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Animotion was a 1980s U.S.marker New Wave/synthpop band best known for their songs "Obsession" (written by Michael Des Barres and Holly Knight), "Let Him Go", "I Engineer" and "Room to Move". Formed in 1983 from the remnants of a retro science-fiction band called Red Zone, they signed a record deal with Polygram Records in 1984 and made three albums.

Biography

Animotion originally had six members, four of whom (lead singer Astrid Plane, keyboardist Paul Antonelli, bassist Charles Ottavio, and drummer Frenchy O'Brien) had originally been members of the band Red Zone. After the demise of that band, the four aforementioned members set about creating a new group. Lead singer/guitarist Bill Wadhams joined soon thereafter to co-front the new band with Plane. After the formation of Animotion around this nucleus, lead guitarist Don Kirkpatrick was brought on board, completing the line-up. They released their self-titled debut album in 1984. The following year, a single from this album, "Obsession" brought the band international success and became the band's first Billboard Hot 100 Top Ten single. The follow-up single from this album, "Let Him Go" also cracked the U.S. Top 40.

Session keyboardist Greg Smith, who had played on the band's debut, became an official member of the band prior to the recording of the follow-up album, Strange Behavior, which also saw Jim Blair replacing O'Brien on the drum kit. While several singles were released from this album, its success paled in comparison to the debut. During 1986 and 1987, Animotion toured extensively, appearing alongside performers such as Phil Collins, Depeche Mode, Eurythmics, Genesis, Howard Jones, INXS, and Simply Red. Animotion had great success in Germanymarker and South Africa with their two first albums, thanks to the singles "Obsession" and "I Engineer" (both Top 10 in those countries), and entered several European charts in high positions during this period.

In the midst of recording their third album, Animotion went through personnel changes as all three of the remaining founding members (Bill Wadhams, Astrid Plane and Charles Ottavio) departed. Following their departure, Ottavio and Plane married. Actress/dancer/singer Cynthia Rhodes, known for her performance as the character "Penny Johnson" in the 1987 film Dirty Dancing, replaced Plane as female lead singer, and former solo artist/Device member Paul Engemann replaced Wadhams as the male lead for Animotion's second self-titled album, informally known as "Room to Move" (due to the success of this song) to distinguish it from their first LP. By the time of this album's release, only Kirkpatrick and Smith remained officially in the "band" backing Rhodes and Engemann, and other session musicians were used during its recording. The single "Room to Move," is a remake of the 1988 song by the group Climie Fisher and was aided by its inclusion in the movie My Stepmother is an Alien, became a radio hit in April 1989, and their second Top 10 hit in the U.S., after "Obsession" in 1985; but the album itself failed to chart and Animotion broke up after that.

The members reunited for the first on February 8, 2001 with a sold out crowd in response to a request from Alex Hart and 94.7 NRK Radio Station in Portland, Oregonmarker. In the summer of 2005, founding members Wadhams, Plane and Ottavio appeared as "Animotion" in the Americanmarker version of the TV show Hit Me Baby One More Time, performing their hit "Obsession" and a cover of Dirty Vegas' "Days Go By".

As of 2008, Animotion have again reunited in a line-up including original members Wadhams, Plane, Ottavio, and Kirkpatrick; veteran keyboardist Greg Smith; and drummer Kevin Rankin for a few touring dates along the West Coast.

In 2009 Animotion was thrust into pop culture again as it was featured on VH-1's Top 100 One Hit Wonders of the 80's (in spite of the fact that Animotion are technically not one-hit wonders, as their song "Room to Move" cracked the top ten in 1989, albeit with an almost entirely different line-up). "Obsession" was also featured in the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Animotion came in at #12 with the hit "Obsession." Both Astrid Plane and Bill Wadhams were interviewed and featured.

Animotion is set to play select dates throughout 2009.

UK based specialist reissue label Cherry Red Records will be re-releasing both the Animotion (1984) and Strange Behavior (1986) albums via its Cherry Pop imprint on 17 August 2009 (UK) and a week later in the US (according to Amazon.com). Sleeve notes are by long-time fan Steve Thorpe, and the remastering has been carried out by Tim Turan in Oxford, UK. The CDs will each include several bonus tracks including 7" remixes and 12" remixes gathered from various singles released between 1984 and 1986 in Europe and the United States.

Other Activities

Bill Wadhams

Original frontman Bill Wadhams has ventured into other aspects of entertainment, including starting the record company, Blue Dog Records and performing graphic design. Wadhams, a Portland, Oregonmarker resident, has three sons, and at least one daughter. Two of his sons, Charlie and Chris Wadhams have formed their own band in Los Angelesmarker, Rex Aquarium, and his daughter, Natalie is a singer and violinist .

Astrid Plane & Charles Ottavio

Original frontwoman Astrid Plane married bassist Charles Ottavio shortly after they both left Animotion in the later half of the 1980s. They are currently living on the West Coast, raising their daughter Victoria. When not playing with Animotion, Astrid is still involved in the music business, having recently released her album, If I Was Magic. She also gives voice lessons at The Voice Shop in Fresno. She also has a MySpace page.

Don Kirkpatrick

According to Animotion's MySpace page, original lead guitarist Don Kirkpatrick also currently tours with Rod Stewart.

Paul Antonelli

Original keyboardist Paul Antonelli, who left the band sometime in the mid-1980s, began composing and directing music for various TV series programs. Immediately after leaving Animotion, Antonelli had played in the band Radio Werewolf. While he does not currently participate in Animotion reunion tours, he has attended some of the band's recent performances. Antonelli currently composes the music for As The World Turns, a daytime drama on CBS.

Discography

Studio Albums

  • Animotion (Mercury Records/Universal Music 1984) #28 US
    • The group's self-titled debut was released in Canadamarker as The Language of Attraction
  • Strange Behavior (Casablanca Records/Universal Music 1986) #71 US; #19 Germany; #21 Switzerlandmarker
  • Animotion (Room to Move) (Universal Music 1988) #110 US


Compilations

  • Obsession : The Best of Animotion (1996)
  • The Best of Animotion (Rebound) (1998)


Reissues

  • Animotion (Cherry Pop CRPOP25) 2009 reissue with 5 bonus tracks
  • Strange Behavior (Cherry Pop CRPOP26) 2009 reissue with 5 bonus tracks


Singles

Year Single Peak chart positions Album
US Hot 100 UK Canada Germany Austria South Africa Switzerland
1985 "Obsession" 6 5 6 8 17 9 Animotion (released in Canada

as The Language of Attraction)
"Let Him Go" 39 78 41
1986 "I Engineer" 76 2 19 4 6 Strange Behavior
"I Want You" 84 27
1989 "Room to Move" 9 87 Animotion (different

from the 1985 release)
"Calling It Love" 53
"—" denotes releases that did not chart


References



External links




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