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Cutting Crew in 1989
|Origin||London, England, UK|
|Years active||1985–1993, 2005–present|
|Labels||Virgin, EMI, Hypertension, Spectra|
|Members||Nick Van Eede
|Past members||Kevin MacMichael
Martin "Frosty" Beedle
- 1 Career
- 2 Members
- 3 Discography
- 4 Critical Reviews
- 5 References
- 6 External links
While still in his teens, Nick Van Eede (born Nicholas Eede) recorded a few UK solo singles in the late 1970s, and later was in the band The Drivers, which found success in Canada, particularly with their 1982 single "Tears On Your Anorak". While touring Canada, The Drivers had a support band called Fast Forward, whose line up included guitarist Kevin MacMichael. Van Eede was impressed with MacMichael's guitar playing that he asked him to form a new band with him. The Drivers split in 1983, but Van Eede and MacMichael joined forces in 1985 by relocating to London, England. Initially, the two made demos that led to a recording contract, before bassist Colin Farley and drummer Martin Beedle joined in 1986.
1986–1988: Broadcast and breakthrough
Their first album, Broadcast, was released on Virgin Records in 1986. Although Virgin Records was already a major label in the UK, their debut song, "(I Just) Died in Your Arms", provided the first US hit for Virgin as a full-fledged label. Virgin flew the band to New York City for initial recordings of the album, then to Australia to shoot music videos. The unknown band shot to No. 1 in the major US market, as well as smaller markets such as Canada and Norway, with their debut single. Their most popular single, it was a multiformat success in the US, where it also reached number four on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, No. 24 on the Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart and —in an extended remix version— No. 37 on the Hot Dance/Club Play chart. The song peaked at No. 4 in another major market, the UK Singles Chart, as well as becoming a hit in the smaller Switzerland and South Africa markets. It went to No. 2 in Sweden and Ireland, and No. 9 in Austria.
The choice for follow-up single in the UK had been "I've Been In Love Before", but that song spent only three weeks in the UK Top 40, peaking at No. 31. Their choice for follow-up single in the US was their third UK release, "One for the Mockingbird", but the song was a relative commercial disappointment on both sides of the Atlantic, just cracking the Top 40 of the Hot 100 at No. 38 and hitting No. 29 on the Mainstream Rock chart in the US, No. 47 in Canada and No. 52 in the UK Singles Chart.
The band took a chance on "I've Been in Love Before" again, this time with greater success. The song became Cutting Crew's second US Top 10 on the Hot 100, peaking at No. 9, and was their first major hit on the US Adult Contemporary chart, where it peaked at No. 4. This success prompted a UK re-release, and this time it spent five weeks in the UK Singles Chart Top 40, peaking at No. 24. The song failed to chart throughout most of Europe, but it peaked at No. 8 in Canada. Despite an unflattering review by Rolling Stone magazine, Cutting Crew received a Grammy nomination as the Best New Artist of 1987.
1988–1990: The Scattering
Disputes with management led to a long recording hiatus, which stalled the band's career momentum. Cutting Crew's second album, The Scattering, was finally released in early 1989. Its lead single, "(Between a) Rock and a Hard Place", (CA 54, UK 66, U.S. 77) failed to reach the Top 40. Van Eede's vocal style, however, did score a sizable US Adult Contemporary hit with "Everything But My Pride." That song peaked at No. 4 and stayed in the top 50 for 22 weeks. It climbed to No. 72 on the Canadian pop charts, though it failed to hit the US Hot 100. The prophetically named "The Last Thing" scaled the AC charts as high as No. 17 in early 1990 and went to No. 90 on the Canadian chart, and has been their final chart hit to date. Although a video for the title track did air briefly in the UK and North America, The Scattering failed to chart.
1992: Compus Mentus
Bassist Colin Farley and drummer Martin Beedle left the group in 1991 and were not replaced. Cutting Crew's third album, Compus Mentus, was recorded by Nick Van Eede and Kevin MacMichael. Released in 1992, the record spun off no hit singles and failed to chart.
