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The Lilac Time is a British alternative folk-rock band that was originally formed in Herefordshire, England by Stephen Duffy, his brother Nick Duffy and their friend Michael Weston in 1986. The band's name was taken from a line in the Nick Drake song "River Man".

The Lilac Time
OriginHerefordshire, England
Years active1986–present
WebsiteLilac Time Official Site
MembersStephen Duffy
Nick Duffy
Claire Duffy
Melvin Duffy
Past membersMichael Weston
Michael Giri
Micky Harris
Adam Cormack
Fraser Kent

Since its formation, The Lilac Time has gone through various line-up changes, with the Duffy brothers as mainstays. The band's activity has intertwined with Stephen Duffy's solo and songwriting career.


The Duffy brothers and Michael Weston had recorded music that would become the band's self-titled debut, which was first released on Swordfish Records in 1987. Michael Giri and Fraser Kent joined when the band went on tour. The group signed to Fontana, which reissued the band's first album in remixed form in 1988. The group went on to release the albums Paradise Circus in 1989, and & Love For All in 1990, the latter of which was produced by Andy Partridge and John Leckie.

The Lilac Time was dropped by Fontana then briefly signed to Creation Records, where the band was subsequently managed by label head Alan McGee. The band's sole release on Creation was Astronauts, in 1990. The Duffy brothers' cousin, noted-session musician Cara Tivey, contributed organ and piano to the album.

The band later regrouped with Claire Worrall and Melvin Duffy (no relation to the brothers) and recorded Looking For A Day In The Night with producer Stephen Street for spinART Records in 1999. They then released Lilac 6 on Cooking Vinyl in 2001, followed by Keep Going, which was released in 2003 under the name "Stephen Duffy and the Lilac Time" on Folk Modern.

Runout Groove was released on 22 October 2007 on Bogus Frontage. The band played the 2007 Green Man Festival and the Queen Elizabeth Hall as a six-piece. The band's gig at the Green Man Festival serves as the backdrop to the film "Memory & Desire — 30 Years in the Wilderness With Stephen Duffy & The Lilac Time." The documentary was filmed over six years by Douglas Arrowsmith, who included new and vintage Lilac footage. The film is accompanied by a Universal Records album of the same name, which compiles songs from Duffy's thirty years of music making. The Queen Elizabeth Hall concert is to be released as a live recording.

No Sad Songs was released on Tapete Records in April 2015.

A new Lilac Time album, Return to Us was released in October 2019.

The band is now based in Cornwall.


Studio albumsEdit

  • The Lilac Time (1987)
  • Paradise Circus (1989)
  • & Love for All (1990)
  • Astronauts (1991)
  • Looking for a Day in the Night (1999)
  • lilac6 (2001)
  • Keep Going (2003) (as Stephen Duffy & The Lilac Time)
  • Runout Groove (2007) (as Stephen Duffy & The Lilac Time)
  • Sapphire Stylus (2009) (as Nick Duffy & The Lilac Time)
  • No Sad Songs (2015)
  • Return to Us (2019)

Compilation albumsEdit

  • Compendium - The Fontana Trinity (2001)
  • Memory & Desire - 30 Years In The Wilderness (2009) (as Stephen Duffy & The Lilac Time)

Tribute albumEdit

  • One Day One Of These Fans Will Change Your Life (2006) - various artists covering Lilac Time songs


Year Title Chart positions Album
US Hot 100 US Modern Rock US Mainstream Rock UK
1987 "Return to Yesterday / Trumpets from Montparnasse" - - - - The Lilac Time
1988 "Return to Yesterday" - - - 82
"You've Got to Love" - - - 79
"Black Velvet" - - - 99
1989 "American Eyes" - 28 - 94 Paradise Circus
"Days of the Week" - - - -
"The Girl Who Waves at Trains" - - - -
1990 "All for Love & Love for All" - 22 - 77 & Love for All
"It'll End in Tears" - - - -
"The Laundry" - - - -
1991 "Madresfield" - - - - Astronauts
"Dreaming" - - - -
1999 "A Dream That We All Share" - - - - Looking for a Day in the Night
2001 "This Morning" - - - - Lilac 6
2007 "Driving Somewhere" - - - - Runout Groove
2008 "Happy Birthday Peace EP" - - - -
2015 "Prussian Blue" - - - - No Sad Songs


External linksEdit