Categories

Eurythmics

Eurythmics were a British pop rock-synthpop and New Wave duo, consisting of members Annie Lennox and David A. Stewart, who formed the duo in 1980. Lennox had previously featured in the bands The Catch and The Tourists, in which Stewart was also a member of The Tourists with Peet Coombers, and the two of them encountered Lennox, and afterwards Stewart and Lennox went onto form what would become Eurythmics. The duo enjoyed small notability in their native United Kingdom, with the release of their first single “Never Gonna Cry Again” reaching number sixty-three on the UK Singles Charts. The release of their debut album, In the Garden failed to make any impact on any charts.

It wasn’t until the release of the bands second album, Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) that gained the duo international popularity. The albums title track was one of the bands largest songs to date. “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” is arguably Eurythmics’ signature song and it is their only chart-topper in the U.S. Following its success, their previous single, “Love Is a Stranger”, was re-released and also became a worldwide hit. On Rolling Stone’s The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time issue in 2003, “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” was ranked number 356 (the group’s only song on the list). Eurythmics have regularly performed the song in all their live sets since 1982, and it is often performed by Lennox on her solo tours.

Eurythmics went onto release further hit studio albums, including Be Yourself Tonight (1985), Savage (1987) and We Too Are One (1989) before the band broke up. Lennox furhter departed on a solo career, releasing Diva in 1992, in which produced the hit singles “Why” and “Walking on Broken Glass”. In 1999, Eurtyhmics returned to record their eighth album, Peace which was released in 1999, and returned again to record “I’ve Got a Life” in 2005, for the compilation album Ultimate Collection.

History

1976–1982: Formation and In the Garden

Lennox and Stewart met in 1975 in a restaurant in London, where Lennox worked at that time. They first played together in 1976 in the punk rock band The Catch. After releasing one single as The Catch in 1977, the band evolved into The Tourists. Stewart and Lennox were also romantically involved. The Tourists achieved modest commercial success, but the experience was reportedly an unhappy one. Personal and musical tensions existed within the group, whose main songwriter was Peet Coombes, and legal wranglings happened with the band’s management, publishers and record labels. Lennox and Stewart felt the fixed band line-up was an inadequate vehicle to explore their experimental creative leanings and decided their next project should be much more flexible and free from artistic compromise. They were interested in creating pop music, but wanted freedom to experiment with electronics and the avant-garde. Calling themselves Eurythmics (after a style of Greek dance called “Eurhythmics” that Lennox had encountered as a child), they decided to keep themselves as the only permanent members and songwriters, and involve others in the collaboration “on the basis of mutual compatibility and availability.” The duo signed to RCA Records. At this time, Lennox and Stewart also decided to discontinue their romantic relationship. During the period that Lennox and Stewart were in The Tourists, and later as Eurythmics, they were managed by Kenny Smith and Sandra Turnbull of Hyper Kinetics Ltd.

They recorded their first album in Cologne with Conny Plank (who had produced the later Tourists sessions). This resulted in the album In the Garden, released in October 1981. The album mixed psychedelic, krautrock and electropop influences, and featured contributions from Holger Czukay and Jaki Liebezeit (of Can), drummer Clem Burke (of Blondie), Robert Görl (of Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft), and flautist Tim Wheater. A couple of the songs were co-written by guitarist Roger Pomphrey (now a TV director). The album received an indifferent critical reception and was not a commercial success (though the debut single “Never Gonna Cry Again” made the UK charts at #63). Lennox and Stewart then activated their new Eurythmics mode of operation by touring the record as a duo, accompanied by backing tracks and electronics, carted around the country themselves in a horse-box.

During 1982 the duo retreated to Chalk Farm in London, and used a bank loan to establish a small 8-track studio above a picture framing factory, giving them freedom to record without having to pay expensive studio fees. They began to employ much more electronics in their music, collaborating with Raynard Faulkner and Adam Williams, recording many tracks in the studio and playing live using various line-up permutations. However, the three new singles they released that year (“This Is the House”, “The Walk” and “Love Is a Stranger”) all performed badly on initial release in the UK. Although their mode of operation had given them the creative freedom they desired, commercial success was still eluding them, and the responsibility of running so many of their affairs personally (down to transporting their own stage equipment) took its toll on both of them. Lennox apparently suffered at least one nervous breakdown during this period, while Stewart was hospitalised with a collapsed lung.

