You can say what you like about the short-lived pop music success of Edem Ephraim and Dennis Fuller, known as London Boys, but there’s no doubt that their catchy tunes and energetic Top of the Pops performances caught our attention back in the late 1980s.
Giving us brilliantly choreographed dance routines that saw them doing splits and back-flips as they mimed along to their brilliant hits Requiem and London Nights, London Boys both looked and sounded the part.
The boys certainly had a big impact on us, meaning that we were quick to part with our hard-earned pocket money and purchase their album The Twelve Commandments of Dance the very next time our parents let us visit our local Our Price.
But whilst we remember the start of their career being full of success and optimism, what we didn’t know until recently was anything about the incredibly sad tragedy that took the lives of both Ephraim and Fuller when they were far too young.
Although Edem Ephraim (born in London) and Dennis Fuller (born in Jamaica) had both once lived near Hamburg, Germany, they actually met whilst at school in Greenwich, London.
The pair, who both worked as roller-blade dancers, formed London Boys in 1986 along with the songwriter and producer Ralf-René Maué.
The duo originally released Requiem and London Nights in 1988, but it wasn’t until April 1989 that Requiem became London Boys’ breakthrough hit, reaching number four on the UK Singles Chart.
A re-release of London Nights did even better by reaching number two, and their subsequent album The Twelve Commandments of Dance hit the same spot on the UK Albums Chart.
The album’s third and fourth singles, Harlem Desire and My Love, didn’t perform as well, reaching number 17 and 46 respectively.
London Boys’ success fizzled out after their 1990 single Chapel of Love only made it to number 75, followed by Freedom, their last UK Chart entry, which reached number 54.
Despite them having sold an impressive four and a half million records, London Boys were dropped by their record label, and they soon parted ways.
You couldn’t keep the boys apart for long, though, because they reformed in 1995, releasing an album called Hallelujah Hits which gave a dance floor flavour to some traditional religious songs.
Tragically, on 21st January 1996, whilst driving to a ski resort in the Australian Alps in bad weather conditions, Fuller, Ephraim, Ephraim’s wife Bettina and a mutual friend from Hamburg were all killed when a drunk driver hit their vehicle.
The Swiss drunk driver, who was attempting to overtake a car, and whom it later transpired had been performing dangerous overtaking manoeuvres for a number of miles beforehand, hit the car head-on and also died.
Edem Ephraim and his wife left behind a son called Stevie who was just three years old at the time, and Dennis Fuller left behind his 10-year-old daughter Laura.
It may be of little consolation in the face of such a tragedy, but the music of London Boys most definitely lives on, and a recent viewing of one of their 1989 Top of the Pops performances reminded us how much we loved them when we were youngsters. Rest in peace, London Boys – we haven’t forgotten you.