THE SINGULAR ADVENTURES OF MARC ALMOND (Parts 11-14)

As mentioned last week, the poor sales of Mother Fist and Her Five Daughters led to Virgin Records dropping Marc Almond.  The aftermath also saw an end to The Willing Sinners as Martin McCarrick left to join Siouxsie and the Banshees but the good news was that both Annie Hogan, Steve Humphries and Billy McGee continued to work with Marc but now calling themselves La Magia.

It was Parlophone Records who decided to take a punt on Marc rediscovering a degree of success and they must have been fairly pleased with the outcome as the album, The Stars We Are, released in September 1988, turned out to be the best sellling of the solo years and one of its tracks, in a re-recorded form, provided a #1 single.

(11) Tears Run Rings b/w Everything I Wanted Love To Be (September 1988 – #26 in the UK charts)

(12) Bitter Sweet b/w King of The Fools (October 1988 – #40 in the UK charts)

(13) Something’s Gotten Hold Of My Heart (with Gene Pitney) (January 1989 – #1 in the UK charts)

(14) Only The Moment b/w Real Evil (April 1989 – #45 in the UK charts)

The Stars We Are was a return to mainstream form after the darkness of the previous works. Twenty-two different musicians are credited and that doesn’t include Gene Pitney as his work with Marc came after the album had been released.  There’s loads of strings, horns and soaring vocals and melodies.  Parlophone pushed the boat out on the promotional front and Marc responded positively with a number of televsion appearances to boost sales of Tears Run Rings, the lead off single.

There was a bit of disappointment that the follow-up 45, Bitter Sweet, stalled somewhat, but that was soon forgotten as January 1989 saw Marc return to the top of the charts again with his take of a song that had been a #5 hit in the UK for Gene Pitney back in 1967.  It had originally been recorded as a solo take for the album, but Gene had been so impressed with it that he contacted Marc’s management and suggested they have a go at it as a duet.  The single spent four weeks at the top of the charts….and its b-side was the album version:-

mp3 : Marc Almond – Something’s Gotten Hold Of My Heart

I don’t think it had originally been intended to go with a fourth single from the album, but as ever, record companies are keen to cash in on any unexpected success and thus Only The Moment was issued a few months later.

The b-sides to all these particular singles are very much in keeping with the more pop-orientated sound that Marc was pursuing at the time…..and indeed King of The Fools is one of those tracks that in a less fruitful period, might have actually made for an A-side, albeit one that would likely have stalled outside the Top 40 as it wasn’t quite distinctive enough.

JC

4 thoughts on “THE SINGULAR ADVENTURES OF MARC ALMOND (Parts 11-14)

  1. The Stars We Are was certainly a move into the sunlight, albeit one with Raybans in place. While a Pop album, it still deals with subject material and a tone that is all Marc. Tears Run Rings has an orchestral menace to it, as well as some very socio-political lyrics.
    Bitter Sweet is also one of my very favorite Almond songs. It’s mix of 60s, Cabaret, and Brecht/Weill elements is just perfection.

  2. This was the era where Marc let his inner Scott Walker run riot! Glorious music and vibe was the result. I responded strongly to this though I had yet to hear Walker, so in a way, Marc was one more nudge down the Walker path to come!”These My Dreams Are Yours” was my fave deep cut and the sumptuous “Only The Moment” my favorite single, though it was “Tears Run Rings” that alerted me to start paying attention to Marc again. I still have the CD single of “Only The Moment” but the “Treasure Box” compiled all of the magnificent material that surrounded the EMI pop period. Sadly, I have never heard the hit version of “Somethings Got Ahold Of My Heart” with Pitney duetting since it came after the album version was recorded/released.

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