Monday, January 4, 2021

"I Need a Man" by Eurythmics

Song#:  3365
Date:  12/19/1987
Debut:  87
Peak:  46
Weeks:  10
Genre:  Synth Rock

Pop Bits:  Five albums into their career, Eurythmics (Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart) had earned two gold and two platinum LPs, which spawned three Pop Top 10 singles. Their fifth album, 1986's Revenge, signaled a slight dip in popularity peaking at #12 and only going gold. For their sixth album, they needed something bolder to win back some of the audience they had lost. They came up with Savage, a collection of songs that saw the duo reaching back to their more experimental days by toying with the new sound sampling techniques of the day. Lennox and Stewart wrote, produced, and performed everything on the album with only Olle Romo lending a hand with programming. This near-solo effort was different from their previous two LPs, which saw them expand from a synthpop duo into a more full-on rock band with side musicians. To introduce the album, this first single was pushed out. The song was unable to catch on and it fizzled before it could reach the Pop Top 40. It also got to #32 at Rock. (The tune combined with another album track was able to reach #6 at Dance.) The results were disappointing and played into album sales. Savage peaked at #41 and missed the gold-level mark. It was the duo's worst showing since their non-charting 1981 debut album In the Garden.

ReduxReview:  The rollout of Savage was similar to their previous LP Revenge in that the singles initially released in the duo's home UK territory was different from the US. In October of '87, the track "Beethoven (I Love to Listen To)" was released in the UK. I remember seeing it in Billboard on the UK chart and couldn't wait to hear it because the title was so intriguing. I assumed it would be the first single in the US, but then "I Need a Man" came out. I was hardly disappointed though because I absolutely loved the song. It was a balls-to-the-wall bluesy rock jam with a killer performance by Lennox. I'm guessing it was selected first for US release because the experimental "Beethoven" only got to #26 in the UK and the previous album's rock-leaning lead single "Missionary Man" did well in the US (#14 Pop/#1 Rock). I thought for certain "I Need a Man" was going to sail into the US Pop Top 10, but then it stalled outside of the Top 40. I'm not really sure why. Maybe folks (especially straight guys) didn't want go around singing "I Need a Man." Or maybe it was just too loud and in-your-face for pop radio. Despite the failure of the single, the song had remained popular with fans, as has the album. Critics were not that kind to the LP when it came out, but it has gained a better reputation over the years and even Lennox and Stewart have said it was their favorite album in their catalog. I loved Savage and thought folks missed out at the time. It really should have been a much bigger hit and this song should have made the Top 10.

ReduxRating:  9/10

Trivia:  To help promote Savage, Eurythmics teamed up with director Sophie Muller to create an accompanying video album. A video would be shot for each track on the album and would then be loosely tied together with a concept. Throughout the videos, Annie Lennox appeared as herself, as a mousey housewife, and as an extroverted vamp. The video album was received well and would go on to receive a Grammy nomination for Best Long Form Music Video. Two of the album's videos would receive MTV Music Video Award nominations. Muller, who directed all but two of the Savage videos, would later do another concept video album with Annie Lennox for her 1992 solo debut Diva. It would go on to win the Grammy for Best Long Form Music Video.


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