Eurythmics :: My Favorite Artists/Bands

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Eurythmics :: My Favorite Artists/Bands

There are certain artists and bands that are so anchored in my adolescence, and young adulthood, that I get shot right into a nostalgia vortex every time I hear their music. It is like a sonic time machine, that spins me around and has me floating right back to where I was in the eighties, whether it be the shy, music obsessed teenager with the over the moon crush on her an unrequited love, or the rebellious, still music obsessed just out of high school nineteen year old who spent so many sleepless nights amongst the misfits of the Hollywood club scene. Depending on the album, or song, music from the Eurythmics is one of those bands that take me right back, whether I’m ready for the recalled memories, or not.

I discovered the Eurythmics around the time MTV first started. We had cable in our house since my mother’s horrible husband worked for the cable company. The bonus for me was I had MTV in my room, which meant that I had it on nearly 24-hours a day. I watched it incessently, keeping notebooks of videos they played with hearts and stars as a rating system to what my favorites were. I sat on the phone with friends who also obsessed over MTV and discussed our favorites, running an over-the-phone-lines commentary for each video that played. And, I took my list of favorites with me to the record store to help guide my next album purchases.

It was early on that I fell for the Eurythmics, and brought home the Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) album. I was enchanted by the cover, and Annie Lennox’s stunningly gorgeous and androgynous look. I wished at the time I had the courage to steal her style for my own, but the closest I came at that age was to cut all my hair off. It would be a year, or two later that I started to get into dyeing it different shades.

Touch was the next album to come home with me, my favorite of all of the band’s releases even to this day. I played it non-stop and featured tracks from the album on many mix tapes I made. I collected the rest of their albums, though I’d always have a soft spot for the first two that made their way into my musical obsessions, though Savage would get close to my heart, too. The song You Have Placed a Chill in My Heart fit so perfectly into that end of high school time in my life. I was furiously shedding my skin, so to speak, of my teenage self, and trying to break free of all the heartache, both in my personal life and family, that I’d survived. My heart was chilled, most certainly, but I was electrified, too, and ready for change.

I took the Eurythmics music with me as I stepped out into the world and started to figure out just who I was. The music sticks with me still today, though it definitely triggers a slew of memories that play like a slideshow of triumphs and mistakes, losses and gains, desires and heartbreak, and a lot of living.

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Eurythmics are a British music duo consisting of members Annie Lennox and David A. Stewart. Stewart and Lennox were both previously in the band The Tourists (originally known as The Catch), who split up in 1980; Eurythmics were formed later that year.

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The duo released their first album, In the Garden, in 1981 to little fanfare, but went on to achieve global success with their second album Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This), released in 1983. The title track was a worldwide hit, topping the chart in various countries including the US.

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The duo went on to release a string of hit singles and albums before they split up in 1990. By this time Stewart was a sought-after record producer, while Lennox began a solo recording career in 1992 with her debut album Diva. After almost a decade apart, Eurythmics reunited to record their ninth album, Peace, released in late 1999. They reunited again in 2005 to release the single I’ve Got a Life, as part of a new Eurythmics compilation album, Ultimate Collection.

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The duo have won an MTV Video Music Award for Best New Artist in 1984, the Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal in 1987, the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music in 1999, and in 2005 were inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame. Eurythmics have sold an estimated 75 million records worldwide.

Lennox and Stewart met in 1975 in a restaurant in London, where Lennox worked at that time. They played together int wo bands prior to the Eurythmics, and were romantically involved with each other. They mutually felt that they needed to branch out creatively into something new, something more flexible and free from artistic constraints and compromise, which led them to the formation of the Eurythmics. Lennox and Stewart strove to create pop music, that veered into the avant-garde.

A goal they most definitely accomplished.

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It was in a hotel in Wagga Wagga, Australia, while playing around with a portable mini-synthesizer that Lennox and Stewart decided to become a duo. Calling themselves Eurythmics (after the pedagogical exercise system 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 split as a couple.

They recorded their first album in Cologne with Conny Plank. 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 D.A.F.), and flautist Tim Wheater. A couple of the songs were co-written by guitarist Roger Pomphrey (later a TV director).

The album received an indifferent critical reception and was not a commercial success. 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.

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Eurythmics’ commercial breakthrough came with their second album, Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This), released in January 1983. The title track reached n# 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. Love Is a Stranger, previously released as a single pre-album, 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.

1The duo quickly recorded a follow-up album, Touch, which was released in November 1983. It became the duo’s first # 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-flavored Right by Your Side showed a different side of Eurythmics altogether and also made the Top 10, and Here Comes the Rain Again (# 8 in the UK, # 4 in the U.S.) was an orchestral/synth ballad (with orchestrations by Michael Kamen).

