Thursday, July 30, 2020

"Misfit" by Curiosity Killed the Cat

Song#:  3210
Date:  08/01/1987
Debut:  93
Peak:  42
Weeks:  13
Genre:  Sophisti-Pop

Pop Bits:  This British quartet headed up by lead vocalist Ben Volpeliere-Pierrot formed in 1984 and a year later found themselves signed to Mercury Records. They began recording tracks for a debut album with producers Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare, but the sessions didn't go as well as expected and after trying to record with a couple of other producers, the label then brought in Stewart Levine to get things done. Levine was a successful American producer who recently had great success with Simply Red. With progress finally being made, this first single was released in the fall of '86. Unfortunately, it didn't get far topping out at #76 in the UK. The label was reluctant to release another single, but the band convinced them to issue out "Down to Earth" near the end of the year. The song steadily caught on and eventually reached #3. With a major hit under their belt, their self-titled debut album was released in April of '87. It would reach #1. After another Top 20 hit, the label then reissued "Misfit" and it got to #7. By that point, the label then tried to break the band in the US with "Misfit." The single would get a little attention and eventually peak just outside of the Top 40 (and #43 Dance). It would end up being the band's only charting song in the US. They would return in '89 with their second album Getahead. It failed to replicate the success of their debut and that left them off the Mercury roster. After a line-up change and a name alteration to just Curiosity, the band signed with RCA Records. Their first single for the label was a remake of the 1974 #8 US/#3 hit "Hang On in There Baby" by US soul singer/songwriter Johnny Bristol. It became a big #3 hit in the UK. Unfortunately, further singles didn't fare well and that left their album Back to Front getting a minimal release. The band would split afterwards.

ReduxReview:  These guys came along at a good time when British sophisti-pop/blue-eyed soul groups were hitting the charts (Simply Red, Level 42, Swing Out Sister, Wet Wet Wet, etc.). Why this song didn't hit the first time around in the UK is a mystery. It was a groovy tune that was better than the song that eventually broke them, "Down to Earth." Luckily, the tune got a second chance and it turned into a hit. However, US listeners preferred their pop with big hooks and this track didn't necessarily have them. I like the song just fine, but it's one that goes in one ear and out the other and leaves virtually no trace in between.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  When the band's debut album was coming together, they found out through their label that Andy Warhol was in London for an exhibition. They finagled their way into the event and ended up meeting Warhol who took a liking to the four guys. Warhol then asked them to attend the banquet following the exhibition. Apparently it was there that Warhol requested to hear the band's music. A cassette tape of the song "Misfit" got to Warhol the next day. He liked it well enough to want to make a music video for the tune. With their label's blessing, the band flew to New York and spent a week filming with Warhol, who even made an appearance in the video. When the single was released, the video grabbed some attention in part due to the Warhol connection, but it wasn't enough to push the single up the chart the first time around.


No comments:

Post a Comment