Kajagoogoo are a British pop band, best known for their hit single, "Too Shy", which reached #1 in the UK Singles Chart (#5 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100) in 1983.
The band was originally founded in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, in 1979, as a four-piece avant-garde instrumental group, called Art Nouveau, with Nick Beggs on bass guitar, Steve Askew on lead guitar, Stuart Croxford Neale on keyboards, and Jeremy "Jez" Strode on drums. Art Nouveau released a track called "The Fear Machine". The single sold a few hundred copies, and was played on the John Peel show, but the band were unable to get a record deal.
In 1981, they advertised for a lead singer, ultimately auditioning and choosing Christopher Hamill, who then went under the stage name Limahl (an anagram of his surname). The name of the group was then changed to Kajagoogoo, coined by phonetically writing out a baby's first sounds, which gave them 'GagaGooGoo' - and with a minor alteration, it became 'Kajagoogoo'.
Success and decline
The band attracted the interest of three record labels (and Duran Duran's Nick Rhodes), while performing at the Embassy Club, in London. The group was eventually signed to EMI, in July 1982, and Rhodes was hired to produce their first album, White Feathers along with Duran Duran's EMI producer Colin Thurston. In between events, they supported Birmingham band Fashion on tour. Their debut single, "Too Shy", was released in January 1983 and went to the top of the charts (before any of Duran Duran's singles had done so, Rhodes ruefully noted). Follow-up releases, "Ooh to Be Aah" and "Hang on Now", also both reached the UK Top 20, and the album White Feathers reached no.5 in the UK album chart.
As success came, tensions began to rise in the band, which eventually culminated in Limahl being fired by the other band members in mid-1983 and Beggs then taking over as lead singer. The first single by the new four-piece Kajagoogoo was "Big Apple", which made the Top Ten in late 1983. Their next single, "The Lion's Mouth", made the Top 30 but it wasn't long before public interest waned, and the hits dried up. The subsequent new album, Islands, was a commercial failure, peaking at only no.35 in the UK. Strode then left the band and, in an attempt to gain some credibility and to lose their bubblegum image, the remaining three members relaunched as Kaja in 1985. The four-piece version of the band, including Strode, had already made their appearance in the U.S. as Kaja the previous year, when a different edition of the Islands album was released there as Extra Play, peaking at no.185 on the Billboard charts. The single "Turn Your Back On Me" did well on the US Dance Charts peaking at no.2 for two weeks.
Following the name change to Kaja, the band (now a trio) released the single "Shouldn't Do That" (UK #63) in 1985. The song was also featured on the soundtrack to Santa Claus: The Movie. The band also released their third album, Crazy People's Right to Speak, but it failed to chart. In 1986, the band decided to split up.
The original five-piece line-up of the band briefly joined forces again on VH1's Bands Reunited in 2004. Following the VH1 reunion, the original group received offers to continue to play in this line-up, but disagreements continued between band members and the reunion was short-lived. The group felt that the VH1 feature was unfairly edited to portray simplified reasons as to Strode and Limahl had left the band in the 1980s, and complained that it also suggested the band remained together in the fairy tale ending.
In 2007, Nick Beggs, Steve Askew and Stuart Neale decided to continue to play together as Kajagoogoo and released the track "Rocket Boy" on 24 June 2007, the first Kajagoogoo single in 22 years. The single received airplay on Steve Wright's BBC Radio 2 show in the UK, and a new album, Gone to the Moon, was also recorded and was scheduled for release but then postponed until late 2008 when it became available via the live shows and "Kajashop", the band's website store. (athough it was made available for free download on the band's official website until February 2009).
In February 2008, the three Kajagoogoo members announced plans to reunite with original members, lead singer Limahl and drummer Jez Strode. This was due in part to Bradley Snelling, the organizer of the Retrofest event and the band's new manager, who had succeeded in arranging for Kajagoogoo to have their first photo shoot in 25 years. The band wrote on their official site that "The atmosphere was relaxed, jovial and, after 25 years, Kajagoogoo, in their original five-piece line-up are back". Since reforming, the band have written new material, released an EP, and have extensively toured throughout Europe (with the first date taking place in Denmark on 14 June 2008, at Esbjerg Rock Festival.).
Kajagoogoo are currently writing new material and are on tour which kicked off in Liverpool, England on 17th September 2009.
On 24th August 2009 Kajagoogoo headlined The Hobble on The Cobbles all day music event in Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire
On 7th September 2009, the long awaited retrospective 'Best Of' CD/DVD was released by the band's original label EMI Records called 'Too Shy - The Best Of Kajagoogoo & Limahl'. It features two of the newly recorded tracks from the 'Death Defying Headlines E.P.', plus a brand new promotional video, newly commissioned by the label to showcase "Space Cadet", one of the new recordings .