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Thursday, 25 August 2016

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!: Day 238 - Yazoo

Upstairs At Eric's - Yazoo
Produced by E.C. Radcliffe and Yazoo
Released 20th August 1982
UK Chart #2
US Chart #92

    Alison Moyet – vocals, piano
    Vince Clarke – instrumentation

Additional personnel:
    Daniel Miller – additional production and noises on "Don't Go", "Too Pieces", "In My Room", "Only You" and "Situation"
    Eric's mum – extra chit-chat on "I Before E Except After C"
    D. Davis – extra chit-chat on "In My Room"

Singles from Upstairs at Eric's
15th March 1982
UK Chart #2
US and Canada November 1982
US Chart #67

5th July 1982
UK Chart #3

US 12" Release July 1982
US Chart #73
Canadian Chart #31

Another great little album from the 1980s that I have a real fondness for is the Debut Album from Yazoo (Yaz in North America for legal reasons), Upstairs at Eric's.

The Basildon duo of Vince Clarke (formerly of Depeche Mode) and former Punk and Blues singer Alison Moyet seemed like an unlikely pairing but Clarke was the only one who responded to an advert in Melody Maker that Moyet had placed after the demise of her band The Screamin' Ab Dabs.

She had advertised in late 1981 asking for musicians to form a "rootsy" blues band, so getting a call from a fellow Basildon native who had already released an album and had enjoyed three hit singles (that he had written himself) would have been a huge surprise. But Vince Clarke was looking for a singer to lay down a vocal on a demo of Only You with the hope that Mute Records wouldn't drop him after his departure from Depeche Mode. He was aware of Alison before and had heard her sing live and they had actually attended the same Saturday Music School when they were 11 years old but they had never spoken to each other before.

Getting over various disagreements with regard to the blues the pair were given the go ahead by Mute to record a single and an album together. Clarke had already written Don't Go but both he and Moyet felt that it was too good to go on a B-Side and came up with Situation (a song that was actually good enough to be a single in its own right).

Only You of course was a massive hit peaking at #2 on the UK Charts and the follow up Don't Go also rocketed up the charts stalling at #3. The album followed a month after the second single and again thundered up the charts just missing out on the #1 spot.

I have to confess to not being a great lover of Electronic/Synth music but I was quite taken with Yazoo from the get go mainly because of the voice of Alison Moyet. Upstairs at Eric's is still an album I dig out every once in awhile to have a listen to and it's great to spotlight it today.

Prior to their releasing anything on Vinyl they had also recorded a session for John Peel. When he was introducing them on Top of the Pops for the Don't Go Single, he said that they had made "two of the best singles of the year". Mr Peel, a man who had his finger on the pulse of many a new music scene well before it even got into the shops!

01. In My Room
02. Don't Go
03. Midnight
04. Winter Kills 

*Was broadcast on the 19th July 1982

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!

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