1993–2005: Break-up and MacMichael's death
The band broke up in 1993; shortly after the release of their Compus Mentus album. After the break-up, MacMichael joined forces with Robert Plant and played on his Fate of Nations album. On 31 December 2002, MacMichael died of lung cancer at the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, at the age of 51.
In 2003, Van Eede formed the group Grinning Souls. This group independently released the album Capture in 2005. The following year, Van Eede took the decision to re-release the album under the title Grinning Souls, this time crediting the work to Cutting Crew. Grinning Souls (the band) became Cutting Crew for all subsequent live work: Van Eede was the only original Cutting Crew member in the group.
The new band toured in Germany and Norway and UK and Canada and Hungary and Switzerland and USA with amongst others, ABC/BERLIN/Wang Chung/Supertramp/Level 42/Midge Ure. In 2008, Cutting Crew signed a US deal with label Spectra Records.
- Van Eede continues to lead a version of Cutting Crew that plays live gigs. The new Cutting Crew studio album Galavant has been recorded, and will be released in 2015.
- Colin Farley, the bass player in the 1980s line up, currently lives in Surrey and continues to work in the music industry, playing with his new band in pubs.
- Drummer Martin "Frosty" Beedle has a successful career as a session musician and in the West End. He is now a member of Lifesigns.
- Nick Van Eede - lead vocals, rhythm guitar, keyboards
- Kevin MacMichael - lead guitar
- Colin Farley - bass
- Martin "Frosty" Beedle - drums
- Tony Moore - keyboards (touring/unofficial member, following the release of The Broadcast)
- Nick Van Eede - lead vocals, rhythm guitar, keyboards
- Gareth Moulton - guitar
- Sam Flynn - keyboards
- Dominic Finley - bass
- Tom Arnold - drums
- Nick Van Eede - lead vocals, rhythm guitar, keyboards
- Gareth Moulton - guitar
- Joolz Dunkley - guitars, keyboards
- Jono Harrison - keyboards
- Tom Arnold - drums
- Martyn Barker - drums
- Nick Kay - bass
- Mak Norman - bass
- Gary Barnacle - saxophone
- Nik Carter/Jack Birchwood/Steven Fuller - brass
- TJ Davis/Angela Brooks - backing vocals
|Year||Album details||Peak chart positions||Certifications
|" — " denotes releases that did not chart or wasn't released.|
|2003||The Best of Cutting Crew
|Year||Song||Peak chart positions||Album|
|1986||"(I Just) Died in Your Arms"||8||1||4||2||4||1||4||24||Broadcast|
|1987||"One for the Mockingbird"||96||47||—||—||52||38||29||—|
|"I've Been in Love Before"||—||8||44||25||24||9||—||2|
|"(Between A) Rock and a Hard Place"||—||54||—||—||66||77||—||—||The Scattering|
|"Everything But My Pride"||—||72||—||—||—||—||—||4|
|1990||"The Last Thing"||—||90||—||—||—||—||—||17|
|1992||"If That's the Way You Want It"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Compus Mentus|
The pop/rock group Cutting Crew formed in England in 1985, just one year before "(I Just) Died in Your Arms" made them stars at home and across the Atlantic. Founding members Kevin Scott MacMichael (guitar) and Nick Van Eede (vocals) met in Halifax, Nova Scotia, while both musicians were on tour with their respective bands. A musical connection was made, and MacMichael soon left his native Canada and relocated to England, where he and Van Eede immediately began to collaborate. After signing with Siren Records on the strength of their demos, Cutting Crew became a foursome in 1986 with the addition of bassist Colin Farley and drummer Martin Beedle; they entered the recording studio that same year. While the pace was certainly quick, the quartet was composed of veterans; Eede had toured the world with his Sussex-based outfit the Drivers, MacMichael served time as guitarist for Fast Forward, Beadle was a one-time member of Hull, and Farley had completed hours of session work for many artists.
Cutting Crew released their debut album, Broadcast, in 1986. The group received mixed reviews from music critics, but not when it came to the album's undeniable highlight, the synth-heavy "(I Just) Died in Your Arms." The song became smash hit in the United States, reaching number one on the Billboard singles chart and enjoying similar success in the UK. "One for the Mockingbird" and "I've Been in Love Before" also enjoyed significant radio play, and the band left home for a worldwide tour, co-headlining with groups as the Bangles, Starship, and Huey Lewis & the News.
