The band was formed in 1973 by the amalgamation of two groups, Choise and the Golden Hammers, the latter often known simply as 'The Hammers'. This led to an eight-member band, with the unusual feature of having two vocalists, two drummers, two guitarists, and two bassists. They both played at the Fosse Way pub in Leicester and soon discovered shared musical tastes. After playing together in jamming sessions, they joined together permanently and Showaddywaddy was born.
Subsequently they were approached and asked if they wanted to be on TV.[by whom?] The show was New Faces. They won one programme in the series in November 1973 and were runners-up in the "All Winners Final", which was broadcast on 28 December 1973. Their first single, "Hey Rock and Roll" (written by the band), was released in April 1974. It reached number two in the UK Singles Chart. Showaddywaddy then went on to have a further 22 UK hits until late summer 1982. They had most of their biggest hits with covers of songs from the 1950s and the early 1960s. These cover versions included "Three Steps to Heaven" (originally by Eddie Cochran in 1960), "Heartbeat" (originally written and recorded by Buddy Holly), "Under the Moon of Love" (originally a U.S. hit for Curtis Lee in 1961 and co-written by Tommy Boyce), "When" (originally by the Kalin Twins), "You Got What It Takes" (originally by Marv Johnson) and "Dancin' Party" (originally by Chubby Checker). The above six singles were all produced by Mike Hurst (a former member of the Springfields).
On the South African charts, "Three Steps to Heaven" reached number 6 in 1975 and "Under the Moon of Love" number 6 in 1977.
From "Dancin' Party" (1977), the band produced their own records with more cover versions including "I Wonder Why" (originally by Dion and the Belmonts), "Blue Moon" (based on the Marcels' interpretation) and another Curtis Lee original "Pretty Little Angel Eyes", again co-written by Tommy Boyce. Their most recent chart single was "Who Put the Bomp (In the Bomp-A-Bomp-A-Bomp)", a number 37 hit in 1982, which they also promoted in their final Top of the Pops performance.
In total they had ten Top Ten singles, a solitary number one ("Under the Moon of Love" in 1976), and spent 209 weeks in the UK Singles Chart. At the peak of their popularity, this tally included having seven successive Top Five entries. Their biggest-selling single was the aforementioned "Under the Moon of Love", which sold 985,000 copies.
Cherry Red Records began to release Showaddywaddy's extensive album back catalogue on CD from 2000 on their '7Ts' imprint. The reissues featured rare bonus tracks, B-sides and non-album singles.
Early in 2008, the band finished recording their album, The Sun Album (I Betcha Gonna Like It), released on Voiceprint Records. A special limited edition (500 copies only) was available, signed by the whole band and comprised the CD, a DVD, special packaging and extended sleeve notes. In September 2011, lead singer Dave Bartram released his long-lost solo recordings from 1982-85 on Invisible Hands Music. The original tapes had been in his loft for 25 years. The seventeen track album was entitled Lost and Found.
Despite the hits drying up three decades ago, Showaddywaddy have continued to tour, and still do around 100 dates a year in the UK and Europe.
In 2013, the band celebrates its 40th anniversary and will undertake a UK wide tour between 11 January and 1 June.