Stems – At First Sight

I’m really into this band at the moment. This is one band I wish I would have known about in the 1980s. This song was on their album At First Sight, Violets Are Blue. The album is still rated as one of the best Australian guitar pop releases. In the early nineties, Rolling Stone included it in the top 100 Australian releases of all time. At First Sight became their signature song. 

The Stems were a garage punk band formed in Perth, Western Australia in late 1983 by member Dom Mariani. They were hugely popular in Australia. They would release 7 singles, 2 albums, and 2 EP’s between 1985-1987.

They debuted in March 1984 and released a series of independent records on Sydney’s Citadel Records. Each release made it to number one on the Australian alternative charts. Dom Mariani’s earliest influences included The Beatles, The Raspberries, Badfinger, and Big Star. He formed his first band (The Go Starts) in 1981 and The Stems in 1984. The members included Mariani (songwriter, guitar, and vocals) Richard Lane (guitar/keyboard/vocals), Gary Chambers (drums) and Julian Matthews (bass).

The band broke up after this album in 1987. They regrouped in 2003 and played to packed houses across Australia and Europe. They disbanded again in 2009 and regrouped in 2013 and still play from time to time.

The song peaked at #90 in the Australian Kent Music Charts but I’ve read where it peaked at #1 on the alternative charts there as well…along with two more singles from this album.

On the 30th anniversary of the album….founding member Dom Mariani: “It seems like a long time, doesn’t it? Music’s one of those funny things that never dies, it’s there forever. It’s always going to be there and what we did 30 years ago has connected with people, and it’s a bit of a historical thing. Personally, I’ve kept doing it (playing music) because it gave me the confidence to keep writing songs and stay interested in it. If it had been a flop I might have taken a different path.”

Back then I would have never thought much of it. You can’t look into the future but we had high hopes, and thought we’d be chart topping & tour the world etc. We were lucky enough that what we did was popular, we had some good tunes, and we loved what we were doing. Where I’ve ended up, I’m pretty happy with though. If we’d had any degree of success that was ‘life changing’, we probably wouldn’t have done all the music that we did since then. I’ve had a great journey, and it’s always been about rock and roll. The art form is more important than owning a mansion.”

At First Sight

Just say the word and I would die for you
And I’ll be a flower if you wanted to
‘Cause I never met anyone quite like you
I lose my head my heart starts pounding too
And all I had to do was look at you
At first sight

I’ll be the motor in your car
And I’ll be the fire in your flaming star
And I’ll be the water in your waterfall
‘Cause I’d hit the ceiling I’d feel ten feet tall
And all I had to do was look at you

At first sight

Just say the word and I would die for you
And I’ll be a flower if you wanted to
‘Cause I’ve never met anyone quite like you
I lose my head my heart starts pounding too
All I had to do was look at you
At first sight

All I had to do was look at you
At first sight
At first sight
At first sight
At first sight

At first sight
At first sight
At first sight
At first sight
At first sight
At first sight
At first sight
At first sight

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

31 thoughts on “Stems – At First Sight”

  1. I guess you won’t be surprised that as a lover of the Rickenbacker sound this tune is totally up my alley. I had never heard of Stems before. I would characterize the tune as power pop. At times, the lead vocalist slightly reminds me of Bryan Adams – strictly from a vocal perspective when he gets a bit raspy!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m surprised I didn’t hear of them at all in the 80s. Toronto was pretty receptive to Aussie alt rock – The Church, Hunters & Collectors, Hoodoo Gurus, of course Split Enz, Midnight Oil. But these guys flew under the radar.
    Great jangly guitars on this (I use that term too Deke!) but his vocals are just a bit off-putting to me. Not at all a bad song, just not one that I’d have been searching out at the record store.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I like the Church also. Radio Birdman is another band I like from Australia… if you were British you got noticed…Australian not as much it seems….except for a few like AC/DC

        Liked by 1 person

    1. So cool that you know them! I so wished I would have known about them back in the 80s.
      I’ve listened to them on youtube mostly for a year or so….I want to get a CD of them…probably one of the anthologies they have.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh man…you KNOW I will be posting this sometime soon. Thank you so much. I’m always on the look out for New Old power pop! This is great….thank you man.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: