Annie Lennox was born on Christmas Day 1954 in Aberdeen. She attended the Royal Academy of Music in London in the early 70s, studying the flute, piano and harpsichord. However, she was unhappy there, having to supplement her grant with various low-paid jobs, so eventually dropped out to try to earn a living as a professional musician. She performed with a few acts in the mid-70s before meeting Dave Stewart and forming The Catch.
Stewart was born in Sunderland 1952 and had been active on the music scene since his teens. As The Catch, which also featured Peet Coombes, they signed with Logo records and released one single in 1977 before renaming themselves The Tourists and joining Bryan Ferry’s Roxy Music on their Manifesto tour in 1979. Roxy Music’s tour programme said of the line-up: “In vocalist/guitarist Peet Coombes the band has a prolific songwriter who has already contributed an embarrassment of riches to the group’s repertoire and shows no signs of drying up! With the strong, clear voice of Ann [as she was credited at the time] Lennox and the purposeful guitar work of Dave Stewart, The Tourists can boast a formidable front line which is also the creative nucleus of the band.” It also said The Tourists attributed their distinctive sound to a “mixture of Northern melodic tradition, an affection for sixties pop and an acute appreciation of the realities of the modern world”.
Minor hits followed and towards the end of decade they made the Top 10 with a cover of I Only Wanna Be With You. They also released two albums in quick succession, once of which, Reality Effect, sold well. However, the members of the group did not believe they had sufficient control over their career and, at around the time of release of So Good to Be Back Home Again they announced their intention to quite the UK due to a long-term dispute with Logo over their musical direction: they argued that if the label refused to allow them to leave their contract, they would leave the country. It was a timely announcement, as they were just about to score their sole chart entry in the US with the previously mentioned I Only Wanna Be With You.
Nevertheless one final album did appear in the autumn of 1980 before the group split early the following year. Lennox and Stewart contributed one self-penned song each to Luminous Basement, which was issued by RCA, and decided to carry on as a duo without the rest of the band but with the same record label: Eurythmics were about to be born.
NEW SINGLES on sale from Feb. 1
ORCHESTRAL MANOEUVRES IN THE DARK Red Frame White Light (Dindisc DIN6)
The TOURISTS So Good To Be Back Home Again (Logo TOUR1)
TOYAH Bird In Flight (Safari SAFE22)
The VAPORS Turning Japanese (United Artists BP334)
Howard JONES Things Can Only Get Better (WEA HOW6)
SHARPE AND NUMAN (Gary Numan) Change Your Mind (Polydor POSP722)
The SMITHS (Morrissey) How Soon Is Now? (Rough Trade RT176)
Bryan FERRY Kiss And Tell (Virgin VS1034)
The MISSION Tower Of Strength (Mercury MYTH4)