was back in 1985, when the Erasure story began. Andy Bell, from
Peterborough was the 41st person to audition for a new project from ex-Depeche
Mode and Yazoo supremo Vince Clarke. Given the lyrics and tune to two
Clarke written songs, Who Needs Love Like That and the Assembly
single 'One Day', Bell performed the tunes in front of Clarke and impressed
the keyboard wizard to the extent that he was hired and was subsequently
put on a retainer whilst the 'One Day' single featuring Paul Quinn was
It flopped and Vince and Andy recorded
Wonderland, the first album. Although the the album was full of
great material, Who Needs Love Like That didn't set the UK charts alight
and charted at 55. It was not what the duo expected and brought them down
to Earth with a thud.
Andy and Vince then started touring universities across the UK building up
a small fan base.
next single Heavenly Action charted at a awful 100 and follow up,
Oh L'amour, although a hit in France, failed to make an impact in
the UK charting at 85.
It was back to the drawing board and after touring clubs and universities
Erasure had built up a small fan base and then wrote the lyrics to
Sometimes. After writing the
mid section to the verses, Andy though HIT and he was right. Sometimes
exploded onto the UK charts at #2 and Erasure never looked back.
The rest of the album called 'Circus' was a massive success with all the
tracks making the top 15. The follow up, 1988's
The Innocents, spurned the classic A
Little Respect plus Erasure's first ever American hit, Chains
Of Love. The album was their first in a succession of number one
next released Wild
followed by a massive world tour culminating in the massive 65,000 sell
out concert at the Milton Keynes Bowl
In 1991 Erasure released what was possibly their most most memorable pop
tune ever, "Love To Hate You,"
followed by the more brooding, "Am I Right". Erasure also toured
again with the massive Phantasmogorical
Entertainment Tour which was the biggest most memorable
tour yet. The show had Andy arriving on a swan, peforming in a Rhinestone
cowboy costume with his rear end exposed (!!!) and the show even had
Vince's infamous Abba-Esque dance to Voulez-Vous. Vince says when he looks
back on the tour: "I felt very uncomfortable doing it."
Erasure released the Abba-Esque as an EP single and it stormed in
at number one and remained there for many weeks. It was Erasure's first
and currently only number one single.
After releasing their greatest hits package, Pop! The
First Twenty Hits (that got to number one in the album charts) and
re-releasing Who Needs Love [Like That] (that got to number ten in
the single charts), Erasure took a well earned break through 1993.
Say, I Say I Say saw a welcome return from Erasure after their rest
and became yet another number one album. But the promotional videos had
something missing, the live presence of Vince. After stating in 1990 that
videos were just marketing tools and dressing up at Frida from Abba in the
Abba-Esque performances, his presence in 'Run To The Sun' was his
glowing head in the middle of the globe, and in 'I Love Saturday', he
was just a photograph.
The next album saw Erasure disappear from the top ten. The experimental
album, Erasure only charted at
fifteen, but still achieved gold selling status.
Now the videos were complete devoid of Mr Clarke. He was busy in his new
recording studio, 37B. The strange dome like building became the nerve
centre for Erasure releases.
returned to their pop roots in the next album Cowboy.
US recording giants Maverick signed them onto their label for the States
release. In the UK, the album made the top ten, peaking at #10.
In My Arms, the first single charted at a promising 13 with the
video being shot at the recent Tiny Tour.
This meant that Vince appeared in a video again. However Maverick didn't
like the video. Erasure responded with a fabulous US video shot in New York
which depicts a young boy climbing a tower block to rescue his love of his
life. And he climbs on her hair like a rope ... a la Rapunzel. Vince also
stars in the video simply plonking keys on a keyboard ... typical Vince.
group also toured again with the massive Cowboy Concerts, which saw
Vince Clarke, predictably enough shuffling about the stage wearing a cactus
The tour saw them support David Bowie in South America and saw them pack
out arenas through the UK.
a three year gap Erasure returned with a new style in October 2000 with
Freedom, which reached 27 in the official UK charts. The album,
Loveboat reached a terrible 45. The album focussed on harder edge
material with hip hop, r & b, techno and beaty music with only Freedom,
Alien, Here In My Heart and Catch 22 classic Erasure sing-a-long songs.
The video for Freedom saw Vince direct the whole thing and his presence in
the video was again, not real life, but in the form of cardboard cut outs.
In 2001, the group released Moon & The Sky + from the album,
heavily reworked into a great pop song which would have made a great impact
on the UK charts, but it wasn't eligible having 11 tracks.
After the failure of the 2000 material, Andy teamed up with producer
Gareth Jones with the intention of making an album of cover songs with heavy
emphasis on Phil Spector material. With Vince busy raising money for
charities and creating music companies with Heaven 17's Martyn Ware, this
was Andy's chance to show the world he didn't need Vince for chart success.
However progress was slow and it wasn't long before Vince got chatting to
Andy. They discussed their favourite songs and before long Vince got
involved and this became an Erasure project, 'Other
The album brought Erasure back into spotlight with their first top ten hit
in nine years, Solsbury Hill and the
follow up Make Me Smile (Come Up & See Me)
also made the top fifteen.
Solsbury Hill saw another Vince Clarke directed video, and this time no
appearance at all from the electro wizard. However, the video for MMS saw
Vince back in the actors role, with the video directed by Jonas Odell and
the production company, Nexus, created the opening sequence for the latest
Steven Spielburg smash 'Catch Me if You Can'.
The group also toured again the 'The Other Tour' and in October
Erasure brought out their Greatest Hits package named
Hits and they finally re-released
Oh L'amour, now achieving a number 13 in the charts, slightly better
than number 85.
Erasure were back with a new album
Nightbird and the first single from the
Breathe, reached an amazing number four in the UK charts. This new material has been
claimed to fans on the Erasure Forum to be the best Erasure material in
Erasure are also due to tour this Spring with The Erasure Show
consisting of a whopping 27 songs including the new material, classic hits
Erasure are back!
Bio written by Steven Tattum. Please do not
reproduce without permission.