Altered Images' Official most-streamed songs in the UK revealed as the band release their first album in 39 years

Following a near 40 year break, take a look back at the history of Altered Images as the Scottish new-wave band release their new album Mascara Streakz.

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Altered Images - the Scottish new wave, post-punk band that first found fame and chart success as a quintet in the early '80s - are back, with their first album in 39 years, Mascara Streakz.

Official Charts takes a look back on the band's varied career, and reveals for the first time Altered Images' Official Top 10 most-streamed songs in the UK. 

Formed in Glasgow in 1979, schoolfriends Clare Grogan (vocals), Gerard "Caesar" McInulty (guitar), Michael "Tich" Anderson (drums), Tony McDaid (guitar), and Johnny McElhone (bass guitar) were invited to play with British rock band Siouxsie and the Banshees, after they took a punt and sent a demo to the band's manager.

This was enough to catch the attention of DJ John Peel, who invited the band to record a Peel Session in October 1980, leading to them being offered a recording contract with Epic Records.

MORE: Altered Images' Official Charts history in full

Altered Images' first single Dead Pop Stars was released in early 1981, modestly debuting inside the Top 75 where it peaked at Number 67 a week later. Their next single, A Day's Wait, wasn't quite as lucky and ended up missing the chart altogether; it was time for a re-think.

Enter Altered Images' second album; the title track of which, Happy Birthday, became their first big hit, spending three weeks at Number 2 at the end of October 1981. “We made a very conscious decision to get a bit poppier," Clare told Classic Pop on their sound change, "and easier to connect with.”

Chart Fact - Happy Birthday was held off the top spot by Dave Stewart and Barbara Gaskin's It's My Party, and Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic by The Police.

Altered Images kicked off 1982 with another Top 10 hit, I Could Be Happy, the first track to be lifted from their second album Pinky Blue. Far poppier than their debut, Pinky Blue became the band’s biggest success on the Official Albums Chart, reaching Number 12.

The following year saw another reshuffle in the band’s ranks and a new glossy disco sheen on third LP Bite. The album reached Number 16 on the Official Albums Chart, and lead single Don’t Talk To Me About Love which became their third Top 10 smash, peaking at Number 7.

Altered Images announced their split towards the end of 1983. Their influence lived on, however, as Clare has since been cited as the inspiration for Spandau Ballet’s Number 1 hit True.

And that was that... until now.

Altered Images are back, the new album Mascara Streakz. co-written by Clare and produced with husband and band alumni Steve Lironi, marks the first original new music from the band since 1983. Former Suede guitarist (and recent Mercury Prize nominee) Bernard Butler was also instrumental in helping the band return to the studio.

MORE: See more albums to look forward to in 2022

The new album also contains contributions from The Bluebells’ Bobby Bluebell.

On the eve of the release of Mascara Streakz, Clare tells readers:

"At midnight tonight my first new music in a very long time is being sent out in to the world. I’m incredibly emotional about it for all sorts of reasons. I didn’t do this on my own. I’ve been surrounded by amazingly talented people all the way. The love and support I have received so far has been at times overwhelming. You see at heart I’m still that girl in my bedroom dreaming of being a Popstar.

I don’t know what that says about me I’m just truly blessed to have you all with me. I got to make a record I love with people I love, it’s been a life changing moment. I’m a survivor I think we all are but in amongst all that surviving I’ve had the best of times and believe me I’m going to really enjoy this MASCARA STREAKZ Moment.
 Huge LOVE and THANKS to my husband Stephen Lironi, my friends Bernard Butler and Robert Hodgens - you three have kept my dream alive.  

Be Kind Be True Be You. Love and Respect. Clare xxx"


As fans wait for the new record to land, Official Charts have been busy freshly crunching the band's catalogue data to reveal for the first time ever which of their tracks are connecting most with British audiences in the streaming era.  

Altered Images' Official Top 10 most-streamed songs

Coming out on top of Altered Images' most-listened to list, is their last Top 10 hit Don't Talk To Me About Love, which tops the rundown with 6.6 million audio and video streams. The band's biggest chart hit, Happy Birthday, comes in second with over 5.1 million plays, whilst I Could Be Happy is third, with streams in excess of 3 million.

The band's all-time streaming chart is completed with the inclusion of Top 40 hit Bring Me Closer (6), Pinky Blue (8) and their debut single, Dead Pop Stars (9).


©2022 Official Charts Company . All rights reserved.

Listen to the new Altered Images album now

Photo: David Scheinmann

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James Igoe


Great to see Altered Images back and sounding great after a 39-year break. It's been a long wait since the classic album 'Bite' but we got there eventually - thanks to Bernard Butler!


Official Charts


Indeed! A welcome return and sounding fresh. Hope you're enjoying the new album?