Friday, January 11, 2008

a rose by any other name still rocks the 80's synthpop

In March The Listening Room is having its Artists in Residence concert featuring local songwriters including yours truly. Today I was working on a little bluegrass version of Bad Connection by Yaz that I'd like to play for the show. I love Yaz. Bad Connection. Don't Go. Only You. All fantastic British synth-pop gems which made a big impression on me in my youth. My sister had a copied cassette tape of Yaz's album Upstairs at Eric's. I listened to it over and over--I remember being in seventh or eigth grade when I first heard it, so 1987-88. I know 80s syth-pop doesn't seem to lend itself to bluegrass, but its gonna rock.

I don't know what my attraction to British synth-pop is, especially considering that I play acoustic guitar and now listen to mostly acoustic-based artists and bands. Those songs are just so catchy and I keep wanting to cover them. When I bought my accordion, the first song that I figured out how to play was Depeche Mode's song Just Can't Get Enough. Bad Connection and Just Can't Get Enough are two of my all time favorite songs.

I started wondering what happen to Yaz. I knew Yaz's singer was Alison Moyet because when the first Very Special Christmas album came out in 1987, she sang The Coventry Carol. I knew instantly who she was (though I didn't recognize her name on the cassette) because her voice is unmistakable. I heard nothing of Yaz until Only You made the finale of the BBC's The Office and showed up in Napolean Dynamite. I wanted to fill in the gaps so I went to Wikipedia.

Get this: Alison Moyet's partner in Yaz (know in Britain as Yazoo--who knew?!) was Vince Clarke. Vince Clarke started out in Depeche Mode. He WROTE Just Can't Get Enough (1981). Clarke quit Depeche Mode when they started getting big, formed Yaz and wrote Bad Connection, Only You, etc.! Yaz split in 1983. Clarke went on to start Erasure!

So, Vince Clarke is my new hero, my new 80's British synth-pop songwriting hero.

1 comment:

Steven said...

Yaz was my music sophomore and junior years in high school! Upstairs at Erics is great -- I'd love to hear your bluegrass version. Erasure also is good -- I had their ABBA remakes album.