Cutting Crew released a sophomore album, The Scattering, in 1989. A third full-length effort, 1992's Compus Mentus, failed to revive their sagging popularity baecause it was never released...apparently the band was negotiating to get this happening and Cutting Crew called it quits the following year. MacMichael paired up with Robert Plant for the singer's 1993 solo effort, Fate of Nations, while Nick Van Eede chose to revive Cutting Crew the following decade. Featuring a radically different lineup, the group released Grinning Souls in 2006.
Cutting Crew never deserved the hacking they received from critics. Music reviewers lined up to throttle Cutting Crew's debut album, Broadcast, when it was released in 1986. The slick guitar rock on Broadcast may not have wowed the rock & roll intelligentsia, but it's a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, an underrated collection of simple, heartfelt love songs and up-tempo pop that reside between the stylistic boundaries of new wave and mainstream rock. "(I Just) Died in Your Arms" and "I've Been in Love Before" immediately thrust Cutting Crew onto the U.S. charts; however, both songs aren't sufficient in summing up Broadcast'sappeal. Nick VanEede's soulful croon is mesmerizing on "Any Colour" and "Sahara"; instead of bludgeoning the microphone with vocal histrionics common to late '80s rock, VanEede is thankfully restrained, imbuing every track with ample emotion. "Any Colour" should've been Cutting Crew's third hit, a moving tale of loneliness that easily draws the listener in, while the lovely "Sahara" captures the subtleties critics claimed Cutting Crew wasn't capable of. "One for the Mockingbird" and "Life in a Dangerous Time" are armed with stellar hooks. Cutting Crew somehow manages to incorporate guitar solos with the propulsive rhythms of U2 and the Fixx and the moody angst of Tears for Fears without sounding forced. Broadcast is not a creative breakthrough; it's simply an LP absent of any filler.
The Scattering (1989)
By the time Cutting Crew released their second album in 1989, they were viewed as irrelevant by both critics—who always despised them anyway—and the fickle public that elevated "(I Just) Died in Your Arms" and "I've Been in Love Before" onto the pop charts two years earlier. The cold shoulders which welcomed The Scattering were most likely due to the lack of immediately catchy songs; nevertheless, while The Scattering doesn't have ear candy like the band's hit singles, the music is less-blatantly commercial and more personal. It's still slick stuff—big '80s synthesizers, glossy FM radio guitars, in-your-face drums—butNick VanEede's vocals have a frosty glow that creates a mood and sustains interest. (The resemblance of his voice to Rob Dickinson's of Catherine Wheel has yet to be acknowledged.) "Big Noise" and "(Between A) Rock and a Hard Place" aren't as heavy as their titles suggest; however, they sound great on the highway, as guitarist Kevin Macmichael lets it rip without pounding the listener into submission—something the grunge groups who permanently jettisoned bands such as Cutting Crew from AOR stations in the '90s enjoyed doing. The Scattering will probably seem dated to anyone who isn't an '80s enthusiast, but it's tasty nostalgia for people who remember the decade fondly. Cutting Crew were obviously infatuated with the arena-sized riffs of U2 and Big Country, and while the group doesn't reach those bands' creative heights, hook-packed material such as "Everything but My Pride" and "Tip of Your Tongue" finds them walking tall.
The Best of Cutting Crew (1993)
"Who would have thought a boy like me could come to this?" This collection is worth owning merely for the immaculate single "(I Just) Died in Your Arms Tonight," a much-maligned saccharine heart-burst that, along with primo Honeymoon Suite and Glass Tiger, gracefully straddles the line between pop-metal and pop light. The unapologetically mellow "I've Been in Love Before" updates "I'm Not in Love" for the strip-mall crawlers, and comes remarkably close to the same level of commercial perfection. Also from the Broadcast debut comes "Any Colour," a hidden gem of '80s brilliance (an oxymoron?) that wraps crisp, big-bang production around breakneck guitar breaks mixed with hoots, yelps, yearning, and crooning; this love dream recalls the Producers' waver classic "She Shelia" while surreptitiously slipping in an odd Pink Floyd nod. "One for the Mockingbird" and "Life in a Dangerous Time" also deserve mention, and again appear on Broadcast. So since that LP is so blasted rock solid, why not just put the whole blamed record on a disc with the Cutting Crew's second, Scattering (the band's third, Compus Mentus, seems lost forever)? Well, then legions of fans would be deprived of the extended version of "(I Just) Died in Your Arms Tonight" (seven seconds longer). "Scattering" jigs in a Big Country way and "Fear of Falling" gains its balance once over the Automatic rip opener, but the three aforementioned masterworks set a standard impossible to maintain.
