Who’s That Girl with the Orange Hair
by Stephen Payne
So many classic British bands came out of the punk movement of the late 70s. When the period ended in 1979, many bands had to either change their sound or fade away. We previously mention Adam Ant, but another famous Duo that came out of this movement was the Eurythmics.
Annie Lennox and Dave Stuart met in London in 1975. Their first project together was playing in the punk rock band The Catch. They released one single but then evolved into the band The Tourists. While they had some mainstream success, the band was unhappy and there were creative differences.
It wasn’t long before the romantically involved Annie and Dave decided to form their own Duo called the Eurythmics. This apparently happened after the two had been playing around with a portable mini synthesiser in a hotel room. The Duo decided to only work with other groups if it was compatible and they were available. They took this decision so that they could be the sole members and songwriters of the band. The duo was lucky enough to get signed to RCA Records and start their career. It was also at this time that Annie and Dave stopped seeing each other romantically.
The duos first album “In the Garden” was released in October 1981. The album had a mix of Psychedelic, Electropop, and Krautrock influences and was very different from their previous music. The album had many artists collaborating on it. The album wasn’t a commercial success, though their debut single “Never Gonna Cry Again” reached no. 63 in the UK charts. The band promoted their album by travelling around the UK in a converted horse cart, touring the band as a duo accompanied by backing tracks.
The Duo retreated to Chalk Farm, London in 1982, where they used a bank loan to set up their own small studio above a picture framing factory. This set up gave them creative freedom to record what they liked. The duo started to use a lot more electronics in their music, forming their future distinctive sound. The band released three singles while here, however, none were a commercial success. The duo was suffering from stress and ill health, with Annie having a nervous breakdown and Dave being hospitalised with a collapsed lung. It seemed that they would never make it, but this was all about to change.
In January 1983, the Duo released their second album “Sweet Dream (Are Made of This).” The title track was an instant success reaching No. 2 in the UK chart and becoming one of the year’s biggest sellers. People loved the track’s powerful synth base line and Annie’s new look; the video showed her sporting an orange crew cut. The band’s fortunes had changed, and Annie became a pop icon overnight.
The band would go onto release many other hits including “Who’s That Girl” and “Right by Your Side.” The Duo would break up and reform a number of times over the years, with Annie and Dave both having successful solo careers. Their electronic pop sound, though, would influence musicians for years to come.