Thursday, June 18, 2020

"Living In A Box" by Living In A Box

Song#:  3168
Date:  06/20/1987
Debut:  85
Peak:  17
Weeks:  15
Genre:  Dance-Pop, Sophisti-Pop

Pop Bits:  This UK trio officially came together in 1985. Anthony Critchlow and Marcus Vere were working up a new track when vocalist Richard Darbyshire popped into the studio. Darbyshire was nearly set to embark on a solo career on Virgin Records when he was asked to supply vocals to Critchlow and Vere's new song. The three worked well together and the resulting track called "Living in a Box" got them an offer from Chrysalis Records. Darbyshire set his solo aspirations aside and the trio was born. Needing a band name, they used the title of the song that brought them together. Work began on a self-titled debut album and this single got pushed out. It did well in the UK reaching #5. Across the pond, the song was a hit in the clubs and it got to #6 on the Dance chart. It then crossed over to Pop where it cracked the Top 20. Despite the hit, the album was a modest seller only getting to #89.

ReduxReview:  I liked this song when it came out and grabbed the single. Beside the tune itself, I really liked the production. It was crisp and clean, yet it had enough heft to drive the song. It wasn't one of those cheap sounding 80s tracks. Producers Richard Burgess and Tom Lord-Alge, who had both been doing excellent work with other artists, did a great job shining this one up. It's kind of a lost track now even though it made the Top 20. The album wasn't too bad either, but there was nothing as catchy as this track.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  R&B singer Bobby Womack covered this tune for his 1987 album The Last Soul Man. He also released his version as a single, but it failed to chart in the US. It did make a very minor impression on the UK chart at #70. By this point in time, Womack's career was in free fall. A few years earlier in 1981 he had scored a #1 R&B album with The Poet and his 1985 album So Many Rivers featured the #2 R&B hit "I Wish He Didn't Trust Me So Much." His next two albums didn't get much attention and so for The Last Soul Man he decided to do his own rendition of "Living in a Box" for the R&B audience. It didn't work out and Womack ended up losing his contract with MCA Records. To make things worse, Womack had been battling a drug addiction for years. By the 90s, he would kick the habit and continue with his music. In 2012, Womack experienced a bit of a comeback with the album The Bravest Man in the Universe, which got to #21 on the R&B chart. Womack would die in 2014 before a follow-up album could be released.


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