Connect with us

Trending

Adam And The Ants: Inside The Court Of Prince Charming

Published

on


1981 saw Adam And The Ants becoming the biggest band in Britain. Merrick – aka drummer/producer Chris Hughes – tells Classic Pop of life inside the Ants during their rapid rise and equally sudden split… By John Earls

Adam Ant Stand & Deliver
“Adam told me ‘This is going to work. Six months from now, we’ll be household names.’ God bless him, we were on Top Of The Pops seven months later.”

After life as Merrick, half of Adam and the Ants’ dual drumming powerhouse with Terry Lee Miall, Chris Hughes instantly went on to be a hugely in-demand producer, helming records for Tears For Fears, Paul McCartney, Robert Plant and Peter Gabriel. Chris remains fond of his time behind the drumkit in the Ants, as well as getting his production break on Kings Of The Wild Frontier and Prince Charming.

Although the Ants split shortly after touring Prince Charming, by 1981 they were the biggest deal in town. Everything Adam Ant had dreamed of when turning his band from the arty punks of 1979’s Dirk Wears White Sox into proper pop stars had been achieved at an incredible speed.

If it’s hard to imagine a similar career progression now, it was just as unlikely in 1981. Even David Bowie needed a few years before and after Space Oddity to get it together.

For Chris, it was the intense bond between Adam and his writing partner/co-conspirator Marco Pirroni that propelled them onto the nation’s bedroom walls.

“Adam and Marco’s belief that the Ants would happen was very powerful and prevalent,” recalls Chris from his home studio near Bath. “They were like Mick‘n’Keith, those two. They were unbreakable and totally held up each other’s opinion. Adam and Marco were so tight you couldn’t pick either of them off, and their forward motion was unstoppable. It was ‘Yeah, I want this and I’m going to get this’ all the time.”

The unbeatable singles Stand And Deliver and Prince Charming were exactly what was needed to seal the Ants’ regal period as perfect colourful pop stars. Chris, albeit under his nickname, was cemented in 80s folklore in the chorus of Ant Rap.

“That ‘Marco, Merrick, Terry Lee…’ idea was just a joke,” laughs Chris. “It was very throwaway, something of an in-joke about the band mentality we had behind the image of Adam being the one in all the photos. It was chucked in for a laugh, typical of Adam’s humour, and it was something that we didn’t think would last beyond that week – never mind 40 years later.”

The fact people can recite the Ants’ line-up from muscle memory in seconds thanks to Ant Rap is typical of Adam’s Midas touch, an ability that developed as soon as the Ants’ pop line-up was assembled.

That came after the wreckage of the Dirk Wears White Sox band was famously stolen by short-lived Ants manager Malcolm McLaren, to form 14-year-old Annabella Lwin’s backing band in Bow Wow Wow.

Adam barely paused for breath before recruiting fellow punk face Marco as the ideal writing partner. Finding Chris was even more unlikely, as he’d had just one session as a producer before being tasked to rework existing Ants favourites Cartrouble and Kick as a single.

Chris had wanted to be a drummer for as long as he could remember. While banging a pair of drumsticks against tin cans playing along to records as a kid, he began picking out the same sonic elements a producer did, explaining: “I realised there was a lot of pop that I didn’t really like, yet the records still sounded fantastic. If you got players who were great, your record would sound a certain way, like Joe Meek’s stable of players. When I began playing drums at sessions, I was fascinated by what was going on in the control room – these guys nodding their head and talking away.”

Chris Hughes’ Ants story began when a friend asked him to help produce a session in Liverpool for early synth-poppers Dalek I Love You. Waiting to get the response from the band’s A&R back in London, Chris got chatting in reception to Ian Tregoning – head of Ants’ then-record label, Do-It. Ian asked Chris to send in a production demo.

“Three weeks later, Ian phoned to say, ‘I really didn’t like any of your tape, but I thought you were an interesting bloke,’” remembers Chris. “I was invited by Do-It to redo two Ants tracks. No budget, and I barely had any equipment.” 

Chris used his nascent editing skills to reassemble the songs and, while handing the results over at Do-It, was startled when Adam burst in. “This was the week Malcolm had stolen the Ants from Adam,” he explains. “I’m certain Malcolm thought Adam would be overawed by Malcolm’s Svengali status and would kow-tow to whatever Malcolm thought Adam Ant should do. But Adam didn’t do that. Instead, he went ‘F*** the lot of you!’ in classically Adam fashion.” 

Still livid at McLaren’s betrayal, Adam steamrollered Chris into producing new demos of the same songs. Chris says: “While I was talking to Ian about what I’d done on the new edits, Adam said to me ‘I don’t know who the fuck you think you are, but if you’re any good, why don’t you record me and Marco? If you think you’re any good, then let’s go, right now.’ That was on the Tuesday… and on the Friday we were in Rockfield Studios in Wales making Cartrouble.”

That session saw Adam double up on bass, with future Culture Club drummer Jon Moss acting as session sticksman. “I didn’t want to be the drummer as well as the producer,” insists Chris. “The burden of both playing with the Ants and trying to organise how they should sound as a producer didn’t seem feasible. 

“I needed to be in the control room as a producer, which was arguably a safer place, to organise them and understand what the band was about. I could be more helpful in there. Certainly, my relationship with Adam was established as a producer, not a drummer.”

Read more: Adam Ant – The Albums

Read more: Adam Ant interview

Fate decreed otherwise, starting with Adam’s plans for the Ants’ distinctive dual drumming sound, drawn from Burundi in East Africa. “I knew the French field recordings Adam was referring to, where he’d discovered Burundi drumming,” says Chris. “The same as Adam, I loved the way the drumsticks click up on certain beats.”

