Tuesday, May 26, 2020

"Mary's Prayer" by Danny Wilson

Song#:  3145
Date:  06/06/1987
Debut:  92
Peak:  23
Weeks:  20
Genre:  Sophisti-Pop

Pop Bits:  This Scottish trio was made up of brothers Gary and Kit Clark along with Ged Grimes. Gary and Ged had known each other since their school days and at one point ended up in London together trying to get a music career going by joining a couple of bands. When nothing was working out, they moved back to Scotland and with Kit started their own group. Eventually, they were spotted by a Virgin Records rep and in 1986 they signed on with the label. A debut album titled Meet Danny Wilson was recorded and this first single was issued out. In the UK, the song initially didn't make much of an impression peaking at #86. Despite those results, the plan for a US launch proceeded. The song debuted low on the chart and after three weeks it looked as if the song was going to peak, but then the track picked up some momentum and slowly started to climb. It would eventually get near the Pop Top 20. It did even better at AC getting to #6. The album sold a few copies and peaked at #79. Unfortunately, it would be the trio's only song and album to reach the Pop chart. Their second album, Bebop Moptop, disappeared quickly with the track "If Everything You Said Was True" only getting to #49 at AC. Plans for a third album were scrapped after the band decided to split.

ReduxReview:  Is it a guy? Is it a group? What's a Danny Wilson? I hate it when a band uses a person's name that has nothing to do with the people in the band. It's just so confusing. The band later admitted that it wasn't the smartest thing they did as people would assume that the lead singer was Danny Wilson. Yeah, not smart guys. But then again, it kind of worked out okay for Alice Cooper. Regardless of the name, this single was breezy and refreshing. It had some nice chord progressions, especially the one that came at the end of the chorus that gave off a feeling of uncertainty. It was a lovely tune and I bought the single. The album was also interesting and engaging. It's too bad they couldn't replicate the success of this song.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) The song's success in the US prompted a re-release in the UK. It did better, but not great topping out at #42. Later in '87, a radio program asked listeners what song released that year should have been a top hit but wasn't. "Mary's Prayer" ended up topping the poll. The record company decided to give the song another shot and pushed it out again. Third time was the charm with the song reaching #3.  2) When the Clark brothers and Grimes got together, they called their new band Spencer Tracey, after the actor. After getting signed by Virgin, the plan was to keep that name. After the LP was completed and most all the details in place including cover art, they got a legal warning from Spencer Tracey's estate saying they could not use the name and that they would sue the label and band if they did. The band was then instructed by Virgin to get a new name pronto so that they could still get the album released on time. Apparently still liking the idea of a person's name for the trio, the Clark brothers remember that a favorite film of their dad's was the 1952 Frank Sinatra musical drama Meet Danny Wilson. They decided on Danny Wilson for the band name and then utilized the film title for their album title. The film came at a time when Sinatra's career was at a low point. It got middling reviews and was not a box office hit. The film may be known more for what happened behind the scenes. Legend has it that Sinatra and his co-star Shelley Winters hated each other and it got so bad on the set that during an argument Winters hauled off and punched Sinatra. Sinatra's career would be revived in a big way with his next film, 1953's From Here to Eternity, for which he would receive the Best Supporting Actor Oscar. Winters wouldn't be far behind as she would get her first Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for 1959's The Diary of Anne Frank.


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