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.
8 thoughts on “MAKING THEIR DEBUT ON TVV…..”
I’ve been playing around with a Eurythmics ICA for quite a while, but I haven’t been able to settle on a final 10. I love In The Garden and Never Gonna Cry Again should have been their breakthrough hit but the power of Sweet Dreams – album and single – is undeniable, and they had the videos to match.
I have a lot of time for Touch, albeit it’s the non-single tracks, both in their original and remixed forms on Touch Dance, that are the keepers for me. Although I can appreciate their pop sensibility and successful shot at global superstardom, Be Yourself Tonight lost me with it’s none-more-80s rock production and heavyweight guest stars. Even Elvis Costello couldn’t keep me interested!
And thanks for including Monkey Monkey, which I literally haven’t heard for years.
I think Touch is a great lp and in places more experimental than then sweet dreams . It was after that when it really went all mainstream . Although a big return to form with Savage
That last sentence is a nicely oblique summary of JC’s view of Eurythmics. Have to concur.
I’m very surprised that the Eurythmics have not appeared before.
I was a fan of the Tourists and the 2 songs you mention really are superb. They get a lot of repeat listens.
I wasn’t aware The Tourists had split until I saw a copy of the Eurythmics In The Garden which I bought. There are some great tracks on that LP but the stand out track for me is Belinda. It’s never too far from reach and is by far my favourite Eurythmics track.
Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) remains a fantastic pop song. Following its success, I recall being irked that Love is a Stranger had been re-released – making it seem less special – and despite owning the initial 7” I grudgingly went out and bought the new 7” picture disc.
Somewhere around this time a limited edition cassette was released. I didn’t rush out to buy it as it was a promo released with the 7” single Right By Your Side (thanks, Discogs). Previews of the material that would appear on Touch left me cold, if not chilly. However, not owning that cassette haunted me for years. My pal managed to get a copy when it was released and when I heard Satellite of Love I was blown away. It remains my favourite version of the song.
I was back in the fold with the release of the album 1984 and from then on only a passing acquaintance.
Great to see them featured.
I feel the same way as the people above – you should really get Mrs. V. to pull Touch out of the cupboard and give it a listen. You can skip over Right By Your Side and HCTRA if you want, but the final triptych of Aqua, No Fear, No Hate, No Pain (No Broken Hearts) and Paint A Rumour must be re-evaluated by your good self. They hark back to In The Garden IMO, but using better synths and a bit more percussion.
Around these parts we will never forget Peet Coombs! I was a huge Tourists fan who immediately glommed on to their “Reality Effect” album and loved it profoundly. The first import album I ever bought was their debut album, as produced by Conny Plank. After their excellent third album, “Luminous Basement,” I heard the disappointing news that they had broken up, but that Lennox and Stewart had formed Eurythmics. Well, the one song that Stewart wrote on “Reality Effect” was the worst song there. The one Lennox wrote on “Luminous Basement” was promising, but Stewart’s tune was better, if still maladroit. So we waited for the Eurythmics records to manifest.
We waited quite a while! In late 1982, I managed to find the “Never Gonna Cry Again” 7″ on import and it was …interesting. Then I got the “This Is The House” 12″ single. It had superb live music on the B-side. But Eurythmics records were very thin on the ground as imports in The States. I don”t think the importers were bothering with them. That all changed when all of a sudden MTV exploded on “Sweet Dreams.” Then they went straight to the top in the US. It was a good song, if seriously indebted to Spandau ballet’s “To Cut A Long Story Short” riff! They were now steeped in synthesizers, which was my favorite musical mode, personally. Yet I still maintain to this day that I preferred The Tourists take on the 60s pop in a very New Wave fashion.
So we were able to get our hands on Eurythmics records in easy quantity now. I could now get the dusky “In The Garden,” where they reunited with Conny Plank again. The “Sweet Dreams” album was great, and the follow up, “Touch” was much darker and more intense. Barring the one lighthearted moment of the “Right By Your Side” single that stuck out like a sore thumb. Most of that album was an intense, fevered peak. You really should check it out again. it’s nowhere near MOR. The whiff of heroin seems to be barely below the surface of it.
Now after that, Kayhem is right. I hate, Hate, H-A-T-E “Be Yourself Tonight!!” A ghastly American “roots rock + soul” pantomime! Lennox dispensed with any taste in deploying her melisma and their embrace of the mid-80s malaise® was utterly to its fullest extent! For me. it’s about as hateful an album as “Let’s Dance” in terms of an act really slumming for the [US] charts. The next album was only slightly better. Fortunately, they managed to effect the best “return to form” album I’ve ever heard with the delicious “Savage.” An album that didn’t make much commercial noise anywhere, except among certain fans.
The rest of the tale was the “Rise of Granny Lennox” as my friend Gavin would put it! “We Two Are One” has a serviceable single but not much more. Then the band split and Lennox went solo. “Diva” hit pretty hard at the time. I thought that “Why” was as devastating as a pop performance got. The rest of the album had roped in The Blue Nile and was clearly better than most of the surrounding Eurythmics material. They reunited for the “Peace” album that I can simply not recall to form an opinion for! All subsequent Lennox material that I tried to listen to was quickly disposed of from the Record Cell, even as they two albums were free at the time! But the first three albums, and “Savage” form a tight and admirable legacy that holds almost all of the band’s worth for me.
Brilliant post and responses. Really enjoyed reading that and, surprisingly know a lot of the songs mentioned.
There’s a brilliant story in Will Sergeant’s book about the one time the three piece Bunnymen supported the Tourists, but I’ll not spoil it for you!