Adam, Chris and Marco held auditions in Waterloo for prospective drummers, with Chris showing auditionees how to drum Burundi-style. Terry Lee Miall was quickly accepted, but Chris recalls a surprising number of other drummers failed to grasp the idea. At the end of the auditions, Adam turned to Chris and said “Oh, f*** it, why don’t you do it?” 

The following day, Adam took Chris to a café where he outlined his vision for the Ants’ stardom, including his vow of how soon success would arrive. “I was cynical a couple of times in those early months,” admits Chris. “I thought ‘This is great, the energy talking it all up is fantastic, so let’s stick with it and not be negative.’ But I wasn’t sure, as much as I enjoyed Adam and Marco’s energy.”

The turning point arrived when the Ants played a tour in spring 1980 without having a record deal, including London shows at The Electric Ballroom and Empire Leicester Square. At a tour rehearsal for friends and family, “The room went nuts, says Chris. “I got the chills and it was so exhilarating it was exhausting.” 

An A&R from CBS Records at the following Empire show was so impressed that he went backstage after just three songs to ensure he was first in the queue to sign what Adam and the Ants had become. “Every show was just chaos,” Chris laughs. “I had more than a suspicion then that it was going to happen, and it did. Everything just happened so fast.”

With that energy starting to pay off, just how intense was Adam Ant to produce?

“The great thing about Adam is that he wasn’t demanding at all,” reasons Chris. “He was aspiring, and there’s an important difference between that and being demanding. Instead of having the attitude of ‘Get me this, stop doing that’, Adam would say ‘I’d love this song to go like this. It’d be great if we could get the beat to do that.’ That meant you could try to sound just like it. Adam had so much positivity, you went along with him.”

Chris also cites Adam’s humour as vital to Adam and the Ants’ success, noting: “A lot of people don’t see Adam’s humour, although it’s evident in a lot of his lyrics, which are wry and tongue-in-cheek – like Ant Rap. Adam is very kind-hearted too. He’s a family guy, very considered and thoughtful. I’ve witnessed a lot of shades of Adam. I’ve seen him be difficult, but only because he was stressed and tired.” 

Chris has no patience for those who try to belittle Adam because of his mental health struggles, saying: “I’ve always been on his team. So many people try to invite me to slag Adam off, saying ‘He was a mad one, wasn’t he?’ I won’t ever agree with that. The guy was an amazing artist.” 

Although Adam and Marco fell out a decade ago, Chris is just as warm towards the Ants’ guitarist, having worked with Marco’s post-Ants band The Wolfmen. “I adore Marco and we speak on the phone a lot,” he enthuses. “Marco has a good take on most things in life. You’ll always get an amazing insight from him, whether it’s about music, fashion, design or art.”

As for Terry Lee Miall, he gave up music after the Ants ended, moving to California after meeting his American girlfriend and becoming a plumber. Chris believes he was the ideal partner in the Ants’ unusual drumming set-up, saying: “Terry knew I’d be calling the shots on the drums and he was always enthusiastic, going ‘Yeah, OK!’ He was very easy to work with, always buoyant and polite. 

“We never had a cross word with Terry, and the only small issues arose on tour because he was quite anxious. We’d come off stage after a blinding gig and Terry would fret, going ‘Oh no, my drums sounded shit!’ We’d all tell him ‘They didn’t! They sounded amazing,” and Terry would then immediately be ‘Oh, right. Great!’ He’d go back to his usual enthusiasm really quickly.”

The Kings Of The Wild Frontier album stormed to No.1, with the title track and Antmusic both just missing out on becoming No.1 singles, the latter held off the top by Jealous Guy following John Lennon’s murder. Chris delights at learning of Mark Ronson’s love of his production on Dog Eat Dog, which the pop titan plays to new artists as the example of a perfect song to live up to. “I didn’t know that!” exclaims Chris. “That’s amazing!” 

The producer is more aware of Adam Ant’s insistence to Classic Pop that one reason his singles did so well is because of his insistence that they start with an intro so explosive that Radio 1 DJs wouldn’t be able to talk over them. 

“We had a conversation about how we enjoyed records that came on the radio as a call to arms,” explains Chris. “We wanted Ants songs to have that same feeling as, say, Fashion by David Bowie. They basically start by saying ‘Here we are, we’re going to be loud – check this out!’ That’s how the fanfare of Stand And Deliver came along, where you immediately want to go ‘Yes!’”

Read more: Adam Ant – Persuasion

Read more: Sigue Sigue Sputnik interview

There was no stopping Stand And Deliver and Prince Charming’s march to No.1 in the singles chart, but Adam has reservations about the accompanying album. While the enthusiasm of CBS Records’ A&R helped the Sony subsidiary sign Adam and the Ants, their brutal contract tied the band into delivering an album every year, or else another decade would be added to the band’s option. It’s no wonder that, after the whirlwind of actually succeeding as pop stars, Prince Charming is a little patchy.

“Adam is right, though we didn’t realise it at the time,” accepts Chris. “I’d also argue – and I think Adam would agree – that it’s the writing that was rushed, not the recording. I’m not suggesting Adam could have done any better under the time constraints we had, but if the writing had all been up to the calibre of the singles then Prince Charming would have been a much greater album. Once we were in the studio with the ‘record’ light on, the quality was still there.”

Having planned to be a producer happily lurking in the control room, what was it like to be part of a pin-up band? “Gruelling!” responds Chris. “It was a chaotic time. We’d be on tour in Sweden, get told we’re No.1, so we’d fly back to do Top Of The Pops and fly straight back to Spain where the tour was now meant to be.

