Monday, June 20, 2016

Robbed hit of the week 6/20/16 - Camouflage's "The Great Commandment"...


"The Great Commandment" - Camouflage
from the album Voices & Images (1988)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: 59

This week's 'robbed hit' comes from the German new wave band Camouflage, who came together in the southwestern town of Bietigheim-Bissingen in the early 80s (first as the quartet "Licensed Technology"). Paring down to the trio that's been ever since, led by keyboardist Heiko Maile with singer Marcus Meyn providing a believable approximation of Depeche Mode's Martin Gore, the similarities between Camouflage and the British superstars was downright uncanny, but performed with such earnest that the result didn't feel like a parody in any way. Their first hit single, "The Great Commandment", was lyrically intense and the keyboards aped from the Some Great Reward DM era got them college airplay, while the clubs made it the biggest hit of the year, and the album was one of my personal top-5 favorites of the year...


While "The Great Commandment" spent three weeks at #1 on Billboard's Dance Club Play chart, and took two at #3 on their Modern Rock radio list, it stopped short on the Hot 100 pop chart at #59 in February of 1989. In their native Germany, the single peaked at #14.

A second single from Voices & Images, "That Smiling Face", was a hit on modern rock radio, reaching #26 (and #37 on the dance chart). Later that year, the trio released their sophomore effort, Methods Of Silence, which became their biggest domestic success, spinning off their biggest German hit "Love Is A Shield" (#9), which also went to #23 on the American modern rock list and #35 dance. Drummer/second synth-man Oliver Kreyssig left after their tour, and the remaining duo of Meyn and Maile carried on in 1991 with Meanwhile, which scored them a modern rock hit with "Heaven (I Want You)" (#18). Oliver rejoined a decade later, and the group has carried on since with modest success in their homeland, most recently in 2003 with "I Can't Feel You" (#75). Last year, their "comeback" disc Greyscale went to #14 on the albums chart in Germany, led by the excellent single "Shine".

(Click below to see the rest of the post)


Here's the extended dance remix that topped the club charts for three weeks in 1988...


In 2001, a re-recorded version of the song by the group snuck in at #85 on the German singles chart...


...and lastly, the band performing live in concert in 2013...






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