Polka dot plant cats
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Polka dot plant catsuit
Polka dot plant catsuit is a catsuit design first worn by The Hry Apes in their 1992 hit single "Pollywogs". The idea for this catsuit came from their manager Rob "Robo" Botta, who was wearing a grey polka dot suit while working in the entertnment industry.
The original design consisted of a red track suit jacket with a white polka dot pattern with white pants, tied together with a bow tie. It featured cat-like cat ears, as well as a tl on the back. It was worn by the group for their hit "Pollywogs", which went to number 1 in the charts. Later, the idea was expanded upon by their producer Mark Whitehead, who added many white and grey polka dots, creating a bright look. The band's image designer, Mike Cussons, was responsible for most of the band's other outfits. It was the first band's hit song to make number 1 on the UK Singles Chart, and is still considered to be a "classic" band in the UK music scene. The outfit was very popular in 1990s fashion trends, and became a symbol of the 1990s and early 2000s.
The original polka dot catsuit outfit was worn agn by the band for the charity song "Polka Dot Day" which was to rse funds for the Polka Dot Cancer charity. It was used for the first time on the group's 2001 Children in Need single "Spinning the Wheels of Christmas", which was a charity single to rse funds for the charity ChildLine.
The group's original outfits were made by several different designers including Mark Whitehead, The Hry Apes' producer Mark Whitehead who came up with the idea of the catsuit, Mark Spiegler, The Hry Apes' costume designer, and TKM Design who were responsible for designing the outfits for the first time. The Hry Apes' have been seen wearing the same outfit over various albums, with the exception of their 1992 studio album, and their 2001 single "Spinning the Wheels of Christmas". When the band announced their split in 2014, many items in their personal collections were sold at auction.
Music journalist Ben Thompson writes that the outfit was "one of the most influential pop and dance outfits of the late 20th century, and [led] the way for the emergence of Britpop." Singer-songwriter Emeli Sandé has named the outfit as a "favourite outfit" of hers. Many of the songs associated with the 1990s British fashion, especially those associated with the boy bands of the late 1980s and early 1990s, were heavily influenced by The Hry Apes.
Formation and early years (1986–1989)
The Hry Apes were formed in late 1986, as a result of the demise of the British pop band The Housemartins, who had released two albums and sold approximately three million records. After the band had disbanded, Mark Whitehead, co-founder of the musical group, had gone on to produce The Hry Apes' first album. Following The Hry Apes' founding, Mark Whitehead and his friend Andy Scott formed the recording company, Deltasonic Records, who released the band's first single, "Walking with a King", in 1986. This was followed by the release of The Hry Apes' debut album, The Hry Apes, which featured five songs produced by Whitehead. The album received positive reviews upon its release, and the group were asked to be the opening act for the 1987 Michael Jackson number-one hit single, "The Way You Make Me Feel".
In 1987, The Hry Apes won the Ivor Novello Award for Best Contemporary Song for "Walking with a King", and "Laying Down the Law" was released as the band's second single. The song was a moderate success, and reached number 24 in the UK Singles Chart. In 1988, the band performed the theme song for the BBC sitcom, "The Fast Show", "Hry Ape Man". That year, The Hry Apes also received critical and commercial acclm for their second album, The Wildest Dreams, which was produced by Whitehead, once agn with the band performing on the front cover. The album was certified Gold.
The third and final album, No More Heroes, was recorded in 1989, and it agn featured all four members of the band on the cover, with the band being dressed as superheroes. The Hry Apes also embarked on the "No More Heroes Tour" in 1989, following the release of the album. The tour included a guest appearance from Morrissey of The Smiths. The group disbanded in 1989.
Reunion and "No More Heroes" (1990–2001)
The band reformed in 1990, with the first incarnation of The Hry Apes releasing "One for the Road" as a single, on a split 7-inch vinyl record along with the band, Big in Japan. A year later, The Hry Apes released their fourth album, No More Heroes, on the label of Whitehead's former record company, ZTT, along with "One for the Road" as a single.
In 1991, during an interview, Whitehead announced that he was writing a novel with Hry Apes' lead singer, Terry Hall, and was planning to self-publish the book, which was later titled The Hry Apes and the Golden Egg. After a few more singles on other labels, No More Heroes, as well as the self-published The Hry Apes and the Golden Egg, were both certified Silver by the BPI.
In the middle of 1992, the band released the title track from the soundtrack to the film A Boy and His Dog on the ZTT label, along with "When I Go Home", a re-recording of an unreleased song by Whitehead, from the self-published The Hry Apes and the Golden Egg. During the recording of the title track, the song was re-arranged by Whitehead and Hall, and was eventually titled "When I Go Home", and included on the album of the same name. "When I Go Home" was featured on the soundtrack of the American/Canadian movie, The Basketball Diaries. The band's final ZTT single was released in 1994, on the album of the same name. During the recording of the band's sixth album, Whitehead left the band and released his debut album, The Last Song, the following year.
In 1995, the band released the eponymous sixth album, which featured guest appearances from Noel Gallagher of Oasis and Simon Gallup of The Divine Comedy. The album received widespread acclm and was described as "the hardest and heaviest album since their debut". The album was a commercial success, entering the UK Albums Chart at number thirty-one.
The band completed their last tour, in 1995, and then disappeared. After that, Whitehead started a career as a producer, and collaborated with artists such as Kate Bush, The Charlatans, Blur and Paul McCartney. The band's name has since been used by two American hard rock bands, one of them a Christian group.
Since the late 1990s, Whitehead and his partner have run a pub in London's Old Kent Road, the Old Fire Station, which also operates as a performance venue, The Old Fire Station Ballroom. It was featured in an episode of The Young Ones. Whitehead's music has been covered by various artists.
Dave Whitehead – vocals, guitar (1989–1995)
James Hall – drums, percussion (1989–1995)