The Riddle (Nik Kershaw song)

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"The Riddle"
Cover of The Riddle 12" Single
Single by Nik Kershaw
from the album The Riddle
Released November 1984
Format 7", 12", Cassette Single
Recorded 1984
Genre Pop rock, new wave
Length 3:52
Nik Kershaw singles chronology
"Human Racing"
(1984)
"The Riddle"
(1984)
"Wide Boy"
(1985)
The Riddle (album) track listing
"Easy"
(5)
"The Riddle"
(6)
"City Of Angels"
(7)

"The Riddle" is a song recorded by English pop rock artist Nik Kershaw. It was released in 1984 as the lead single from the album of the same name. It reached number three on the UK Singles Chart.

Lyrics[edit]

The "riddling" lyrics caused much puzzlement and speculation among listeners as to their meaning; Kershaw claims that there is in fact no meaning at all, simply being a "guide vocal" thrown together to fit the music.[1] Kershaw has stated: "In short, 'The Riddle' is nonsense, rubbish, b*ll*cks, the confused ramblings of an 80's popstar." [2]

Music video[edit]

The music video to "The Riddle" depicts Kershaw walking through a house shaped like a question mark, making his way through certain obstacles and looking through drawers while singing. The video depicts many references to Lewis Caroll's book Alice in Wonderland with an appearance of young girl exiting the room through a small door, two portly gentlemen who resemble Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee and an observation made by Kershaw to Through the Looking Glass.

At the beginning of the music video Kershaw is seen trying to get through a door with a screwdriver. The video ends with the camera moving up away from Kershaw to reveal that the question mark is lying in the street, at which point a man in a green costume seen earlier in the video comes and picks it up. The green man is the Riddler, a villain from the Batman comics. Kershaw claimed the video was inspired by his love for post-modern artistic expressionism.

Track listing[edit]

7" Single (WEA NIK 6)[3]
A The Riddle - 3:52
B Progress (Live) - 3:02

12" Single (WEA NIKT 6)[4]
A The Riddle (Extended Riddle) - 5:08
B Progress (Live) - 3:02

Cassette Single (WEA NIKC 6)[5]
A1 The Riddle - 3:52
A2 Interview
A3 Progress (Live) - 3:02
B1 I Won't Let the Sun Go Down on Me (Extended Mix)
B2 Wouldn't It Be Good (Extended Mix)

Credits[edit]

The Riddle[3]
Produced by Peter Collins

Progress
Recorded Live at Hammersmith Odeon.
Mixed by Simon Boswell

The Riddle (Extended Riddle)
Produced by Peter Collins
The extended mix is named "Special Extended Mix" on the cover & "Extended Riddle" on the label.


Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1984) Peak
position
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[6] 8
Canada (RPM)[citation needed] 56
France (SNEP)[7] 18
Germany (Media Control Charts)[8] 8
Ireland (IRMA)[9] 3
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[10] 19
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[11] 6
Norway (VG-lista)[12] 5
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[13] 5
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[14] 15
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[15] 3

Gigi D'Agostino version[edit]

"The Riddle"
Single by Gigi D'Agostino
from the album L'Amour Toujours
B-side Remix
Released December 1999
Format CD single, CD maxi, 7" single
Recorded 1999
Genre Electronic dance
Length 4:45, 3:42
Label ZYX, EMI Music
Writer(s) Nik Kershaw, Lugino Di Agostino
Producer(s) Gigi D'Agostino
Gigi D'Agostino singles chronology
"Another Way"
(1999)
"The Riddle"
(2000)
"La Passion"
(2000)

"The Riddle" was covered as a dance song by Gigi D'Agostino, which was released in D'Agostino's album, L'Amour Toujours. The same lyrics are used as in Kershaw's song, but the order is changed and the tempo is faster.

