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Zak Starkey's work with:
Broken English

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Some Background ...

March 1987

In March of 1987 a mysterious single hit the radio programmers - white labled and sounding a bit like Jagger/Richards. Turns out it was a band called Broken English, and their debut single, "Comin' On Strong" reportedly received a boat-load of airplay, or at least enough to push the single as high as #18 on some UK charts.

While in the Strolling Bones, a Stones cover band, Steve Elson wrote and recorded the original stones-esque track for a laugh. Feeling the results were more worthy of a proper band and release, Broken English was formed. Steve gathered guitarists Jamie Moses and Alan Coates, and the three became the core.

The drummer history is a bit vague. The hit single led to a video, and the video and single led to TV appearances, and plans to hit the road. For TV and the road, they had to come up with a bass player and a drummer. But before they could hit the road, the label wanted an album. Zak Starkey is credited as the drummer on the second single, "Love on The Side" and according to the album liner notes "a couple of other tracks and some TV". [helpful aye?!] Other drummers to rotate on through included Adrian Shepherd and Paul Fenton. A fourth drummer is credited on the CD - Howard Tibble, who may be the guy on the first single. It's all a jumble. [if you have better detials let me know - kv] Deeper in the liner notes of the album, it reveals that Steve's manager at the time was Colin Johnson (Status Quo fame). This is most likely how Zak came to be involved (see NightFly 1985).

March 2007

The album never did see the light of day. The band released a total of three singles between 1987 and 1988. The Album languished in the vaults until Angel Air released it in March of 2007


The Albumcd cover

The Rough With The Smooth
Angel Air Records - SJPCD186
(March 3, 2007)

1. Show A Little Mercy
2. Straight Lace Girls
3. Don't Change
4. Emotional Suicide
5. You Take Me Away
6. Comin' On Strong
7. Casanova
8. Ball 'n' Chain
9. Love On The Side
10. Woman Of Stone
11. Do You Really Want Me Back
Bonus Tracks
12. Comin' On Strong (2)
13. Fire Me Up
14. Rough Cut Diamonds
15. Running Out

Zak is credited as being on the second single "Love On The Side" and "a couple of other tracks". Exact tracks as yet unconfirmed.

Interestingly, the second single's b-side - "Deep In My Heart" - is NOT on this album release. According to the liner notes it was the cause of some controversy that resulted in reduced airplay (The credited co-author was the brother of a popular DJ, and once desclosed, the BEEB pulled it from playlists) . Again, it is not confirmed if Zak is drumming on this track, now only available on the original single versions. Also missing from this album release is the 1st single's b-sides "Suffer In Silence", although it is not believed Zak was involced with that track


Singles (1987-1988)

Zak is officially credited as being on "Love On The Side", the second single.
He is said to be on a few other tracks that made the album, but exactly which tracks or what b-sides or other singles are currently unconfirmed.

Comin' On Strong
(March 1987)

[Reached #18 on UK Charts]
[apparently no Zak involvement]


45EMI CUM1 (UK) promo 7"
 Comin' On Strong /  (same)
White label promo.

45EMI EM5 (UK) 7" w/PS
Comin' On Strong /  Suffer In Silence

(Capitol B-73030 - canada)

was the special wrap-around
"mobile" picture sleeve issue
was the shaped picture disc
45EMI 12EM5 (UK) 12" w/PS
Comin' On Strong (Fall Out Mix), Comin' On Strong (7" mix), Suffer in Silence (7" mix)

Also released as a 1-sided DJ promo, same cat#.
EMI CDEM5 (UK) CDS w/ card wallet PS
 Comin' On Strong, Comin' On strong (Fallout Mix),
 Suffer In Silence, Fire Me Up (Long Version)
issued in a card wallet PS.

Love On The Side (1987)
[Reached #69 on UK Charts]

Zak IS credited as being on the A-side of this


promo 45EMI CUM 2 (UK) 7"
Love On The Side / (same)
White label promo
45EMI EM55 (UK) 7" w/PS
Love On The Side / Deep In My Heart
45EMI EMP55 (UK) 7"
picture disc
45EMI 12EM55 (UK) 12 " single w/PS
Love On The Side (Snake Pass Mix), Love On The Side (Radio Version)
Deep In My Heart, Love On The Side (Barn Dance Mix)
Assumed to have been released as CDS. Tracks unconfirmed.

Do You Really Want Me Back? (1988)
[Reached #90 on UK Charts]

[Zak involvement unconfirmed]

45EMI EM69 (UK) 7" w/PS
Do You Really Want Me Back /
Runnin' Out

EMI EM69 (UK) 12" w/PS

Do You Really Want Me Back,
Do You Really Want Me Back (Waterfront Mix), Runnin' Out

45EMI 12EM69 (UK) 12" w/PS
Do You Really Want Me Back /
Do You Really Want Me Back (Waterfront Mix)/
Runnin' Out



Accoring to the liner notes of the album's CD release, Zak did do some TV appearances with the band. It is unclear if he was involved with any live concerts, although the notes seem to hint at the idea that he did not.

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Last Updated: Sunday, March 9, 2008
Created:  March 2007
Copyright © 2007 Kathy VanTassell

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