Saturday, March 4, 2017

"High on Emotion" by Chris de Burgh

Song#:  1959
Date:  06/30/1984
Debut:  87
Peak:  44
Weeks:  13
Genre:  Pop, Rock

Pop Bits:  Chris de Burgh broke through on the US Pop chart with his #34 song "Don't Pay the Ferryman," taken from his Rupert Hine-produced album The Getaway. Hine stayed on for the follow-up and the pair came up with Man on the Line. This first single kept the rock feel of "Ferryman" and nearly made it into the Top 40. It did far better at Rock getting to #3. It would be the only single from the LP to chart.

ReduxReview: "Ferryman" was one of my favorite songs from the 80s and this song was a worthy follow-up. It rocked out quite well, which for de Burgh wasn't really the norm. At this point in time, folks in the US knew him mainly through these two rock tunes. However, his reputation in Europe and elsewhere was that of a balladeer and storyteller. So these jams were a bit out of character. Truth be told, I much prefer the rockin' side of de Burgh and Man on the Line has a couple of good ones. His story songs can be fine as well, but when he is in romantic balladeer mode, I find him bordering on corny. Man on the Line was the last of his rock-oriented albums and that's too bad. It would be the last LP of his that I would enjoy. Luckily, I can still revisit terrific songs like this one. I don't know why this stalled outside the Top 40. It was a hit at Rock and the sing-a-long chorus was spot-on. Hines' production was also top-notch. It lacked a good video, so maybe not having good support at MTV hampered the track. I still think it's a great tune.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  The mid-80s were a busy time for producer Rupert Hine. In addition to working with de Burgh, he was also helping out artists like The Fixx, Howard Jones, and Tina Turner. A couple of these connections led to guest appearances on Man on the Line. Howard Jones would play the piano on the ballad "The Head and the Heart," while Tina Turner would supply a spoken word vocal in the chorus of the track "The Sound of a Gun." Along the way, Hine also found time to do his own solo albums including 1983's The Wildest Wish to Fly. He also established a "virtual" band called Thinkman. Basically, it would be solo work by Hine that was enhanced by actors portraying band members. The band's debut LP, The Formula, was released in 1986 and the track "Best Adventures" got some good exposure on MTV. However, neither the single or album charted. Hine would later release two more albums under the Thinkman moniker. One of the actors portraying a Thinkman was British comedian Julian Clary. Going by the name of Leo Hurll, it was one of Clary's first jobs. Although he's not well-known in the US, Clary has been a comedic star in the UK since the mid-80s. In addition to his stand-up shows, Clary has been featured in movies, on stage, and specifically on TV programs, many of which he served as the host. In 2012, he was a contestant on the UK's version of Celebrity Big Brother and ended up winning.  (P.S.: I really liked The Formula. I still play it on occasion. I saw the video for "Best Adventures" on MTV and loved the song, so I bought the album. Check it out sometime!)


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