Fade to Grey (Visage song)

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"Fade to Grey"
Single by Visage
from the album Visage
B-side "The Steps"
Released 10 November 1980
Format 7", 12"
Recorded Genetic Studios, 1980
Genre
Length 4:02 (album version)
3:50 (single edit)
Label Polydor
Writer(s)
Producer(s)
  • Midge Ure
  • Visage
Visage singles chronology
"Tar"
(1979)
"Fade to Grey"
(1980)
"Mind of a Toy"
(1981)
1993 re-release cover

"Fade to Grey" is the second single by the British group Visage, released on Polydor Records in 1980.

The song was the band's most successful single. It entered the singles charts in late 1980, peaking at no. 8 in the UK Singles Chart and reaching no. 1 in both Germany and Switzerland.

Background[edit]

"Fade to Grey" was Visage's second single, but their first release on a major label, Polydor. It was released in November 1980, on the same day as the band's debut album, Visage. "Fade to Grey" hit the charts around Europe in late 1980/early 1981, becoming a Top 10 hit in the UK, and a Top 5 hit in five countries as well as reaching no. 1 in Germany and Switzerland.

A remix by Bassheads/Andy Stevenson was released in 1993 to promote the Fade to Grey – The Best of Visage compilation (an updated re-release of 1983's Fade to Grey – The Singles Collection). The new version became a modest Top 40 hit in the UK, peaking at no. 39.[3]

In 2008, Strange appeared on the BBC series Ashes to Ashes performing the song in the Blitz nightclub.

Controversies[edit]

Authorship[edit]

The song's structure was primarily composed by Billy Currie and Chris Payne. While setting the track listing of the Visage album, Midge Ure composed the song's lyrics after Billy Currie suggested the use of the melody for the album. Gary Numan commented in an interview for the Numan Digest: "As far as I'm concerned, Chris and Billy were the driving force behind writing "Fade to Grey". They used to work on it during the sound checks on my '79 tour. Cedric [Sharpley, the drummer of the Gary Numan's backing band] was also heavily involved. In those days it was called "Toot City"."[4]

The song features the same lyrics in two different languages, English and French. The English lyrics are sung whereas the French lyrics are spoken by a female voice. On the UK Channel 4 show Top Ten New Romantics in 1999, Visage vocalist Steve Strange claimed to have been the one who came up with the idea for the French vocal in the track (a statement disputed by Midge Ure who claims this idea was his).[5] On the finished track, the French vocal was performed by Brigitte Arens, a young student from Luxembourg who was Rusty Egan's girlfriend at the time.

In his 2002 autobiography, Steve Strange expressed his discontent over writing credits for "Fade to Grey". Again claiming that the French lyrics were his idea, and revealing that the musicians had usually credited each song to Visage as a five-piece band, the singer said it was not fair to credit the song to Ure, Currie and Payne only, since his input was significant and he was "the focal point of the group".[6]

"Fade to Grey" and "One Word"[edit]

In 2005, a copyright dispute arose over similarities between "Fade to Grey" and the Kelly Osbourne single, "One Word". Billy Currie accused "One Word" writer Linda Perry of copyright infringement and had discussions with co-writers Midge Ure and Chris Payne with a view to taking legal action. However, the matter was resolved after Perry agreed to pay them a share of the royalties from the single. Visage's second incarnation have announced their intention to release a "One Word" remix, but this has not materialised. They have, however, produced a reworked version of "Fade to Grey" in 2005.

To further accentuate the point, British mashup artist Mixomatosis released the track "Fade to Kelly", mixing an a cappella edit of "One Word" with the extended mix of "Fade to Grey".[7]

Italian singer Tiziano Ferro had a hit in Italy in 2006 with "Stop! Dimentica", a song which heavily samples Osbourne's "One Word".[8]

Music video[edit]

Visage's first music video was directed by Godley & Creme.[9] The idea for the storyline was from Strange, whose body was covered with silver paint in the video. His friend, Julia Fodor, mimed the French lyrics in the video.[10] The clip was included on band's 1986 video release, Visage.