“It took its toll and there wasn’t anyone to tell us ‘This is chaos now, but it’ll be great soon, because we can slow it down and take more time next time.’ There was a general undertone in the Ants that we had to grasp it while we can. There was a lot that happened in the Ants that I didn’t expect, and I maybe sleepwalked into it because of Adam and Marco’s drive.” 

Chris also believes the pressure hid Adam’s mental health concerns, commenting: “Adam seemed to feel OK in that chaotic world of success. If you’re in that bubble of mayhem and chaos with everyone else, no-one is aware of your own turmoil, because it’s just part of the bigger chaos.”

The end of Adam and the Ants soon resulted. Adam has since told Classic Pop he believes the band could have lasted longer if they’d had a break. Chris agrees, but points out: “Maybe we could have integrated Adam and the Ants around Adam pursuing acting and whatever else he wanted to do in addition to the band.

But managing his own career was tough enough for Adam. Managing his own career and that of the band, while we were all starting to have our own ideas, would have been really tough.”

Instead, Chris was tipped off about the band’s split after Adam took him out to lunch to say: “I’m ending the Ants, but Marco and I would like you to continue as producer.” 

Chris produced Goody Two Shoes – famously credited to Adam and the Ants – but then got invited to work with a friend’s young band in the west country, Tears For Fears. “I would have carried on producing Adam,” ponders Chris. “I knew how to make Adam’s songs work, but I was seriously into producing by then. I certainly didn’t want to be an Ant or a lived drummer anymore, it made much more sense to try to be a producer.”

Adam and Chris stay in touch via text, always chatting on Adam’s birthday. Would Chris produce Adam Ant again? “The paperwork would have to be right,” cautions Chris. “If it was, then yeah, I probably would.” Merrick and Yours Truly might just have more adventures in store. 

Check out Adam Ant’s official site

Read our feature on the making of Blondie’s Parallel Lines

 

Comments

comments





Source link

Trending

Top 20 No.1s That Owed A Debt To The 80s

Published

on

By


The 80s didn’t stop in 1989, oh no. In the world of music, the last three decades have leaned heavily on that classic decade. Jon O’Brien looks at the best No.1s that owed a debt to the 1980s…

Top 10 80s no.1s

As LadBaby’s sausage roll-themed retooling of Starship’s We Built This City proved last Christmas, the act of reviving a Top 40 hit from the 1980s can still lead to chart-topping success. In fact, over the past 30 years, more than 30 UK No.1s have borrowed heavily from the decade, whether via a subtle or, more likely, a blatant sample, a straightforward or radical cover version, or simply a re-release of the original.

Ignoring the tracks whose inspirations reached pole position first time around (eg Puff Daddy’s interpolation of The Police’s Every Breath You Take on I’ll Be Missing You, or Gabrielle Aplin’s rendition of Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s The Power Of Love), here’s our countdown of the 90s, 00s and 10s No.1s which owe it all to the 80s.

20 The Black Eyed Peas: The Time (Dirty Bit) (interpolation of Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes’ (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life, No.6, 1987)

It’s easy to forget that will.i.am and co. were once regarded as an alt-hip-hop outfit in the vein of A Tribe Called Quest. The Time (Dirty Bit) sticks rigidly to The Black Eyed Peas’ super-commercial formula – bleepy synths, clubby beats and enough AutoTune to make Daft Punk sound organic, all topped off with a lazy sample of the Dirty Dancing number. Unlike Jennifer Grey’s Baby, this definitely deserved to be put in the corner.

19 Dizzee Rascal and James Corden: Shout (interpolation of Tears for Fears’ Shout, No.4, 1984)

Dizzee Rascal was hailed as the voice of his generation with Mercury Prize-winning 2003 debut album Boy In Da Corner. And yet within seven years the grime pioneer was fronting a Simon Cowell-backed Tears For Fears cover with one half of Horne & Corden. Shout, of course, was England’s unofficial 2010 World Cup song. But neither Dizzee’s dodgy rhymes nor Corden’s bellowing could inspire the Three Lions to anything more than a humiliating early exit.

18 KWS – Please Don’t Go (originally recorded by KC & the Sunshine Band, No.3, 1979)

KWS’s house-pop reworking of KC & The Sunshine Band’s lovelorn ballad just about qualifies here – the original reached its peak position in only the second chart week of 1980. The group were hastily assembled to cover Please Don’t Go following a UK rights issue with German act Double You’s similar idea. And then there’s the rumour that it was recorded with an ulterior motive – to persuade Des Walker to stay at the trio’s beloved Nottingham Forest.

17 A1: Take On Me (originally recorded by A-ha, No.2, 1985)

Contrary to what the casual music-buying public would probably believe, A-ha’s sole UK No.1 appeared courtesy of The Sun Always Shines On TV, not one of the 1980s’ quintessential hits. Originally reaching No.2, Take On Me did eventually go one better at the turn of the millennium thanks to an altogether more traditional boyband renowned more for their curtains than their cheekbones. A1’s cover version was accompanied by a Matrix-meets-Tron video, which at the time was deemed cutting-edge.

Read more: The a-ha albums

16 Geri Halliwell: It’s Raining Men (originally recorded by The Weather Girls, No.2, 1983)

It seems fair to say that Geri Halliwell doesn’t possess the powerhouse tones of Martha Wash and Izora-Rhodes Armstead. But what she lacks in vocal ability, she makes up for in sheer enthusiasm on this spirited take on The Weather Girls’ classic. Recorded for the Bridget Jones’s Diary soundtrack in 2001, Halliwell gives it her all on her fourth successive and final UK No.1, with its Flashdance-inspired promo only adding to the sense of pure unadulterated camp.

