Eurythmics Biography

UK pop duo comprising David A. Stewart (9 September 1952, Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, England) and Annie Lennox (b. 25 December 1954, Aberdeen, Scotland). The worldwide popularity and critical acclaim of one of pop music’s leading duos came about by fastidious determination and Stewart’s remarkably good ear in being able to write the perfect song for his musical partner Lennox. Both artists relied heavily on each other’s considerable talent and, as former lovers, they knew better than most their strengths and weaknesses.

Stewart met Lennox in London while he was still a member of the folk/rock band Longdancer. She was supplementing her income by waitressing while a student at the Royal College of Music. Together they formed the Tourists, a fondly remembered band that was able to fuse new wave energy with well-crafted pop songs. Following the Tourists’ split, with Lennox and Stewart now embroiled in their much-publicized doomed love affair, they formed the Eurythmics in 1980. The debut In The Garden was a rigidly electronic sounding album, very Germanic, haunting and cold. The record failed to sell. During one of the low points in their lives, having ended their four-year relationship, the duo persevered professionally and glanced the charts in November 1982 with the synthesizer-based ‘Love Is A Stranger’. This gave them the confidence they needed, and the material on the subsequent Sweet Dreams (which climbed to number 3 in the albums chart) was superb, bringing deserved success. The album spawned a number of hits, all accompanied by an imaginative series of self-produced videos with the stunning Lennox in countless guises, showing incredible natural confidence in front of a camera. The spooky ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)’ narrowly missed the top of the UK chart in February 1983, but made the top spot in the US in May. It was followed in quick succession by a reissued ‘Love Is A Stranger’ (UK number 6, April 1983) and ‘Who’s That Girl?’ (UK number 3, July 1983). Released in November 1983, the UK chart-topping Touch became a huge success, containing a varied mixture of brilliantly accessible pop music, including the celebratory ‘Right By Your Side’ (UK number 10, November 1983) and ‘Here Comes The Rain Again’ (UK number 8/US number 4, January 1984). A remixed mini-LP of four tracks from Touch followed before they embarked upon scoring the music for the movie 1984, starring John Hurt, which generated a UK number 4 hit in November 1984 with ‘Sexcrime (Nineteen Eighty Four)’. Their lacklustre work on the soundtrack was immediately remedied by the excellent Be Yourself Tonight, which featured another huge transatlantic single ‘Would I Lie To You?’ (UK number 17, US number 5, April 1985). The album contained less synthesized pop and more rock music, with Stewart using guitar-based songs including a glorious soul duet with Aretha Franklin on ‘Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves’ and the earthy ‘Ball And Chain’.

During 1985, Lennox experienced serious throat problems, which forced the band to cancel their appearance at July’s Live Aid charity concert. That same month, however, the duo enjoyed their sole UK chart-topper, the exuberant ‘There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart)’. Lennox made her big-screen debut in Revolution with Donald Sutherland and Al Pacino. Stewart, meanwhile, became one of the most sought-after record producers, working with Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Feargal Sharkey, Daryl Hall (of Hall And Oates), Bob Geldof and Mick Jagger. The following year another gem, Revenge, was released, which included the group’s last UK Top 10 single ‘Thorn In My Side’ (number 5, September 1986), ‘Missionary Man’, and the comparatively lightweight ‘The Miracle Of Love’. Savage in 1987 maintained the standard and featured one of Lennox’s finest vocal performances with the R&B rocker ‘I Need A Man’. In 1988, their performance at the televised Nelson Mandela Concert from Wembley was one of its highlights, and the acoustic ‘You Have Placed A Chill In My Heart’ was a triumph. Later that year Lennox duetted with Al Green for a rousing and soulful version of Jackie DeShannon’s ‘Put A Little Love In Your Heart’. We Too Are One at the end of 1989 became their most successful album, staying at number 1 into 1990, but proved to be their last.

The Eurythmics gained a mass following during the 80s by the sheer quality of their songs and managed to stay favourites with the media. It helped that Lennox was one of the most visually striking female performers of her era, with a voice of rare quality. Following their split, Stewart stayed in the background, using his talent as a producer and songwriter, and releasing his own solo albums. In 1992, Lennox issued her successful solo debut, Diva, and consolidated her reputation with Medusa in 1995. She reunited with Stewart in June 1998 at a tribute concert for journalist Ruth Picardie, and again at the following year’s BRIT awards where the duo were honoured for their ‘outstanding contribution’ to British music. Buoyed by the successful reunion, Stewart and Lennox returned to the studio to record Peace. The ability to still write well together after such a break was the most striking aspect of the album, especially in view of the duo’s past romantic relationship. The most revealing lyrics featured in ‘17 Again’, where Lennox sang; ‘you in all your jewellery, and my bleeding heart, who couldn’t be together, and who could not be apart’. The duo reunited in 2005 to record two new tracks for an updated greatest hits compilation.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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