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Eurythmics are a British musical duo, formed in 1980 by Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart.
The pair have achieved significant global, commercial and critical success, selling 75 million records worldwide, winning numerous awards, and have undertaken several successful world tours. They are noted for their intelligent pop songs, which showcase Lennox's powerful and expressive alto voice and Stewart's innovative production techniques. They are also acclaimed for their promotional videos and visual presentation.
The pair had first worked together in 1976 in the punk rock band The Catch. After releasing one single under this name in 1977, the band evolved into The Tourists. During this time, they were also romantic partners. The Tourists achieved modest commercial success, but the experience was reportedly an unhappy one. Personal and musical tensions existed within the group, whose main songwriter was Peet Coombes, and there were legal wranglings with the band's management, publishers and record labels. Lennox and Stewart felt that the fixed band line-up was not a good vehicle to explore their experimental creative leanings and 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 themselves "Eurythmics" after a dance technique (Eurythmy; see also Eurhythmics) that Lennox had encountered as a child at school, 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". The duo signed to RCA Records. At this time, Lennox and Stewart also decided to discontinue their romantic relationship.
During the period that Lennox and Stewart were in the Eurythmics they were managed by James Wyllie, who when the band separated, stayed on with Stewart and Lennox moved on.
Their first album saw them work in Cologne with the legendary Conny Plank (who had produced the later Tourists sessions). This resulted in the album In the Garden, released in October 1981, which included contributions from Holger Czukay and Jaki Liebezeit of Can, drummer Clem Burke of Blondie, Robert G Ãƒ Â¶rl of Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft, and flautist Tim Wheater. A couple of the songs were co-written by guitarist Roger Pomphrey (now a TV director). The album mixed psychedelic, krautrock and electropop influences. It received a lukewarm critical reception and poor sales. Two singles from the album also flopped, though "Never Gonna Cry Again" made the UK charts. 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 around the country themselves in a horse-box.
In 1982, the duo retreated to Chalk Farm in London, and used a bank loan to set up a small 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 Raynard Faulkner 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 on initial release in the UK. The band's state of affairs was becoming critical Ã¢â‚¬â€\x9D although their mode of operation had given them the creative freedom they desired, commercial success was still eluding them, and the responsibility of running so many of their affairs personally (down to roadying their own equipment) was exhausting. Lennox apparently suffered at least one nervous breakdown during this period, while Stewart was hospitalized with a collapsed lung.
Eurythmics' commercial breakthrough came with Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) (1983), whose hit single of the same name featured a dark, powerfully sequenced synth bass line and a striking video that introduced the now orange crew-cutted Lennox to audiences. The band's fortunes changed immensely from this moment on. The album became a huge British hit due to the title track, which later topped the American charts as well. Lennox was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. Stewart recently revealed that the famous synth bass line in the song was discovered by accident when he inadvertently played a track backwards. Their previous single "Love Is A Stranger" was re-released and became a hit in its own right. The "Love Is A Stranger" video saw Lennox in many different character guises, which she later became known for in subsequent videos. The album's working title was Invisible Hands (as was a track left off the album), inspiring the name of UK indie label Invisible Hands Music - known for releasing music by Hugh Cornwell, Mick Karn and Hazel O'Connor.
Touch, the rapid follow-up to Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This), was released in late 1983 and became the duo's first no.1 album. It also spawned three major hit singles; "Who's That Girl?" was a top 3 hit in the UK, the video seeing Lennox as a blonde chanteuse and featuring cameos by Hazel O'Connor, Bananarama (including Stewart's future wife, Siobhan Fahey), Kate Garner of Haysi Fantayzee, Thereza Bazar of Dollar, Jay Aston and Cheryl Baker of Bucks Fizz, Kiki Dee, Jacquie O'Sullivan and "gender-bending" pop singer Marilyn, among others. The upbeat, calypso-flavoured "Right by Your Side" made the UK Top 10 while showing a different side of Eurythmics altogether, and "Here Comes the Rain Again" (number eight in the UK, number four in the U.S.) was an orchestral/synth ballad (with orchestrations by Michael Kamen). Touch solidified the duo's reputation as being major talents and cutting edge musicians.