15 DJ Sammy and Yanou featuring Do: Heaven (originally recorded by Bryan Adams, No.38, 1985)

DJ Sammy would later give Don Henley’s Boys Of Summer a similar trance-lite reworking but it was another AOR veteran that inspired his only UK chart-topper. A No.1 hit in the States, Bryan Adams’ Heaven was all but ignored across the pond. However, the diminutive Spaniard’s cover was practically unavoidable in the autumn of 2002, with a stripped-back Candlelight Mix also catering for those who preferred Magic FM to the Ministry Of Sound.

14 LL Cool J: Ain’t Nobody (interpolation of Rufus & Chaka Khan’s Ain’t Nobody, No.8, 1984)

There have been no less than six hit covers of Rufus & Chaka Khan’s funk classic, ranging from Liberty X’s clever mash-up with The Human League’s Being Boiled to Felix Jaehn’s insipid tropical house makeover. This unexpected chart-topper from one of hip-hop’s elder statesmen sits somewhere in-between. The coquettish call and response is a neat addition, but even LL himself sounds slightly bored with its pedestrian pop-rap production.

Read more: Top 20 Side Projects

13 Eminem: Like Toy Soldiers (sample of Martika’s Toy Soldiers, No.5, 1989)

From Labi Siffre (My Name Is) to Dido (Stan), Marshall Mathers’ sampling habits have always been a little more diverse, and indeed a little more unfashionable, than your average motormouthed rapper. Once again sitting at odds with his enfant terrible reputation, the third single from 2005’s Encore gave the anthemic power balladry of Martika’s US No.1 Toy Soldiers an unlikely new lease of life. The pitch-shifted sample sure isn’t subtle, but then Eminem is always at his most palatable when he plays it straight. 

12 The Bluebells: Young at Heart (originally reached No.8, 1984)

Almost unrecognisable from the Motown-tinged original that appeared on Bananarama’s 1983 debut album, The Bluebells’ Young At Heart has more in common with Dexys Midnight Runners than the brilliantly nonchalant girl group. The fiddle-driven folk reworking gave the Scottish outfit their first UK Top 10 hit in 1984. But it went on to occupy pole position for the whole of April nine years later when it soundtracked that memorable ‘Just Divorced’ ad for the Volkswagen Golf.

11 Room 5: Make Luv (sample of Oliver Cheatham’s Get Down Saturday Night, No.38, 1983)

A geeky guy throwing some shapes in a deodorant commercial was the unlikely catalyst for Oliver Cheatham’s rise to noughties chart-topper. Italian DJ Room 5’s chic reworking of the Detroiter’s sole UK hit, Get Down Saturday Night, got a captive audience pretty much every other ad break in 2003 thanks to its use in a Lynx promo. And Cheatham certainly appreciated the career boost. Not only did he re-record his vocals, he collaborated with Room 5 on his follow-up, too.

10 LMC vs. U2: Take Me To The Clouds Above (mash-up of Whitney Houston’s How Will I Know, No.5, 1986 and U2’s With or Without You, No.4, 1987)

You get two bona fide 80s gems for the price of one with this floor-filling mash-up from 2004. Well, parts of them anyway. Firstly, there’s the utterly joyous opening two lines from Whitney Houston’s How Will I Know, and secondly, there’s the shimmering guitar hook from arguably U2’s career-best single With Or Without You. The whole thing hangs together surprisingly well.

9 Jennifer Lopez feat. Pitbull: On The Floor (sample of Kaoma’s Lambada, No.4, 1989)

Jenny from the Block had briefly tiptoed onto the dancefloor with second single Waiting For Tonight. But she stomped all over it with both Louboutins in 2011 when she revived the brief Brazilian phenomenon known as the Lambada. The first and best of three party-starting collaborations with rent-a-rapper Pitbull, On The Floor borrowed the melody from Kaoma’s one-hit wonder, which itself cribbed from an early 80s Bolivian ballad.

8 Eric Prydz: Call On Me (sample of Steve Winwood’s Valerie, No.19, 1987)

Transforming Steve Winwood’s Valerie into an unlikely club anthem, Eric Prydz paved the way for a whole wave of faceless one-hit wonders in 2004. Indeed, pretty soon everyone from Hall & Oates to Boy Meets Girl were getting a similar treatment by opportunist hitmakers who quickly realised that slapping a four-to-the-floor beat on an 80s soft rock hit was a surefire bet. Call On Me enjoyed a briefly-interrupted five-week run atop the UK charts but is perhaps still best known for that gyrating FHM-friendly video.

7 The Tamperer feat. Maya: Feel It (sample of The Jacksons’ Can You Feel It, No.6, 1981)

The Tamperer were one of the few acts to climb to No.1 in the late 1990s, taking six weeks to reach the summit. You have to wonder what took the British public so long. From The Wizard Of Oz-inspired poser (“What’s she gonna look like with a chimney on her?”) to the triumphant sampling of The Jacksons to Maya’s vampish vocals, everything about Feel It screams instant earworm. The Material Girl-sampling, brilliantly-titled If You Buy This Record (Your Life Will Be Better) nearly repeated the trick, too.

6 Michael Andrews and Gary Jules: Mad World (originally recorded by Tears for Fears, No.3, 1982)

Like the original, this stripped-back cover of Mad World took the slow-moving route to success. Tears for Fears’ breakthrough was initially recorded as a B-side to Pale Shelter before getting a release in its own right. And although Gary Jules and Michael Andrews’ solemn take on the song appeared on the Donnie Darko soundtrack in 2002, they had to wait until December 2003 to pip The Darkness in one of the most hotly-contested Xmas chart battles for years.

