Tom Robinson Band (TRB) were a British rock band, established in 1976 by singer, songwriter and bassist Tom Robinson (born on 1 June 1950, in Cambridge, England). Their third single, "Up Against the Wall", is now acknowledged as a classic punk rock single and their debut album, Power In The Darkness (1978), is still widely admired
Tom Robinson began gigging in London in 1976. By the end of the year, he had decided to put together a permanent band. Robinson's old friend, guitarist Danny Kustow, was the first in the permanent lineup. They ran small ads in the music papers looking for a bass player and drummer. Robinson found drummer Brian "Dolphin" Taylor. The search for a bass player continued, until Mark Ambler auditioned. Some days later, Ambler mentioned he also played keyboards; he had spent many years studying piano with veteran jazz musician, Stan Tracey. After listening to Ambler playing his Hammond organ Robinson realised he would have to be the bass player himself.
The band hit the club scene right in the middle of London's punk explosion. Their live shows got favourable reviews, and soon A&R men were attending many of their gigs.
EMI Records signed the Tom Robinson Band (TRB). Robinson later described this period, saying "Within nine months we'd made the transition from signing on at Medina Road dole office to Top of the Pops, Radio One, EMI Records and the giddy heights of the front cover of the New Musical Express".
TRB made leaflets and fliers about their political views and sent them to everyone who attended their gigs, they gave away badges and made up T-shirts emblazoned with the band's logo and they appeared regularly at Rock Against Racism concerts. They were joined at these gigs by the likes of The Clash, Steel Pulse and X-Ray Spex.
"2-4-6-8 Motorway" was their first single, released in late 1977, which got into the top five of the UK singles charts and stayed there for over a month. It was followed almost immediately by their next record, a four song EP called Rising Free which was recorded live at London's Lyceum Theatre in November 1977. It contained the songs "Don't Take No for an Answer", "Martin", "(Sing if You're) Glad to Be Gay" and "Right on Sister". The EP reached No. 18 in the UK singles charts.
In early 1978, TRB recorded their debut album, Power in the Darkness. The UK version of the LP contained all new songs, but in the US (on the Harvest label), the "2-4-6-8 Motorway" single and Rising Free record were combined for a six-track bonus EP that made the album almost a double.
Read more about Tom Robinson Band: Change in Lineup
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