The group was formed in 1978 by Gary Turner (bass & lead vocals), Doug Potter (guitar & vocals) and Charlie Zuber (drums). All had previously gigged in a local four-piece called Jet-Slag, but the impact of punk called for a change of name and direction and the Dodgems were born. In late 1978 the trio recorded four tracks for Brighton-based Attrix Records. Two of these - "I Don't Care" and "Lord Lucan Is Missing" - were issued on the compilation LP "Vaultage 78 - Two Sides of Brighton", a release showcasing local talent.
With John Peel giving "Lord Lucan Is Missing" plenty of airplay, the group recruited a keyboard player in Paul Birchall and in September 1979 recorded a session for the programme. Towards the end of the year, Attrix released their debut single, "Science Fiction (Baby You're So)". In 1980 "Lord Lucan Is Missing" was re-recorded with Jonathan King at the production controls, and issued on a 7" by Criminal Records. This reached #2 in the NME's Independent charts. Although more recordings were made for Criminal during 1980, the label went out of business before any further releases were made.
The group disbanded in 1981 following the collapse of Criminal Records and the loss of drummer Zuber, who emigrated.
Links to Peel
"If the Dodgems themselves had disappeared after writing that song [Lord Lucan Is Missing], they'd have contributed more to our lives I think than most people do in a lifetime." (01 November 1979)
Peel first heard "Lord Lucan Is Missing" on the Attrix compilation "Vaultage 78 - Two Sides Of Brighton" compilation and was suitably impressed with it to give the track numerous plays on the programme. The group were invited to record a session, which Peel repeated in December 1979 as one of his favourites of the year.
Although he played the 1980 re-recording of "Lord Lucan Is Missing" on air, Peel commented at the time, "I still think the version of the song that they recorded for this programme is the best though" (19 June 1980).
"Lord Lucan Is Missing" got another airing on 25 March 1994 due to another track in the show having Lord Lucan in its title. Peel repeated the trick on the next BFBS recording he made.
In September 2003 the Sunday Telegraph published extracts from a new book suggesting that a man believed to be Lord Lucan had died in Goa in 1996 . Although this was swiftly debunked (the man identified as Lucan was revealed to be one Barry Halpin, a former folk singer from Lancashire), it prompted Peel to give the Dodgems classic another airing on 09 September 2003. "One of the defining tracks from the late 1970s in my view" was his opinion.
Post-Peel, a remix of "Lord Lucan Is Missing" was voted into the 2005 Festive Fifty at #8.
Festive Fifty Entries
- 2005 Festive Fifty: Lord Lucan Is Still Missing (Ollo remix) #8
- Muscle Beach / Gotta Give It Up / Lord Lucan Is Missing / Science Fiction (Baby You're So)
Other Shows Played
The list below was researched only from the database of this site and Lorcan's Tracklistings Archive and is certainly incomplete. Please add further information if known.
- 18 January 1979: Lord Lucan Is Missing (Compilation LP - Vaultage 78 – Two Sides Of Brighton) Attrix
- 22 February 1979: Lord Lucan Is Missing (Compilation LP - Vaultage 78 – Two Sides Of Brighton) Attrix
- 24 October 1979: Lord Lucan Is Missing (Compilation LP - Vaultage 78 – Two Sides Of Brighton) Attrix
- 31 October 1979: Science Fiction (Baby You're So) (7") Attrix
- 20 November 1979: Science Fiction (Baby You're So) (7") Attrix
- 25 March 1994: Lord Lucan Is Missing (Compilation LP - Vaultage 78 – Two Sides Of Brighton) Attrix
- 09 April 1994 (BFBS): Lord Lucan Is Missing (Compilation LP - Vaultage 78 – Two Sides Of Brighton) Attrix