Track listings[edit]

  • 7" single (1980)[11]
A. "Fade to Grey" — 3:50
B. "The Steps" — 3:13
  • 12" single (1980)[12]
A. "Fade to Grey" — 6:17
B. "The Steps" — 3:13
  • CD maxi-single (1993)[13]
  1. "Fade to Grey" (Bassheads 7" Edit) — 3:22
  2. "Fade to Grey" (7" Remix) — 3:37
  3. "Fade to Grey" (Original 7" Mix) — 3:51
  4. "Fade to Grey" (Wild Cat Mix) — 7:48
  • 12" single (1993)[14]
A1. "Fade to Grey" (Bassheads Vocal Mix) — 7:11
A2. "Fade to Grey" (Bassheads Dub Mix) — 7:35
A3. "Fade to Grey" (Bassheads Trance Mix) — 7:28
B1. "Fade to Grey" (Original Mix) — 3:51
B2. "Fade to Grey" (Subliminal Mix) — 5:16
B3. "Fade to Grey" (12" Mix) — 8:06

Personnel[edit]

  • Steve Strange — lead vocals
  • Brigitte Arens — French vocals
  • Midge Ure — backing vocals
  • Rusty Egan — backing vocals
  • Billy Currie — synthesizer, electric violin
  • Chris Payne — synthesizer, viola
  • Cedric Sharpley — drums, electronic drums programming

Chart performance[edit]

Preceded by
"Angel of Mine" by Frank Duval
"Shaddap You Face" by Joe Dolce Music Theatre
German number-one single
9 March 1981 – 13 April 1981 (6 weeks)
4 May 1981 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"Shaddap You Face" by Joe Dolce Music Theatre
Preceded by
"Life Is for Living" by Barclay James Harvest
Swiss number-one single
29 March 1981 – 5 April 1981 (2 weeks)

Cover versions[edit]

