If there was any band that typified the one-hit wonder artists of the second British Invasion during the 1980s, it would be Kajagoogoo.
Funny name, spiked hair, androgynous style, and hooks that made girls swoon – Kajagoogoo had it all. Led by lead singer Christopher Hamill, who went by the name Limahl (an anagram of his last name), the group hit #5 on Billboard’s Hot 100 Singles chart – #1 in the UK – with “Too Shy,” a synth-based dance number that was on heavy airplay on radio stations and MTV. They had two other Top 10 hits in the UK, but “Too Shy” was the band’s only U.S. single to become a hit.
Kajagoogoo falls apart
For all intents and purposes, they were a one-hit wonder. Like an episode of VH1’s “Behind the Music,” infighting began to emerge within the band, especially between Limahl and the rest of the group. Limahl was subsequently fired and pursued a solo career – punctuated by the minor hit and title cut from the movie “The Neverending Story.”
And so the band went on without the face of the group – and it fell flat. “Big Apple” reached the UK Top 10, but the album, Islands, reached only #35 there and barely cracked the Top 200 in America (where they were billed as just “Kaja.”)
Another unsuccessful album in 1985 led to the band’s breakup, and you would think this would be the end of the story. But no. Enter Vh1’s “Bands Reunited,” which sought to bring groups back together for one impromptu performance.
In 2003, host Aamer Haleem ambushed the members of the group as they carried on their new lives and pleaded with them to reunite. With the Smiths, it didn’t work. With Kajagoogoo, it did, and their performance on the show had people clamoring for a reunion tour.
But old disagreements surfaced again, and the band didn’t fully get back together. Four years later, three members of the band – sans Limahl and another member – continued on, releasing the album Gone to the Moon in 2008. By that time, the group had resolved its differences and agreed to perform in several concerts.
In 2011, the original five-member band released their first single as a group since 1983. Titled “Death Defying Headlines,” failed to chart.
And that was it. Even with 80s nostalgia reaching fever pitch, the group has not been together since then.
Where are they now?
- Limahl still carries the Kajagoogoo torch, performing as part of retro-80s compilation tours.
- Guitarist Steve Askew owns a music studio and production company. He has collaborated on several musical projects and was supposed to have a solo album ready.
- Bass guitarist Nick Beggs, who temporarily took over lead vocals from Limahl when the latter left the group, has collaborated with several musicians on projects, including two albums with The Mute Gods.
- Keyboardist Stuart Neale, a professed Christian, was last seen in 2015 working in ministry on projects helping refugees.
- Drummer Jez Strode’s Facebook page lists his occupation as “self-employed” as a company partner.