Eurhythmics: a teaching method developed by Emile Jaques-Dalcroze emphasizing the links between music and movement to enhance students’ understanding of rhythm and musical composition. Eurythmics: name chosen by Annie Lennox for her new musical project with Dave Stewart.
Debuting in 1981, Eurythmics had a minor hit with their first single. But subsequent singles over the next 18 months failed to chart and their debut album received little press attention. Its main influences – electropop, krautrock, a little bit of psychedelia – made the finished result a little too avant-garde for mainstream audiences. Certainly, they were experimenting at this stage, as they would continue to do for the rest of the decade to a greater or lesser extent, but at this stage the most under-utilized resource at their disposal was Lennox’s voice, which would become far more prominent on future recordings. The other key asset they possessed between them was a keen appreciation of pop, and the ability to write a memorable chorus. Their commercial breakthrough came when they exploited this more comprehensively on Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This), their second album, released at the beginning of 1983. The album would change their fortunes on both sides of the Atlantic. The title track, their first big hit, made use of a darkly pulsing synth bass line and was the first of six consecutive Top 10 singles in the UK and a #1 in the US.
Part of this single’s success in America is often put down to the promotional clip filmed to accompany it, which was frequently played on MTV. Lennox’s startling image in it – she had bright copper crew-cut hair and was wearing a man’s business suit – brought her much attention and she began to appear on the covers of prestigious magazine titles such as Rolling Stone. Dressing up – or dressing down – was to become a feature of many Eurythmics videos throughout their career. Lennox’s androgynous appearance, referred to as ‘gender-bending’, was often a device in early films, particularly the one for Who’s That Girl, also 1983, in which she played two characters: a blonde nightclub singer and a male audience member, who were seen to kiss each other in the final frames. As the song’s lyrics ask “Who’s that girl running around with you?”, Stewart’s role in the video is to be seen with various girls on his arm, all of whose faces were familiar. Appearing as members in the nightclub audience or as consorts for Stewart were Bananarama (Siobhan Fahey would later marry Stewart), both girls from Bucks Fizz, Kiki Dee, Dollar’s Thereza Bazar, Kate Garner of Haysi Fantayzee, and Hazel O’Connor. There was also a brief cameo from another gender-bender, the soon to be better known Marilyn.
The following year, Eurythmics were invited by Virgin Films to write and record a soundtrack for the movie ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’, based on the George Orwell novel of the same name. This resulted in a major hit single Sexcrime (Nineteen Eighty-Four), but the album 1984 (For the Love of Big Brother) was less successful and furthermore did not have the approval of the film’s director, who had commissioned an orchestral score that he preferred. This somewhat uncomfortable situation was quickly forgotten as in 1985, they reached what was probably their commercial peak. Fourth studio album Be Yourself Tonight replaced the electronic programming found on their previous efforts with real instruments, making greater use of electric guitars and drums and featuring a brass section. The synthesizers were still there (particularly on songs like Conditioned Soul) but integrated carefully into the overall production. As the writing on the album had moved away from synthpop to rock and rhythm and blues, Eurythmics’ music could be better performed live, making them major draws for concert venues. There were numerous special guests on the album too, including Aretha Franklin, Elvis Costello and Michael Kamen among others; There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart), the album’s second single, featured a harmonica solo from Stevie Wonder. What was most remarkable about this gospel-inspired song though was Lennox’s voice. An unusual and powerful performance for a pop song, Lennox was no longer held in the back of the mix as she had been on early Eurythmics material and her acrobatic vocal efforts helped the single to #1 in the UK.
NEW SINGLES on sale from Jun. 24
The BEAT Ackee 1-2-3 (Go Feet FEET18)
Malcolm McLAREN Double Dutch (Charisma MALC3)
David SYLVIAN Forbidden Colours (Virgin VS601)
EURYTHMICS There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart) (RCA PB40247)
SINITTA So Macho (Fanfare FAN5)