Grinning Souls (2005)
"Strong rock songs and razor-like vocals jump to the fore in first cut “Shot of Democracy” which is followed by the more reflective,“Apparent Depth and its thoughtful lyrics. This self-financed production of power and grace, Nick’s bittersweet songs and dusty vocals remain as impressive today and deserving of continuing attention. Highlight: “No Problem Child”.
"Nick van Eede of Cutting Crew..has so many cool tunes here....great arrangements and voice as soaring and melodic as expected. Buy it Buy it Buy it!!! 
Rating 7/10 "...His first album as Solo/leader of Cutting Crew is a collection of down-to-earth, well-honed songs for someone who clearly knows his craft. Hard on You, Silhouette and Apparent Depth are more effective than anyone dared expect. Van Eede’s voice has seasoned with age, and the album’s demo-like production lays his talent bare. A surprisingly welcome return.” 
Cutting Crew's Nick van Eede... whose blend of captivating Rock, mellow interludes and bitter-sweet melodies dictate the flow of this enchanting debut album. Propelled by a wealth of instrumentation and Nick's vocals, they sail effortlessly into the realms of audible class governed by the likes of Franz Ferdinand and White Stripes - different styles ok, but same class.
Rating 4/5 This is a fine collection of songs with plenty of variety from the opening tune, ‘Shot Of Democracy’ that kicks in after a strange choral beginning and is the nearest track on here in sound to old Cutting Crew. The pop punk of ‘Boomerang’ could easily be a single, whilst the title track is a brooding epic with some wonderful vocals and guitar passages. No ‘big names’ on here (apart fromTerry Brown producing... the former Rush producer) and the musicianship is top notch (crystal clear drums and bass lines are a delight to these ears!). The range of styles on here reminded me of the solo output of It Bites singer Francis Dunnery – you can’t classify it and its just damn fine music. This is an album of wonderfully crafted songs that deserve exposure and if there’s any justice this album will get a wide audience.
The new band is a breath of fresh air & the CD is full of hooky pop tunes that jump to life. The vibrant playing energizes van Eede’s tunes, and he sounds like he’s having fun. The disc is full of sly pop influences. One standout track is “Understudies” pulsing with pop-rock energy. Adam Dowling’s drumming and Shehab Illyas’s bass lock-in tight while the soaring keys and grinding guitars electrify the track.
….Van Eede is still a big league singer and the energy from the band lifts everything to a higher plain. He finds a motivational message in GetupandGetoverit: ‘If you want it, you can have it, If you want it get up and get over it.’
Terry Brown, who produced The Driver’s album 20 years ago, reunites with van Eede for this project. The sound is vibrant and effortless, shifting direction with in the nimble arrangements. Acoustic piano and swirling Hammond organ provide a strong counterpoint to Asif Illyas’s always-tasty guitar playing.
…but what’s most impressive is the depth of his song writing and arranging, creating lush sound textures. The track Grinning Souls has an ELO vibe, with a quietly rattling guitar and organ, while van Eede turns in an outstanding vocal!! 
Through the late summer and autumn two important figures of '70's and '80's rock music world turned up secretly in Halifax to record the first album of new songs by a chart-topping musical artist in over a decade. The artist was Nick van Eede; his producer none other than Rush and Blue Rodeo seasoned Toronto recordist Terry Brown.
Ten years after the final Cutting Crew album and one year since the untimely passing of his Halifax-born-and-based musical partner Kevin MacMichael, the powerful singer, songwriter and guitarist is returning to the arena where he scored a worldwide #1 hit in the second half of the 1980s.
