Beginning in the punk/new wave style, the Payola$ released the independent single 'China Boys' in 1979 and a debut album, In a Place Like This (A&M SP-9052), in 1981. In their heyday, the Payola$ were one of the more idiosyncratic Canadian groups to enjoy commercial success. Hyde's narrative texts, sardonic lyrics and cheerfully imprecise vocal style - 'he sometimes seemed like an amiable lout who insisted on serenading your neighbour's daughter at 2 a.m.' (Chris Dafoe, Toronto Globe and Mail, 31 Aug 1989) - were essential to the character of the Payola$'s music.
Their hits included the reggae-flavored 'Eyes of a Stranger,' as well as 'Soldier,' in 1982 (from No Stranger to Danger, A&M SP-9070) and 'Never Said I Loved You' in 1983 (sung with Rough Trade's Carole Pope, from Hammer On a Drum, A&M SP-4958). Sales of both LPs topped 100,000, and the Payola$ received the 1982 Juno Awards single of the year for 'Eyes of a Stranger,' co-written by Hyde and Rock, (Rock was also the recording engineer). That same year the band also won the Juno for most promising group of the year. The group received two Juno nominations for Hammer On a Drum in 1983. The Payola$ toured in US clubs after the release of its second LP and performed widely in Canada both as an opening act (for Split Enz, Supertramp, etc) and concert headliner.
The band joined producer David Foster to release their fourth LP, Here's The World For Ya (A&M SP-5025). The album was released in 1985 under the name Paul Hyde and the Payolas and included the popular 'You're the Only One,' which was also part of a greatest-hits package. With the limited success of the album A & M Records dropped the group.
In 1987 A & M Records released Between a Rock and a Hyde Place (A&M SP-9134). Rock and Hyde continued 1986-8 under their own names; their 1987 release, Under the Volcano (Cap ST-6555), included the modest US hit 'Dirty Water,' as well as 'I Will' and 'Talk to Me,' which were popular in Canada. Hyde subsequently pursued a solo career; his album Turtle Island (Cap C1-92414) included 'America Is Sexy,' a modest hit in 1989. Rock has worked as an engineer or producer at Little Mountain Studios, Vancouver. In 2000 Capitol Records released a compilation album, 20th Century Masters: The Payolas.
Introducing Payola$. 1980. A&M
In a Place Like This. 1981. A&M
No Stranger to Danger. 1982. A&M
Hammer on a Drum. 1983. A&M
Here's the World for Ya. 1985. A&M
Between a Rock and a Hyde Place. 1987. A&M (reissued 1993)
Under the Volcano. 1987. Capitol
20th Century Masters: The Payolas. 2000. Capitol
Wiseman, Les. 'The Payola$ pay off,' Vancouver, Aug 1982
- 'Payoff for Payola$?' Vancouver, Jul 1985
Bateman, Jeff. 'Rock & Hyde,' MSc, 353, Jan-Feb 1987
Harrison, Tom. 'Between a Rock and a Hyde Place,' CanMus, vol 9, Jun 1987
Sharp, Keith. 'Out of Hyding,' Music Express, 140, Sep 1989