Personnel over the years
Vocals, Ian Donaldson
Keyboards, Ross Alcock
Guitars, Andrew Innes, Neil Clark, Davie Wells, John Harton, John Parker
Pete Kean, Frank O’Hare, Ali Mcleod
Bass, Alan McGee, Colin Ferguson, Johnnie
McBriar, George (Dunnachie) Sinclair.
Drums, Kenny Dorman, Phil Kean, David Edgar.
Saxophone, Colin“Biggles”Gavigan, Phil Martin
Michael Deans, Deke McGee.
Backing Vocals, Maureen Lavery, Sharon
Dunleavy, Jane Button.
H2O were formed in late 1978 by Ian Donaldson, following the demise of Glasgow punk band “Skroo”. The band’s original line up was Ian on vocals, Davie Wells on Guitar, Alan McGee on Bass and Kenny Dorman on drums, H2O’s first gig was Mayday 79 on the back of a lorrie in Elder Park, Govan, Glasgow.
1980 saw the addition of Ross Alcock on Keyboards, Colin Ferguson coming in on bass and Later still Colin “Biggles” Gavigan on saxophone. The band’s first independent single, on their own Spock label, “Hollywood Dream” was released in 1981 and radio play helped raise the H2O profile. An appearance on BBC Scotland’s “Street Buzz” allowed the band a chance to spread the word (and music) to a larger audience, also a video of the show allowed the band to show to London record companies what they could do.
In 1982, with the addition of new guitarists, John Harton and then Pete Kean, The Band signed to RCAand, subsequently, began work on their first recording- deciding at the last moment to put the intended ”A” side “Burn To Win” on the flip side and go with “Dream To Sleep” which spent ten weeks in the charts and reached no.17 in May 1983.
The follow up single, in August of the same year ”Just Outside of Heaven” reached no. 38 and spent six weeks in the charts. The pressure of finishing their album “Faith”
And a nationwide tour with Kajagoogoo meant that their third single, “All That Glitters” produced by Steve Harley, was not released until 1984.
The band with new members, Phil Kean on drums and Johnnie McBriar on bass continued to tour and to release singles: “Who’ll Stop The Rain” and “You Take My Breath Away”
The inevitable record company in-house shuffles led to the band parting company with RCA.
The year of 1985 saw the band continue to tour, but with the strain of keeping a six piece outfit together, without a record deal, led to a split in October of that year.
Ian and Ross continued to write and demo new songs- using several new names for the band - in an attempt to secure a new record deal and in the early months of 1986, they began to gain interest, they augmented their studio duo, becoming a five piece, to perform a number of showcase gigs for record companies, with auditions of former “Skroo” guitarist Frank O’Hare; drummer David Edgar and George Sinclair on bass,
The Fledgling company, “Legend Records” looked like the label that offered the best chance of keeping H2O a priority band, which they had been less and less so at the major label RCA. The band released the single “Blue Diamond” which just failed to reach the top forty in 1987 despite plenty of airplay from major radio stations.
Frank O’Hare left the band in late 1987 to be replaced by Ali McLeod, ex Hipsway, on guitar and the single “ The sun aint gonna shine anymore” was released at the end of that year.
Since 1988 the band have played a few one off gigs, notably in April 1993 for Radio Clyde’s “Cash For Kids” and later, in April 1994. the opening gig for the newly converted venue “The Renfrew Ferry” and a sell out gig in “King Tutts” in June 2003, celebrating 20 years of “ Dream To Sleep” was followed by a “Tutts” Christmas gig in December 2003…..far cry from the very first gig on the back of a lorry in Govan.
One of the original Guitarists Andrew Innes went on to join "Primal Scream" and Neil Clark joined "Lloyd Cole and the Commotions" Ian Donaldson is now singing with the Scottish Supergroup “Four Good Men” and George Sinclair and Frank O,Hare play with the Band “Carnaby Street” along with ex “Scheme” drummer Des Osborne and ex “Dolphins” Keyboard player Drew Phillips.
... H2O on the BBC Scotland programme “Street Buzz” 1982
… Stills from the “Blue Diamond” Video from 1987
Special thanks to George Dunnachie for providing all of the information for the H2O part of the site George, ( pictured left on Bass guitar) has been involved in the Glasgow band scene since the 70s as sound engineer for “Cirkus” then as Bass Player with “The Dolphins”, he made a guest appearance on stage at “Scheme’s” now legendary Apollo gig in 1984 playing bass, moving on to play with H2O and is now with the band “Carnaby Street”.
Above,..The Band playing on TV show “Meltdown” for ITV in 1987.
Above,..The "Dream to Sleep" single from 1983
CHERRY RED RECORDS have re-released the "Faith" album from 1983 on CD.
As well as the original album, the CD has six bonus tracks, quotes from Ian Donaldson and gives the history of the band with a few promotional photos.