1983–1984: Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) and Touch

Eurythmics’ commercial breakthrough came with their second album, Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This), released in January 1983. The successful title track featured a dark and powerful sequenced synth bass line and a dramatic video that introduced the now orange crew-cut Lennox to audiences. The song reached no.2 on the UK Singles Chart, becoming one of the year’s biggest sellers, and later topped the US charts. The band’s fortunes changed immensely from this moment on, and Lennox quickly became a pop icon, gracing the covers of numerous magazines including Rolling Stone. Their previous single, “Love Is a Stranger”, was also re-released and became another chart success. The video for the song saw Lennox in many different character guises, a concept she would employ in various subsequent videos. The album’s working title was Invisible Hands (as was a track left off the album), inspiring the name of UK independent company Invisible Hands Music – known for releasing music by Hugh Cornwell, Mick Karn and Hazel O’Connor. The album also featured a cover of the 1968 Sam & Dave hit “Wrap It Up”, performed as a duet between Lennox and Green Gartside of Scritti Politti.

The duo quickly recorded a follow-up album, Touch, which was released in November 1983. It became the duo’s first no.1 album in the UK, and also spawned three major hit singles. “Who’s That Girl?” was a top 3 hit in the UK, the video depicting Lennox as both a blonde chanteuse and as a gender-bending Elvis Presley clone. It also featured cameo appearances by Hazel O’Connor, Bananarama (including Stewart’s future wife, Siobhan Fahey), Kate Garner of Haysi Fantayzee, Thereza Bazar of Dollar, Jay Aston and Cheryl Baker of Bucks Fizz, Kiki Dee, Jacquie O’Sullivan and the gender-bending pop singer Marilyn, who would go on to musical success of his own that same year. The upbeat, calypso-flavoured “Right by Your Side” showed a different side of Eurythmics altogether and also made the Top 10, and “Here Comes the Rain Again” (number eight in the UK, number four in the U.S.) was an orchestral/synth ballad (with orchestrations by Michael Kamen).

In 1984 RCA released Touch Dance, a mini-album of remixes of four of the tracks from Touch, aimed at the club market. The remixes were by prominent New York producers Francois Kevorkian and John “Jellybean” Benitez. Also released in 1984 was Eurythmics’ soundtrack album 1984 (For the Love of Big Brother). Virgin Films had contracted the band to provide a soundtrack for Michael Radford’s modern film adaptation of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. However, Radford later said that the music had been “foisted” on his film against his wishes, and that Virgin had replaced most of Dominic Muldowney’s original orchestral score with the Eurythmics soundtrack (including the song “Julia”, which was heard during the end credits). However, the record was presented as “music derived from the original score of Eurythmics for the Michael Radford film version of Orwell’s 1984″. Eurythmics charged that they had been misled by the film’s producers as well, and the album was withdrawn from the market for a period while matters were litigated. The album’s first single, “Sexcrime (Nineteen Eighty-Four)”, was a top 5 hit in the UK, Australia and across Europe, and a major dance success in the United States, but its supposedly suggestive title (actually taken from the newspeak phrase used in Orwell’s book) resulted in many U.S. pop radio stations refusing to play the track.

Discography

Studio Albums

1981 In The Garden – http://bopping-elf.co.uk/eurythmics/eurythmics-in-the-garden/

1983 Sweet Dreams – Coming soon 07/12/2014

1984 – 1984 (For the Love of Big Brother) – http://www.bopping-elf.co.uk/eurythmics-1984-for-the-love-of-big-brother/

Savage – http://bopping-elf.co.uk/eurythmics/eurythmics-savage/

We Two Are One – http://bopping-elf.co.uk/eurythmics/eurythmics-we-two-are-one/

Compilations

Greatest Hits – http://www.bopping-elf.co.uk/eurythmics-greatest-hits/

Unofficial Live Albums (Bootlegs)

Live Glasgow 25th February 1983 – http://www.bopping-elf.co.uk/eurythmics-live-glasgow-25th-february-1983/