Monday, December 5, 2016

"What Is Love?" by Howard Jones

Song#:  1871
Date:  04/21/1984
Debut:  84
Peak:  33
Weeks:  13
Genre:  Synthpop

Pop Bits:  Jones' debut album Human's Lib hit #1 in his UK homeland thanks to the #3 hit "New Song" and this second single, which peaked at #2. While the two songs wouldn't reach those heights in the US, they did get him established on the charts. "New Song" would get to #27 (#58 Rock) while this second single would do just about as well at #33 (#20 Rock).

ReduxReview:  I liked "New Song," but this was the song that got me interested in Howard Jones. I thought it had a nice, dark groove and a real solid sing-along chorus. Rupert Hines' production gave the tune a robust sound that elevated it above the typical thin and tinny sounding synthpop. I went out and got the album and it has been a favorite of mine since then.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) In the UK, Jones ended up with four hit singles from Human's Lib. Along with the two mentioned above, "Hide and Seek" got to #12 and "Pearl in the Shell" made it to #7. Neither song saw any action in the US, although "Pearl" did "bubble under" the US Pop chart at #108.  2) Several of the songs on Human's Lib including "What Is Love" were co-written by Bill Bryant. Bryant was a speaker on spirituality and would hold group talks to share his experiences and philosophies. Bryant had befriended Jones' two brothers and the three began dabbling in music and lyrics while Bryant began holding group talks. Bryant then met Howard and the two hit it off. Jones soon became a close friend and follower of Bryant. Apparently, Jones asked if he could rework some of the tunes his brothers and Bryant had worked up and began to perform them. Guided by Bryant and others, Jones' music career began. However, as Jones' career started to take off things changed. A major label record deal, new management, and new pressures seemed to cause a rift in the Bryant/Jones relationship. It wasn't long before the pair decided to part ways.


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