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THE ALARM BIOGRAPHY

The Alarm was formed in Rhyl, Wales in 1981. They were originally called "Seventeen" because when they formed, like some sort of Welsh Hanson, they were all seventeen. From one of their tunes, "Alarm, Alarm" they got their new (and better) name. Alarm from 70608 Almost always singing about human rights and other social issues, they were constantly compared to both U2 and The Clash. In fact, it seems the Welsh quartet was destined to forever remain in the shadow of those two seminal bands.

Despite the excellent musicianship (and penchant for keeping the Welsh hairspray industry solvent during the 80s) they had a hard time breaking onto the charts, though they did have several charting records. They managed to break the top 20 once, with "Rain In The Summertime" in 1987. Many fans wouldn't know it, but The Alarm was a favorite among Christian Rockers. Mike Peters' lyrics (again like U2's Bono) reflected his strong Christian beliefs.

In 1991, after a decade of playing, recording, touring (opening for such headliners as U2, Bob Dylan, Status Quo and Queen) and meeting with moderate succcess, Mike Peters left to pursue solo projects, effectively disbanding The Alarm. His debut solo LP came in 1994. Dave Sharp released a solo LP (on I.R.S.) in 1991.


THE ALARM I.R.S. DISCOGRAPHY

This discography will cover only THE ALARM's recordings for I.R.S. Records. Recordings for other labels, other recordings, solo recordings and guest appearances, may be mentioned in the biography or discography, but details can be found by visiting some of the cool links for THE ALARM, below...

Albums & EPs

SP 70504 THE ALARM
IRS SP 70504 (Released 10 Jun 1983)

Vinyl and Cassette.

Produced by The Alarm, Aricentus, Steve Tannet, Harry Murlowski and Ian Wilson except *
*Produced by Mick Glossop
+Recorded Live at The Marquee, London, 30 Jan 1983
+Recorded and Mixed by Steve Tannet & Kenny McAndrews
Engineered by Jess Sutcliffe
Photography by Harry Murlowski

Musicians:
Mike Peters Guitar, Harmonica & Lead Vocals
Dave Sharp Guitar & Backing Vocals
Eddie MacDonald Bass & Backing Vocals
(Nigel) Twist Drums & Backing Vocals
Additional Musicians:
Mark Feltham Harmonica
Angie Knox Keyboards

Track Listing:

  1. The Stand* (MacDonald/Peters/Sharp) 3:40
  2. Across The Border (Sharp) 3:30
  3. Marching On (MacDonald/Peters) 3:30
  4. Lie Of The Land (MacDonald/Peters) 2:31
  5. For Freedom*+(MacDonald/Peters) 3:25

With this stunning debut EP, The Alarm were immediately compared to both U2 and The Clash. Their musicianship was impressive and their playing tight. The best tracks are "The Stand" and "Marching On." The video of "The Stand" received moderate rotation from MTV and is included in THE BEaST OF IRS VIDEO...


SP70608 DECLARATION
IRS SP 70608 (Released 20 Feb 1984)

Vinyl & Cassette.
Reissued as SP70050 Vinyl, CD & Cassette in 1985
Reissued as SP75050 (midprice line) CD & Cassette in 1987.
Produced by Alan Shacklock
Engineered by Chris Porter
Recorded At Abbey Road & Good Earth Studios, London
Art Direction by Michael Ross & Simon Adamczewski
Photos by Stephen Oliver Illustration by Robert Mason

Musicians:
Mike Peters Guitar, Harmonica & Lead Vocals
Dave Sharp Guitar & Backing Vocals (Lead Vocals on *)
Eddie MacDonald Bass & Backing Vocals (Lead Vocals on +)
(Nigel) Twist Drums & Backing Vocals
Additional Musicians:
Alan Shacklock Keyboards

Track Listing:

  1. Declaration (MacDonald/Peters/Sharp) :45
  2. Marching On (MacDonald/Peters) 3:35
  3. Where were You Hiding When The Storm Broke? (MacDonald/Peters) 2:56
  4. Third Light + (MacDonald/Peters) 3:25
  5. Sixty Eight Guns (MacDonald/Peters) 5:49
  6. We Are The Light (MacDonald/Peters) 3:16
  7. Shout To The Devil (MacDonald/Peters/Sharp) 4:10
  8. Blaze Of Glory (MacDonald/Peters/Sharp) 6:04
  9. Tell Me * (Sharp) 3:14
  10. The Deceiver (MacDonald/Peters) 5:05
  11. The Stand (Prophecy) (MacDonald/Peters) 1:15
  12. Howling Wind (MacDonald/Peters) 6:44
This solid follow-up to their EP shows no let up on the driving rhythms and hooking harmonica riffs introduced on their debut effort. "Marching On" makes a reappearance here, tied to a haunting semi-spoken, semi-musical "Declaration". Same for "The Stand" now carrying the subtitle "Prophecy." Strongest cuts are the single choices, "Sixty-Eight Guns" and "The Deceiver" as well as the new versions of the EP's Best tunes ("The Stand" and "Marching On").


