The Psychedelic Furs' Timothy Butler

Ex-Psychedelic Furs bassist Timothy Butler played on the first album by Love Spit Love, his brother Richard's post-Psychedelic Furs band. But he did not participate in the recording of Love Spit Love's 1997 album, Trysome Eatone.

Richard Butler said the split with Timothy occurred mainly because of his own need to distance himself from the Furs' sound and to try to establish a unique identity for Love Spit Love. "It's like a new gold rush, a chance to make new fortunes," Richard Butler said.

Timothy Butler was born 40 years ago today in England. He was a founding member of the Psychedelic Furs, formed in London in 1978 by his brother, singer/songwriter Richard. The band also included saxophonist Duncan Kilburn and guitarist Roger Morris.

Though their roots were in punk, the bandmembers chose the name "Psychedelic Furs" to honor their favorite psychedelic-era bands, such as the Velvet Underground and the Doors.

After guitarist John Ashton and drummer Vince Ely joined, the Furs' early songs began getting played on the BBC by noted DJ John Peel. Columbia Records took notice, signing the group for its eponymous 1980 debut, co-produced by Steve Lillywhite. The album and its follow-up, 1981's Talk, Talk, Talk (which contained an early version of its later hit, "Pretty In Pink"), received mostly good reviews, but did not sell spectacularly.

Todd Rundgren produced the Furs' 1982 release, Forever Now, which featured the minor U.S. hit, "Love My Way." Two years later, Mirror Moves included "Heaven," which was a top-30 hit in Britain.

The Furs began a big world-tour to push their latest work, but greater exposure came via film director John Hughes, who wrote a movie based on the Furs' track "Pretty In Pink." The Furs re-recorded the song for the Pretty In Pink soundtrack and the Furs' compilation, All Of This and Nothing (1988). The song and the movie cross-promoted each other, causing the Furs to receive the most attention of their career.

Coming after a 1987 U.S. hit with "Heartbreak Beat" (RealAudio excerpt), from that year's Midnight to Midnight, the movie gave the band momentum.

However, the Psychedelic Furs were unable to capitalize on these two consecutive years of success. The commercial failures of Book of Days (1989) and World Outside (1991) contributed to their disbanding in 1991.

In 1994, the Butlers issued Love Spit Love's self-titled debut, which barely charted in the U.S., though its single, "Am I Wrong," made #83.

Since leaving Love Spit Love before the LP's follow-up was recorded, Timothy Butler has not announced any musical plans.

Last year, Sony Music issued Should God Forget, a 33-track retrospective covering the Furs' entire career.

Other birthdays: Tom Waits, 49; Barbara Weathers (Atlantic Starr), 35; and Harry Chapin, 1942-1981.