Then Jerico

TrackAlbum /Single
The Big Sweep London LON 63
The Motive London LON 145
Big Area The Big Area
Prairie Rose First (The Sound Of Music)
A Quiet Place (Apathy And Sympathy)First (The Sound Of Music)
The Hitcher First (The Sound Of Music)
What Does It Take?The Big Area
Reeling The Big Area
Under FireThe Big Area
Clank (Countdown To Oblivion)London LON 86

Then Jerico photo 3
l-r: Mark Shaw (vocals), Jasper Stainthorpe (bass), Scott Taylor (guitar), Steve Wren (drums) – photos from the Muscle Deep 12″ back cover

Then Jerico playlist




Contributor: Dave Ross

adjective: anthemic
• (of a song) like an anthem in being rousing or uplifting

There’s a period of time in the 80s between Live Aid and the Stone Roses that some may consider a wasteland musically. It certainly doesn’t have a genre to define it. Stock Aitken Waterman were taking up huge chunks of the charts with their hit factory. Many who flew high in that glorious era from 1977 to 1984 either sunk without trace or reinvented themselves as stadium bands. Simple Minds, Depeche Mode and Tears For Fears for example went big, huge. Big sounds especially the drums, big production, everything turned up to 13. Albums like Sparkle In The Rain, Once Upon A Time, Black Celebration and Songs From The Big Chair were just enormous in everything and sent all three bands into the stratosphere.

It’s no surprise then that a young Mark Shaw who had been trying to get his break since 1983 decided his band Then Jerico, who were by 1986 already building a following with their own brand of anthemic music, would follow suit and go bigger. Shaw was a fan of Roxy Music, T. Rex and a huge Bowie fan. There was also an admission of influence from Simple Minds so it was a mixture of that relentless noise and energy added to Bowie’s sense of drama that he would search for.

At this point I will add that I made Mark aware that I was writing this piece through Twitter and Facebook. We’ve had minor back and forth and I’ll add some of Mark’s quotes where appropriate. On the question of Simple Minds, he said: Yeah, Simple Minds were a huge influence on Then Jerico. In the 90s I was lucky enough to co-write and record with the keyboard genius Mick MacNeil on my ‘Orgasmaphobia’ album. He’s a gentleman and a massive inspiration. He took me under his wing and we became good friends.

Mark Shaw looked like a rockier Morten Harket with cheekbones you could cut yourself on, possessed an incessant drive for success and, yes, an arrogance, self-belief if you like, that set him apart. In the early 80s living in Croydon after an unsettled childhood, he went to The Blitz and Billy’s and here he found likeminded souls where he fitted in. He decided being a stunt man wasn’t for him (yes, he wanted to be a stunt man) and set about forming a band. In 1983 he’d advertised for his band members and once he’d chosen bassist Jasper Stainthorpe, drummer Steve Wren and guitarist Scott Taylor from Belouis Some, he set about getting Then Jerico noticed. This determination got the band a set of gigs in New York where they were spotted by London Records and signed. Which brings me to my first selection, The Big Sweep. This from the band’s website may surprise some people. Then Jerico, political activists with the gutter press in their sights? Who knew?

The band played The Limelight Club in NYC in 1983 and signed to London Records in 1984. The single The Big Sweep was recorded for London but they objected to the lyrical subject matter (an anti-Robert Maxwell/Rupert Murdoch statement). It was initially released by the track’s producer Martin Rushent on his own Immaculate label in 1985 and then, subsequently, as a limited edition by London Records along with the new song, “Fault“, both of which attracted attention in the clubs.

It certainly made me think there was more to this band than met the eye not least because it’s a great song and becomes my first choice.


Before we move on to the rest of this top ten, let’s address the elephant in the room. Mark Shaw had a brief yet infamous appearance on Reborn In The USA in 2003, a reality show in which once-famous pop stars were hauled round America on a bus to perform in front of local audiences before being voted off. Mark lasted a day. It appears that a mixture of naivety – it was one of the first celebrity reality shows – lack of communication and a basic misunderstanding led to the footage of an angry Mark walking off and being shown on national TV. Oh, how we judged him, unfairly in my opinion. It just wouldn’t have happened today. All parties would have been more savvy, better prepared and more aware of the potential pit falls. Who can forget the Dollar vs Sonia fall out? Oh, right, everyone can. So that’s that put to bed. We can get on with the music now and fast forward to 1987.

A few singles and live performances had gained the band a decent following, a ‘next big thing’ tag among sections of the music press. Their first album, First (The Sound Of Music), was released in early 1987 and produced two top 40 singles, Muscle Deep and the truly brilliant The Motive, exploding onto the radio and TV with a strong performance on The Tube which is available online. The album is a perfect time capsule of what was possible with production, sound and excess available in 1987. The video for The Motive is exactly what you’d expect with added explosions, fire and more excess. The fire also shortened Mark’s ponytail by several inches. It’s one big adrenalin rush of a song and my second choice. It never fails to make me smile and sing along.


