Monday, April 5, 2021

"Shattered Dreams" by Johnny Hates Jazz

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  3454
Date:  03/19/1988
Debut:  63
Peak:  2
Weeks:  19
Genre:  Sophisti-Pop

Pop Bits:  This UK trio consisted of Clark Datchler, Mike Nocito, and Calvin Hayes. Back in '82, Datchler and Hayes were in a band called Hot Club that was signed to RAK Records. They attempted to break through with a couple of singles, but neither clicked. Then Datchler was offered a solo deal with RAK and began working on tracks in the studio. Hayes helped out along with RAK engineer/producer Nocito. A couple of singles from the sessions were released, but again nothing came from them. Along the way, Datchler, Hayes, and Nocito became a working unit and they eventually evolved into what would become Johnny Hates Jazz, the moniker apparently coming from a friend who, well, hated jazz. Their first release was the single "Me and My Foolish Heart." It didn't get anywhere, but it did receive some good notices and picked up airplay, which then led to a contract with Virgin Records. Next for release was "Shattered Dreams." The song took off in the UK in the spring of '87 and eventually got to #5. The trio then had to get something else out as a follow-up and released "I Don't Want to Be a Hero," which topped out at #11. An album titled Turn Back the Clock was quickly assembled and issued out in January of '88. It would get to #1 and go platinum. While all this was going on, "Shattered Dreams" received a US release in March of '88. It would do even better getting to #2 on the Pop chart and stay there for three weeks. It would also get to #1 on the AC chart. The hit would help the album get to #56.

ReduxReview:  I loved this sleek track from the first listen and immediately bought the single back in the day. It was a well-crafted song with a terrific, catchy chorus. It also had a dreamy, glossy late-80s production and an arrangement that provided musical hooks as well. I'd rank this high on a list of the best 80s sophisti-pop tracks alongside classics by acts like ABC and Spandau Ballet. I ended up buying the album too, which I thought was underrated and overlooked at the time.

ReduxRating:  9/10

Trivia:  JHJ member Calvin Hayes had a bit of a leg up when it came to the music business. His dad was producer, studio owner, and RAK Records founder Mickie Most (real name Michael Peter Hayes). Most began in music as a performer and in the late 50s had success mainly in South Africa fronting Mickie Most and His Playboys. But the rigors of touring wore on Most and he began to work behind the scenes as a producer. Among his first efforts was the 1964 classic #1 hit by the Animals "House of the Rising Sun." Success with other artists following including hits by Herman's Hermits, Brenda Lee, and Donovan. The success led him to develop his own label RAK Records. He signed many artists to the label including Suzi Quatro and Hot Chocolate ("You Sexy Thing," #3, 1975). Among his discoveries was Kim Wilde, whom he heard sing in a studio session backing her father Marty. Her first three albums were on RAK including her self-titled debut, which spawned the hit "Kids in America." In the early 80s, Most would sign a band called Hot Club. That band featured his son Calvin Hayes. Hot Club didn't get far, but Hayes was able to stick around his dad's studio, which led to him working with Clark Datchler. Then Mike Nocito came along and Johnny Hates Jazz was formed. Their first single would be issued out on RAK. However, not long after that single was released, Most would sell RAK to EMI. Johnny Hates Jazz would then move over to Virgin Records. The RAK label and publishing company (along with the EMI sale) help put Most on the list of the richest people in the UK in the 90s with his mansion, Montebello, supposedly one of largest private residences to be built in London since WWII. Most would die in 2003 from asbestos-related cancer.


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