5666 STRENGTH
IRS-5666 (Released 1985)

Vinyl, Cassette & CD

Produced by Mike Howlett
Engineered by Nigel Luby





Musicians:
Mike Peters Guitar, Harmonica & Lead Vocals
Dave Sharp Guitar & Backing Vocals
Eddie MacDonald Bass & Backing Vocals
(Nigel) Twist Drums & Backing Vocals

Track Listing:

  1. Knife Edge (Macdonald/Peters) 5:06
  2. Strength (Macdonald/Peters/Twist) 5:34
  3. Dawn Chorus (Macdonald/Peters) 5:24
  4. Spirit of '76 (Macdonald/Peters) 7:05
  5. Deeside (Macdonald/Peters) 3:08
  6. Father to Son (Macdonald/Peters) 4:04
  7. Only the Thunder (Macdonald/Peters) 4:06
  8. Day the Ravens Left the Tower (Macdonald/Peters) 4:45
  9. Absolute Reality (Macdonald/Peters) 3:24
  10. Walk Forever by My Side (Macdonald/Peters) 3:32

Review coming Soon!


42061 EYE OF THE HURRICANE
IRS-42061 (Released 1987)

Vinyl, Cassette & CD.

Produced by John Porter and The Alarm
Engineered by Tony Platt




Musicians:
Mike Peters Guitar, Harmonica & Lead Vocals
Dave Sharp Guitar & Vocals
Eddie MacDonald Bass, Synthesizer & Backing Vocals
(Nigel) Twist Drums & Backing Vocals
Additional Musicians:
Chris Stanton Organ & Piano
Mark Taylor Piano

Track Listing:

  1. Rain in the Summertime (Alarm) 5:12
  2. Newtown Jericho (McDonald/Peters) 4:05
  3. Hallowed Ground (McDonald/Peters) 4:17
  4. One Step Closer to Home (Sharp/Twist) 4:01
  5. Shelter (Alarm) 3:08
  6. Rescue Me (McDonald/Peters) 3:19
  7. Permanence in Change (McDonald/Peters) 4:01
  8. Presence of Love (McDonald/Peters) 4:01
  9. Only Love Can Set Me Free (McDonald/Peters) 4:22
  10. Eye of the Hurricane (McDonald/Peters) 3:38

Review coming Soon!


39108 A ELECTRIC FOLKLORE LIVE
IRS-39108 (Released 1988)

Vinyl, Cassette & CD

Produced by Gary Katz
Engineered by Elliot Scheiner
Recorded Live At The Wang Center, Boston MA, 26 April 1988
Mixed at
Art Direction by
Photos by

Musicians:
Mike Peters Guitar, Harmonica & Lead Vocals
Dave Sharp Guitar & Backing Vocals
Eddie MacDonald Bass & Backing Vocals
(Nigel) Twist Drums & Backing Vocals
Additional Musicians:
Mark Taylor Keyboards

Track Listing:

  1. Rescue Me (Macdonald/Peters)
  2. Strength (Macdonald/Peters/Twist)
  3. Rain In The Summertime (Alarm)
  4. Spirit Of '76 (Macdonald/Peters)
  5. Permanence Of Change (Macdonald/Peters)
  6. Blaze Of Glory (MacDonald/Peters/Sharp)

Review coming Soon!


82018 CHANGE
IRS-82018 (Released 1989)

Vinyl, Cassette & CD
Reissued as IRS13018 in 1990

Produced by
Digitally ReEngineered by
Recorded At
Art Direction by
Photography by
Liner Notes by

Musicians:
Mike Peters Guitar, Harmonica & Lead Vocals
Dave Sharp Guitar & Backing Vocals
Eddie MacDonald Bass & Backing Vocals
(Nigel) Twist Drums & Backing Vocals

Track Listing:
Coming Soon!

Review coming Soon!


