With Captain Sensible out of the picture, by 1985 The Damned were free to follow Dave Vanian’s dark vision for Phantasmagoria, their ghostly masterpiece !!!
Swiftly outstripping all of its predecessors, Phantasmagoria peaked at number 11 in the UK album charts and went on to earn The Damned a silver disc. While most of their punk peers had either given up the ghost or succumbed to the law of diminishing returns, Vanian and co were now authentic pop stars; an achievement consolidated by the release of their much-loved cover of Eloise, a suitably grandiloquent slice of motoring melodrama originally recorded by 60s pop singer Barry Ryan. Transposed to a lower key to suit Vanian’s voice, the song was inescapable during the autumn of 1985 and took The Damned to number three in the UK charts via another dry ice-shrouded TOTP appearance.
In typically calamitous Damned style, the band’s moment of glory was relatively short-lived. Their next album, 1986’s Anything, was a pale shadow of its glorious predecessor and, despite MCA releasing four singles from it, it failed to resonate with either pop or gothic audiences. MCA dropped the band soon after and a disillusioned Vanian returned to the shadows, emerging in the early 90s alongside Roman Jugg with a new band, The Phantom Chords, that echoed Phantasmagoria’s schlock horror fixation without making a credible attempt to emulate its success.