The power-pop of The Tourists at the tail end of the 70s delivered some fabulous moments, not least their cover of I Only Want To Be With You, which went Top 10, as did the follow-up single, So Good To Be back Home Again. The latter was written by guitarist Peet Coombes, and indeed he was responsible for most of the songs recorded by the band over all three of their albums before the spilt at the end of 1980. He has, however, been largely all but forgotten as two of his bandmates, Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart, would join forces and form Eurythmics, becoming one of the biggest acts of the 80s, with most folk thinking that Stewart’s songwriting success was a continuation of his efforts with The Tourists.
Eurythmics seemed to come out of nowhere in 1983, thanks to them being responsible for one of the most iconic electronica singles during a period where synths really were vanquishing guitar bands. It hadn’t, however, been an overnight success as the duo’s debut album, In The Garden, back in 1981 had been a dismal flop, while the first three singles lifted from the follow-up album, Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) hadn’t received much airplay nor dented the charts.
It really was almost a last throw of the dice to release the title track from the new album in February 1983. The UK tour to promote the album was using small-scale venues – for instance the Glasgow date was at Night Moves which had a capacity in the low hundreds, but as the duo made their way around the country, they were doing so on the back of a single which quickly went to #2, leading to all sorts of television appearances and a huge demand to catch the live shows, all of which were now sold out and could have easily still been so if the usual locations with capacities of 2-3000 had been in play.
The decision was taken to re-release an earlier flop single as the follow-up to Sweet Dreams. A few months previously, in November 1982, it had spent a few weeks in the lower end of the charts, peaking at #54. Come April 1983, it was #6:-
mp3: Eurythmics – Love Is A Stranger
It ensured Eurythmics couldn’t be written off as one-hit wonders, and indeed it became a hit all over Europe as well as in the USA, Canada and Australia. The b-side was the same track as had been on the reverse of the initial single back in 83:-
mp3: Eurythmics – Monkey Monkey
What happened next was a bit of a surprise in that, instead of going out again on tour to cash-in on the belated success of Sweet Dreams, the duo went into the studio to begin work on new material, with a new song, Who’s That Girl?, continuing in a similar electronica style, allied again to the striking visual and unusual look that Lennox was offering the pop world – no other woman was wearing her hair that short or in such a striking orange colour.
But where most were expecting more of the same, the next album, Touch, which was released in November 1983, highlighted a different sound, one which was far more mainstream in nature. The next single leaned on calypso music, and the one after that was akin to a mid-tempo power ballad. For those of us who had fallen for the sounds of the hits at the beginning of 1983, what emerged before the year was out proved to be a huge letdown. But then again, given they would enjoy in the region of 75 million album sales world-wide before the decade was over, I don’t think the loss of one fan from a city in the west of Scotland caused them any sleepless nights.
The mp3s today are taken from the 7″ single, one that I picked up cheap on Discogs a few months back. It is the only Eurythmics vinyl that I own, although Mrs V’s copy of Touch sits in the cupboard, unplayed for many years, and certainly never since 1990 when we moved in together.