Saturday, April 28, 2012

Y is for Yazoo

Yazoo, not to be confused with a search engine or a scandal 200 years ago in Georgia, were a British synthpop duo from Basildon, Essex who enjoyed some success in the early 1980s.

If you thought Swindon was bleak make a point of not visiting Basildon. It's basically a new town which means it was built in the 1960s so it's like the nasty bits of England without the old parts to redeem it. I have vague memory of its concrete precincts, blurred by the rain on the windscreen, as I killed time waiting for God know's what; or maybe just God.

Yazoo was formed Formed in late 1981 by former Depeche Mode songwriter Vince Clarke (synthesiser) and Alison Moyet (vocals).

Yazoo's first single Only You was released in 1982 and, although its sound was clearly rooted in the synthesizer obsessed eighties, it was an impressive debut, that launched Moyet's big voice on a big stage. She's certainly the sort of gal you'd want right by your side - at least if you found yourself in a fist fight.



The single was followed by Situation and Don't Go in 1982. Which was another excellent single that did well in the charts at the time. It brings back those crazy plastic nightclubs in the 1980s with expensive watery drinks when Yazoo were about the only promising thing on the turn table.





The second album You and Me Both also contained some great tracks like the single Nobody's Diary. I had totally forgotten how good this track was, albeit in an eighties context. We love this song because it is so much about love and loss and raises an important question that goes to the route of modern existence; namely does anybody keep a diary anymore? New hair-oos in this one and Vince stuck his finger in a powet socket.



Yazoo never made it big in the US. Sadly Yazoo split up in 1983, although unusually both elements of the band had some degree of success - Moyet on her own and Clarke as one half of Erasure. Moyet had a Number One hit with Invisible and another major hit with Love Resurrection. Here Moyet does an impression of Lawrence of Arabia minus his motorcycle.



Ultimately Erasure were bigger and better becoming one of the most successful groups of the mid 1980s and early 1990s. This is Ship of Fools.


Curious fact about Yazoo - The band was called Yaz because a band called Yazoo already existed. This is also the name of a birth control pill.

15 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Her voice is really different. The more I listened the more I liked. The heavy synthesizer makes one wonder how we managed to dance to a lot of the 80's music doesn't it? Back then though it was awesome. :) Okay...Nobody's Diary, the guy's hair and glasses in that one made me choke a bit on a sip of water. Reminds me of big bird, maybe after he stole an oversize pair of glasses from John Lennon. I know, weird association but I can't help it. Hysterical! I really like the band though. Nice Y post. :) ***deleted first comment for typo.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Glad you liked it - actually I had not thought about Yazoo for a long time but like them now I listen again although the heavy synth is dated. Yeah he looks weird. Good - when a comment's deleted I get paranoid it was like 'your post sucks'

    ReplyDelete
  4. You forgot to mention The Flying Pickets' cover of Only You... (though you probably did that on purpose!!)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I loved the Yazoo/Yaz hits for sure. They remind me of my college days. And I loved "Love Resurrection" too. Alison Moyet has a great voice!

    ReplyDelete
  6. "She's certainly the sort of gal you'd want right by your side - at least if you found yourself in a fist fight." HA! That made me laugh. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  7. oh no thanks Wright Stuff - had convenienty forgotted about that but now I can't get it out of my head. She certainly has a powerful voice Jo Jo. Always like to be here to amuse Daisy lol

    ReplyDelete
  8. It's true that Yaz didn't get too big in the U.S., BUT, thanks to my beloved alt rock/new wave radio station, WLIR (now defunct, alas, though available online - thank Heaven!), they were pretty well-known in the NY metro area. :-)

    I, too, adore "Love Resurrection," but can't help smirking at the double entendre I always infer from some of the lyrics (because I've the maturity level of an 11 year old).

    Some Dark Romantic

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh well I had never heard of it Mina so am not gutted it's defunct. Yeah you have to wonder re love resurrection - I do, having the maturity level of a 10 year old.

      Delete
  9. yeah I had blanked that gem out Wrightstuff.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Interesting voice and interesting last line...Don't worry about deleted comments, its mostly typos that makes people erase their words, I do it quite often.
    The A-z has never done much for me in terms of comments or followers but it teaches a wee bit of discipline to stick it out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yes rek and gawd knows we all need a spot of discipline

      Delete
  11. I think I remember the song Don't Go, but the name of the band didn't ring a bell for me at all. I loved Erasure though. I've really enjoyed your music posts, I'm a music nut and your posts brought back some great memories.

    ReplyDelete
  12. thanx so much Julie - yep Erasure were bigger.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I vaguely remember Yazoo, more because Yazoo is a city in Mississippi where some cousin's wife came from. Hmm, I gotta get my music awareness up to speed. BTW hub just returned from your area with glowing reports about how the place had been renovated. Great job! So much history there.

    ReplyDelete