In 1984, RCA released Touch Dance, a mini-album of remixes of four of the tracks from Touch, aimed at the 'club market'. The remixes were by prominent New York name producers Francois Kevorkian and John "Jellybean" Benitez.
Also released in 1984 was Eurythmics' soundtrack album 1984 (For the Love of Big Brother). Virgin Films had contracted the band to provide a soundtrack for Michael Radford's modern film adaptation of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. Radford later said that the music had been "foisted" on his film against his wishes, and that Virgin had replaced most of Dominic Muldowney's original orchestral score with the Eurythmics soundtrack (including the song "Julia", which was heard during the end credits). However, the record was presented as "music derived from the original score of Eurythmics for the Michael Radford film version of Orwell's 1984". Eurythmics charged that they had been misled by the film's producers as well, and the album was withdrawn from the market for a period while matters were litigated. The album's first single, "Sexcrime (Nineteen Eighty-Four)", was a top 5 hit in the UK, Australia and across Europe, and a major dance hit in the United States, but its supposedly suggestive title (actually taken from the "Newspeak" phrase used in Orwell's book) resulted in many U.S. pop radio stations refusing to play the track.
The duo's next album, Be Yourself Tonight, was produced in a week in Paris. It showcased much more of a "band style" and a centred sound (with an R&B influence), 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, and Lennox 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 five hit and Australian number one, while "There Must Be an Angel (Playing with My Heart)" (featuring Wonder's harmonica contribution) became their first and only UK number one 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.
Eurythmics released their next album, Revenge, in 1986. The album continued their move towards a band sound, verging on an AOR-pop/rock sound. Sales continued to be strong in the UK, but sales were somewhat slower in the U.S., though "Missionary Man" reached number 14 on the U.S. Hot 100 chart. Revenge would eventually certify Double Platinum in the UK and Gold in the U.S. The band went on a massive worldwide tour in support of the album, and a live concert video from the Australian leg of the tour was released. The folk-tinged "Thorn in My Side" powered the UK success of Revenge, which remains Eurythmics' best selling studio album to date. Around this time, Stewart began producing, for Tom Petty and Bob Dylan, among others, while Lennox did some acting.
In 1987, Lennox and Stewart released the album Savage. This saw a fairly radical change within the group's sound, being based mainly around programmed samples and drum loops (Lennox would later say that where Revenge was more of a Stewart album in sound, Savage was more of a Lennox one). Lyrically the songs showed an even darker, more obsessive side to Lennox's writing. The entire record was also released as a video album, directed by Sophie Muller, with a video for each song. These largely followed Lennox's character of a frustrated housewife-turned-vamp (as exemplified in the bizarre "Beethoven (I Love to Listen to)", a UK top 30 hit). The brazen, sexually charged rocker "I Need a Man" remains a Eurythmics staple, as does "You Have Placed a Chill in My Heart".
Much less commercial than the two previous albums, Savage was mostly ignored in the U.S., although rock radio in more progressive markets supported "I Need a Man". In the duo's native UK however, the album was a top 10 hit and was certified platinum.
In 1989, Eurythmics released We Too Are One which entered the UK album chart at no.1 (their second no.1 album after Touch). The album was less successful in the US, although the single "Don't Ask Me Why" grazed the Billboard top 40. Other singles from the album included "Revival", "The King and Queen of America", "Angel" (where Lennox eulogized the loss of a much-wanted child and the death of her own father) - all of which were top 30 hits in the UK. "(My My) Baby's Gonna Cry", was also released in the US, and featured Stewart in his first prominent vocal role with Lennox.
