My huge thanks to everyone who took the time to read the posting that’s been sitting on the blog for the past seven days…I’m especially grateful to those of you who added your own eloquent tributes to Tim.
This was the posting originally scheduled to appear and I had meant to place it into storage, but mistakenly back-posted it to 2012….which some of you may have picked up via notifications you’ve installed for all published posts. In my defence, my mind was a bit elsewhere at the time.
Tenement Symphony, released in October 1991, is the last album from which any hit single was lifted – the fact, almost 30 years that Marc Almond can still command impressive numbers audience wise whenever he takes to the stage, is testament to the affection he is held by his legions of fans who have never given up on him, even though he has long been unfashionable.
One single was lifted just prior to the album’s release, and two more would follow:-
(18) Jacky b/w Deep Night (September 1991 – #17 in the UK charts)
I wrote about this particular single just last October, in a posting that also looked at the Scott Walker and Momus versions of the Jacques Brel number. As I said at the time all versions are well worth a few minutes of your time for a listen but if pushed, I’d say I preferred Marc’s take on things for the bravado shown by him and the production/arrangement/mixing cohorts of Trevor Horn, Anne Dudley and Youth in throwing absolutely everything at it to turn it into a genuine camp classic which has stood the test of time.
Here’s a bonus with the 12″ bits of music
mp3 : Marc Almond – Jacky (extended)
mp3 : Marc Almond – Deep Night (extended)
mp3 : Marc Almond – Jacky (alpine mix)
All concerned would wait until the new year before the next 45. The interesting thing was that the new single was one of three songs on the parent album that had been co-written with David Ball – the duo were more than happy to be working together again and indeed in later years would reform Soft Cell and embark on an extensive tour across Europe.
Tenement Symphony had come out on yet another new label, WEA, the biggest of all the majors and the budget stretched to enabling a number of studios to be used at different times and multiple producers – in the end, it became a work of two halves, with the first five songs being the work of the Soft Cell duo along with long-time solo collaborator Billy McGee, and the other half put in the hands of the afore-mentioned Trevor Horn. In later years, Marc would state that the album’s concept was largely down to Rob Dickins, the head of WEA, and that he personally didn’t feel it truly reflected his artistic direction at that time, albeit he had enjoyed working with Horn.
As if to illustrate this, it was Horn’s version of what would become the next single which saw light of day rather than any take on it by its composers:-
(19) My Hand Over My Heart b/w Deadly Serenade (January 1992 – #33 in the UK charts)
It’s another one of those songs that, if it had been released at a different time than the period when Britpop was dying and Grunge was emerging, it would likely have been a very big hit as it is tailor-made for radio – it’s the sort of song that boy bands would have taken to #1.
And so, to the last time that Marc Almond bothered the charts:-
(20) The Days of Pearly Spencer b/w Bruises (April 1992 – #4 in the UK charts)
Another cover….and another massive hit. I still find it bemusing that the record buying public, over the years, made a success out of the songs that Marc has chosen to reinterpret rather than his own compositions. This one dates originally from 1967, by the Northern Irish singer-songwriter David McWilliams. An acoustc ballad that got a fair bit of play on the pirate station Radio Caroline, especially give it was a b-side, but the newly emerging BBC Radio 1 didn’t give it or its a-side, Harlem Lady, much of a showing and so its author remained largely unknown until Marc’s later success with it.
mp3 : David McWilliams – The Days of Pearly Spencer