5 Reasons Why Eurythmics Should Be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Although synonymous with the sounds and styles of the '80s, Eurythmics would have been popular in any decade. The band were nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's Class of 2018, and we've got five reasons why they deserve to be inducted.
Their roots date back to 1977 when a trio called the Catch signed to the independent label Logo Records. That trio consisted of guitarists Pete Coombes and Dave Stewart and singer Annie Lennox. Though the trio were based out of London, the single ("Borderline" b/w "Black Blood") had more in common with the sounds of soul-inspired disco so popular in the U.S. at the time. The single and the band came and left without a trace.
Within months of folding up shop, the Catch would add members and revamp their style. Influenced by the nascent new wave scene, they changed their name to the Tourists and released a smattering of great singles and three solid albums in more of a power pop style. Their cover of the Dusty Springfield classic "I Only Want to Be With You" broke big in the U.K., hitting the Top Five.
By 1980 the band had fallen apart. Lennox and Stewart, who were also romantically involved, found the Tourists' style too confining and were happy to move on to explore different musical avenues. That included a strong interest in electronic music as the duo wanted to try to marry pop music with a more esoteric approach. Thus, Eurythmics were born with Stewart and Lennox as the core.
Released in late 1981, their debut album, In The Garden, was produced by legendary German producer Conny Plank who was known for his work with such experimental German acts as Can, Neu!, Ash Ra Tempel and Kraftwerk. The record included appearances by members of Can as well as Blondie drummer Clem Burke.
Focusing and refining their style, the duo hit major success with their follow-up, Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This), in 1983. The title track was released as a single and initially showed little sign of life. That all changed when MTV began running the video. Annie's semi-androgynous look set amidst the very modern/futuristic/surrealist concept of the video was perfect for the era. The single became a worldwide smash, reaching the Top 10 in many countries.
The band would build upon their approach over the years and pile up more and more hits such as "Here Comes the Rain Again," "Missionary Man," and "Would I Lie to You?" Even as they would move away from the electronic style, they never lost their edge or identity, which was essentially down to the soulful vocals of Lennox.
Ultimately the powers-that-be will decide if Eurythmics belong in the Hall of Fame. But, in the meantime, here are a handful of checkmarks to put in their plus column.
With the release of their second album, Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This), Eurythmics caught the attention of the popular music world. Dave Stewart's quaint but eccentric stance and the androgynous, striking look of Annie Lennox was beyond an updated David Bowie nod. It was also far removed from other outlandish characters of the era like Boy George or Duran Duran. But fashion with nothing to back it up is just wallpaper, and their musical invention and very soulful vocals against the backdrop of electronic-based pop music was something new. That mix would go a long way in Eurythmics being more than a one-hit wonder in the '80s.
Like Depeche Mode, Eurythmics understood that synthesizers and electronic drums were nothing without the songs to give them life. "Sweet Dreams" could stand alone whether played on an acoustic guitar or given a full blown sinister rock arrangement as Marilyn Manson did in 1996, and "Would I Lie to You?" would have been right at home in Motown clothing.
Eurythmics tried out various styles in their career, from understated electronics to full-blown glossy big-beat pop to tender ballads. At the heart of them all was the pure and soulful voice of Annie Lennox. The Scottish-born singer could do no wrong, it seemed, belting out a pounding soul number like "Would I Lie to You?" one minute and a beautiful, soaring song like "Here Comes the Rain Again" the next. With her voice, she could, and has, been able to slide into a wide variety of styles without sounding like anyone but herself.
Annie Lennox may be one of the most underrated front women in music. She has a commanding presence and tough stance that anyone leading a band (male or female) would love to have. Add to that her natural beauty and ability to welcome her audience with open arms was always something to be in awe of. Tough and tender with that sly smile is a tough one to beat.
Though Eurythmics lasted less than a decade, their influence has remained strong. Their musical invention and approach, along with the style and swagger Lennox provided, remains a go-to for many an aspiring female vocalist. In addition, despite the often glossy production, their records have actually aged quite well. Soul, rock, pop, ballads -- they had all those and more covered and their lasting impact can be found in all those genres to this day.