Read more: Tears For Fears – Songs From The Big Chair

5 Roger Sanchez: Another Chance (sample of Toto’s I Won’t Hold You Back, No.37, 1983)

It’s unlikely that many 00s clubbers would have recognised the vocal hook sampled on Roger Sanchez’s wistful house anthem. Another Chance borrowed from yacht rock stalwarts Toto but it was their forgotten No.37 minor hit I Won’t Hold You Back that imbued the track with an overwhelming sense of melancholy. Its striking promo, which saw a young woman looking for love carrying a giant red heart across New York, also perfectly accompanied Steve Lukather’s yearning tones.

4 The Clash: Should I Stay Or Should I Go (originally reached No.17, 1982)

There’s a certain irony to one of rock music’s most fervent anti-capitalist bands owing their only UK No.1 to a TV commercial for the world’s biggest jeans company. The third of seven chart-toppers to emerge from a Levi’s campaign, the 1991 re-release of Should I Stay Or Should I Go may have sat at odds with The Clash’s punk principles but nine years on, its stop-start riff, tempo-shifting beats and, of course, Mick Jones’ snarling vocals, still sounded as gloriously anarchic as ever.

3 Rui Da Silva: Touch Me (sample of Spandau Ballet’s Chant No.1 (I Don’t Need This Pressure On), No.3, 1981)

A year after Aurora gave Duran Duran’s Ordinary World a subtle dance-pop makeover, Rui da Silva did something similar for their New Romantic rivals. But instead of going for the more predictable Gold or True, the Portuguese DJ opted for Spandau Ballet’s underrated first Top Three hit. Driven by Gary Kemp’s spiralling guitar riff and the longing smoky tones of Cass Fox, Touch Me is more post-party comedown than party starter.

Read more: Making Spandau Ballet’s Journeys To Glory

2 Beats International: Dub Be Good To Me (cover of The SOS Band’s Just Be Good to Me, No.13, 1984)

Amazingly, Jam & Lewis have never scored a UK chart-topper as producers, with a trio of No.2s for their muse Janet Jackson the closest they’ve come. They did, however, inadvertently achieve the feat as songwriters when Norman Cook got his hands on The SOS Band’s signature tune. Beats International threw in everything from Ennio Morricone to The Clash, transforming the sassy funk of the original into an intriguing pop collage befitting of the phrase “jam hot”.

1 George Michael: Fastlove (sample of Patrice Rushen’s Forget Me Nots, No.8, 1982)

A decent Top 10 hit in 1982, Patrice Rushen’s post-disco favourite ended up inspiring two separate No.1s more than a decade later. Will Smith would borrow its melodic refrain for his globe-conquering theme to mismatched buddy sci-fi Men In Black in 1997. But The Fresh Prince was beaten to the punch a year earlier by a man whose vocal talents could also be described as out of this world.

A much more uplifting affair than sombre predecessor Jesus To A Child, and indeed much of parent album Older, Fastlove sees George Michael extol the virtues of the one-night stand against a backdrop of slinky beats, subtle sax hooks and the kind of G-funk synths that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Dr Dre record. Unlike Smith’s hip-pop effort, in which he essentially just raps over the existing track, Michael doesn’t allow the sample to dominate proceedings either, only dropping in Forget Me Nots’ cooing chorus during the infectious middle-eight. Michael never bettered this track commercially following its 1996 release – it was his last UK No.1 and remarkably his last ever entry on the US Hot 100 – and you could argue that he never bettered it creatively, too.

Read more: Making George Michael’s Older

Comments

comments





Source link

Continue Reading

Trending

Top 20 No.1s That Owed A Debt To The 80s

Published

on

By


The 80s didn’t stop in 1989, oh no. In the world of music, the last three decades have leaned heavily on that classic decade. Jon O’Brien looks at the best No.1s that owed a debt to the 1980s…

Top 10 80s no.1s

As LadBaby’s sausage roll-themed retooling of Starship’s We Built This City proved last Christmas, the act of reviving a Top 40 hit from the 1980s can still lead to chart-topping success. In fact, over the past 30 years, more than 30 UK No.1s have borrowed heavily from the decade, whether via a subtle or, more likely, a blatant sample, a straightforward or radical cover version, or simply a re-release of the original.

Ignoring the tracks whose inspirations reached pole position first time around (eg Puff Daddy’s interpolation of The Police’s Every Breath You Take on I’ll Be Missing You, or Gabrielle Aplin’s rendition of Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s The Power Of Love), here’s our countdown of the 90s, 00s and 10s No.1s which owe it all to the 80s.

20 The Black Eyed Peas: The Time (Dirty Bit) (interpolation of Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes’ (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life, No.6, 1987)

It’s easy to forget that will.i.am and co. were once regarded as an alt-hip-hop outfit in the vein of A Tribe Called Quest. The Time (Dirty Bit) sticks rigidly to The Black Eyed Peas’ super-commercial formula – bleepy synths, clubby beats and enough AutoTune to make Daft Punk sound organic, all topped off with a lazy sample of the Dirty Dancing number. Unlike Jennifer Grey’s Baby, this definitely deserved to be put in the corner.

19 Dizzee Rascal and James Corden: Shout (interpolation of Tears for Fears’ Shout, No.4, 1984)

Dizzee Rascal was hailed as the voice of his generation with Mercury Prize-winning 2003 debut album Boy In Da Corner. And yet within seven years the grime pioneer was fronting a Simon Cowell-backed Tears For Fears cover with one half of Horne & Corden. Shout, of course, was England’s unofficial 2010 World Cup song. But neither Dizzee’s dodgy rhymes nor Corden’s bellowing could inspire the Three Lions to anything more than a humiliating early exit.

