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Everything But The Girl

Idioma disponível: inglês
A leader of the sophisti-pop movement throughout the 1980s, Everything But the Girl became an unlikely success story during the mid-'90s, emerging at the vanguard of the fusion between pop and electronica. Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt, both already active as solo artists, formed the duo in 1982 and began making hushed, jazzy folk-pop, releasing a string of albums that earned gold certifications in their native U.K., including their 1984 debut Eden and 1988's Idlewild (containing the number three hit "I Don't Want to Talk About It"). Todd Terry's house remix of "Missing" (from 1994's Amplified Heart) unexpectedly became an inescapable worldwide hit, and the duo incorporated deep house, trip-hop, and drum'n'bass into their sound for 1996's Walking Wounded and 1999's Temperamental, two of their most successful and acclaimed albums. However, the duo decided to retreat from the spotlight, and they returned to their solo careers, raised a family together, and each wrote best-selling books about their life experiences. They resumed making music as Everything But the Girl after more than two- decade hiatus, and 2023's Fuse proved that they hadn't lost their touch for matching affecting songwriting with up-to-date production. Founded in 1982 by Hull University students Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt, the duo took their name from a sign placed in the window of a local furniture shop, which claimed "for your bedroom needs, we sell everything but the girl." At the time of their formation, both vocalist Thorn and multi-instrumentalist Watt were already signed independently to the Cherry Red label. Thorn was a member of the sublime Marine Girls, while Watt had issued several solo singles and collaborated with Robert Wyatt. Everything But the Girl debuted in 1982 with a samba interpretation of Cole Porter's "Night and Day," which was a success on the U.K. independent charts. Thorn recorded a solo EP, A Distant Shore, while Watt checked in with the full-length North Marine Drive in 1983. EBTG recorded a cover of the Jam's "English Rose" for an NME sampler. The track so impressed former Jam frontman Paul Weller that he invited the duo to contribute to the 1984 LP Cafe Bleu, the debut from his project the Style Council. Everything But the Girl's own beguiling 1984 debut, Eden, followed on the heels of the single "Each and Every One," a U.K. Top 40 hit. The jazz-pop confections of the group's early work gave way to shimmering jangle rock by the time of 1985's Love Not Money, while a subtle country influence crept into the mix for 1986's lush, orchestral Baby, The Stars Shine Bright. The beautifully spare Idlewild followed in 1988, spawning the single "I Don't Want to Talk About It," a poignant cover of a song by the late Crazy Horse guitarist Danny Whitten which became EBTG's biggest hit of their first decade, landing at the number three spot on the British charts. Watt and Thorn traveled to Los Angeles to record 1990's slick, commercial The Language of Life, produced by Tommy LiPuma and featuring a guest appearance by jazz great Stan Getz. After a return to pop textures with 1991's Worldwide, Everything But the Girl mounted a series of club performances which resulted in 1992's Acoustic, a Spartan set of covers (including Elvis Costello's "Alison," Bruce Springsteen's "Tougher Than the Rest," and Mickey & Sylvia's "Love Is Strange") which presaged the coming ascendancy of the "Unplugged" concept. In the wake of the record's release, Watt fell prey to Churg-Strauss Syndrome, a rare auto-immune system disease which brought him to the brink of death. After a year in recovery, he wrote several songs which the duo recorded for inclusion on Home Movies, a 1993 hits collection. He also detailed his experience in the 1996 memoir Patient: The True Story of a Rare Illness. In 1994, Thorn guested on the title track to trip-hop originators Massive Attack's LP Protection, and appeared in the song's groundbreaking music video. The cinematic Massive Attack sound clearly informed Everything But the Girl's own 1994 effort, Amplified Heart, another strong outing featuring an appearance by guitar great Richard Thompson and co-production by Spring Heel Jack's John Coxon. The soulful single "Missing" was innovatively remixed by Todd Terry, and after first becoming a club sensation the track blossomed as a major international hit, reaching the number two position on the U.S. pop charts. More importantly, Terry's remix, combined with the lessons of the Massive Attack sessions, launched the duo into an entirely new -- and equally satisfying -- musical direction: with 1996's brilliant Walking Wounded, Everything But the Girl dove headfirst into electronica, crafting sophisticated, assured excursions into trip-hop and drum'n'bass. The album earned enthusiastic reviews and was certified platinum in the U.K. The duo continued in a similar direction with 1999's Temperamental, another success which featured several chart-topping club hits, including the Deep Dish collaboration "The Future of the Future (Stay Gold)." The duo felt pressured by their growing fame, however, and turned down the opportunity to tour as U2's opening act. They performed a final EBTG concert at the 2000 Montreaux Jazz Festival, and stopped recording music together. They compiled a volume of the chillout mix series Back to Mine in 2001, and released one of several best-of compilations, Like the Deserts Miss the Rain, in 2002. Watt remained busy as a deep house DJ and producer, running the Lazy Dog weekly club night and compilation series, the Neighbourhood and Cherry Jam clubs, and the label Buzzin' Fly Records. Thorn returned to music with a guest appearance on the 2006 Tiefschwarz single "Damage," then released her second solo album, Out of the Woods, in 2007, largely continuing in the style of EBTG's work from the previous decade. Longtime romantic partners Thorn and Watt, who were raising three children together, were quietly married in 2008. Watt formed the indie/alternative label Strange Feeling Records, which released Thorn's Love and Its Opposite (2010) and holiday album Tinsel and Lights (2012). Thorn wrote her first memoir, Bedsit Disco Queen: How I Grew Up and Tried to Be a Pop Star, which was published in 2013 and was met with widespread acclaim. She subsequently published three more non-fiction books, while Watt wrote about his parents in his second memoir, Romany and Tom, published in 2014. Watt formed another label and production company, Unmade Road, and resumed making solo singer/songwriter albums, beginning with 2014's Hendra. Thorn's Record, co-produced by longtime collaborator Ewan Pearson, appeared on the label in 2018. Deluxe reissues of EBTG's albums were released during the decade, and the duo reclaimed the rights to their albums in 2017. Though Watt occasionally contributed to Thorn's solo recordings, the two didn't begin recording music together again as Everything But the Girl until the early 2020s. Thorn announced the duo's return in 2022, and their first single and video, "Nothing Left to Lose," premiered in early January 2023, with a Four Tet remix following months later. Fuse, a mixture of experimental ambient pop and U.K. bass-influenced dance tracks, was released in April.
© Paul Simpson & Jason Ankeny /TiVo
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