Sunday, March 29, 2015

Top 100 Songs From the 1990s (No. 71)

71. "No More 'I Love You's'"
Artist: Annie Lennox
Year: 1995

The original version of this song by the Lover Speaks got some airplay on MTV in 1986, and I really took to it. Couldn't sound any more 4AD than that without actually being on the label, and I liked David Freeman's croon. At the end of the day, it was a very minor hit, doing nothing over here and peaking at No. 58 on the UK Singles Chart. Fast forward about a decade and I hear the song covered on the radio by Annie Lennox. I didn't take to it right away. I harbored possessive feelings (This is my song, and I don't want moms singing along. Where were you people a decade ago? That sort of thing. Ridiculous.), but the song was just too good to ignore. I was also eventually won over when I read what big fans Lennox and Dave Stewart were when they were with the Eurythmics. I had no idea Stewart helped the Lover Speaks get signed, and they opened for the Eurythmics on their '86 world tour.

Anyway, the rest is ancient history you already know well. The version by Lennox was a smash all over the planet, In fact, it remains her biggest solo hit, and it won her a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. I would also assume it made Joseph Hughes and Freeman, the two with the songwriting credit, a nice chunk of change. As for Lennox, she continues to impress. I have seen her on a few recent awards and tribute shows, and her voice never sounded better. For obvious reasons, I'm a little nervous about posting this song for very long. I'll probably take it down in a day or two. For those that see this later, here are YouTube clips. You can find "No More 'I Love You's'" on her covers album 'Medusa.'


Echorich said...

Brian, I can't say my initial impression of Annie Lennox covering a song I thought only I knew was much further from your reaction...might have been even more severe. But then I heard it and it really made sense. She took the drama to it's peak. The Lover Speaks original is plaintive and mannered and oh so definitely mid 80's. Annie imbued it with a cabaret chanteuse feel that was filled with atmosphere. The video, with it's Weimar Club/Cabaret feel is spot on. In the end it's a very sincere cover.

The Swede said...

I can't claim to be a massive Annie Lennox fan, but I do recall admiring her version of 'No More I Love You's' at the time. It still sounds very good too.

Brian said...

Hi Echorich and the Swede. This is a bit of a curve ball. I'm not in the business of promoting world-wide commercial hits too often, but I loved the original so much that I think I got swept up a bit. I can't claim to have much of her work, but I think Lennox's voice is outstanding. And Echorich, I think it's one of those rare times (especially in 1995) when the video really nailed it. Good call.

Echorich said...

I was discussing No More I Love You's with a friend whom I worked with back in the late 80's at Limelight in NYC. He reminded me that The Lover Speaks' version was a song that that two of the DJ's would use as their closing song when the lights came up at 4AM. Not really a bad thing - leaving a club with a very personal, calming song.

Brian said...

Cool story, Echorich. I love hearing about the Limelight. I think I'll make it my last song of the night... In your honor.

Anonymous said...

I'll be the fly in the ointment and say that not only did I not like Lennox's version of this, but the whole "Medusa" album signaled the end of my 16 year love affair with Annie Lennox. I traded in my copy of "Medusa" tout suite and when I tried "Bare," I found that it was a permanent change.