Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tracey Takes On... Pop Music

"I made my albums as a lark, really. I can't hold a note or hold a tune, and it was good fun." -- Tracey Ullman

What a lark! If you are under the age of 35, you may have no idea that for about a year comedienne/actress Tracey Ullman was a pop star in the UK. With the help of MTV, she even managed a major hit here in America. Then again, if you are under the age of 25, you may not even know who she is at all. That's too bad. Because of the recent rise in '60s-sounding girl groups, such as The Pipettes and Lucky Soul, I have been thinking about Ullman's music quite a bit. If you like that sound, as I do, you should give her five hit singles a listen.

Tracey Ullman - Break-A-Way (mp3)
Her first UK single, written by Jackie DeShannon, made it to No. 4 in 1983. It was later released in America where it peaked at No. 70.

Tracey Ullman - They Don't Know (mp3)
It figures the goofballs at Stiff Records signed her, but who would have thought a dark song by fellow labelmate Kristy MacColl would become a bright Phil Spector sounding hit? This one made it to No. 2 in the UK in 1983. In the spring of 1984, it shot to No. 8 in America. Do you remember Paul McCartney's appearance as her beau at the end of the video?

Tracey Ullman - Move Over Darling (mp3)
Back in the early '60s, Doris Day sang this one for her movie of the same name. Ullman turned it into a No. 8 UK hit at the end of 1983.

Tracey Ullman - My Guy (mp3)
Thanks to another Stiff labelmate, Ullman has another hit. Madness' version was called "My Girl", however, and it was pure ska. This one made it to No. 23 on the UK charts in 1984.

Tracey Ullman - Sunglasses (mp3)
You wouldn't immediately think Ullman would cover Skeeter Davis, but she did. This one peaked at No. 18 in the UK.

Tracey Ullman - You Broke My Heart in 17 Places (mp3)
Bonus: I love "Break-a-Way" and "They Don't Know", but this one is my absolute favorite in the Ullman canon. It's another MacColl-penned tune I first heard on my Stiff Records box set nearly 20 years ago.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I bought the They Don't Know single back in 1984. 26 years later I still consider it to be one of the catchiest pop songs ever.