Nick rose initially to fame with a scrappy post-new-wave trio called The Drivers. While touring Canada he met Kevin MacMichael, a fixture on the East Coast music scene who had specialized in Beatlesque pop in his widely popular band Fast Forward.
Nick convinced MacMichael to make the big leap over to England for a new recording project called Cutting Crew. Signed to the new Virgin Records offshoot Siren Records, the band's lush but hard-driving single (I Just) Died In Your Arms took to the airwaves right around the world, reaching number one in at least 18 countries.
The band's first album Broadcast sold promisingly in Europe, North America and in selected Asian markets.
Tours, videos, several more hits including One For The Mockingbird and I've Been In Love Before, and two full-length successor albums along with several best-of compilations followed, making Cutting Crew something of an international sensation.
When the group's run was finally over by the mid-90's, Nick moved into songwriting and touring with groups like Marillion and Simple Minds while MacMichael played with Robert Plant before eventually returning to Halifax for a less frenzied and more stable life.
The two remained fast friends. Sadly, a few years ago, Kevin MacMichael was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Nick assisted in a massive fund-raising concert put on by Kevin’s friends in Halifax in the fall of 2003. Kevin finally passed away on December 31, 2003; six months later Nick had solidified his plans to get back into the recording game with an album of at least eleven new songs.
He contacted his old producer Terry Brown, a fixture himself in both the British, Canadian and world music scenes for producing the first twelve albums by progressive metal legends Rush along with the first landmark Blue Rodeo album, was ready to take up the challenge.
Booking a studio in Halifax—first to cut demonstration tapes of the songs with the local pop group MIR—Brown and van Eede ended up in the same facility from August to November last year, even enduring the delights of Hurricane Juan which brought the city to a complete halt in the final few days of September 2003.
His new album has a brash, organic feel that comes from recording live with a band rather than layering tracks over electronically triggered rhythm textures.
In a letter to a fan-run Cutting Crew Web site, he admits to not using click tracks or electronic metronomes of any sort. Consequently, there's a terrific dynamic to the group sound on the album that harkens back to the post-punk days of his former group, The Drivers.
Ranging from lush pop to hard-driving political rock, the eleven songs see him in full control of his considerable musical powers. The owner of a ten-carat set of pipes, Nick’s voice is one the most remarkable in the contemporary pop world, able to handle anything from delicate balladry to full-out-screaming rock. Some of the songs on the new record rank with the finest he's ever recorded; even the titles (Shot of Democracy, Silhouette, Apparent Depth, Understudies, No Problem Child, Left of Heaven) seethe with a rare intelligence and integrity that should go far to re-establish him as a musical force to be reckoned with.
- Larkin, Collin, ed. (2 Oct 2014). "Cutting Crew". Encyclopedia of Popular Music. 4th Edition.
- Steffen Hung. "Cutting Crew - (I Just) Died In Your Arms". hitparade.ch. Retrieved 2010-05-21.
- Michael Sutton. "The Scattering - Cutting Crew | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-05-22.
- "Artist Chart History - Cutting Crew". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-06-24.
- "Canadian Chart". RPM. Retrieved 2008-06-24.
- "Chartverfolgung / BANGLES / Longplay" (in German). musicline.de. Retrieved 2008-06-24.
- "Norwegian Chart". norwegiancharts.com. Retrieved 2008-06-24.
- "Swedish Album Chart". swedishcharts.com. Retrieved 2008-06-24.
- "Chart Stats - Cutting Crew". Chart Stats. Retrieved 2008-06-24.
- Canadian peaks
- German peaks
- Search for Irish peaks
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 131. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Charlotte Dillon & Andrew Leahey
- Michael Sutton
- Doug Stone
- MUSICIAN MAGAZINE (SEPTEMBER 2005)
- USA Independent Syndicated Review (ROCKnPOP) Gavin Moser
- Classic Rock Magazine
- Mark Deakin - Insight Magazine
- Jason Ritchie, Reviews Editor, Get Ready To Rock! www.getreadytorock.com
- Sandy McDonald HFX MUSIC April 2005
- Ron Foley Macdonald 2005 Halifax Canada