During the early days, the band was performing mainly in activities organized in their home town of Ħaż-Żabbar. Their cousin Charles Galea joined the band shortly after and the following line up was established: Charles on guitars and vocals, Lizio on bass and backing vocals, Stephen on drums, and their cousin Charlie on keyboards and backing vocals.
Atlam was a band heavily influenced by music of the sixties. Their repertoire included many songs such as The Beatles, Elvis, Rolling Stones, The Hollies, Creedence Clearwater Rivival, The Shadows and many more. The band was soon establishing roots besides playing almost every weekend in wedding and other activities, they started performing in various bars and writing their own material. Most of the songs were written by the brothers Charles and Lizio. The other members contributed as well.
The first record F’Imħabba w fis-Sliem was recording at LJR Studio Żabbar and shortly afterward a friend to the band, Tony Mugliette encouraged them to transform the bedroom where they used to practice into a recording studio.
During this period the band recorded several numbers namely: Atlam (instumental song), Kemm Nixtieq, Ninsab il-bogħod, Lilek Irrid, Ġrajja ta’ Sajjied, Tfajla ta’ qalbi among others. Their influence from Rock n Roll, instrumental and ballads of the sixties songs is noticeable. These songs were all included in a cassette with the name Imħabba w Sliem which was released around 1982. However, like many other bands the influence of rock music was pushing Atlam to compose different styles of music. The cassette included two numbers Friend and Oh Louise which were completely different from the rest of the songs.
The influence of rock music from band such as Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Led Zepplin initiated new opportunities for the band. During this time, Tony Mugliette joined as vocalist and the band transformed into a Rock instantly.
Atlam as rock band appeared first during the three days rock festival at Marsa grounds which was organized to boost the local talents and shortly afterwards the band played at Ta’ Qali Music Festival. Atlam was well known for their songs: The end of the world, Ghost Rider, and Desperate Life.
Due to other commitments and priorities, Tony left the band as vocalist and Silvio Bonnici was his immediate replace. Silvio’s high pitched vocals expanded Charles and Lizio’s ideas to write new numbers for the band. Their cover versions of Led Zepplin were among the favourite but the most highly request song in every gig that the band performed was Stars of Sabbath – a medley of the most popular songs of the group Black Sabbath. The established line was now: Silvio Bonnici (Vocals) Chalres Galea (Keyboards) Lizio Saliba (Bass and backing vocals), Stephen Saliba (Drums) and Charles Saliba (Guitars and backing vocals).
The most memorable concert for Atlam was on 9 July 1983 when they appeared with Davy Jones and Tony Grimanud during a Rokarja AST gig at the Tigne Chapel. For that concert, the song SoS – Stars On Sabbath had to be placed three times!!!
Change The Name
Atlam as a pop group was still performing during weddings and many other music occasions. However, the band Atlam was now being associated with rock music as well and this had repercussions on their commercial side of the group. To make distinction between the two, the band decided to hold with the name Atlam for the commercial side of the band while the group performing as rock band was given the name of V-Gile. To strengthen their presence V-Gile appointed as manager Ralph Camilleri.
V-Gile first performance was a Rock Mass which was organized by KDZ at The Stones Discotheque. The music was all composed by Charles Saliba while the lyrics, which was in Maltese were written by Josette Micallef. The same rock mass was performed shortly after again at the Birkirkara Parish Church.
In parallel with the Rock Mass, the band started working on their rock opera Victims. This musical was written by Lawrence Micallef and was based on a genius student who falls victim of the society. The aim of the musical was to create awareness and keep the young generation from the abuses of drugs.
Parts of the rock opera were played in many cultural activities but never performed completely. The opera was recorded in a home build studio with a four track recorder but due to the many overdubs that had to do, the final product was of poor quality. At one time, the opera was almost agreed to be performed under the auspice of Caritas but the band did not reach an agreement since Caritas stressed to change the name of the opera which the band did not agree.
The band replaced Lizio with Anton Scicluna on the bass and later on Edward Mifsud joined on guitars and vocals. Charles Galea on the keyboards left the band due to commitments at his work place and Atlam continued to perform with the following line up:
- Charles Saliba on guitars, keyboards and vocals,
- Edward Mifsud on vocals and guitars,
- Stephen Saliba on percussions and drums
- Anton Scicluna on bass and vocals.
Atlam and V-Gile performed occassionally after 1995 however the only consistant members were Charles on Guitars and Stephen on Drums. During the past 10 years, Charles kept the name alive and performed many times in Libya. The most notable concert was that in 2009 by the Commonwealth countries where the band played alongside with German and British bands. Atlam were the main band of the evening.
One the facebook, Charles indicated that member of Atlam may team up together to perform once again shortly.