I’ll come back to First later but, building on that success and riding the crest of a wave, popularity continued to grow in 1989. They ramped it up again for The Big Area which brought more success and another enormous single among an album of 10 potential singles. Producer Rick Nowels even got Belinda Carlisle to duet on What Does It Take?. Surely everything was set for world domination but, suddenly, with the musical world shifting on its baggy trousered axis, stadium style, anthemic pop rock was no longer what people wanted. Within a year, within touching distance of the success they’d been chasing the whole decade it was over and in 1990 the band split.

I found this YouTube clip of Mark talking about fame which I’ll just leave here. Pretty sobering really.

Right, now let’s get on with the music and there’s no better pick-me-up than Big Area. What. A. Song.


Listening as I have to every 80s Then Jerico song that I can find has been a real eye opener. I’ve found some gems on each album and even more on a compilation, Reprise: Famous Hits & Mysterious Mixes, which I heartily recommend if you find something in this top ten that interests you. Especially if you’ve got a long drive planned and you want some musical caffeine that will have you singing along with gusto, smiling at every bang, crash and guitar solo. Oh, those drums. Think of that intro to Simple Minds’ Waterfront. Babooom!

While preparing this piece I found a vinyl copy of First (The Sound Of Music) and tweeted about it, describing it as “production, drama and hair gel”. Mark responded: Thank you! That pretty much summed us up and still does!

From the album is a great, more rockier, cover version of Roxy Music’s Prairie Rose. I love this video as Mark’s demeanour all the way through is one of “I can’t believe I’m doing this Roxy Music song” – a mixture of incredulity and sheer happiness.


The response from fans on Twitter opened my eyes a little. Here was a band who haven’t had a hit since 1989 but there is so much love for them out there. I asked fans for their favourites and got some great responses. Later on, I’ll even share Mark’s favourite Then Jerico songs. Many people chose my first four selections and I’ve included a few more as I run through the rest of this top 10.

The next choice is from FirstA Quiet Place (Apathy And Sympathy) where the bombast is turned down a fraction and it’s a great reflective song.

Tom @wecdsend said: I’ll share a 2017 Facebook post 🙂 I’d probably plump for A Quiet Place from ‘First’, and What Does It Take from ‘The Big Area’ – c’mon, TJ and Belinda Carlisle, none more 80s! 😊

Then Jerico facebook

These lyrics show a softer, self-aware side which I love:

I once said it’s all mine
Don’t you think I’m right this time?
Don’t I have the right to feel
Apathy and sympathy, well?
(Where did I go wrong?)
(Where did I go wrong?)
(Where did I go wrong?)
Goodbye, go
(Go wrong, go wrong)


We go big again next with The Hitcher, again from First. Chosen by many on Twitter. Delivered vocally in parts almost as a rap over that familiar driving sound. Clearly a fan’s favourite


Leaving First behind we now arrive at 1989’s The Big Area and What Does It Take. As I said earlier, one of the producers of the second album was a guy called Rick Nowels who was also working with Belinda Carlise at the time. This led to her doing some guest vocals on What Does It Take.

As Kyron @kyronarmstrong on Twitter says it really should have been a huge hit: What Does It Take the 2nd single from ‘The Big Area’ deserved to chart better in ’89. My fav @THENJERICO song is The Happening which is a b-side on Sugar Box & IMO could’ve been a stand alone single. The Hitcher on ‘First’ album is sublime!

It’s a great video, including Belinda, none more 80s in absolutely every aspect.


Next is Reeling which is just phenomenal. A fantastic use of strings gives it an even bigger feel. Mark’s vocals are perfect and the whole thing is a snapshot of Then Jerico and the late 80s.

Paul @plc69 from Twitter is a huge music fan and his love of Then Jerico surprised me somewhat but as he told me: Dave, I could choose any or all of the songs from the debut, but the one I’m going for is ‘Reeling’ from the second album. Beginning with a great guitar riff, the vocal then kicks in – and it absolutely soars during the chorus. For me, a highlight from ‘The Big Area’.


For the last two selections I go with two of Mark’s choices that he was kind enough to share:

Under Fire from our album ‘The Big Area (Outside)’ is my personal favourite (and not just because I co-produced it!). Also our early B-Sides, Clank and One Life.

Under Fire is a very different song but still very Then Jerico if that makes sense. Dare I say it hints towards Berlin-era Bowie in parts but also some hoos and haas straight from Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s Welcome To The Pleasuredome. It feels cataclysmic; a shuddering warning to beware of coming doom. It’s their most atmospheric and hypnotic song. I can see why Mark loves it.

Can you hear the voices
Screaming out a warning
And the faces of the children
As the homes burn
In the morning sunshine

Ah, no sense to see there
No threat to me there
No humanity but
Pain, pain, pain, pain, yeah, yeah


Interesting that Mark’s second choice, Clank (Countdown To Oblivion), is also all a bit end of days but a great way to finish this top ten. I loved this from Japan and @youseeme00seenA who really got involved, mostly in Japanese. Thank goodness for the translate tweet option.

❤️Clank, One Life ❤️ どちらも大好きな曲です which translates as I love both songs

They also added:




I understand how you feel. When I met Mark, I thought that there would be no other man better than him. It is still uncovered. And I don’t think there will be any more. I can’t stop thinking that he is the best man and performer with good appearance, good personality, smart, good taste.

