Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Songoftheday 6/29/16 - I can't stop the way I feel, things you do don't seem real...


"She Drives Me Crazy" - Fine Young Cannibals
from the album The Raw and the Cooked (1988)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #1 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 14


Today's song of the day comes from the "ska-wave" trio Fine Young Cannibals, who came together after the break-up of the classic band the English Beat (or, simply, The Beat), who were a giant musical force in a short time in the beginning of the 80s in their native Britain. While members Dave Wakeling and Ranking Roger went on to form General Public, who landed a top-40 pop hit in America in 1985 with "Tenderness". Meanwhile, former guitarist Andy Cox and bassist David Steele recruited singer Roland Gift, whose vocal style recalled a more "reedier" Ranking Roger, for their Fine Young Cannibals act. Releasing their self-titled debut album in 1985 as well, they fared much better than GP did in the UK, scoring a pair of top ten hits with "Johnny Come Home" and a cover of Elvis Presley's "Suspicious Minds". The former also crossed over to the American dance chart at #9, and scraped the pop chart at #76. After a third British top-10 with "Ever Fallen In Love" from the movie Something Wild, Steele and Cox had a one-off club hit in the U.S.  at #3 with the cut-and-paste joy of "Tired of Getting Pushed Around" under the moniker of "Two Men, A Drum Machine and a Trumpet". The trio returned in 1988 (a year later in America) with The Raw & The Cooked, which was partly recorded in Prince's Paisley Park studios. One of those tracks would be the first single, "She Drives Me Crazy". Written by Gift and Steele, the mid-tempo piece of upbeat pop glee (with deceptively dark break-up lyrics) accented by massive guitar fuzz and catchy percussion was the trick to break them in the U.S. pop radio market, while Roland's incredibly handsome face bowled us over at MTV...


While "She Drives Me Crazy" landed them a fourth top-ten hit in their native Britain, their first single to make the American Top-40 pop list went all the way to #1 in April of 1989. The extended remix single also topped Billboard's Dance Club Play chart for a couple of weeks. The song also crossed over to their Modern Rock radio chart at #5, and slipped on to their R&B countdown at #54 (their sole single to chart here). Internationally, the track was huge, going to #1 in Canada, Australia (for three weeks), New Zealand, Spain, and Austria (for two months), and top ten in Belgium (#2), Germany (#2), Ireland (#2), Switzerland (#3), Sweden (#4), the Netherlands (#5), and Norway (#6).

(Click below to see the rest of the post)


Here's the 12" remix that topped the dance chart for two weeks in March of 1989...


...and the group performing live in concert in 1989 (where you can really hear the inspiration for the beginning of the song from INXS' "Need You Tonight")...


...and again at the 1990 Grammy Awards show, where they were nominated for Record of the Year and Pop Vocal Duo/Group for this song, as well as Album of the Year (and introduced by the late Garry Shandling)...


In 1997, new "house" remixes of the song by Mousse T and Roger Sanchez returned the single to the UK top-40 at #36...


Finally, here's Roland solo at a gig in 2015...


Up tomorrow: A fantasy metal band is in at the end of the road.

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