The Adverts were a punk band who were formed in 1976 and broke up in late 1979. They were one of the first punk bands to enjoy chart success in the UK.
Their line-up included Gaye Advert, whom The Virgin Encyclopedia of 70s Music called the “first female punk star”.
The band was formed in 1976 by TV Smith and Gaye Advert from Bideford, who later married. Yet, there have been rumours that The Adverts were a Torquay band.
Though not formed in The Bay, there is a South Devon connection.
TV Smith was interviewed in 2001:
“I’d been writing songs since I’d been in school, where I had a band that sometimes played in the lunch hour! We graduated to booking local village halls and putting on gigs.
When I moved to Torquay to do a year at art college there, I started my first ‘real’ band, called Sleaze. It was pretty glam sounding, pretty dreadful actually, but at least all the songs were self-written, which was pretty rare in those days for a local band, and we got ourselves some gigs in clubs around the area and recorded and pressed up 50 copies of an album which we sold to friends. But it was obvious nothing was going to happen in Devon.
Towards the end of the year I got thrown out of my own band, who’d decided they wanted to do cover versions. By then I’d met Gaye, who said she wanted to learn to play bass. We started to make plans to move to London and form a band there.”
After relocating to London they recruited guitarist Pickup and drummer Driver, and became The Adverts.
They were one of the pioneering bands who played at the Roxy Club, London’s first live punk venue, during its first 100 days.
Their single Gary Gilmore’s Eyes, the first of their two UK Top 40 hit singles, was a controversial song based on Gary Gilmore, an American murderer. Gilmore requested that his eyes be donated to medical science after his execution.
Sounds magazine described it as “the sickest and cleverest record to come out of the new wave”. It was later included in Mojo magazine’s list of the best punk rock singles of all time.
Here’s Gary Gilmore’s Eyes: