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Brief history

Formed in mid-1977 in Dublin, for a time the Virgin Prunes were “the most overtly subversive rock group ever to come out of the genre” (Mark Prendergast, “Irish Rock”). Their reputation was built on their outrageous stage performances and supported by a wayward and individual collection of record releases. Their initial years concentrated on live performance, mainly within Dublin.

By the end of the decade, they were ready to release their ideas to a wider audience. Their first single was released in 1980 and they were at their most prolific and innovative thoughout 1981-82, a period which included the quintessential A New Form of Beauty project, the intimidating Heresie French box set and the release of their first LP, the “accessible” …if I die, I die.

Their musical output during this period was memorably described by Claude Bessy as “an infernal roller coaster through Throbbing Gristle’s most malevolent moments with heavy doses of dissonant Stooges-style string-tension testing.”

“…an infernal roller coaster through Throbbing Gristle’s most malevolent moments with heavy doses of dissonant Stooges-style string-tension testing.”

From 1983 onwards they were slowed down by their extensive tour schedule, the departure of key band members and the difficult birth of their second LP, Sons Find Devils. 1985 saw the release of a retrospective video (confusingly titled Sons Find Devils, despite having no connection with the still unreleased album) and a compilation album of rarities (Over the Rainbow).

The band toured further but still released nothing new. The album was finally released in summer 1986 as The Moon Looked Down and Laughed.

The departure of Gavin Friday – by now the dominant creative force in the group – swiftly followed in November 1986, effectively spelling the end. This was formally confirmed by a short comment at the bottom of the sleeve of a live album, The Hidden Lie, released in 1987.