Animotion is a 1980s U.S. New Wave/synthpop band from Los Angeles, California best known for their songs "Obsession" (written by Michael Des Barres and Holly Knight), "Let Him Go", "I Engineer" and "Room to Move". Formed in 1983 from the remnants of a retro science-fiction band called Red Zone, they signed a record deal with Polygram Records in 1984 and made three albums.
Animotion originally had six members, four of whom (lead singer Astrid Plane, keyboardist Paul Antonelli, bassist Charles Ottavio, and drummer Frenchy O'Brien) had originally been members of the band Red Zone. After the demise of that band, the four aforementioned members set about creating a new group. Lead singer/guitarist Bill Wadhams joined soon thereafter to co-front the new band with Plane. After the formation of Animotion around this nucleus, lead guitarist Don Kirkpatrick was brought on board, completing the line-up. They released their self-titled debut album in 1984. The following year, a single from this album, "Obsession" had a worldwide success and became the band's first Billboard Hot 100 Top Ten single. The follow-up single from this album, "Let Him Go" also cracked the U.S. Top 40.
Session keyboardist Greg Smith, who had played on the band's debut, became an official member of the band prior to the recording of the follow-up album, Strange Behavior (1986), which also saw Jim Blair replacing O'Brien on the drum kit. While several singles were released from this album, its success in the U.S. paled in comparison to the debut, whereas the band became very famous in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and South Africa, thanks to the LP's single "I Engineer", which reached the Top 20 (and sometimes the Top 5) in those countries. During 1986 and 1987, Animotion toured extensively, appearing alongside performers such as Phil Collins, Depeche Mode, Eurythmics, Genesis, Howard Jones, INXS, and Simply Red.
In the midst of recording their third album, Animotion went through personnel changes, as all three of the remaining founding members (Bill Wadhams, Astrid Plane and Charles Ottavio) departed. Following their departure, Ottavio and Plane married. Actress/dancer/singer Cynthia Rhodes, known for her performance as the character "Penny Johnson" in the 1987 film Dirty Dancing, replaced Plane as female lead singer, and former solo artist/Device member Paul Engemann replaced Wadhams as the male lead for Animotion's second self-titled album, informally known as "Room to Move" (due to the success of this song) to distinguish it from their first LP. By the time of this album's release, only Kirkpatrick and Smith remained officially in the "band" backing Rhodes and Engemann, and other session musicians were used during its recording. The single "Room to Move," is a remake of the 1988 song by the group Climie Fisher and was aided by its inclusion in the movie My Stepmother is an Alien, became a radio hit in April 1989, and their second Top 10 hit in the U.S., after "Obsession" in 1985; but the album itself failed to chart and Animotion broke up after that.
The members reunited for the first on February 8, 2001 with a sold out crowd in response to a request from Alex Hart and 94.7 NRK Radio Station in Portland, Oregon. In the summer of 2005, founding members Wadhams, Plane and Ottavio appeared as "Animotion" in the American version of the TV show Hit Me Baby One More Time, performing their hit "Obsession" and a cover of Dirty Vegas' "Days Go By".
As of 2008, Animotion have again reunited in a line-up including original members Wadhams, Plane, Ottavio, and Kirkpatrick; veteran keyboardist Greg Smith; and drummer Kevin Rankin for a few touring dates along the West Coast.
In 2009 Animotion was thrust into pop culture again as it was featured on VH-1's Top 100 One Hit Wonders of the 80s (in spite of the fact that Animotion are technically not one-hit wonders, as their song "Room to Move" cracked the top ten in 1989, albeit with an almost entirely different line-up). "Obsession" was also featured in the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Animotion came in at #12 with the hit "Obsession." Both Astrid Plane and Bill Wadhams were interviewed and featured.
UK based specialist reissue label Cherry Red Records will be re-releasing both the Animotion (1984) and Strange Behavior (1986) albums via its Cherry Pop imprint on 17 August 2009 (UK) and a week later in the US (according to Amazon.com). Sleeve notes are by long-time fan Steve Thorpe, and the remastering has been carried out by Tim Turan in Oxford, UK. The CDs will each include several bonus tracks including 7" remixes and 12" remixes gathered from various singles released between 1984 and 1986 in Europe and the United States.