Sunday, February 6, 2022

"Perfect" by Fairground Attraction

Song#:  3748
Date:  12/17/1988
Debut:  95
Peak:  80
Weeks:  6
Genre:  Pop, Folk-Rock, Singer/Songwriter

Pop Bits:  This London-based band was formed in 1987 by songwriter/guitarist Mark Nevin and Scottish singer Eddi Reader. Their unique alt/indie pop sound that had shades of skiffle, jazz, country, and Cajun music quickly gained attention when they began playing in clubs. It didn't take long for them to get an offer from a record label and they would end up signing on with RCA. Work began on their debut album The First of a Million Kisses and upon completion in the spring of '88 this first single was issued out in the UK. It became a major hit reaching #1. A second single, "Find My Love," would also do well peaking at #7. The singles sent the album to #2 and it would become a double-platinum seller. Eventually, the band would secure a US distribution deal and "Perfect" would finally be pushed out near the end of '88. While it wouldn't be a big hit, it's unusual sound worked for several radio formats and it would get to #23 Modern Rock, #31 AC, #80 Pop, and #85 Country. The album would then reach a minor #137. Their success at home in the UK would end up earning them two BRIT Awards for Best British Single ("Perfect") and Best British Album. It was an amazing start for the band, but then it all imploded. While prepping their second album in the fall of '89, Nevin and Reader were not getting along. Stories vary on what happened, but it seems like jealousy and ego got in the way. By January of '90, it all collapsed and the band was no more. After the break-up, RCA assembled an album of b-sides and other unreleased tracks titled Ay Fond Kiss which got to #55 in the UK.  

ReduxReview:  I'm not exactly sure where I first heard this song, but I know I loved it right away and went out to buy the single. It wasn't long before I bought the album and it quickly became a favorite. Nevin's tunes and Reader's voice along with the alt-folk sound of the band was just magical. It was music that came from old souls. "Perfect" was just an excellent single and it should have been a much bigger hit. However, I knew the style of it was going to be a hard sell at US pop stations despite it being so fun and catchy. I'm glad that I was able to hear it somewhere and that it led me to the album, which I still listen to every now and then. I was truly bummed when the band split. I wasn't much into Reader's solo career, but her second effort was quite good. I think that was because Nevin was on board for some of it. Such a shame that this band came and went so quickly.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Eddi Reader would start a solo career following the band's breakup. Her first four LPs would all reach the UK chart with her 1994 self-titled effort getting to #4. It would also earn her a BRIT for Best British Female Solo Artist. By the time Reader was recording the album, she and Nevin had set aside whatever happened with Fairground Attraction and they would work together on occasion. Nevin would contribute four songs to the Eddi Reader album including one he wrote with Kirsty MacColl titled "Joke (I'm Laughing)."  2) This song was remade by the American country band Baillie and the Boys. Their 1990 version was released as a single and it would make it to #23 on the Country chart. The band was headed up by lead singer Kathie Baillie and her husband, guitarist Michael Bonagura. Over the course of three albums from '87 to '90, the band scored seven Country Top 10s. Their chart success came to a sudden halt after their third album, but the band continued to tour and occasionally record in the years following.


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