Eurythmics

From Academic Kids

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Eurythmics.jpg
Duo Annie Lennox and David Stewart in a promotional shot for their 1999 album, Peace.

Eurythmics (often incorrectly referred to as "The Eurythmics") are a British musical group, formed around a core duo of Annie Lennox and David A. Stewart.

The pair have achieved significant global commercial and critical success, winning numerous awards, and have toured world-wide. They are often highly regarded for their strong, intelligent pop songs, which showcase Lennox's powerful and expressive alto voice, and Stewart's innovative production techniques. They were also noted for their striking promotional videos to accompany their singles. A lot of their visual artwork was designed by Laurence Stevens.


Contents

History

The pair had first worked together as members of The Tourists. During this time, they were also lovers. This band achieved a modest commercial success, but the experience was reportedly an unhappy one. Personal and musical tensions existed within the group (whose main songwriter was Pete Coombes), the band often received very negative critical press in the UK, there were legal wranglings with the bands managment, publishers and record label, and Lennox and Stewart felt the fixed band line-up was not a good vehicle to explore their experimental creative leanings.

1980

Lennox & Stewart decided their next project should be much more flexible and free from artistic compromise. They were interested in creating 'pop music', but wanted freedom to experiment with electronics and the avant-garde as well. Calling it "Eurythmics" (a re-spelling on a dance technique Lennox had encountered as a child), they decided to keep themselves as the only permanent members and songwriters, and involve others in the collaboration as they saw fit "on the basis of mutual compatibility and availability". RCA decided to retain the pair of them from their Tourists recording contract. Wanting to concentrate on their musical relationship, Lennox and Stewart decided to discontinue their romantic liaison in 1980 (see 1980 in music).

1981

Their first album saw them continue to work in Cologne with the legendary Conny Plank (who had produced the later Tourists sessions). This resulted in the album, In the Garden (released Oct. 1981), including contributions from Holgar Czuckay & Jackie Liebezeit of Can, drummer Clem Burke and Blondie, and Robert Görl of DAF, and flautist Tim Wheater. A couple of the songs were co-written by guitarist Roger Pomphrey (now a TV producer). The album featured rather cold and melancholy songs, mixing psychedelic, krautrock and electropop influences, to rather muted effect. It received a lukewarm critical reception and very poor sales. Two singles from the album also flopped. (Their videos have seldom been seen subsequently). Lennox and Stewart then put their new Eurythmics mode of operation into action by touring the record as a duo, accompanied by backing tracks and electronics, carted round the country themselves in a horse-box.

1982

Dave and Annie retreated to Chalk Farm in London, and used a bank-loan to set up a tiny 8-track studio above a picture framing factory, giving them freedom to record without having to pay expensive studio fees. They began to employ much more electronics in their music, collaborating with such names as Raynard Faulkener and Adam Williams. They continued to record many tracks and play live using various line-up permutations, however the three singles RCA released for them that year (This is the House, The Walk and Love is a Stranger) all flopped totally on initial release in the UK (although "Stranger" did become a minor hit in the U.S. in 1983). The bands state of affairs was becoming critical - although their mode of operation had given them the creative freedom they desired, commercial success was eluding them, and the responsibility of running so many of their affairs personally (down to roadying their own equipment) was exhausting. Apparently Annie suffered at least one nervous breakdown during this period, while Dave was hospitalized with a collapsed lung.

1983

This was the year of Eurythmics' commercial breakthrough, with the hit single, Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) (1983, 1983 in music), which featured a powerful sequenced synth bass line and a striking video. The band's fortunes changed immensely from this moment on. The album of the same name became a huge British hit due to the title track, which quickly topped the American charts as well. Lennox was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. Stewart later admitted that the famous synth bass line in the song was discovered by accident when he inadvertently played a track backwards.

Touch, the follow-up to Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This), was released later in 1983 and spawned three major UK hits. "Here Comes The Rain Again" (#4 in the U.S.) was the main hit from this album. Touch solidified the duo's reputation as being major talents.

1984

RCA released Touch Dance, a mini-album of remixes of four tracks from Touch, aimed at the 'club market'. The remixes were by prominent New York name producers François Kervorkian and John 'Jellybean' Benitez.

