Prefab Sprout were formed as far back as 1978 by Newcastle born Patrick ‘Paddy’ McAloon, together with his brother Martin and drummer Michael Salmon. Their name came from a line in Johnny Cash and June Carter’s 1963 hit “Jackson”: “We got married in a fever, hotter than a pepper sprout”, which a then six year old McAloon misinterpreted as “We got married in a fever, hotter than a prefab sprout”! The title stuck.
The trio performed mostly instrumental music until 1982 when vocalist Wendy Smith joined the group and they released their debut single “Lions In My Own Garden”. The following year they released “The Devil Has All The Best Tunes”, but neither song charted. 1984 would be the year that chart success would come, first with the single “Don’t Sing” (UK No.62) and their debut album “Swoon” (UK No.22).
The following year they released “Steve McQueen” which reached No.21 in the UK which included the singles “When Love Breaks Down” (UK No.25), “Johnny, Johnny” (UK No.62) and “Appetite” (UK No.92). Although no singles registered in the US, the album was released under the different title of “Two Wheels Good” and peaked at No.178 there.
Their third album “From Langley Park To Memphis” was released in early 1988, the year in which Prefab Sprout would enjoy their biggest success. While the first single “Cars And Girls” would stall at No.44 in the UK, it was the follow up “The King Of Rock’n’Roll” that brought the group to the attention of the masses when it went to No.7 in the UK. The album would reach No.5 there and feature appearances of Stevie Wonder and Pete Townshend. Three further singles were released, “Hey Manhattan”, “Nightingales” and “The Golden Calf”, although these would only briefly bother the charts.