After strenuous years of touring and recording (Eurythmics had released eight studio albums in eight years), a rift had developed between the duo and Eurythmics disbanded (although no official notice was given). Stewart began writing film soundtracks and had a hit with saxophonist Candy Dulfer with the instrumental track "Lily Was Here" which reached no.6 in the UK. He also formed a band called The Spiritual Cowboys, releasing two albums with this group. Lennox needed a break and took time off to have a baby and to consider a new direction after Eurythmics, and the duo had virtually no communication with each other from 1991 to 1998. In 1991, Eurythmics' Greatest Hits collection was released, entering the UK album chart at #1 and becoming a massive worldwide seller. New remixes of "Sweet Dreams" and "Love Is A Stranger" were also released as singles at this time. In 1993, a live album entitled Live 1983-1989 featuring recordings from various years throughout Eurythmics' career was also released.
In 1992, Lennox released her first solo album, Diva. The album was a critical and popular success, reaching no.1 in the UK and achieving quadruple platinum status (more than any Eurythmics studio album had done) and a string of five hit singles.
Stewart released the solo albums Greetings from the Gutter (1995), and Sly-Fi (1998), but neither of these albums were commercially successful. Lennox's second solo album Medusa (1995), an album of cover versions, fared much better and reached number one in the UK reaching double platinum.
Eurythmics reunited in 1999 (see 1999 in music) and released Peace. The single "I Saved the World Today" reached number 11 in the UK singles charts, and a remix of "17 Again" gave the duo their first chart-topper on the U.S. Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart. The band also embarked on a world tour, dubbed Peacetour, to support the album. The tour started on September 18, 1999 at Cologne's Kolnarena and ended on December 6, 1999 at the London Docklands Arena (which was filmed and released on video and DVD). All proceeds from the tour went to Greenpeace and Amnesty International. The year 2000 saw numerous European festival appearances by Eurythmics (at Germany's Rock am Ring, among others).
In 2001, Stewart performed with U2 for the "America: A Tribute to Heroes" benefit concert.
In June 2003, Lennox released her third solo album, entitled Bare, which was a top 5 hit in the UK and the US, with three singles reaching the top of Hot Dance Music/Club Play in 2003 and 2004. She also recorded the song "Into the West" for Peter Jackson's film The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, where it appeared as the closing theme and earned Lennox the 2004 Academy Award for Best Song. Stewart collaborated with Rolling Stones vocalist Mick Jagger on the soundtrack to the movie Alfie, released in 2004, including the critically acclaimed "Old Habits Die Hard", which won a Golden Globe award for Best Original Song from a Motion Picture.
In November 2003 Eurythmics played three songs at the 46664 (concerts) in Cape Town. David Stewart was a big part in the organisation of this show. They played an unplugged version of "Here Comes the Rain Again", "Seven Seconds" with Youssou N'Dour and "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)".
On November 7, 2005, Eurythmics released Ultimate Collection, a remastered greatest hits package with two new songs. One of them, "I've Got a Life," was released as a single and reached no.14 on the UK singles chart, as well as spending three consecutive weeks at number 1 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Club Play in the U.S., something the duo had not done since 1999 with the chart-topper "17 Again."
On November 14, 2005, RCA re-released their eight studio albums in remastered and expanded editions featuring rare b-sides, remixes and unreleased songs. The remasters are available separately as digipaks with expanded artwork and together in a collector's box set, Boxed. However, the 1984 soundtrack album 1984 (For the Love of Big Brother) was not included in this re-release campaign as Virgin Records holds the rights to that album.
Lennox and Stewart also performed together on a number of TV shows, such as Top of the Pops, to promote the greatest hits album as well as the single.
- Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)
This band has the following tropes
- Bifauxnen: Annie Lennox, especially in the early '80s. U.S. customs officials wanted proof that she was actually a woman when first entering the country.
- Spoken Word in Music: "Beethoven (I Love to Listen To)"
- Lyrical Dissonance: Their work has this in spades.
- Record Producer: Dave Stewart.
- Throw It In: The Epic Riff of "Sweet Dreams" was accidentally conceived in the studio when Stewart played a bass track in reverse.