Saturday, August 7, 2021

"I Don't Want to Be a Hero" by Johnny Hates Jazz

Song#:  3575
Date:  07/09/1988
Debut:  76
Peak:  31
Weeks:  12
Genre:  Sophisti-Pop

Pop Bits:  The British trio scored a big international hit with their single "Shattered Dreams." It went Top 10 in many countries including the US where it reached #2 Pop and #1 AC. The song was from their debut album Turn Back the Clock as was this follow-up single. While the tune did fairly well at home in the UK reaching #11, it didn't do as well in the US where it just missed the Pop Top 30 while getting to #15 AC and #19 Dance. The title track to the album would be the trio's next single and it would make it to #5 at AC. However, it failed to make the Pop chart. It would be their last single to make it on to any US chart.

ReduxReview:  This was an appropriate follow-up to "Shattered Dreams." It kept the trio's silky, groovy sound intact and it had a good, hooky chorus. It nearly made the Top 30, but probably should have gone a bit further. I think what may have held it back a little was the lyrics. They were a little dire and political, which didn't really fit the slickness of the trio's sophisti-pop. It was a shame the title track didn't catch on at Pop. It deservedly got to the AC Top 5. It was a sweet mid-tempo tune that should have been another Top 40 entry for the trio.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Following the success of their debut album, lead singer and main songwriter Clark Datchler decided to quit the group and try for a solo career. The remaining two members decided to replace Datchler and brought Phil Thornalley on board. In the fall of '89, the new lineup issued out a single, "Turn the Tide," to try and keep momentum going, but it stalled at a low #84 in the UK. By the time they finished the album Tall Stories in 1991, it seemed like their time had past. Neither the album nor its two singles made the UK charts and that brought an end to Johnny Hates Jazz. The original trio, Datchler, Mike Nocito, and Calvin Hayes, would reunite in 2009 and play some shows. Hayes would drop out of the trio the next year. Datchler and Nocito went on to record two indie albums under the Johnny Hates Jazz moniker.


  1. 6/10 for me as well, I definitely agree the title track should've been a much bigger hit and was the better song than this one, I was surprised this song was the higher charting single than the title track, I used to hear the title track on the Satellite Feed at my job many years ago.

  2. People just weren't into overt political statements in their pop hits at the time. They had already soured on Jackson Browne when he went full on activist in his lyrics. Political protest songs would have their day in a more divided country in the new millennium, but the Reagan era pretty much only gave a pass to Springsteen and Mellencamp and only because they weren't as in your face about it.