18 KWS – Please Don’t Go (originally recorded by KC & the Sunshine Band, No.3, 1979)

KWS’s house-pop reworking of KC & The Sunshine Band’s lovelorn ballad just about qualifies here – the original reached its peak position in only the second chart week of 1980. The group were hastily assembled to cover Please Don’t Go following a UK rights issue with German act Double You’s similar idea. And then there’s the rumour that it was recorded with an ulterior motive – to persuade Des Walker to stay at the trio’s beloved Nottingham Forest.

17 A1: Take On Me (originally recorded by A-ha, No.2, 1985)

Contrary to what the casual music-buying public would probably believe, A-ha’s sole UK No.1 appeared courtesy of The Sun Always Shines On TV, not one of the 1980s’ quintessential hits. Originally reaching No.2, Take On Me did eventually go one better at the turn of the millennium thanks to an altogether more traditional boyband renowned more for their curtains than their cheekbones. A1’s cover version was accompanied by a Matrix-meets-Tron video, which at the time was deemed cutting-edge.

Read more: The a-ha albums

16 Geri Halliwell: It’s Raining Men (originally recorded by The Weather Girls, No.2, 1983)

It seems fair to say that Geri Halliwell doesn’t possess the powerhouse tones of Martha Wash and Izora-Rhodes Armstead. But what she lacks in vocal ability, she makes up for in sheer enthusiasm on this spirited take on The Weather Girls’ classic. Recorded for the Bridget Jones’s Diary soundtrack in 2001, Halliwell gives it her all on her fourth successive and final UK No.1, with its Flashdance-inspired promo only adding to the sense of pure unadulterated camp.

15 DJ Sammy and Yanou featuring Do: Heaven (originally recorded by Bryan Adams, No.38, 1985)

DJ Sammy would later give Don Henley’s Boys Of Summer a similar trance-lite reworking but it was another AOR veteran that inspired his only UK chart-topper. A No.1 hit in the States, Bryan Adams’ Heaven was all but ignored across the pond. However, the diminutive Spaniard’s cover was practically unavoidable in the autumn of 2002, with a stripped-back Candlelight Mix also catering for those who preferred Magic FM to the Ministry Of Sound.

14 LL Cool J: Ain’t Nobody (interpolation of Rufus & Chaka Khan’s Ain’t Nobody, No.8, 1984)

There have been no less than six hit covers of Rufus & Chaka Khan’s funk classic, ranging from Liberty X’s clever mash-up with The Human League’s Being Boiled to Felix Jaehn’s insipid tropical house makeover. This unexpected chart-topper from one of hip-hop’s elder statesmen sits somewhere in-between. The coquettish call and response is a neat addition, but even LL himself sounds slightly bored with its pedestrian pop-rap production.

Read more: Top 20 Side Projects

13 Eminem: Like Toy Soldiers (sample of Martika’s Toy Soldiers, No.5, 1989)

From Labi Siffre (My Name Is) to Dido (Stan), Marshall Mathers’ sampling habits have always been a little more diverse, and indeed a little more unfashionable, than your average motormouthed rapper. Once again sitting at odds with his enfant terrible reputation, the third single from 2005’s Encore gave the anthemic power balladry of Martika’s US No.1 Toy Soldiers an unlikely new lease of life. The pitch-shifted sample sure isn’t subtle, but then Eminem is always at his most palatable when he plays it straight. 

12 The Bluebells: Young at Heart (originally reached No.8, 1984)

Almost unrecognisable from the Motown-tinged original that appeared on Bananarama’s 1983 debut album, The Bluebells’ Young At Heart has more in common with Dexys Midnight Runners than the brilliantly nonchalant girl group. The fiddle-driven folk reworking gave the Scottish outfit their first UK Top 10 hit in 1984. But it went on to occupy pole position for the whole of April nine years later when it soundtracked that memorable ‘Just Divorced’ ad for the Volkswagen Golf.

11 Room 5: Make Luv (sample of Oliver Cheatham’s Get Down Saturday Night, No.38, 1983)

A geeky guy throwing some shapes in a deodorant commercial was the unlikely catalyst for Oliver Cheatham’s rise to noughties chart-topper. Italian DJ Room 5’s chic reworking of the Detroiter’s sole UK hit, Get Down Saturday Night, got a captive audience pretty much every other ad break in 2003 thanks to its use in a Lynx promo. And Cheatham certainly appreciated the career boost. Not only did he re-record his vocals, he collaborated with Room 5 on his follow-up, too.

10 LMC vs. U2: Take Me To The Clouds Above (mash-up of Whitney Houston’s How Will I Know, No.5, 1986 and U2’s With or Without You, No.4, 1987)

You get two bona fide 80s gems for the price of one with this floor-filling mash-up from 2004. Well, parts of them anyway. Firstly, there’s the utterly joyous opening two lines from Whitney Houston’s How Will I Know, and secondly, there’s the shimmering guitar hook from arguably U2’s career-best single With Or Without You. The whole thing hangs together surprisingly well.

9 Jennifer Lopez feat. Pitbull: On The Floor (sample of Kaoma’s Lambada, No.4, 1989)

Jenny from the Block had briefly tiptoed onto the dancefloor with second single Waiting For Tonight. But she stomped all over it with both Louboutins in 2011 when she revived the brief Brazilian phenomenon known as the Lambada. The first and best of three party-starting collaborations with rent-a-rapper Pitbull, On The Floor borrowed the melody from Kaoma’s one-hit wonder, which itself cribbed from an early 80s Bolivian ballad.

