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Friday, December 27, 2013

Happy Birthday to Annie Lennox




By Guest Blogger Spencer Blohm


On Christmas day the iconic Scottish singer Annie Lennox turned 59. So, in honor of her birthday let’s take a look back at the woman who gave us hits such as “Sweet Dreams” and “Walking on Broken Glass.”

            In Aberdeen, Scotland, at the end of 1954, Lennox was born into a lower middle class, working family. The Lennox family's financial status didn’t prevent her from exploring her interest in music through piano lessons at the age of seven, and she continued to pursue her interest in music throughout her youth and teen years until she eventually landed a place at the Royal Academy of Music at the age of 16. While at the academy she focused her studies on classical music and the flute, which was her instrument of choice.

            After finishing school she joined her first band, called Dragon’s Playground, in 1976, but left it that same year. The following year she joined a band called The Tourists as the lead singer. There, she connected with her bandmate Dave Stewart both musically and romantically. Though their romantic relationship was short lived, the two of them agreed they wanted to go in a more experimental direction with their music and decided to form their own group, called The Eurythmics.

            The duo released their first album, In the Garden, to little fanfare or attention in 1981. After two more years of recording and working to create a new sound, the two came back in 1983 with the album Sweet Dreams (Are Made of These) and released the title track as the first single. Both the album and the single soared to the top of the charts in the UK and the US, making The Eurythmics stars. The two rushed to finish another album and managed to put out Touch later that same year. With this album came the smash hits “Who’s That Girl?”, “Right by Your Side”, and “Here Comes the Rain Again” - all of which made it into the top 10 on the UK singles chart.
 



            For their fourth album, the pair decided to tone down their electronic sound and go in a more R&B influenced direction. They worked with greats like Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, and Elvis Costello on the album Be Yourself Tonight, which they then released in 1985. Driven by the singles “Would I Lie to You?” and “Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves” (which featured Franklin) the album hit number 3 on the UK charts.

For their 1986 album, Revenge, Lennox and Stewart chose to go in a more rock oriented direction, a sound which continued to sell in the UK, but wasn’t received as well in the US. Then, as a more experimental counterpoint, they released Savage the next year. Savage peaked at number 7 in the UK but only made it to number 41 on the US charts. Their seventh album, We Too Are One, which was released in 1989, proved to be their worst selling in the US, but was oddly enough their second #1 album in the UK. Due to the intense pressure of recording seven albums in nine years, as well as the stress of world tours, the duo split in 1990 in order to pursue different interests.

            Lennox found massive success as a solo artist when she released her debut solo album Diva in 1992. The album went double platinum in the US and Canada, and quadruple platinum in the UK. The sales of the album were driven by her two hit singles “Why” and “Walking on Broken Glass,” both of which were top 10 hits in the UK. Following the success of Diva, Lennox took a three year hiatus from music to spend time with her children. She was back in 1995 with Medusa, which was yet another #1 album for her in the UK and certified double platinum in the US, UK, Canada, and Europe.

            The end of 90’s saw her reunite with Stewart to release another album in 1997 titled Peace which was successful both in Europe and North America. She then took a break from music to pursue humanitarian efforts including her heavy involvement with HIV/AIDS organizations. In 2003 she returned to music with a third solo album, Bare, which peaked at #3 in the UK and #4 in the US. The next year, she recorded “Into the West” for the film soundtrack The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. The song won her an Academy Award for Best Song, as well as a Grammy and Golden Globe.

            Following “Into the West,” The Eurythmics released a successful greatest hits album, Ultimate Collection, in 2005.  Lennox, proving she was still a talented solo artist, then released her fourth solo album, Songs of Mass Destruction, in 2007, which she quickly followed by a greatest hits album, The Annie Lennox Collection, in 2009. Her legendary status was sealed when she was chosen to perform at both the Queen’s Jubilee Concert and the Olympics Closing Ceremony in the summer of 2012.

 




            During her years on the music scene Annie Lennox became a British music icon thanks to her unique sound, incredible talent, and androgynous good looks. The recipient of four Grammys, eight BRIT Awards, an Oscar, a Golden Globe, and an appointment to Officer of the Order of the British Empire (above), Annie Lennox has proven herself one incredibly talented woman.


About the Author: Spencer Blohm is a freelance entertainment, music, and pop culture blogger for www.direct-ticket.net/. Because he has a pulse, he is obviously an Annie Lennox/The Eurythmics fan. He almost passed out from excitement when he saw her  come out during the Olympics Closing Ceremony on the front of a burning pirate ship. He lives and works in Chicago, where there are no pirate ships for him to commandeer for recreations.

1 comment:

Louisa Cornell said...

A very talented, musically insightful woman. Her music is quite the oasis in the present desert wasteland of popular music. These days all you have to have to be a musical success is a great publicist, a great sound man, a great choreographer, a pretty face, a big bust and a big butt and a willingness to be vulgar onstage and in your personal life. Talent is completely optional.