13056 STANDARDS
IRS-13056 (Released 13 Nov 1990)

CD and Cassette




Produced by Various Producers
Recorded At Various Studios


Musicians:
Mike Peters Guitar, Harmonica & Lead Vocals
Dave Sharp Guitar & Backing Vocals
Eddie MacDonald Bass & Backing Vocals
(Nigel) Twist Drums & Backing Vocals

Track Listing:

  1. The Road (Macdonald/Peters) 3:13
  2. Unsafe Building (Macdonald/Peters) 4:06
  3. The Stand (Macdonald/Peters/Sharp) 4:43
  4. Sixty Eight Guns (Macdonald/Peters) 3:15
  5. Where Were You Hiding When The Storm Broke? (Macdonald/Peters) 2:57
  6. Absolute Reality (Macdonald/Peters) 3:25
  7. Strength (Alarm) 5:34
  8. Spirit Of '76 (Macdonald/Peters) 7:06
  9. Rain In The Summertime (Alarm) 5:11
  10. Rescue Me (Macdonald/Peters) 3:20
  11. Sold Me Down The River (Macdonald/Peters) 4:11
  12. Devolution Workin' Man Blues (Macdonald/Peters) 4:11
  13. Happy Christmas (War Is Over) (Lennon/Ono) 3:41
  14. Marching On* (Macdonald/Peters) 3:32
  15. Blaze Of Glory*(Macdonald/Peters/Sharp) 6:04

This "Best Of" collection spans all the group's recordings up to 1989's CHANGE. STANDARDS also features three tunes recorded just for this collection and the CD includes two *CD Only bonus tracks.


13087 RAW
IRS-13087 (Released Apr 1991)

CD and Cassette


Production Credits Coming Soon!

Musicians:
Mike Peters Guitar, Harmonica & Lead Vocals
Dave Sharp Guitar & Backing Vocals
Eddie MacDonald Bass & Backing Vocals
(Nigel) Twist Drums & Backing Vocals

Track Listing:
Coming Soon!

Review coming Soon!


31010 THE STAND CD3
A&M/IRS CC31010 (Released Apr 1988)

CD3
Produced by Mick Glossop
Engineered by Kevin Kelly, (except* Jess Sutcliffe)
Assisted by Dave Rosen & Phil Pratt
Tracks 2 & 3 Recorded At My Father's Place, Long Island, NY, 28 Sep 1983
Compiled by John Guarnieri
Photography by Ed Colver


Musicians:
Mike Peters Guitar, Harmonica & Lead Vocals
Dave Sharp Guitar & Backing Vocals
Eddie MacDonald Bass & Backing Vocals
(Nigel) Twist Drums & Backing Vocals

Track Listing:

  1. The Stand* (MacDonald/Peters/Sharp) 3:15
  2. Lie Of The Land (Live) (MacDonald/Peters) 2:57
  3. A Legal Matter (Live) (Townshend) 2:42

By the late 1980's many labels were experimenting with making the music even MORE portable than the five inch Compact disc. Solution? a three inch disc! With three songs! This one featured "The Stand" and two live tracks: "Lie Of The Land" and a Who cover, "A Legal Matter." The live tracks, which were originally broadcast live on WLIR-FM are a little uneven, but still show the finesse of a great band.


31015 SIXTY-EIGHT GUNS CD3
A&M/IRS CC31015 (Released 1989)

CD3
Produced by Alan Shacklock
Engineered by Chris Porter (except* Kevin Kelly)
Track 3 Recorded At My Father's Place, Long Island, NY, 28 Sep 1983
Compiled by John Guarnieri
Photography by Stephen Oliver
Digitally Remastered by Mike Reese

Musicians:
Mike Peters Guitar, Harmonica & Lead Vocals
Dave Sharp Guitar & Backing Vocals
Eddie MacDonald Bass & Backing Vocals
(Nigel) Twist Drums & Backing Vocals

Track Listing:

  1. Sixty-Eight Guns (MacDonald/Peters) 3:16
  2. The Chant Has Just Begun (MacDonald/Peters/Sharp) 3:41
  3. Marching On* (MacDonald/Peters) 5:58

The second CD3 from The Alarm is somewhat more satifying than its predescessor. The Lead-off track (the terrific "Sixty-Eight Guns") is followed by the non-LP "The Chant Has Just Begun", a tune in which the opening chant grabs the listener and doesn't let go until it fades out. The CD3 closes with a live version of "Marching On" which was origianlly broadcast on WLIR-FM. Audience participation shows just what a terrific live show these guys put on!


