Post-Depeche Mode, synth composer Vince Clark, and vocalist Alison Moyet came together for a successful team up on their debut single “Only You”.
Already suffering fatigue from touring and stardom from Depeche Mode, Clarke had initially written “Only You” a sentimental ballad for the band he was exiting, a song to which his bandmates both Martin Gore, and Andy Fletcher declined to use it.
Hoping to continue his relationship with Mute, Clarke would then prepare the song to present to label head and founder Daniel Miller.
Clark would then recruit blues-inspired The Screamin’ Ab Dabs vocalist Alison Moyet to perform on the song from an advertisement she placed in Melody Maker looking for a new band.
While the initial demo both Clark and Moyet recorded left Miller unimpressed, publishing associates from Scandinavia heard the demo and liked it, and possibly encouraged Miller to have a change of heart, which led to the pair being quickly booked at Blackwing Studios where Clarke has previously recorded Speak and Spell with his former band.
Lyrically, “Only You” is a torch song about the resignation and sorrow of a relationship being over, where a small bit of hope still lingers.
“Only You” was released in the UK in March of 1982 and rose to number two on the UK singles chart. This enabled the duo to continue to record their debut album at Blackwing Studios. But, as the studio had already been booked during the day by fellow Mute artist Fad Gadget, Yazoo had to record most of the album during the early mornings, with the assistance of Blackwing studio owner Eric Radcliffe on production. The album was named Upstairs at Eric’s in recognition of Radcliffe’s input in the sound along with Clark and Moyet.
Upstairs at Eric’s was released in the UK on August 20th, 1982, and on August 23rd in the US. Despite the band being named Yazoo after blues record label Yazoo Records, it was the fact that there was already an American band named Yazoo that required Clarke and Moyet to shortened their name two letters to Yaz for the album’s North American release.
In addition to “Only You”, the album was Upstairs at Eric’s was preceded by another top three UK single with the more uptempo “Don’t Go”, whose intro is perhaps the most memorable in synthpop, save for its followup…
Released as a single only in North America due to it becoming a club hit, “Situation”, a song whose intro features singer Alison Moyet’s laughter being sampled innumerable times, is unquestionably one of the most recognizable synth-pop and club tracks of all time, rivaling even New Order’s “Blue Monday”.
- Don’t go
- Too pieces
- Bad connection
- In my room
- Only you
- Winter kills
- Bring your love down (Didn’t I)
- The other side of love