Sunday, January 29, 2017

"Wonderland" by Big Country

Song#:  1925
Date:  06/02/1984
Debut:  87
Peak:  86
Weeks:  2
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  This Scottish band's unique sound got them a #3 Rock/#17 Pop hit with their single "In a Big Country." Their associated debut album, The Crossing, would become a gold seller along the way. Their success spawned a lengthy world tour that would delay them from getting their second LP recorded. The band had already completed this song, so in order to keep their momentum going it was decided the tune would be issued as a stand-alone single in the UK. It ended up being their biggest hit to-date there reaching #7 on the chart. The single was then released in the US, but it wasn't able to catch on. It stopped at #48 at Rock while only spending two weeks on the Pop chart. In the US, an accompanying EP with three other tracks titled Wonderland would actually sell fairly well and get to #65. Unfortunately, this song would be their last to reach the Pop chart in the US. In the UK, they would remain popular and continue to place songs and albums on the charts through 1999.

ReduxReview:  I think this is a terrific song from the band, but it was never gonna go far on the Pop chart. It has a bit of a U2 feel to it, so I'm a little surprised it didn't do better at Rock. It's a shame the band didn't fully catch on in the States. I think people were intrigued by their guitar-bagpipe sound from "In a Big Country," but then tuned out afterward. Their next album, Steeltown, was a bit difficult, but their next two albums contained some solid arena-ready tunes like "Look Away" (#7 UK). I bought the Wonderland EP and loved it. Unfortunately, the title-track song just didn't click.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  The band's 1999 LP Driving to Damascus would be their final one with founder/lead singer/songwriter Stuart Adamson. In 1996, Adamson had moved to Nashville seeking new inspiration and in the process met his second wife. He suffered from alcoholism, but had been sober for many years. However, he apparently began drinking again following the lackluster results of Driving to Damascus. Later in 2001 his marriage fell apart and he was facing a court date for drunk driving charges. On the day his wife filed for divorce, Adamson disappeared. Three weeks later he was found in a hotel room closet in Honolulu, Hawaii. He had hung himself. The band basically ceased to exist at that time, but in 2007 the remaining members came together for a 25th anniversary tour. They continued to do tours over the years in various line-ups and in 2013 they issued a new album titled The Journey.


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