Singles

IR9922 "The Stand"/"Reason 41"
IR9922 (Released 18 Oct 1983)
"The Stand" from SP 70504 "Reason 41" (Live) is Non-LP Track

Produced by Mick Glossop
B-Side recorded by Steve Tannett & Kenny McAndrews Sleeve Design by Carl Grasso
Photos by Ed Colver

The Alarm's first single release is indeed one of their most powerful numbers. The song ("The Stand") received airplay on college and "cutting edge" radio stations, promoting both the single and the EP from which it is culled. Moderate rotation of the video on MTV didn't hurt either. "Reason 41" on the B-side was recorded live at the Marquee, in London. Not necessarily a "great tune" it does demonstrate that The Alarm was just as good "Live" as in the studio...


70971 Sleeve "Sixty-Eight Guns"/"?"
IRS SP 70971 (Released 1983)

(PROMOTIONAL 12" VINYL)



Produced by Alan Shacklock



12" Radio station promo. Gave The Alarm much needed radio exposure.


IR9924 "Sixty-Eight Guns"/"Pavilion Steps"
IR9924 (Released 14 Feb 1984)
"Sixty-Eight Guns" from SP70608 "Pavilion Steps" is Non-LP Track

Produced by Alan Shacklock
B-Side Produced by The Alarm

"Sixty-Eight Guns" is your humble webmaster's favorite Alarm tune. A truly rousing anthem, you find yourself singing along with the chorus by the second time through. The "anthem" motif is enhanced by the cover art featuring a Civil War era drummer boy marching along. There's no credit for the cover art or photography. The non-LP tune gracing the B-side ("Pavilion Steps") is a largely forgettable slow-building ballad.


IR9929 "The Deceiver"/"Second Generation"
IR9929 (Released 15 May 1984)
"The Deceiver" from SP70608 "Second Generation" is Non-LP Track Produced by Alan Shacklock
B-Side Produced by The Alarm
Sleeve Photo by Stephen Oliver
Art by Robert Mason

Review coming Soon!


70975 Sleeve "The Deceiver"/"Howling Wind"
IRS SP 70975 (Released 1984)

(PROMOTIONAL 12" VINYL)



Produced by Alan Shacklock



12" Radio station promo.


52736 "Strength"/"Majority"
IRS-52736 (Released 1985)
"Strength" from IRS5666 "Majority" is Non-LP Track


Produced by Mike Howlett
Sleeve Design by Lewis Evans

Review coming Soon!


52792 "Spirit Of '76"/"Reason 36"
IRS-52792 (Released 1985)
"Spirit Of '76" from IRS5666 "Reason 36" is Non-LP Track Produced by Mike Howlett
B-Side Produced by Nigel Luby and the Suicide Squad
Sleeve Design by The Leisure Process


Review coming Soon!



52828 "Absolute Reality"/"Room At The Top"
IRS-52828 (Released 1986)
"Absolute Reality" from IRS5666 "Room At The Top is Non-LP Track

Produced by Mike Howlett
B-Side Produced by Nigel Luby and the Suicide Squad

Review coming Soon!


53219 "Rain In The Summertime"/"Rose Beyond The Wall"
IRS-53219 (Released 1987)
"Rain In The Summertime" from IRS42061 "Rose Beyond The Wall" is Non-LP Track

Produced by John Porter and The Alarm
B-Side Produced by MacDonald for the Suicide Squad

Review coming Soon!


53259 "Presence Of Love"/"My Land Your Land"
IRS-53259 (Released 1988)
"Presence Of Love" from IRS42061 "My Land Your Land" is Non-LP Track

Produced by John Porter
A-Side Engineered by Tony Platt Mixed by David Leonard
B-Side Engineered by Gary Bradshaw Recorded & Mixed by The Alarm

Review coming Soon!


Compilations & Soundtracks

Bachelor Party (SP70047) includes "What Kind Of Hell"
Bedroom Supplement (no number) includes "Strength"
Hearing Aids (no number) includes "The Stand" and "Marching On"
KROQ Presents The Normal Noise Of IRS (IRS #?) includes "Sixty-Eight Guns"
Live For Life (IRS5731) includes "Howling Wind" (Live)
On The Charts: IRS Records 1979-1994 (IRS29695) includes "Rain In The Summertime"
These People Are Nuts! (IRS82010) includes "The Stand"
21 Jump Street (IRS 6270) includes "Rescue Me"


THE ALARM LINKS & OTHER COOL STUFF

There are a number of websites devoted to The Alarm...



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