I love the fact that someone from Japan has got involved. Then Jerico were big in Japan and toured there in 1987.


I wanted to share this interview with Hayley Palmer. Mark tells many stories and I think it’s a great insight into the life of a pop star and worth 45 minutes of your time as an accompaniment to this article.

Mark is clearly a complex, driven and talented character who like many of us has mellowed with age but he still has that fire in his belly to perform. I was amazed to discover that in 2002 when performing at cabaret club Café de Paris and while trying to placate a rowdy punter, he fell from a huge speaker and smashed his feet into tiny pieces and was told he would never walk again. He gave up the booze, refocussed and through that force of will he did walk again, sometimes aided by a stick. He remains in pain but still performs. He even did some overseas forces gigs in a wheelchair. That whole experience has clearly had an impact. As he said in an interview with The Beat magazine in 2022: “It made me realise what disabled people go through and it did me the world of good. It taught me a lesson”. He should be proud of his work with Then Jerico. They were maybe victims of timing. Would they have been a great punk/post-punk band? I think so. Brit pop? Almost certainly. Their time was the late 80s and they threw the kitchen sink at everything that they did. It produced two really great albums that I recommend along with the compilation I mentioned earlier which contains everything you need.

I also feel at this point I need to mention all the musicians and producers along the way who played their part in creating this very specific wall of sound. Especially guitarist Scott Taylor who passed away in 2020 from a brain tumour. Mark shared this at the time:

Scott was a powerhouse of creativity, inspiration and musical innovation and most probably the best guitarist I’ve ever heard. We wrote some great songs together and I know I speak for all the old band members when I say he was loved and very respected by us all for his unique talents and amazing abilities. He made us laugh and cry for many reasons and I’ll miss him more than I ever had the chance to tell him.

So that’s it. I’ve loved doing this top ten and I really hope this article changes some perceptions of those who don’t really know Mark or the band. They deserve a reappraisal and a place in the rich history of 80s music. I’d love to hear what you think, from those of you who have read the article. Please use the comments function below and I’ll reply to them all. I’ve got a vinyl copy of First (The Sound Of Music) I’m happy to send to the commenter I feel most deserving.

Then Jerico are performing some special shows this year and I’m going to try and get along to one if I can. I’m sure it will be a BIG night out.


Then Jerico poster 2



Then Jerico poster


Then Jerico official website

Then Jerico discography

Then Jerico 2023 UK Shows

Then Jerico biography (AllMusic)

Dave Ross lives near Windsor and hides under his online pseudonym @DaveAmitri to talk mainly about cricket and music. He has written a drama “Jimmy Blue” featuring the music of Del Amitri and has recently published his first book “12 Bowie Albums In 12 Months” based on a series of posts on The Afterword website. Follow him on twitter @DaveAmitri. His other posts for this site are on The Associates, The Blow Monkeys, Nick Heyward, The Lotus Eaters, Tears for Fears, Thompson Twins, Wham!.

TopperPost #1,059


  1. Judith Johnson
    Mar 23, 2023

    Awesome interview and a great choice in songs too. I’m glad it was you who had to choose and not me, so difficult because all TJ songs are brilliant. I have so much respect for Mark, as he has battled his way back from severe injury and keeps going, such an inspiration. Such a charismatic performer and a person who really cares about his fans. He prices his concerts at a reasonable price so that people from all backgrounds can go to see live music. It’s not about becoming rich, other bands should take a leaf out of Mark’s book, instead of being greedy. Mark deserves good luck and fortune in all that he does. It is a shame an album isn’t possible because of the financial reasons, and that is the sensible decision, as he’s got responsibilities like the rest of us. No matter, I will always support Mark, as his fans mean so much to him, just like he means so much to us.

    • David Ross
      Mar 24, 2023

      Hi Judith, thanks for your comment. In my research for this it’s clear how much Mark means to his fans and how much his fans mean to Mark. He’s a tough cookie and I hope he has continued success going forward. As you say it’s about the music and Then Jerico made some fantastic music 🙏

  2. Saz Fanning
    Mar 23, 2023

    This is a great article, just a pity it’s only 10 songs as there are so many more great songs. The motive will always be special as it was the song that made me fall in love with TJ but The Hitcher and Quiet place were on my fave list.
    And Mark also had a brilliant solo album, Always etc, which has more songs that should have been singles.
    Mark is such a great performer always giving it 100% whether it’s a big gig, festival or the intimate acoustic venues. I’m really looking forward to the electric gigs this year it’s been too long since they did a full band gig.
    #TJforever ❤️🎶

    • David Ross
      Mar 24, 2023

      Hey Saz, thanks for commenting. Your Love of the band is clear from all our interactions in social media. So many songs to choose from. My one regret is not including Sugar Box or The Happening as they show a different side of the band. Enjoy the gigs later in the year 🙏

  3. Kyron Armstrong
    Mar 24, 2023

    Superb article! Just excellent choices.

    • David Ross
      Mar 24, 2023

      Thanks again Kyron. I’m so pleased how it’s all worked out 🙏

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