Annie and Dave represent one of the seminal acts of the ’80s. They kicked off in 1981 and were pretty much done as a group by 1990.
They were formed out of The Tourists – you remember them? Those fantastic covers they did of I Only Wanna Be With You and So Good To Be Back Home Again in very late 1979 and early 1980?
That experience ended and the duo, who had been romantically linked struck off on their own. They ended their romantic association and got down to the business of making some noise. And what a noise. Between their first single Never Gonna Cry Again which reached the not so giddy heights of number 63 in the UK singles charts until their last 80’s hit Don’t Ask Me Why the Eurythmics produced a total of 26 UK singles of which they had just the one UK number 1 and a further seven UK top ten singles.
Initial forays into the UK singles charts weren’t all that successful. As I said, Never Gonna Cry Again struggled to number 63 and the next three Belinda, This Is The House and The Walk didn’t trouble the statisticians. Even Love Is A Stranger on its initial release managed only a paltry 54.
But if you’ve got something, then well… you’ve got something. Enter Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This). Released in February 1983, Sweet Dreams was a colossal hit both here (UK number 2 kept off by Kajagoogoo’s Too Shy, I mean come on!) and in the US (number 1). It remains a speaker-busting sound and has got to be their signature tune. It just never gets old.
Love Is A Stranger was next up. Re-released, one supposes, in order to pick up on the vibe created by Sweet Dreams. As the saying goes, if Kaja-bloody-googoo can make it to number one, then why shouldn’t an awesome piece of work such as this be given another chance? Anyway, rant over, Love Is A Stranger made it to number 6 in the UK singles chart. For my money, it’s a twin to Robert Palmer’s Addicted To Love – using the idea of love as some kind of drug, ‘You have to receive it / and you still can’t get enough of the stuff…’
There followed a run of top ten singles, with Who’s That Girl? (number 3 – hauntingly beautiful, yet acid in its accusation), Right By Your Side (number 10 – uplifting, glorious – an immediate antidote to Who’s That Girl?) Next up was Here Comes The Rain Again (UK singles chart number 8), a return to the sound which so characterises Sweet Dreams and Love Is A Stranger.
And then we had the quirky Sexcrime (nineteen eighty-four), a bit of a grower to be honest (peaked at number 4 in the UK singles chart), but my entry point into being a Eurythmics-record-buyer. It was released towards the end of 1984 as the first single from the official-unofficial soundtrack to the film adaptation of George Orwell’s novel 1984.
They followed up Sexcrime with another song from the film, Julia. This was slightly disappointing, making it only to number 44 in the UK singles charts. Would I Lie To You? was a bit of a rocker and having helped it along with my purchase of it (on red vinyl) on 11 May 1985, it reached number 17. But this was to be the calm before the storm.
Released at the end of June 1985, There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart) was the Eurythmics’ only UK number one hit. It is memorable for many reasons, not least Stevie Wonder’s harmonica playing, but its primary claim to fame is that it just epitomises what good pop music should be about. Songs like this only come along once in a while and you always know when such a song is here – it just grabs you by the Sean Kerlys the very first time you hear it.
As is the case with other groups, such a massive hit single as There Must Be An Angel represents the high water mark for the Eurythmics, certainly in terms of chart positions. It was followed by Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves and I reckon that was more of a vehicle for Aretha Franklin than Annie and Dave. It doesn’t move me in quite the same way as other singles. It’s Alright (Baby’s Coming Back) is another single that I bought and it managed to get to number 12 in the UK singles charts. Then two more minor hits with When Tomorrow Comes and Missionary Man were followed by another one of those Sean Kerly moments.
I was stood in John Menzies in Shrewsbury when a song came on – it was the Eurythmics next single, Thorn In My Side. Looking back it’s probably just another one of those run of the mill rock and pop records, but in its time (29 August 1986) there wasn’t much better. It proved this by reaching number 5 and therefore becoming the Eurythmics’ last top ten UK chart single.
Several good singles followed, notably the gorgeous Winter of ’86 love song The Miracle Of Love, which made number 23 but deserved much much better (I did my bit, I bought it). Of the seven remaining 80s singles, You Have Placed A Chill In My Heart, which made number 16 in 1988, is my favourite.
So there you have it, that’s the Eurythmics as I saw them in the ’80s. They’re as iconic of the time as most of the other UK chart acts, in fact with her short-cropped hair, Annie Lennox is perhaps the female pop icon of the decade.