Saturday, February 23, 2019

"No One Is to Blame" by Howard Jones

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  2688
Date:  04/12/1986
Debut:  72
Peak:  4
Weeks:  23
Genre:  Pop, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  Jones' second album Dream Into Action was a platinum success thanks to the #5 single "Things Can Only Get Better." Two more charting singles would follow. In his UK homeland, the LP generated three Top 10's and a #14. It was a good run that set him up well for his next album. However, Jones thought that another track on the album, "No One Is to Blame," may have hit potential. On the LP, the track was mostly a keyboard/vocal take with some synth and drum additions. Jones thought a more radio-friendly version might make a good single. In order to accomplish this, it was suggested that Jones work up a new version of the song with hit maker Phil Collins. Along with Collins' co-producer Hugh Padgham, the trio remade the track with Collins playing drums. The new commercial-leaning track pretty much fell on deaf ears at Jones' label, but he convinced them to put it out as a single. In the UK, it did fairly well reaching #16, but the tune would truly find a home in the US. The song slowly took over the airways and would eventually reach the Pop Top 10 along with hitting #1 at AC (and #20 Rock). It would be Jones' biggest hit in the States and, unfortunately, his final song to make the Pop Top 10.

ReduxReview:  This Phil Collins-slicked up version of the song certainly turned a minor album track into a commercially viable single. While I like both takes of the track, I do think that Collins and Padgham did a great job polishing up the tune and making it sparkle like a pop gem. I prefer to hear this version if being played on its own. When listening to Dream Into Action, an album I love, I want to hear the original version. It's how I know and appreciate the album and the new take just wouldn't be a good fit in the lineup. It's kind of a rare case where the original and the remake both have their places.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) In the UK, this song would be a stand-alone single that would end up being a bonus track on the CD version of his 1986 album One to One. In the US, an EP titled Action Replay was created to help support the single. The EP contained the new version of "No One Is to Blame" along with three remixes of previously released songs and two other tracks that had only been available in the UK. Thanks to the hit, the EP sold well and made it to #34.  2) This song was covered by singer/songwriter Katrina Carlson in 2007. As an indie artist, Carlson has had several of her songs used in films and TV shows and has placed six song in the Top 30 of the AC chart including her remake of this tune. It reached #20.



  1. Replies
    1. A great choice. In the long run, it did become his classic signature song.