Electronic bubblegum outfit World of Twist formed in Sheffield, England, in 1985. Singer James Fry (the younger brother of ABC frontman Martin Fry) and drummer Tony Ogden co-founded the group, recruiting guitarist Gordon King, bassist Andrew Hobson, saxophonist Rory Connelly, organist Nick Phillips, and synth player Andy Robbins to complete the lineup. Drawing inspiration from Roxy Music, producer Joe Meek, and obscure Northern soul singles, World of Twist enjoyed an obvious kinship with fellow Sheffield act Pulp, which formed around the same time and even supported WoT during their earliest live gigs. The band's original lineup proved short-lived, however, and split sometime in mid-1986. A new World of Twist surfaced in Manchester in 1988, with Ogden now on vocals, King still handling guitar duties, and Hobson manning the synthesizer. Keyboardist Alan "Adge" Frost, audio/visual effects specialists MC Shells and Angela Reilly, and drummer Nick Sanderson rounded out the new lineup.
A four-song demo tape appeared in early 1990, and with the British music press' infatuation with the so-called "Madchester" scene at its zenith, World of Twist was quickly anointed the city's next major star. Upon signing to Virgin Records' Circa subsidiary, their hotly tipped debut single, "The Storm," nevertheless fell just shy of the British Top 40, and the same fate greeted its follow-up, a Martin Hannett-produced cover of the Rolling Stones' psychedelic-era classic "She's a Rainbow." World of Twist promoted their 1991 debut LP, Quality Street, via a sold-out tour that magnified the band's theatrical aspirations. Ogden regularly took the stage wrapped in tinfoil that was systematically unraveled during each night's opening song. However, during pre-production for WoT's much-anticipated sophomore effort Ogden suffered a nervous breakdown and announced his intention to resign frontman duties. Auditions were held for a new vocalist, but the creative tensions proved too great and the group split for good. The subsequent success of like-minded acts ranging from Saint Etienne to Air to Goldfrapp vaulted World of Twist to cult adoration in the decade to follow, and after more than a decade in seclusion, Ogden resurfaced in 2005 with a new band, the Bubblegum Secret Pop Explosion. One year later, however, he died in Cheshire, England, on July 26, 2006. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi