History

Seona Dancing: The Short and Surprising Career of Ricky Gervais as a Pop-Star

You may know Ricky Gervais best for his role as a narcissistic, rude, and insecure manager in The Office. Or you might know him lately for his “memorable” speech at the 2020 Golden Globes. But did you know that at the beginning of his career in show biz, he was in a pop band called Seona Dancing? No, we’re not pulling your leg, this is not fake news. Ricky Gervais was actually a pop star. Stay tuned for the whole entertaining story.

Image: Deadline

It’s hard to picture Ricky Gervais as being all done up (surprisingly, with a not-too-ridiculous hairdo) posing for the camera or getting ready for a pop gig. But this is genuine Gervais history. Of course, celebrities often have multiple talents. Some can sing, some can dance, some can joke, some can act, and some can do it all. Apparently, Gervais is a multi-talented individual. Let’s have a look.

The History of Seona Dancing

In 1982, as Ricky Gervais was in his last year of college studying philosophy, he linked up with his friend Bill Macrae and formed the band. With Gervais on lyrics and vocals and Macrae on keyboard and composition, the duo recorded a 16-song tape. The sounds they played were a mix of pop, new wave, and synthpop.

Image: Topito

The videos are in classic 80s style: dreamy fade-ins and fade-outs, and up-close faces. The band was (somewhat miraculously) signed by London Records. Two of their singles were released, but neither of them made it to significant real estate on the billboards. The band broke up two years later. Today, in the West, Seona Dance is pretty much only remembered through amusing videos that provide us with a juicy piece of Gervais’s past.

Not So Fast People! Seona Dancing Was Huge In the Philippines

Seona Dancing, and Ricky Gervais as a pop-star didn’t get very far in the West. They formed the band, recorded a demo, released a few songs, and then fizzled out. This wasn’t, however, the case in the Philippines. About a year after the band broke up in 1984, a Manila-based radio played a track which they named “Medium” by a band called “Fade.”

Interestingly, the song was so unknown globally, that the Manila radio station felt they stumbled upon an anonymous gem, and that they needed to cover its true identity in order to avoid other stations from getting it. As it turned out, the song was actually one of Seona Dance’s singles: “More to Lose.”

Image: Mirror Online

Possibly due to its catchy piano intro, or maybe because of its cheesy lyrics that gently try to pull the strings of your heart, the song caught fire. It’s not quite known why or how, but soon the song started being played at every dance club in the city (Manila) and at high-school dances. Some speculate that it struck a chord with the youth – who were coming of age during a period of social and political upheaval.

“More to Lose” stayed on popular playlists in the Philippines for decades. It’s funny because Seona Dance didn’t do well anywhere in the world, but somehow, in the Philippines, it became an anthem. When asked about the band, Ricky Gervais said “I am glad [being a popstar] didn’t quite work… I would be dead now.”