Sunday, December 17, 2017

"The NeverEnding Story" by Limahl

Song#:  2259
Date:  03/23/1985
Debut:  87
Peak:  17
Weeks:  19
Genre:  Synthpop, Soundtrack

Pop Bits:  Christopher Hamill, aka Limahl, achieved international success as the lead singer of Kajagoogoo, the one-hit wonder band that gave us the #5 hit "Too Shy." Following that success, differences in the band led to Hamill getting sacked. He opted for a solo career and signed on with EMI. He recorded his debut album, Don't Suppose, and the track "Only for Love" was issued as the first single. In the UK, the song was moderately successful getting to #16. A second single, "Too Much Trouble," didn't do all that well reaching #64. While all this was going on, Limahl was asked to provide vocals for this theme song to the fantasy film The NeverEnding Story. Prior to the film being released in the UK, the song was issued as a single. It did well reaching #4 in the UK and hitting #1 in several European countries. In the US it got into the Pop Top 20 while going to #6 at AC and #10 Dance. The song did not originally appear on Limahl's debut album, but after it became a hit the album would be reissued with the track (in place of another track). The album didn't sell all that well, but it gave Limahl the opportunity to record a follow-up in '86.

ReduxReview:  First, I have to say that I love The NeverEnding Story movie. I'm not all that into fantasy-style films, but that one gets to me every time. This closing theme song actually fit it quite well and I thought it was a good little tune. I didn't think it would be a sizable hit though. It was a little bubbly, cutsy, and nearly like a kid's song, which was appropriate for the film. I thought it's chances of success were slim, but lo-and-behold it actually got inside the Top 20. It's a sweet little tune that makes me think of the film whenever I hear it. (Side note - I don't necessarily consider this to be a one-hit wonder song as it peaked a bit too low and wasn't a major hit. However, some folks do and thanks to the sole hit from his former band Kajagoogoo, Limahl is one of a handful of artists who were one-hit wonders as part of a group and as a solo artist.)

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) This song had a female voice supported Limahl's lead vocals. The voice was supplied by singer Beth Andersen. Andersen was a session singer and provided lead vocals on a couple of songs for film soundtracks, including "Dance Dance Dance," which was featured in a key scene in the 1983 film Scarface. She would also co-write the song "Hold Me," which was recorded by Laura Branigan for her album of the same name. The track would be selected as the LP's second single, but it peaked at a very modest #82 in late '85. Limahl would also record a French version of "NeverEnding Story." For that recording, the female vocal was handled by Ann Calvert. Titled "L'Histoire Sans Fin," it would be the b-side to single of "NeverEnding" released in France. The single would reach #7.  2) There are a lot of songs where the ending uses a fade-out instead of coming to a distinct conclusion. Fade-outs are common, but this song is unusual because it also has a fade-in. This is not only uncommon in general, but for a single it is quite rare. Apparently the reason it was done is because the songwriters, Giorgio Moroder and Keith Forsey, wanted the song to fit the "never-ending" theme of the movie. Having the song fade-in and then fade-out makes it seem like the song never really ends.



  1. Even fade-outs have become very rare. I read an article about it a couple of years ago. Apparently songs faded out, so the DJ would know it was time to get ready to talk or play the next record. With everything so pre-programmed at stations now, that was no longer necessary, and nearly every pop song released now stops instead of fading out.

    1. It's interesting how things change. I miss the fade out. To me, that's where an ear worm really begins - that continuous chorus that never seems to stop and once the record is done it just keeps repeating in your head. I've been aware of some artists who think fade outs are a cheat and that it was because a songwriter couldn't come up with an ending. I think that is unfair. Fade outs can be an effective tool.

  2. There are even a couple of fade outs in classical music. Neptune from Holst's "The Planets" is an obvious one. The finale of Mahler's Ninth Symphony has a last page that takes more than 5 minutes and is written like an extended fade-out.

  3. Interestingly, I'm pretty sure all six of George Michael's singles from the "Faith" album have a definite ending. Only a couple of tracks on the album (including "Part 2" of "I Want Your Sex") have a fade out. I remember people commenting at the time that the album was well liked in part because most of the songs have a definite ending.

    1. True. There are some songs that just need a solid ending while there are others where a fade out is effective and appropriate. I'm a fan of both.