James Edward Warren
born on 25/8/1951 in Bristol, South West England, United Kingdom
|Years active||1979 - 1981, 1986, 1990 - 1992, 2005 - present|
The Korgis is an English New Wave band, composed of James Warren (vocals, bass), Andy Davis (vocals, drums), Stuart Gordon (guitar) and Phil Harrison (keyboards).
Warren and Davis first worked together as members of the Beatles-esque UK cult outfit Stackridge. Their third album Man In The Bowler Hat was produced by George Martin and achieved their only UK Albums Chart entry, appearing at number 23 for just one week in 1973. A 1974 compilation album Pinafore Days scraped in at the bottom end of the Billboard albums chart in early 1975, "peaking" at #191.
Bassist Warren and drummer Davis had drifted apart even before the inglorious demise of Stackridge. It took the ascension of the new wave movement four years later to get the Warrens creative energies fired up to the point where he decided to contact his old band mate, Davis, by mail to see if a new collaboration was possible. Davis was interested in the idea and the reunited duo began writing and recording in early 1979 under the name The Korgis (whose line-up would eventually expand to include guitarist Stuart Gordon and keyboardist Phil Harrison).
Right from the release of their offbeat first single "Young 'N Russian", The Korgis initially seemed hell-bent on raising the bar in the oddball songwriting department. "Furthering this tendency, the whole of their self-titled debut album played like a strange tug-of-war between two bands: one captivated by breezy, 1960s pop- indebted harmonies straight out of The Hollies with a modern, synth-lined production sheen not unlike that of Supertramp, and another interested in the fractured influences and slightly screwy lyrical stylings of new wave" describes music critic VBC.
What eventually gave The Korgis a commercial leg up on their competition at the time was Warrens multi-tracked, pop-friendly vocals (as heard on songs like "I Just Cant Help It") and retro-flavoured songwriting style, which could be as unashamedly pop-leaning as any "mainstream" act of the time period when the occasion called. With that in mind, it did not take long for success to come the way of The Korgis as the bands first hit single, the summery, sugar-sweet "If I Had You," made the Top 20 of the UK Singles Chart in the summer of 1979. Encouraged, The Korgis immediately set to work on their follow-up release, which appeared the following year.
The album Dumb Waiters saw The Korgis in a far-more explicitly pop vein than their first album; with the bands riskier tendencies pushed aside for the time being (though tracks like "Intimate" and "Silent Running" kept that tendency on a low simmer). The emphasis on accessible songwriting worked wonders, as the album broke into the UK Top 40 in the late summer. Increasing the sweet quotient with such confections as "It's No Good Unless You Love Me", "If Its Alright With You Baby" and "Love Aint Too Far Away" (not to mention the dancefloor aimed "Drawn And Quartered"), The Korgis made a play for the public's heartstrings and finally cooked up a worthy smash with the ballad "Everybodys Gotta Learn Sometime".
The cenrepiece of Dumb Waiters'' success, and the song that The Korgis will always be remembered for, "Everybody's Got To Learn Sometime", is one of those songs that exists outside of the standard pop plane, "sounding more like a four-minute contemplative swoon than anyones idea of a hit single" describes VBC. Floating almost lighter than air on delicate beds of shimmering synths like a highly-polished revision of 10ccs "Im Not In Love", it propelled The Korgis into the Top 5 on the UK charts, while also giving them their one-and-only charted record in the U.S., as it reached the Top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100 right at Christmas, 1980 (Dumb Waiters performed much more modestly on these shores, reaching #113 at around the same time).
Having finally tasted real success, The Korgis then found out just how quickly fortunes can turn around in the music business. "If It's Alright With You Baby" was chosen as the follow-up single to "Everybodys Got To Learn Sometime" and crashed and burned at #56 later that summer, stopping their momentum on a dime. A third album, 1981's Sticky George, which leaned more towards the 1960s influences and away from the synth textures (without completely forsaking them), disappeared virtually on release, and ended The Korgis' tenure with their record label, Rialto Records. The band broke up soon afterwards with little fanfare.
Rialto Records was a small independent company run by brothers Nick and Tim Heath and the The Korgis had been suspicious of them for some time. Despite repeated promises, royalties had not been paid. The label's roster also included The Planets, The Regents, The Mobiles, The Walkie Talkies, Kim Beacon and The Seranaders, the AT's and the Europeans: all financed with The Korgis royalties. All were expensive failures and eventually Rialto were forced into liquidation taking most of the Korgis royalties with them.
In 1986 James Warren's solo album, Burning Questions, was released under the Korgis' name and was received with apathy. Later, with Davis back on board, they re-recorded "Everybodys Got To Learn Sometime". The reason for this was they had no rights to the original recording, Trojan Records now owned it having bought all the bankrupt Rialto stock. By making a carbon copy of the original, which they owned, they were at least able to collect some royalties on the song. Their reunion album, 1992's This World's For Everyone, attracted hardly any notice outside of the nostalgia circuit. Following this disappointment The Korgis disbanded again.
In September 2004 Zucchero and Vanessa Carlton entered the French charts with a cover version of "Everybody's Got To Learn Sometime" and had some success. That same year, Beck also covered the song for the Jim Carrey film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Other cover versions of "Everybody's Got To Learn Sometime" also took the song back into the UK charts over the years, most notably those versions by The Dream Academy (1987), Yazz (1991), Baby D (1995) and French techno duo Marc et Claude (2000)
In 2005, they reunited again for a film shoot and recorded the fourteen-track album Unplugged, which was released on the Angel Air label the following year.
In 2006 they released their first single in twenty years, "Something About The Beatles", which can be heard on 
- "If I Had You" (1979) UK #13
- "Everybody's Got To Learn Sometime" (1980) UK #5, U.S. #18, Australia #11
- "If It's Alright With You Baby" (1980) UK #56
- "That Was My Big Mistake" (1981)
- "Dumb Waiters" (1981)
- "Burning Questions" (1986)
- The Korgis (1979)
- Dumb Waiters (1980)
- Sticky George (1981)
- This World's For Everyone (1992)
- Unplugged (2006)
- Guinness Book of British Hit Singles - 16th Edition - ISBN 0-85112-190-X