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|Past members||Paul Dale|
Marseille formed in Liverpool in early 1976, and released their debut album, Red, White and Slightly Blue on the Mountain Records label in 1978. Original members were Paul Dale (vocals), Neil Buchanan (first guitar), Andy Charters (second guitar), Keith Knowles (drums) and Steve Dinwoodie (bass). Marseille were the first band to win "UK Battle of the Bands" with the finals judged by Brian May and Roger Taylor of Queen at Wembley Arena on 31 October 1977.
Marseille gathered a small fan base while promoting their first album as support for other groups such as Judas Priest, Nazareth, Whitesnake and UFO. Their debut album contained very raunchy lyrics but suffered somewhat from lack of promotion and limitation of release. The single "Kiss Like Rock 'n' Roll" was produced by Nazareth guitarist Manny Charlton.
Their second album release, the eponymous Marseille, received radio airplay, extending their fanbase in the UK. Several tracks off this album featured in the "Alternative Top 20 Charts" published in Sounds magazine with other emerging new wave of British heavy metal bands such as Saxon, Def Leppard and Iron Maiden. Marseille were the first NWOBHM band to tour and have an album released in the U.S. on RCA Records. The band promoted their Marseille album on tour in the U.S. with Scottish rock band Nazareth and American south coast boogie band, Blackfoot during the summer of 1980. Unfortunately, the band arrived back in the UK to witness the demise of Mountain, their record and management company. With all their equipment still stranded in the U.S., the band were forced off the road and into a two-year legal battle with liquidators, which precluded them pursuing another recording contract. During this time, Paul Dale, Andy Charters and Neil Buchanan left the band. Charters moved to the U.S. and Buchanan began a successful career in television. The two remaining members, Keith Knowles and Steve Dinwoodie later recruited vocalist Sav Pearse and guitarist Marc Railton from local Liverpool band Savage Lucy to complete a third album entitled Touch the Night on the Ultra Noise label in 1984. However, lack of industry interest in the band caused this iteration of Marseille to split up soon after. Touch the Night was labeled by Kerrang! magazine as a closet classic that should have taken the band to higher ground.
In 2003, a two-disc CD aptly titled Rock You Tonight became the Marseille Anthology and was released by Castle Communications, a subsidiary division of Sanctuary Records Group. The album, containing material from all three of Marseille's previous albums, garnered some critical acclaim being hailed "The best box set of 2003" by George Smith of Village Voice magazine.
The original line-up reunited for a handful of gigs in 2008, however, Paul Dale soon left the band and was replaced in February 2009 by Nigel Roberts. The band recorded an EP, FourPlay which was released on the Gas Station Music label in 2009. In 2010, Keith Knowles and Steve Dinwoodie stepped down to be replaced by Gareth Webb (drums) and Lee Andrews (bass). The band recorded their first full album in 25 years, Unfinished Business in early 2010. The album was unveiled at the band's appearance at the Hard Rock Hell festival in December 2010. A full UK tour supported by Exit State followed.
In April 2011, Gareth Webb stepped down and was replaced by Ace Finchum (also a member of Tigertailz) on drums. The band continued a heavy gig schedule throughout 2011 and worked on new material for a release in 2012. In this same year, new band manager Louis Walsh suggested that bassist Lee Andrews should be replaced by Rob Brooks. Festival appearances were put on schedule for 2012 to promote this release in the UK and Europe.