The Associates were a Scottish band formed in 1976 by Billy MacKenzie and Alan Rankine. They gained attention early on with a self-funded release that caught the eye of David Bowie's publishers, leading to a record deal. Throughout their career, they experimented with their sound and pushed boundaries, incorporating elements of deranged and experimental music. Their drug use was at its peak during their most successful period, but internal conflicts eventually led to the departure of Rankine and MacKenzie continuing as a solo artist under The Associates name.
MacKenzie faced challenges with his record label, WEA, who pressured him to follow a more mainstream pop-soul direction. Frustrated by this lack of support, he turned to collaborations with artists like Yello. Despite these setbacks, The Associates continued releasing albums under different names until MacKenzie's tragic death in 1997 from an overdose.
Despite their short-lived success and turbulent journey, The Associates left behind a legacy of innovative music that continues to inspire artists today. Similar artists include Japan, The Teardrop Explodes, Paul Haig, Altered Images, Scritti Politti, Tubeway Army, Blancmange and many others.