"A band for all seasons." [1]

Racing Cars were a Welsh pop/rock band, formed in the Rhondda Valley, Wales in either 1973 (Wikipedia), or 1975 (AllMusic). Their height of commercial success was in 1977, when They Shoot Horses, Don't They?, an edited version of a track from the LP Downtown Tonight, hit no. 14 on the UK singles charts. This was a one-hit wonder, though, and after their third LP the band split in the late 1970s, reforming sporadically. In the interim, lead vocalist and guitarist Gareth Mortimer released solo material that attracted little interest and was active as a session singer. He died at his home in the Rhondda of cancer on 17 December 2015 at the age of 66.

Links to Peel

R is for Racing Cars

R is for Racing Cars

Before their chart success, Racing Cars' They Shoot Horses, Don't They? had already reached no. 7 on JP's inaugural 1976 Festive Fifty, one of only two records from that year to do so, and John noted their debut session as one of that year's most outstanding: he also mentioned receiving a Christmas card from the band. The song resurfaced in the Peelenium 1976, which appears to have been the only play for Racing Cars since 1978. Additionally, they recorded five sessions for Peel's show, none of which has seen a commercial release: he continued to support them through punk's first wave, even though their brand of MOR was rapidly seen as being out of step with the music of that era.

All three of the band's LPs were found in John's record collection after his death. ([2], [3], [4]) In a related video for John Peel Archive, R Is For Racing Cars, guitarist Gareth Mortimer recalled playing gigs attended by Peel and the band's appearance in the 1976 Festive Fifty.

Festive Fifty Entries

  • 'They Shoot Horses, Don't They?' 1976 Festive Fifty #7
    Racing Cars - They Shoot Horses Don't They (1977) TOTP

    Racing Cars - They Shoot Horses Don't They (1977) TOTP



  • Five sessions, none commercially released.

1. Recorded: 1976-03-02. First broadcast: 22 March 1976. Repeated: 03 May 1976

  • Pass The Bottle / Calling The Tune / They Shoot Horses, Don't They? / Rhondda Reggae

2. Recorded: 1976-09-09. First broadcast: 20 September 1976. Repeated: 17 November 1976, 28 December 1976

  • Four Wheel Drive / Moonshine Fandango / Hard Working Woman / Down Town Tonight

3. Recorded: 1977-04-04. First broadcast: 12 April 1977. Repeated: 05 May 1977

  • Breaking The Rules / Tickin' Over / Travelling Mood / Swampy

4. Recorded: 1977-09-05. First broadcast: 14 September 1977. Repeated: 18 October 1977

  • Nobody's Business / Standing In The Rain / Weekend Rendezvous / Clever Girl

5. Recorded: 1978-08-14. First broadcast: 11 September 1978. Repeated: 26 September 1978

  • Second Beat / When I'm Walking Home / Takin' On The World / Bring On The Night

Other Shows Played

See Also

External Links

  1. Ken Garner, The Peel Sessions, BBC Books 2007, p.216.
  2. Garner, ibid., p.218.
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