When, much to the surprise of the musicians who’d been playing ad hoc gigs at the venue, when the KOKOMO sign went up outside The Pheasantry on the King’s Road in Chelsea, they weren’t quite sure what was going on. One of the singers, Frank Collins thought they’d been replaced when, in actual fact, it was Frankie Blackwell who’d been acting as roadie that made the decision that this collection of talented musicians who were pulling in an ever-increasing and appreciative audience ought to have a name.
For four of the band, it was a new name, but they’d been making great music together for several years already; Tony O’Malley had been the keyboard player and vocalists Dyan Birch, Frank Collins and Paddie McHugh had already tasted chart success, the demands by the press for interviews, the touring, the TV and radio shows and the acclaim that came with hit records.
For Dyan, Frank, Paddie and Tony had been in ARRIVAL, a band that had broken the mould both in its home city of Liverpool and then continued to do the same on the British music scene with songs like “Friends” and “I Will Survive”.
As I wrote in the liner notes for the CD release FRIENDS – ARRIVAL – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1969
to 1973, issued by Cherry Red Records in 2021, “As Arrival departed, Kokomo arrived”