UPATED: British Embassy list shows Wirral band was big in Japan

Wirral Globe: Buster in 1976 Buster in 1976

A WIRRAL band that was big in Japan joins The Beatles, David Bowie and Duran Duran on a list of 30 British acts that stormed the country's charts.

Buster - which featured Rob Fennah, Kevin Roberts, Peter Leay and Les Brians, formed in 1974 - features on the website of the British Embassy in Japan as being one of the biggest-selling group’s in the country’s history.

Originally called The New Attractions, the group took the Japanese pop charts by storm and had hits with Sunday and Dance With Me - the latter was used in a Japanese TV commercial for Choco Flakes, in which they appeared.

They split a few years later, but the interest in them never died, particularly in Japan where their first three albums were recently re-released.

In 2008, they featured in The Beat Goes On, an exhibition which celebrated the region's music heritage and was held at the World Museum in Liverpool.

Buster's lead singer and guitarist, Pete Leay, died on Boxing Day.

Their latest album, Best and New, - featuring their hits, ten new songs and previously unreleased tracks - was completed just weeks before Pete's death.

It was released in Japan this week.

Band member Rob Fennah, who went on to form Alternative Radio with brother Allan in 1981 after Buster split up, said the band’s place on the British Embassy's list was a fitting tribute to Pete.

He said: “It’s nice to see Buster up there with Bowie, Duran Duran and the rest of them.

“We had our first number one record over there in the late 1970s and it still amazes me that people still remember us. Given that, at the time, we had no way or really knowing how successful we were, it would appear that we were bigger than any of us thought.

“It’s great for the band to be acknowledged in this way and it is a fitting tribute to Pete Leay. He would have been chuffed.

“The new album is a great tribute to Pete's song-writing talents.

“He was aware the new album was going to be released and was looking forward to it. Sadly he never saw it released.”

Looking back on the glory days with Buster, Rob recalled: “We had limited success in Britain. At the time we were on every teen magazine you could possibly imagine, including the NME, believe it or not.

“But we had much more success overseas in Germany, Australia and Japan. But in Britain, punk had come in and it was a different scene, really.

“Our record company was very much for keeping with the image of selling records in the territories that we were in.

“People will remember us from here, and they've certainly heard about us. There’s loads of stuff about us flying about on You-Tube.”

The new album is not available for sale in the UK. However, it can be bought by emailing: info@airmailrecordings.com The Globe has two copies of Best and New to give away.

For a chance to win, answer the following question: Buster appeared in a commercial for which breakfast cereal? Send your answer to: Buster, Wirral Globe, Haymarket Court, Hinson Street, Birkenhead CH41 5BX.

Closing date is 5pm next Wednesday, February 12.

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