8 Eric Prydz: Call On Me (sample of Steve Winwood’s Valerie, No.19, 1987)

Transforming Steve Winwood’s Valerie into an unlikely club anthem, Eric Prydz paved the way for a whole wave of faceless one-hit wonders in 2004. Indeed, pretty soon everyone from Hall & Oates to Boy Meets Girl were getting a similar treatment by opportunist hitmakers who quickly realised that slapping a four-to-the-floor beat on an 80s soft rock hit was a surefire bet. Call On Me enjoyed a briefly-interrupted five-week run atop the UK charts but is perhaps still best known for that gyrating FHM-friendly video.

7 The Tamperer feat. Maya: Feel It (sample of The Jacksons’ Can You Feel It, No.6, 1981)

The Tamperer were one of the few acts to climb to No.1 in the late 1990s, taking six weeks to reach the summit. You have to wonder what took the British public so long. From The Wizard Of Oz-inspired poser (“What’s she gonna look like with a chimney on her?”) to the triumphant sampling of The Jacksons to Maya’s vampish vocals, everything about Feel It screams instant earworm. The Material Girl-sampling, brilliantly-titled If You Buy This Record (Your Life Will Be Better) nearly repeated the trick, too.

6 Michael Andrews and Gary Jules: Mad World (originally recorded by Tears for Fears, No.3, 1982)

Like the original, this stripped-back cover of Mad World took the slow-moving route to success. Tears for Fears’ breakthrough was initially recorded as a B-side to Pale Shelter before getting a release in its own right. And although Gary Jules and Michael Andrews’ solemn take on the song appeared on the Donnie Darko soundtrack in 2002, they had to wait until December 2003 to pip The Darkness in one of the most hotly-contested Xmas chart battles for years.

Read more: Tears For Fears – Songs From The Big Chair

5 Roger Sanchez: Another Chance (sample of Toto’s I Won’t Hold You Back, No.37, 1983)

It’s unlikely that many 00s clubbers would have recognised the vocal hook sampled on Roger Sanchez’s wistful house anthem. Another Chance borrowed from yacht rock stalwarts Toto but it was their forgotten No.37 minor hit I Won’t Hold You Back that imbued the track with an overwhelming sense of melancholy. Its striking promo, which saw a young woman looking for love carrying a giant red heart across New York, also perfectly accompanied Steve Lukather’s yearning tones.

4 The Clash: Should I Stay Or Should I Go (originally reached No.17, 1982)

There’s a certain irony to one of rock music’s most fervent anti-capitalist bands owing their only UK No.1 to a TV commercial for the world’s biggest jeans company. The third of seven chart-toppers to emerge from a Levi’s campaign, the 1991 re-release of Should I Stay Or Should I Go may have sat at odds with The Clash’s punk principles but nine years on, its stop-start riff, tempo-shifting beats and, of course, Mick Jones’ snarling vocals, still sounded as gloriously anarchic as ever.

3 Rui Da Silva: Touch Me (sample of Spandau Ballet’s Chant No.1 (I Don’t Need This Pressure On), No.3, 1981)

A year after Aurora gave Duran Duran’s Ordinary World a subtle dance-pop makeover, Rui da Silva did something similar for their New Romantic rivals. But instead of going for the more predictable Gold or True, the Portuguese DJ opted for Spandau Ballet’s underrated first Top Three hit. Driven by Gary Kemp’s spiralling guitar riff and the longing smoky tones of Cass Fox, Touch Me is more post-party comedown than party starter.

Read more: Making Spandau Ballet’s Journeys To Glory

2 Beats International: Dub Be Good To Me (cover of The SOS Band’s Just Be Good to Me, No.13, 1984)

Amazingly, Jam & Lewis have never scored a UK chart-topper as producers, with a trio of No.2s for their muse Janet Jackson the closest they’ve come. They did, however, inadvertently achieve the feat as songwriters when Norman Cook got his hands on The SOS Band’s signature tune. Beats International threw in everything from Ennio Morricone to The Clash, transforming the sassy funk of the original into an intriguing pop collage befitting of the phrase “jam hot”.

1 George Michael: Fastlove (sample of Patrice Rushen’s Forget Me Nots, No.8, 1982)

A decent Top 10 hit in 1982, Patrice Rushen’s post-disco favourite ended up inspiring two separate No.1s more than a decade later. Will Smith would borrow its melodic refrain for his globe-conquering theme to mismatched buddy sci-fi Men In Black in 1997. But The Fresh Prince was beaten to the punch a year earlier by a man whose vocal talents could also be described as out of this world.

A much more uplifting affair than sombre predecessor Jesus To A Child, and indeed much of parent album Older, Fastlove sees George Michael extol the virtues of the one-night stand against a backdrop of slinky beats, subtle sax hooks and the kind of G-funk synths that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Dr Dre record. Unlike Smith’s hip-pop effort, in which he essentially just raps over the existing track, Michael doesn’t allow the sample to dominate proceedings either, only dropping in Forget Me Nots’ cooing chorus during the infectious middle-eight. Michael never bettered this track commercially following its 1996 release – it was his last UK No.1 and remarkably his last ever entry on the US Hot 100 – and you could argue that he never bettered it creatively, too.

Read more: Making George Michael’s Older

Comments

comments





Source link

Continue Reading

Trending

Gorillaz free show announced for NHS workers

Published

on

By


Gorillaz free show

Gorillaz have confirmed their return to the live stage with a free show for NHS workers and their families on Tuesday 10th August at London’s The O2 arena.

This special Gorillaz free show, to thank and recognise all NHS staff who continue to work tirelessly to keep us all safe, marks the reopening of the venue as well as the band’s first live performance with an audience in over two years and takes place the day before their scheduled sold-out gig on Wednesday 11th August 2021.

