Wednesday, December 25, 2019

"The Honeythief" by Hipsway

Song#:  2992
Date:  01/24/1987
Debut:  97
Peak:  19
Weeks:  15
Genre:  Pop, Alternative Rock

Pop Bits:  This outfit from Glasgow, Scotland, was formed by members of a couple other bands that happened to have broken up right about the same time. The combined experience of the members helped them quickly gel and it didn't take long for them to secure a record deal with Mercury. They began recording songs and released a couple of singles in the UK in 1985, but both were low-charters. Then this third single got pushed out. It ended up catching on and eventually peaked at #17 early in '86. By that time, their debut album was ready and it was released. Two more singles from the LP would be modest charters. As '86 dwindled down, a deal was struck for US distribution and nearly a year after it was a hit in the UK, this song got a shot Stateside. It would be a hit in the clubs with the tune getting to #9 on the Dance chart. It would also make the Pop Top 20. Another track from the album, "Ask the Lord," would get to #44 at Dance. It was a good start for the band, but then things quickly went downhill. After two members left the band, they soldiered on and recorded a second album in 1989. It produced one minor charting single in the UK and then disappeared. The band broke up soon after.

ReduxReview:  With its dance-pop/blue-eyed soul feel, hooky chorus, and deep voice of Grahame Skinner, this tune stood out on the radio. It was a bit unusual because the title of the song is not in the chorus. It gets mentioned in other sections. Still, it was hooky enough to be memorable and it was a good song for the dance floor. I will admit though that it took me forever to figure out what he was singing in the chorus. It's "the light of deep regret, let me see what I don't get." Whatever that means. I didn't care though. It was a fun song to hear.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Group co-founder and bassist Johnny McElhone had previously been a member of the new wave band Altered Images. That group released three albums in the early 80s that resulted in three Top 10 hits in the UK. They had very little success in the US with only one of their songs, 1981's "I Could Be Happy" (#7 UK), making it to #45 on the Dance chart. When that band split, McElhone helped form Hipsway. He stayed on for the debut album and subsequent tours, but then left the group. He then co-founded the Alt Rock band Texas with singer Sharleen Spiteri. Their first single, 1989's "I Don't Want a Lover," would reach #7 in the UK. It would also get some attention in the States hitting #11 on the Alternative Rock chart while getting to #27 Rock and #77 Pop. It would be their only charting song in the US. However, they continued to do well in the UK racking up two #1 albums and thirteen Top 10 hits.


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