Saturday, February 9, 2019

"Johnny Come Home" by Fine Young Cannibals

Song#:  2674
Date:  04/05/1986
Debut:  89
Peak:  76
Weeks:  5
Genre:  Dance-Pop, Blue-Eyed Soul, Alternative Rock

Pop Bits:  Following the 1983 breakup of the English ska band The Beat (known as The English Beat in the US), two of its members went on to form the duo General Public ("Tenderness," 1984, #27 Pop) while two other members, Andy Cox and David Steele, set out to start their own band. They needed a vocalist to front the project and after an extensive search they hired in Roland Gift. The trio was having a difficult time finding label interest, but after performing on a UK music TV show called The Tube, they began receiving offers. They signed on with London Records (I.R.S. Records for the US) and began recording a self-titled debut album. This song was pushed out as the first single and it did well in the UK reaching #8. In the US, the tune along with another album track titled "Blue" would get to #9 on the Dance chart. However, it couldn't get a foothold on the Pop chart and halted about a quarter of the way up. Despite the song not doing that well at Pop, interest in the band helped the album reach #49.

ReduxReview:  This song is a bit unusual. Cox and Steele tamped down some of the ska from The Beat and added a bit more dance/pop elements along with some cool trumpet lines. I can understand why this would play well in the UK, but it was just a little too alternative for US pop radio. I don't dislike the tune, but I don't like it all that much either. I've also never been a fan of Roland Gift's voice. I tend to like singers with odd voices, but Gift's was one I found more annoying than endearing. It's an interesting song, but there's nothing here that holds my attention or makes me want to hear it again or listen to the album.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  The name of the band is taken from the title of a somewhat obscure 1960 film called All the Fine Young Cannibals. The film starred Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner. They were married at the time and it was their first film together. Wood and Wagner would be divorced later in 1962, but then would remarry in 1972. They would remain together until her much publicized, mysterious death in 1981. All the Fine Young Cannibals was not a hit film. It was based on the 1957 novel The Bixby Girls by Rosamond Marshall and also loosely based on the great jazz trumpeter Chet Baker. Wood and Wagner would not do another feature film together, but they did co-star in the 1973 TV move The Affair and Wood did guest spots on two of Wagner's hit TV shows, Switch and Hart to Hart.


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