Tears for Fears – Tears roll down (Epic #322)

The Epic 2017 Project #322: 171118

Tears for Fears – Tears roll down (1992)

Tears Roll Down is a compilation of the band’s hits between 1982 and 1992, released in 1992. Preceded by the hit single “Laid So Low (Tears Roll Down)”, the album contains 12 of the band’s UK Top 40 hits. It’s been certified double platinum in the UK, platinum in the US, and gold in several other countries including Canada and France.

Tears Roll Down originally peaked at No.1 in Italy and No.2 in the UK and France upon its release, but returned to the UK Top 10 (No.6) in 2004 for several weeks following the success of Gary Jules’ cover version of “Mad World”.

A compilation video under the same title was also released in 1992, and later issued on DVD.

The album itself was reissued in 2004 as a 2CD/1DVD set under the “Sound+Vision Deluxe” line, and again in 2005 with a bonus disc containing various remixes.

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10cc – How Dare You (Epic #314)

The Epic 2017 Project #314: 171110

10cc – How dare you (1976)

How Dare You! is the fourth album by 10cc. Released in 1976, it included UK hit singles “I’m Mandy Fly Me” and “Art for Art’s Sake”. It was also the last 10cc album by the original line-up of Eric Stewart, Graham Gouldman, Kevin Godley, and Lol Creme, with the latter two departing to work on their own musical projects, and eventually becoming music video pioneers. The album was the band’s third with cover artwork by the Hipgnosis creative team.

Queen – Hot Space (Epic 2017 #242)

The Epic 2017 Project #242: 170830

Queen – Hot Space (1981)

Hot Space – Queen’s tenth studio album – was released on 21 May 1982 by EMI Records in the UK and by Elektra Records in the United States. Marking a notable shift in direction from their earlier work, they employed many elements of disco, funk, rhythm and blues, dance and pop music for this one. This made the album less popular with fans who preferred the traditional rock style they had come to associate with the band. Queen’s decision to record a dance-oriented album germinated with the massive success of their 1980 hit “Another One Bites the Dust”.

“Under Pressure”, Queen’s collaboration with David Bowie, was released in 1981 and became the band’s second No.1 hit in the UK. Though included on Hot Space, the song was a separate project and was recorded ahead of the album, before the controversy over Queen’s new disco-influenced rock sound. The album’s second single, “Body Language”, peaked at No.11 on the US charts.

In July 2004, Q magazine listed Hot Space as one of the top fifteen albums where great rock acts lost the plot. Most of the album was recorded in Munich during the most turbulent period in the band’s history, and Roger Taylor and Brian May despised the new sound, with both being very critical of the influence Freddie Mercury’s manager Paul Prenter had on the singer.

Having said all that, I still really like the album – and for all the right reasons. Here’s ‘Back Chat’

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) – The Pacific Age (Epic 2017 #195)

The Epic 2017 Project #195: 170714

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) – The Pacific Age (1986)

The Pacific Age was the seventh album by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, released in 1986. “(Forever) Live and Die” became the group’s third hit single in the US and returned the group to the top 20 in the UK, peaking at number 11.

For the first time, brothers Graham and Neil Weir were formally credited as full members of OMD for this album. They had been involved with the group as session musicians since the re-recording of “Julia’s Song” in 1984 as a “Talking Loud and Clear” single B-side, and were credited as “also playing” musicians on the 1985 album Crush. The single “(Forever) Live and Die” was written by the Weir brothers with Paul Humphreys.

Owing to label-enforced time constraints, the first nine songs written for The Pacific Age appeared on the album. Two new songs, “Cajun Moon” and “Cut Me Down” were almost featured, but according to Andy McCluskey, “democracy won out”. 1983 holdover “Heaven Is” was nudged off in favour of “Flame of Hope” (“Heaven Is” was eventually included on 1993’s Liberator).

The Pacific Age met with negative reviews from the British music press.Melody Maker described the record as “Wheezing, crumpled and limp… a bitter, bitter disappointment”. In Sounds, it was portrayed as “Slick and slobbery, just a bunch of bored (sounding) professionals really”.

In a retrospective review, Trouser Press said: “Except for the smoothly contrived hit “(Forever) Live and Die” and the catchy “We Love You,” this dilettantish mess is less a set of songs than a meaningless collection of sounds.” A more favourable Dave Connolly of AllMusic noted “OMD’s mastery of melody and mood” and wrote that the group “continues to string snippets of sound together to create interesting patterns”, as well as “bring their technical skill to bear on a few cuts”. In a 2013 online poll, The Pacific Age was voted the 46th best album of 1986 based on the opinions of almost 53,000 respondents.

Andy McCluskey said that on The Pacific Age, the band had “lost the plot” due to being afforded “no real time to take stock and write some decent material”; he also feels that the album’s production “just doesn’t sound like [OMD]”. McCluskey noted that the record features tracks he wishes the band had never released, but considers “(Forever) Live and Die” to be “a good song”

So here it is…

Katrina & the Waves (Epic 2017 #139)

The Epic 2017 Project #139: 170519

Katrina & The Waves (1985)

Infamous now for taking the UK to the winning slot in the 1997 Eurovision song contest with ‘Love shine a light’, Katrina & the Waves formed back in 1981.

Their biggest commercial success came with this, their third studio album, released in 1985. The majority of tracks were re-mixed and overdubbed versions of songs that had appeared on their first two albums, but “Walking on Sunshine” and “Going Down to Liverpool” were entirely re-recorded versions of songs from their first independently released album.

‘Walking on Sunshine’ became an overnight international success on it’s re-release, but it was originally written by Kimberley Rew for Katrina and the Waves’ 1983 eponymous debut album. The re-recorded version was the second single from the self-titled third album, reaching No.4 in Australia, No.9 in the United States, and No.8 in the United Kingdom. It was the Waves’ first US top 40 hit, and their biggest success in the United Kingdom until “Love Shine a Light” in 1997.

Royalties from airplay and advertisements of “Walking on Sunshine” have been extremely high. Katrina and the Waves kept the publishing rights and the royalties that typically go to the songwriter have been divided among the band members. Estimates are that the song has earned at least $1 million per year for the ten years ending in 2010. According to a former employee of EMI, “Walking on Sunshine was the crown jewel in EMI’s catalog,” and that it was one of EMI’s biggest earners from advertisers.

In August 2015, the song was acquired by BMG Rights Management for £10 million, along with all the other songs written by Kimberley Rew and Katrina and the Waves.

Grace Jones – Living my life (Epic 2017 #132)

The Epic 2017 Project #132: 170512

Grace Jones – Living my life (1982)

Living My Life is the sixth studio album by Grace Jones, released in 1982. It was the last of three albums she recorded at the Compass Point Studios in the Bahamas.

Jones had already recorded two reggae-oriented albums with the Compass Point Allstars at the Compass Point Studios in Nassau, Bahamas, with the most recent, Nightclubbing, becoming her most successful record to date. She went back into the studio in 1982 to record an album which would be her final offering in the unofficial Compass Point trilogy. This time around, Jones recorded only one cover, “The Apple Stretching”, which was originally written by Melvin Van Peebles and used in the Broadway show Waltz of the Stork. “Nipple to the Bottle” was co-written with Sly Dunbar, while, apart from “My Jamaican Guy”, the other tracks were collaborations with Barry Reynolds.

The title track “Living My Life”, despite receiving a limited single release, was ultimately left off the album. Further outtakes included the track “Man Around the House” (written by Jones and Barry Reynolds), and a cover of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire”. Both tracks were released on the 1998 compilation Private Life: The Compass Point Sessions.