WHILE making it big in the UK, rock band The Christians never quite won over the Americans - part of the reason may have been because they were listed under ‘religious recordings’ in record shops in the USA.

In reality the band’s close harmonies, singer-along tunes and gritty substance were the perfect mash for the music scene of the 1980s.

Boy bands from Liverpool had already made an impact on the world when The Christians decided to make music. The three Christian brothers and a keyboard player, whose second name was Christian, teamed up to begin a 30-year journey that would include numerous hit singles, albums and live performances.

The Christians today are still led by the youngest brother, Garry Christian, and they will be heading to Swindon’s Meca at Regent Circus, on April 28, with The Groove Radicals as support.

Starting in 1985 with Garry, his two brothers Roger and Russell, Henry Christian Priestman, Paul Barlow on drums, Mike Bulger on guitar and Tony Jones on bass, The Christians’ first five singles all made it into the UK charts with their debut album making it to number two in the album charts.

The band were not political tub-thumpers but they usually had a subliminal message to their songs, and were keen to lend their support when disaster struck. They released a cover of the Isley Brothers’ Harvest For The World, which went to number eight in the charts, with proceeds going to Third World charities. The striking animated video by Adman Animations helped take it to number eight in the charts.

The Christians also sang on a charity single, Ferry Across The Mersey, alongside fellow Liverpudlians Paul McCartney, Holly Johnson and Gerry Marsdon in aid of the Hillsborough football disaster.

In 1995 Garry decided to concentrate on a solo project and left for Paris, which mean’t the band effectively broke up. Roger Christian died in 1998, but the following year the rest of the band got back together in an acoustic format. Russell bowed out in 2005 when the band returned to a full electric line-up, and today Garry is joined by Joey Ankrah on vocals and lead guitar, Neil Griffiths on vocals and acoustic guitar, Lionel Duke on drums, Clifford Watson on bass and Mike Trigg on keyboards.

Following their 25th anniversary Henry came back on stage at the Royal Court Theatre in Liverpool, and the following year the band toured with Go West and Hue and Cry, releasing Inner City Blues as a single in September 2013. Their loyal fans dug deep through a crowd-funding scheme to help them bring out their latest album called We in 2015. Last year they marked their 30th anniversary with an acoustic tour and a triple-header tour with Altered Images and Midge Ure. Tickets to see The Christians in Swindon are advance: £22, plus booking fee and on the door: £28. For more details visit http://www.mecaswindon.co.uk/ - Flicky Harrison