All ticket holders will need to present a NHS COVID Pass on entry to gain access to the venue. Further information below.

Gorillaz drummer Russel Hobbs said: “Reap what you sow, y’know what I’m saying? We don’t just want to say thank you, we want to do thank you too, because we care about the people who care for us.”

Steve Sayer, VP & General Manager at The O2 said: “This is such a big moment for us. Our first live show in over 500 days, with one of the UK’s best bands playing to an audience made up of NHS staff and their families. We have missed the fans and live performances so much, we couldn’t be more proud to reopen with this event and to welcome such a great audience.”

For tickets and information on the Gorillaz live show, see here.

 For full ticket and information on the 11th August public show here.

Gorillaz free show

Comments

comments





Source link

Continue Reading
Hot or Not40 mins ago

Trơn – Bình Gold [ Remix ] |Hot Rap Mix 2021 | KayD Music

Entertainment45 mins ago

Iggy Azalea Won’t Post Photos Of Son Anymore

Videos47 mins ago

Wolfoo and Lucy Play Chocolate Pop It Challenge – Kids Stories About Wolfoo Family | Wolfoo Family

Fashion54 mins ago

7 Summer Accessory Trends for 2021 That Look So Timeless

Hot or Not2 hours ago

CPMV: Party in the USA ~Hot & Cold Productions

Entertainment2 hours ago

Grimes States Elon Musk “Doesn’t Fund Her Career”

Videos2 hours ago

IBIZA SUMMER PARTY 2021 🍓 Best Of Tropical Deep House Music Chill Out Mix by Dream Music #24

Fashion2 hours ago

The 15 Best Drugstore Lip Liners for Fuller-Looking Lips

Hot or Not3 hours ago

Come With Us – Nat Keefe & Hot Buttered Rum (No Copyright Music) | Audio Music Sounds

Entertainment3 hours ago

Emilia Clarke Shows Off Accent Skills Reciting “Good 4 U”

Videos3 hours ago

MY TOP K-POP SONGS OF MARCH 2021

Fashion3 hours ago

25 Modest Swimsuits If Skimpy Isn’t Your Thing

Hot or Not4 hours ago

Black Ice (USA) – Hot-n-Heavy (1986)

Entertainment4 hours ago

Behind-The-Scenes Set Secrets From TikTok

Videos4 hours ago

[TOP 100] MOST VIEWED K-POP MUSIC VIDEOS OF 2021 | JULY WEEK 4

Fashion4 hours ago

5 Outdated Swimsuit Trends People Are Skipping in 2021

Hot or Not5 hours ago

Ed Sheeran, Martin Garrix, Kygo, Dua Lipa, Avicii, The Chainsmokers Style – Feeling Me #45

Entertainment5 hours ago

Megan Fox And Machine Gun Kelly Relationship Timeline

Videos5 hours ago

Music Box 2021 | Hot Trend Hits This Week ️🎼 Best Music Of July 2021

Fashion5 hours ago

The 24 Best Push-Up Swimsuits for the Right Lift

Videos4 weeks ago

2021 New Songs ( Latest English Songs 2021 ) 🥦 Pop Music 2021 New Song 🥦 English Song 2021

Videos4 weeks ago

2021 New Songs ( Latest English Songs 2021 ) 🎵 Pop Music 2021 New Song 💋 English Song 2021

Videos4 weeks ago

2021 New Songs ( Latest English Songs 2021 ) 🥬 Pop Music 2021 New Song 🥬 English Song 2021

Videos4 weeks ago

2021 New Songs ( Latest English Songs 2021 ) 🎵 Pop Music 2021 New Song ❤️ English Song 2021

Videos4 weeks ago

2021 New Songs ( Latest English Songs 2021 ) 🥬 Pop Music 2021 New Song 🥬 English Song 2021

Videos4 weeks ago

🇺🇸 Top 40 Pop Songs (June 5, 2021) | Billboard

Videos3 weeks ago

EPIC SUMMER MIX 2021 💥 Best Popular Songs Remixes 2021 🥤🌴| EDM, Pop, Dance, Electro & House Top Hits

Videos4 weeks ago

Pop Songs Mix 2021 🎤 Best Pop Hits 2021 Playlist

Videos4 weeks ago

Pop Hits 2021 ♥ The Most Popular Songs 2021 ♥ New English Songs 2021

Videos4 weeks ago

Pop Music 2020-2021 🔶🔶New Top Popular Songs Playlist 2020-2021

Videos4 weeks ago

Pop Music 2021(2021 New Song) – Pop Hits 2021 New Popular Songs – Best English Song 2021

Videos4 weeks ago

Pop Songs 2000 to 2021 ♫ Throwback Hits & New Pop Music 2021

Videos4 weeks ago

🔥NEW RNB MEGAMIX 2021 URBAN BLACK MIX 2021🔥

Videos3 weeks ago

EPIC SUMMER MIX 2021 💥 Best Popular Songs Remixes 2021 🔥🌴| EDM, Pop, Dance, Electro & House Top Hits

Videos4 weeks ago

🇺🇸 Top 40 Pop Songs (June 19, 2021) | Billboard

Hot or Not4 weeks ago

r&b / hip-hop radio - chill live stream - 24/7 rnb

Videos4 weeks ago

Road Trip 🚐 – An Indie/Pop/Rock Playlist | Vol. 3

Videos4 weeks ago

Spotify Top 100 Songs, June 2021 [Week 25]

Videos4 weeks ago

New Pop Songs 2021 Mix 🔥 Best New Pop Music Hits 2021 March

Videos4 weeks ago

2021 New Songs ( Latest English Songs 2021 ) 🥬 Pop Music 2021 New Song 🥬 English Song 2021

Trending