Tuesday, June 28, 2022

"Cuddly Toy (Feel for Me)" by Roachford

Song#:  3863
Date:  04/15/1989
Debut:  97
Peak:  25
Weeks:  14
Genre:  Pop, Rock, Soul

Pop Bits:  This British soul/pop band was headed up by Andrew Roachford. Roachford picked up music quickly as a kid playing piano. In his teens he started performing in clubs alongside his uncle, who was a jazz saxophonist. Over the years Roachford's experience grew and by the mid-80's he was ready to step out and form his own group. He would hire in three other musicians and together they became Roachford in 1987. They quickly garnered attention getting opening slots for artists like Terence Trent D'Arby and it didn't take long for labels to notice. Columbia Records came along and felt strongly enough about the band to sign them to a seven album deal - a bold move at the time. They began recording songs for an album and in the summer of '88 they released their first single "Family Man." It didn't get anywhere so then the label pushed out "Cuddly Toy." It made a minor dent on the UK chart at #61. A self-titled album was then released in the fall of '88 followed by a third single that barely scraped the chart. Columbia was disappointed the band hadn't really broken through yet, so it was decided that "Cuddly Toy" would be reissued and given a bigger push. The second time around the song clicked and got to #4 in the UK. With that results, Columbia then got the tune issued out in the US with the adjusted titled "Cuddly Toy (Feel for Me)." The tune got some attention cracking the Pop Top 30 while getting to #34 Dance. In turn, their debut album would be able to top out at #109. "Cuddly Toy" would be the band's only single to reach a US chart. They had better luck in the 90s in their UK homeland.

ReduxReview:  Here is one that I don't remember hearing at all. I remember the band name as it sort of stood out, but I have no recollection of this Top 30 entry. It's a pretty good rock 'n' soul jam that kinda sounds like a cross between Terence Trent D'Arby and Living Colour. It picked up airplay somewhere back in the day, but certainly not where I lived. I can't say that is is a lost gem of the decade, but it was an interesting find. The album had some interesting tracks, but none of them were going to take Roachford any further on the charts. Their audience back home was more receptive and they were lucky to carve out a pretty good career in the 90s.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) "Cuddly Toy" was a song that Andrew Roachford had written as a sort of in-joke for the band. They would usually play it near the end of their sets to their own amusement and didn't intend to record the tune. However, after most of the tracks for their debut album had been recorded, the label wanted one more song and asked about the one they played in their sets. The label A&R folks loved the tune, but when Roachford told them it was "Cuddly Toy," they balked at the titled saying no one would take a song with that title seriously and wanted a name change. Roachford said no, the title stays. The label gave in and the song not only made the album, but would become their one and only Top 10 in the UK. (Note that this is not the first song to use the title "Cuddly Toy." A song by the same title was written by Harry Nilsson and recorded by The Monkees in 1967. It was not released as a single. Nilsson would record the song himself for his '67 second album. It wasn't released as a single either.)  2) Although this song would be Roachford's only charting single in the US, they remained popular back home in the UK. Over the course of four albums (two of those would go gold) the band would grab eight Top 40 hits. After their contract with Columbia expired, the band went their own ways with Andrew Roachford heading out on a solo career. In 2010, Roachford would become a member of a reformed Mike + the Mechanics. He would tour with them and to-date record three albums, two of which made the UK Top 10. Roachford would also get on the UK album chart in 2020. His collaboration album with singer Beverly Knight, Twice in a Lifetime, would get to #31.


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