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Boys Don't Cry are a British pop/rock band known for the hit single "I Wanna Be a Cowboy", which peaked at No. 12 on the Hot 100 in 1986 and charted around the world. They are considered a one-hit wonder, though they released an EP, two albums and several singles.
The band was formed in 1983 as the brainchild of lead vocalist/keyboardist Nick Richards, who had just purchased Maison Rouge Recording Studios in London. An early version of the group (featuring Richards, guitarist Richard Taee and drummer Steve Creese, augmented by session musicians) released their debut EP Don't Talk to Strangers on independent UK label Legacy Records in Britain in 1983. By the mid-1980s, the band's lineup had stabilized around principal members Richards and keyboardist Brian Chatton (born Brian Charles Chatton, 19 July 1948, in Bolton, Lancashire; one of the session players on the debut EP), along with Jeff Seopardi on drums, Nico Ramsden on guitar, and Mark Smith on bass. Chatton had previously had a brief stint on keyboards with 1970s progressive band Jackson Heights, contributing heavily to their Ragamuffin's Fool LP.
Boys Don't Cry were discovered by Paul Oakenfold, who was a talent scout for Profile Records in London in the mid-'80s. Best known for being Run DMC's record label at the time, Profile signed the band for the U.S. market and Legacy retained the rights to the band's UK releases. Mercury Records won the bidding for Canada and Intercord Tonträger GmbH handled their releases in Germany.
The single "I Wanna Be a Cowboy" was released in 1986. A novelty song with deadpan humour and kitschy references, the song has been described as the perfect musical realization of a spaghetti western movie. It hit No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 13 on the Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales chart in 1986-1987, and was R&R No. 8. "I Wanna Be a Cowboy" was also a top 10 hit in Australia and South Africa. The video featured a cameo appearance by Lemmy Kilmister of Motörhead.
They would go on to release two full-length albums: a self-titled debut in 1986, which included "I Wanna Be a Cowboy", and a follow-up the following year titled Who the Am Dam do You Think We Am. The second album was simply released in America as Boys Don't Cry, creating some confusion there, since the band now had two consecutive self-titled albums released within a year of each other. The follow-up single to "I Wanna Be a Cowboy" was (necessarily perhaps) a complete departure; "Cities On Fire", an energetic rush of synth-rock which was released in 7" and 12" remix form, received early attention from MTV but failed to connect with fans of the novelty hit and didn't receive enough airplay to create a new fanbase.
On July 30, 1997, co-writers Nick Richards and Brian Chatton sued Paula Cole, Warner Brothers Records, and Imago Records, along with remix producers DJ EFX, Big Ed, and the E-Team, for $7 million in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, claiming that Cole's remix of "Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?" used the phrase "I wanna be a cowboy" 24 times in the same style and syntax as their song and constituted copyright infringement.
Origin of name:
Contrary to popular belief, the moniker "Boys Don't Cry" did not actually come from The Cure's song/album of the same name. Rather, the name has its origins in some whispered lyrics from fellow British band 10cc's hit song "I'm Not in Love" (specifically, "be quiet... big boys don't cry"). However, the band were evidently completely aware of (and perhaps amused by) the confusion surrounding their name, and they even included an instrumental bonus track titled "The Cure" on their second album as a joke.
2009 saw Nick Richards and Brian Chatton teaming up again in Los Angeles to write an album. The first single from the album, "Don't Call Me a Country Singer" peaked at No. 7 on the FMQB a/c radio charts. Richards put together a new Boys Don't Cry lineup, featuring Doug Gild on bass, Mike Licata on drums, Aaron McClain and James Richards on guitars, and Teddy Rae Richards on backing vocals. Barbara Baker has taken over the management. This incarnation later planned to tour with Red Entertainment on an "Eighties Retro" tour.
On 30 October 2009, the band's former bass player, Mark Smith, died at his home in London. Mark was just 49 years old, and he had originally been tapped to join the band for the following year's touring.
The anthology album, White Punks on Rap is now available to download. It is a solid history of the band from 1983-1995.
The band played a New Year's Eve show in Hollywood with special guest stars including Roy Hay from Culture Club and Nina Hagen. They have also released a brand new 6-track EP entitled Blow Me, which is only available as a download.
Boys Don't Cry have released a brand new album, "HEAR IT IS!", on August 14, 2014. The songs were penned by original members Nick Richards and Brian Chatton. The album is on Richards' own label Microrich inc. The band will be touring the states for the rest of the year in support of the album.