In this year, Virgin Films contracted the band to provide a soundtrack to Michael Radford's colour re-make film of George Orwell's 1984. Radford claimed the music was being "foisted" on him, and refused to use Eurythmics' score, replacing it with more conventional orchestral filler (except for the song Julia which played near the end of the credits). Virgin released Eurythmics work as the soundtrack album 1984 (for the love of Big Brother) and it spawned the hit single Sexcrime (1984).

1985

Their fourth studio album proper, Be Yourself Tonight, was produced in a single week in Paris. It showcased a much more "band" centred sound, 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, Annie 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, while There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart) (freaturing Wonder's contribution, their first and only U.K. number one hit single). It's Alright Baby's Coming Back and the Franklin duet (originally intended for Tina Turner!) Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves also rode high in the charts.


1986

This year saw Dave and Annie unleash their Revenge album, which continued their move towards a band sound (some might even say verging on an AOR-pop/rock sound), although the strength of the songs generally shone through. Sales continued to be strong in the U.K., but somewhat petered out in the US and signalled the end of Eurythmics' mainstream success in America; "Missionary Man" reached number 14 on the U.S. Billboard charts. The Eurythmics went on a massive worldwide tour in support of this album, and a live video was released of this. Revenge remains Eurythmics' best selling album to date. Stewart began producing, for Tom Petty and Bob Dylan, among others, while Lennox did some acting.

1987

Dave and Annie reunited in 1987 (see 1987 in music) for the critically acclaimed album, Savage. This saw a fairly radical change in the group's sound, being based mainly around drum loops, with synth and guitar parts fairly low in the mix. Lyrically the songs showed a darker, more psychological side to Lennox's writing. The record was also released as a video album, directed by Sophie Müller, with a film for each song. These largely followed Lennox's character of a frustrated housewife-turned-vamp. Much less commercial than the two previous albums,Savage was mostly ignored in the U.S.A., while sales in the U.K. were fair.

1989

In 1989, Eurythmics released the solid We Too Are One a UK #1 hit that did rather poorly in the United States, although "Don't Ask Me Why" and "Angel" grazed the Billboard top 40.

After strenuous years of touring and recording (Eurythmics released 7 albums in 7 years), Lennox needed a break -- she took time off to have a baby and to consider a new direction after Eurythmics. Years of being together had created a rift in the relationship between the duo; the two had virtually no communication with each other from 1990 to 1998.

In 1992 (see 1992 in music), Lennox released a solo album, Diva, which was a critical and popular sensation, while Stewart began writing film soundtracks and formed a band called Spiritual Cowboys.

Stewart released a solo album in 1995 (see 1995 in music), Greetings from the Gutter, but it was a flop. Lennox's Medusa fared much better, reaching #1 in the UK.

Eurythmics reunited in 1999 (see 1999 in music) and released Peace, their latest studio recording to date. Peace highlighted the duo's enduring musical bond and creativity.

2000 and beyond

In early 2003, BMG revealed plans to issue expanded versions of the band's eight studio albums, an 18-track singles compilation entitled Ultimate Collection and a new two-disc set of rarities, all remastered by Stewart. These were scheduled to appear that autumn, but postponed when BMG and Sony merged their music divisions to form Sony BMG Music Entertainment. In the wake of this reorganization the releases have been rescheduled several times, but as of late April 2005 they have yet to see the light of day.

In June of 2003, Lennox released her third solo album, entitled Bare. She also recorded the song "Into The West" for Peter Jackson's film of The Return Of The King, where it appeared as the closing theme and earned Lennox the year's Academy Award for Best Song.

Discography

(Total Worldwide sales: 61,202,000)

Hit singles

Eurythmics took many musical and creative risks, and as such are regarded as musical visionaries and innovators in a field that is often marked by crass commercialism.


Eurhythmics is also a method for teaching music invented by Emile Jaques-Dalcroze. Annie Lennox and/or Dave Stewart chose the name of their band as a reference to this method. See http://www.dalcroze.ch/html/fr/ensaemil.htm

See also

External links

fr:Eurythmics it:Eurythmics nl:Eurythmics sv:Eurythmics

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