Wednesday, September 7, 2016

"Don't Let Go" by Wang Chung

Song#:  1778
Date:  02/04/1984
Debut:  89
Peak:  38
Weeks:  11
Genre:  New Wave, Pop

Pop Bits:  After two failed attempts to get a band off the ground, musicians Jack Hues and Nick Feldman, along with another former bandmate Darren Costin, tried again with their new band Huang Chung. They issued a couple of singles for an indie label, but the songs failed to chart. However, the tunes got the attention of Arista Records and the band was signed for a two album deal. Their self-titled debut LP came out in 1982 and promptly disappeared. Arista decided to keep them around for the second contracted album, but the band's manager got them out of the contract and moved them over to Geffen. Both the label and the band agreed on a name change and the trio moved forward as Wang Chung. They recorded their second album, Points on the Curve, and this song was selected to be the first single released in the US. Dance clubs loved the song and it became a hit reaching #1 on that chart. Rock didn't much care for it and it fizzled at #49, but it was able to hold on at Pop to become their first Top 40 entry.

ReduxReview:  With Jack Hues' unique voice taking the lead, this song stood out on radio. It's a nice piece of 80s Euro new wave with an atmospheric production and a solid chorus. It could have done a bit better on the chart, but it's not something that I'd consider Top 10 material. Still, it was a nice introduction to the band and one that I probably should have hooked into when it first came out.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  So what's with the name? It's one of those that ended up being just as famous as their biggest hit "Everybody Have Fun Tonight," thanks to the phrase "everybody Wang Chung tonight." There seems to be a few explanations floating around and even the band has stated different answers. One story is that the name is representative of the sound a guitar makes when a player hits a power chord, but that doesn't hold much water since the band's original name is Huang Chung, not Wang Chung. Band member Feldman has said in interviews that he saw the phrase "huang chung" in a book he was reading. The meaning of it varies from being Chinese for "perfect pitch" to Mandarin for "yellow bell." Whatever the exact origin, the band knew after their first album that the name was not working and once signed to Geffen they began to search for a new one. Apparently at one point, David Geffen suggested they just spell out the first word as pronounced. The band liked the idea and moved forward as Wang Chung. In regards to the new name, if asked about what it means now they usually reply that it can be anything you want it to be.


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