Friday, February 5, 2021

"Never Can Say Goodbye" by The Communards

Song#:  3396
Date:  01/30/1988
Debut:  68
Peak:  51
Weeks:  9
Genre:  Hi-NRG, Dance

Pop Bits:  This UK duo consisting of Jimmy Somerville and Richard Coles made a splash at home with their 1986 self-titled debut album. It would be a platinum seller there thanks mainly to their #1 cover of "Don't Leave Me This Way." While that track would hit #1 on the US Dance chart, it could only manage to reach #40 on the Pop chart. In the fall of '87, the duo returned with their second album, Red. Its first single, "Tomorrow," didn't do well in the UK only getting to #23. But then The Communards came zooming back with this remake, which got to #4. In the States, it would serve as the LP's first single and it did well on the Dance chart getting to #2. Yet once again, the duo couldn't break through in a more mainstream way with the song stopping near the halfway point on the Pop chart. The album would be another platinum seller for them in the UK, but in the US it only managed a #93 showing. Despite having great success at home, it seems the duo fell into the trappings of fame and it brought an end to their partnership in '88.

ReduxReview:  This Hi-NRG track loaded up the dance floors back in the day. The arrangement along with Stephen Hague's excellent production pushed the disco classic into the 80s, but it was Somerville's soaring falsetto that ultimately sold the track. He took the tune to thrilling heights and was able to solidly put his own stamp on the song. I absolutely loved this record and thought for sure it was going to be a hit. I was so disappointed when it stalled at the halfway mark. I guess some folks at pop radio along with listeners just couldn't get into the heavy dance track and Somerville's vocal, which was a shame. Luckily, the track has continued to be played over the years and I think in general it is actually more popular and recognizable now than it was back in the day.

ReduxRating:  9/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) This is a remake of a song originally recorded by The Jackson 5. Their 1971 version reached #1 at R&B and #2 Pop. Written by Clifton Webb, it was intended for the Supremes, but those in charge at Motown thought it would be a better fit for the Jackson 5. Not long after the Jackson's released their single, soul singer Isaac Hayes recorded and released a version. His single got to #5 R&B and #22 Pop. Then just a few years later in '74, a disco-styled version of the song was recorded by Gloria Gaynor. It became her first Pop Top 10 hit getting to #9. It also got to #1 Dance, #11 AC, and #34 R&B. Gaynor's version got to #2 in the UK, surpassing the Jackson 5's original which only got to #33. The Communards patterned their remake from Gaynor's hit version.  2) After The Communards split, lead singer Jimmy Somerville headed out on a solo career. His first effort was 1990's Read My Lips. It featured another remake, this time of Sylvester's 1978 disco classic "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)" (#36 US Pop, #1 US Dance, #8 UK). Somerville's version would be another Top 10 for him at home getting to #5. However, it didn't do well in the US only getting to #34 Dance and #87 Pop. He would earn another UK Top 10 with a cover of the Bee Gees' "To Love Somebody" and would make it back to #1 on the US Dance chart with 1995's "Heartbeat."


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