose parents the band's subsequent album, Spartacus, is dedicated.
The band evolved from an earlier group called The Excitements, initially including Phil Stephenson on bass guitar, Neil (Cad) Campbell on drums, Grimes on guitarand Thomas (the band's dancer). They became The Farm after Martin Dunbar (vocals) left and Peter Hooton joined, although they did play several gigs as The Excitements with Hooton on vocals. In 1984, they released the single, "Hearts and Minds", produced by Graham "Suggs" McPherson, lead vocalist with Madness. In 1986, after McVann's death, Melvin left the band to pursue a varied career as the director of his own construction firm, but he eventually returned to music in 1990 under the guise of Mr. Smith, a two-piece band that toured frequently, but did not release anything of note. In 1987, the band supported The Housemartins on their UK tour.
After the departure of Melvin and the death of McVann, Hooton brought in a new line-up. They released four independent singles, but did not have a big break until 1990. In 1989, the band had been given a cameo role in the movie The Final Frame starring Suggs. They were signed after this and hired Suggs as their producer. Their first single under new management was "Stepping Stone", a dance remake of Paul Revere & the Raiders and The Monkees' single "(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone", a 1966 single that in its day reached No. 20 in the U.S. Billboard charts for The Monkees. They appeared in The Face, an influential popular culture magazine in the UK, and their promotion of "No alla violenza" anti-hooligan T-shirts during Italia 90 helped to raise their profile further.
The Farm's first song to reach the top part of the UK Singles Chart was "Groovy Train", which reached the Top 10 in September 1990. In late November that year, they released their most famous song, "All Together Now", which instantly became a hit and peaked at number three in the charts in December 1990. It was on the crest of this wave that their album Spartacus reached No. 1 in the UK the following year. This success was short-lived, and their first single for a major label (Sony Records), "Love See No Colour" (1992), did not perform well, which led to a split from producers Pete Heller and Terry Farley. The band joined up with Mark Saunders, who had produced Erasure and The Cure. They released a cover version of The Human League's "Don't You Want Me", which reached the Top 20 in 1992.
In 1994, they released the album Hullabaloo on the Sire label, followed by their last major single. Despite being a group largely supporting Liverpool F.C., they released a single to accompany the presence of their cross-city rivals, Everton, in the 1995 FA Cup Final, in which Everton beat Manchester United 1-0.
Their most recent release was "Alltogethernow 2004", featuring the S.F.X. Boys Choir of Liverpool, as the official anthem of the England National Football Team at Euro 2004. It was issued on 31 May 2004 and, as the name suggests, in a slightly remixed format, with radio commentary from the Euro 2004 qualifiers added to the track, whilst a bonus remix was included on the single with the help of DJ Spoony. The Farm were also central to the track released to commemorate the Hillsborough disaster, "The Fields of Anfield Road", the proceeds going to the families of those killed in the disaster.
In 2011, The Farm joined forces with others to create the Don't Buy The Sun Gig, at the Olympia in Liverpool, which was part of the continuing protest on Merseyside against The Sun newspaper for its reporting of the Hillsborough disaster 22 years before. This comprised Mick Jones from The Clash, Pete Wylie from The Mighty Wah, John Power and others. This then formed the core of The Justice Tonight Band which toured from 2011 to 2012, including four performances supporting The Stone Roses in their comeback tour in 2012. The Justice Tonight Band headlined the Strummerville festival in 2012 and went on to form The Justice Collective who had the Christmas number 1 with their version of "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother", a charity single in aid of the families of the victims of the Hillsborough disaster.
Peter Hooton - vocals (1983-1996, 2004-present),
Steve Grimes - guitar, keyboards (1983-1996, 2004-present),
Carl Hunter - bass guitar (1986-1996, 2004-present),
Roy Boulter - drums (1986-1996, 2004-present),
Keith Mullin - guitar (1986-1996, 2004-present),
Ben Leach - keyboards (1988-1996, 2004-present),
Phil Strongman - bass guitar (1983-1986),
Andy McVann - drums (1983-1986),
Anthony Evans - brass (1984-1986),
Steve Levy - brass (1984-1986),
George Maher - brass (1984-1986),
John Melvin - brass (1984-1986)
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