  • In the official U2 autobiography, Bono claims that Adam Clayton was trying to work out how to play the bassline of "Fade to Grey" and his initial attempt became "New Year's Day", U2's first Top 10 single.[41]
  • French group Goûts de Luxe covered the song in 1987 and released it as the B-side on their single "Omaha Beach".[42]
  • The 1992 song "I Wanna Be a Kennedy" by German Eurodance project U96 uses the synth riff of "Fade to Grey".
  • In 1994, the Italian electronic group Datura made a version of "Fade to Grey" with a re-recorded vocal track by Steve Strange singing lyrics specifically for this version. The single peaked at no. 5 in the Italian singles chart.[43]
  • Italian gothic metal band Monumentum covered the song on their album In Absentia Christi (1995).[44]
  • German DJ Mark 'Oh covered the song in 1996 on his album Magic Power.[45] The single reached no. 11 in Germany[46] and was a Top 40 hit in Switzerland, Austria, Finland and the Netherlands.[47]
  • "Fade to Grey" was recorded by Gregorian for their album Masters of Chant (1999).[48]
  • "Fade to Grey" was remixed by Noisia in 2005.[49]
  • The song was covered by Nouvelle Vague on their album Bande à Part in 2006.
  • Kylie Minogue's song "Like a Drug", from 2007 album X, uses uncredited elements from "Fade to Grey".
  • In 2008 German metal band Atrocity covered "Fade to Grey" on their album Werk 80 II.
  • Mandragora Scream, an Italian gothic metal band, covered "Fade to Grey" on their album Volturna (2009).
  • "Fade to Grey" was covered by former Information Society singer Christopher Anton for a maxi single to commemorate the song's 30th anniversary in 2010.[50]
  • Red Flag co-produced a cover of "Fade to Grey" with Bunny on her record Melting which was released in 2013. The French vocal on original track are translated to Hebrew.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "Visage – Artist Biography". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 3 May 2014. "The album yielded a major single in "Fade to Grey," an instant club classic which heralded synth pop's imminent commercial breakthrough." 
  2. ^ O'Neil, Dave (10 May 2013). "Vienna comes to Doncaster 'shoppo'". The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 24 July 2013. "Midge Ure (...) co-wrote Visage's new-wave classic Fade to Grey." 
  3. ^ a b "Archive Chart" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  4. ^ "Confession – December 1995". Webb.garynuman.info. Retrieved 5 January 2012. 
  5. ^ Midge Ure talks about Fade To Grey. YouTube. 14 January 2007. Retrieved 16 February 2008. 
  6. ^ Strange, Steve (2002). Blitzed! The Autobiography of Steve Strange. London: Orion Publishing Group. p. 66. ISBN 0-75284-936-0. 
  7. ^ "Mixomatosis (2) – Very Unprofessional (CDr, Album)". Discogs. Retrieved 30 May 2010. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Visage". Mvdbase.com. Retrieved 25 September 2012. 
  10. ^
    • Strange, Steve (2002). Blitzed! The Autobiography of Steve Strange. London: Orion Publishing Group. p. 65. ISBN 0-75284-936-0. 
    • Visage – Fade To Grey. YouTube. 13 May 2010. Retrieved 10 October 2012. 
  11. ^ "Visage – Fade To Grey (Vinyl)". Discogs. Retrieved 4 October 2012. 
  12. ^ "Visage – Fade To Grey / The Steps (Vinyl)". Discogs. Retrieved 4 October 2012. 
  13. ^ "Visage – Fade To Grey (Bassheads '93 Remix) (CD)". Discogs. Retrieved 4 October 2012. 
  14. ^ "Visage – Fade To Grey (Bassheads 93 Remix) (Vinyl)". Discogs. Retrieved 4 October 2012. 
  15. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – Chart Positions Pre 1989 Part 4". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 24 July 2013. 
  16. ^ "Visage – Fade To Grey – Austriancharts.at" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  17. ^ "Ultratop.be – Visage – Fade To Grey" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  18. ^ (Dutch) "Fade To Grey - VISAGE". Top 30. Retrieved 26 July 2013. "Hoogste notering in de top 30 : 4" 
  19. ^ "Billboard – Hits Of The World". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media) 93 (30): 63. 1 August 1981. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  20. ^ (French) "InfoDisc : Tous les Titres par Artiste". InfoDisc. Select "Visage" from the artist drop-down menu. Retrieved 24 July 2013. 
  21. ^ "Die ganze Musik im Internet: Charts, News, Neuerscheinungen, Tickets, Genres, Genresuche, Genrelexikon, Künstler-Suche, Musik-Suche, Track-Suche, Ticket-Suche – musicline.de" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  22. ^ "The Irish Charts – All there is to know". Irishcharts.ie. Retrieved 24 July 2013. 
  23. ^ (Italian) "HitParadeItalia – Top10 del 03 Ottobre 1981". Hit Parade Italia. Creative Commons. Retrieved 24 July 2013. 
  24. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Visage - Fade To Grey search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  25. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Visage – Fade To Grey" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  26. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Visage – Fade To Grey". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  27. ^ (Spanish) Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. 
  28. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Visage – Fade To Grey". Singles Top 60. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  29. ^ "Visage – Fade To Grey – swisscharts.com". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  30. ^ "Archive Chart" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  31. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – Top 100 End of Year AMR Charts – 1980s". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  32. ^ (German) "Jahreshitparade 1981". Austriancharts.at. Hung Medien. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  33. ^ (Dutch) "Jaaroverzichten 1981". Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  34. ^ (French) "TOP – 1981". Top-france.fr. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  35. ^ (Italian) "I singoli più venduti del 1981". Hit Parade Italia. Creative Commons. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  36. ^ (German) "Schweizer Jahreshitparade 1981". Hitparade.ch. Hung Medien. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  37. ^ "French single certifications – Visage – Fade To Grey" (in French). InfoDisc.  Select VISAGE and click OK
  38. ^ (French) "Les Singles en Or". InfoDisc. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  39. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Visage; 'Fade To Gray')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  40. ^ "British single certifications – Visage – Fade To Grey". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Fade To Grey in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Click Go
  41. ^ Egan, Barry (16 January 2011). "Achtung baby, Adam is the proud father of a little boy". Sunday Independent. Retrieved 19 June 2011. 
  42. ^ "Goûts De Luxe - Omaha Beach (Vinyl)". Discogs. Retrieved 8 October 2012. 
  43. ^ (Italian) "HitParadeItalia - Top20 del 12 Febbraio 1994". Hit Parade Italia. Creative Commons. Retrieved 26 June 2009. 
  44. ^ "Monumentum – In Absentia Christi (CD, Album)". Discogs. Retrieved 8 October 2012. 
  45. ^ "Mark 'Oh – Magic Power (CD, Album)". Discogs. Retrieved 8 October 2012. 
  46. ^ (German) "Mark 'Oh, Fade To Grey". Media Control Charts. Retrieved 8 October 2012. 
  47. ^ (German) "Mark 'Oh – Fade To Grey – austriancharts.at". Austriancharts.at. Hung Medien. Retrieved 8 October 2012. 
  48. ^ "Gregorian – Masters Of Chant (CD)". Discogs. Retrieved 8 October 2012. 
  49. ^ "Visage / Destiny's Child – Fade To Gray / Out Of Breath (Vinyl)". Discogs. Retrieved 19 June 2011. 
  50. ^ "'Fade to Grey': Christopher Anton Releases New Version of Techno Classic, Re-Envisioned for Dance Music Enthusiasts". PRWeb. 27 December 2009. Retrieved 19 June 2011.