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The duo’s next album, Be Yourself Tonight, was produced in a week in Paris. It showcased much more of a “band style” and a centred sound (with an R&B influence), with real drums, brass, and much more guitar from Stewart. Almost a dozen other musicians were enlisted, including members of Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers, guest harmonica from Stevie Wonder, bass guitar from Dean Garcia, string arrangements by Michael Kamen, and Lennox singing duets with Aretha Franklin and Elvis Costello. It continued the duo’s transatlantic chart domination in 1985, and contained four hit singles: Would I Lie to You? was a U.S. Billboard top 5 hit and Australian number one, while There Must Be an Angel (Playing with My Heart)(featuring Wonder’s harmonica contribution) became their first and only UK # 1 single.

Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves (a duet with Aretha Franklin, though originally intended for Tina Turner), and It’s Alright (Baby’s Coming Back) also rode high in the charts.

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Eurythmics released their next album, Revenge, in 1986. The album continued their move towards a band sound, verging on an AOR-pop/rock sound. Sales continued to be strong in the UK, but were somewhat slower in the U.S., though Missionary Man reached # 14 on the U.S. Hot 100 chart and went all the way to # 1 on the US Album Oriented Rock chart (AOR).

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In 1987, Lennox and Stewart released the album Savage. This saw a fairly radical change within the group’s sound, being based mainly around programmed samples and drum loops (Lennox would later say that where Revenge was more of a Stewart album in sound, Savage was more of a Lennox one). Lyrically the songs showed an even darker, more obsessive side to Lennox’s writing.

A video album was also made, directed by Sophie Muller, with a video for each song. This was largely a concept piece, following characters portrayed by Lennox, specifically one of a frustrated housewife-turned-vamp (as exemplified in Beethoven (I Love to Listen To), a UK top 30 hit). The brazen, sexually charged rocker I Need a Man remains a Eurythmics staple, as does You Have Placed a Chill in My Heart.

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In 1989, Eurythmics released the album We Too Are One, which entered the UK album chart at # 1 (their second # 1 album after Touch) and gave the duo four UK Top 30 hit singles. The album was a return to the rock/pop sound of their mid-80s albums and was certified Double Platinum in the UK, but was less successful in the U.S. (although the single Don’t Ask Me Why grazed the Billboard Top 40).

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After strenuous years of touring and recording (Eurythmics had released eight studio albums in eight years), a rift had developed between the duo and Eurythmics disbanded, although no formal notice was given. In the late 1990s, Eurythmics reunited and recorded a new album, Peace, which was released in 1999. The single I Saved the World Today reached # 11 in the UK singles charts. And, on On November 7, 2005, Eurythmics released Ultimate Collection, a remastered greatest hits package with two new songs. One of them, I’ve Got a Life, was released as a single and reached #14 on the UK singles charts.

Most recently, Lennox and Stewart performed as a duo for The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to The Beatles. The event was taped at the Los Angeles Convention Center on January 27, 2014, the day after the Grammy Awards. They performed The Beatles song The Fool on the Hill.

1Following are my Top Ten favorite Eurythmics songs. Will you share yours with me?

1. Love is a Stranger
from the album, Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)

“It’s savage and it’s cruel,
and it shines like destruction,
comes in like the flood,
and it seems like religion,
it’s noble and it’s brutal,
it distorts and deranges,
and it wrenches you up,
and you’re left like a zombie.”

2. Here Comes the Rain Again 
from the album, Touch

“I want to walk in the open wind,
I want to talk like lovers do,
I want to dive into your ocean,
is it raining with you?”

3. Who’s That Girl?
from the album, Touch

“The language of love,
slips from my lover’s tongue,
cooler than ice cream,
and warmer than the sun.
Dumb hearts get broken,
just like china cups.
The language of love,
has left me broken on the rocks.”

4. You Have Placed a Chill in my Heart 
from the album, Savage

“Love is a temple,
love is a shrine,
love is pure,
and love is blind,
love is a religious sign;
I’m gonna leave this love behind.
Love is hot,
and love is cold,
I’ve been bought,
and I’ve been sold,
love is rock,
and love is roll;
I just want someone to hold.”

5. The City Never Sleeps
from the album, Sweet Dreams (Are Made of These)

“I guess its just a feeling.”

6.Savage
from the album, Savage

“She said, ‘everything is fiction,
all cynic to the bone,
so don’t ask me to stay with you.
Don’t ask to see me home'”

7. Paint a Rumour
from the album, Touch

“I could tell you something,
(promise not to tell).”

8. Missionary Man
from the album, Revenge

“My mother told me good,
my mother told me strong,
she said ‘be true to yourself
And you can’t go wrong.'”

9. Shame 
from the album, Savage

“In the dancehalls,
and the cinema,
shame.
On the TV,
and the media,
shame;
we loved you.”

10. Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)
from the album, Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)

“Everybody’s looking for something.”

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