Music video[edit]

For this song, Gigi D'Agostino created a new music video, but kept it in a surrealist style, similar in spirit to Nik Kershaw's music video. The music video, which was made by Andreas Hykade, features La Linea styled animation just like in the Bla Bla Bla music video, taking place entirely with white lines on a light green background. This time the man from the Bla Bla Bla music video is fighting a dragon on a mountainous terrain. The length of the video is 3:36 but the track on L'Amour Toujours lasts 4:45.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2000-2001) Peak
position
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[16] 14
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[17] 4
Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)[18] 11
Canada (Nielsen SoundScan)[citation needed] 8
France (SNEP)[19] 7
Germany (Media Control Charts)[20] 4
Italy (FIMI)[21] 21
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[22] 4
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[23] 8

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Germany (BVMI)[24] Gold 250,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

Jack Holiday & Mike Candys version[edit]

"The Riddle Anthem"
Single by Jack Holiday and Mike Candys
Released 19 November 2012
Format CD single, CD maxi, 7" single
Genre Electronic music
Length 3:13
Producer(s) Mike Candys
Jack Holiday
Jack Holiday and Mike Candys singles chronology
"Sunshine (Fly So High)"
(2012)
"The Riddle Anthem"
(2012)
"Bring Back the Love"
(2013)

"The Riddle" was covered as a dance song by Swiss DJs Mike Candys and Jack Holiday. It was titled The Riddle Anthem and was released in November 2012.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2012-2013) Peak
position
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[25] 29
Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)[26] 31
France (SNEP)[27] 43
Germany (Media Control Charts)[28] 44
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[29] 26

Other cover versions[edit]

Ukrainian band Скрябін used the song's intro melody in their song "Любити платити" (to love to pay) in 2002 with Nik Kershaw accompanying on keyboard. Other covers have been performed by Young Talent Team, Thunderstone, Prezioso, De Heideroosjes, Death Angel, Cécile Corbel and Audiosmog.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Nik Kershaw on "The Riddle"
  2. ^ http://wayback.archive.org/web/jsp/Interstitial.jsp?seconds=5&date=1110042844000&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nikkershaw.net%2Ftheriddle.shtml&target=http%3A%2F%2Fweb.archive.org%2Fweb%2F20050305171404%2Fhttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.nikkershaw.net%2Ftheriddle.shtml
  3. ^ a b Discogs: Nik Kershaw - The Riddle 7".
  4. ^ Discogs: Nik Kershaw - The Riddle 12".
  5. ^ Discogs: Nik Kershaw - The Riddle Cassette Single.
  6. ^ "Ultratop.be – Nik Kershaw – The Riddle" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  7. ^ "Lescharts.com – Nik Kershaw – The Riddle" (in French). Les classement single.
  8. ^ "Chartverfulgong > Nik Kershaw > The Riddle – musicline.de" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  9. ^ http://www.irishcharts.ie/search/placement
  10. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Nik Kershaw – The Riddle" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  11. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Nik Kershaw – The Riddle". Top 40 Singles.
  12. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Nik Kershaw – The Riddle". VG-lista.
  13. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Nik Kershaw – The Riddle". Singles Top 60.
  14. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Nik Kershaw – The Riddle". Swiss Singles Chart.
  15. ^ "Archive Chart: 1984-12-08" UK Singles Chart.
  16. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Gigi D'Agostino – The Riddle" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  17. ^ "Ultratop.be – Gigi D'Agostino – The Riddle" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  18. ^ "Ultratop.be – Gigi D'Agostino – The Riddle" (in French). Ultratip.
  19. ^ "Lescharts.com – Gigi D'Agostino – The Riddle" (in French). Les classement single.
  20. ^ "Chartverfulgong > Gigi D'Agostino > The Riddle – musicline.de" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  21. ^ http://www.hitparadeitalia.it/indici/per_interprete/ad.htm
  22. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Gigi D'Agostino search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40.
  23. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Gigi D'Agostino – The Riddle". Swiss Singles Chart.
  24. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Gigi D'Agostino; 'The Riddle')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  25. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Jack Holiday & Mike Candys – The Riddle Anthem" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  26. ^ "Ultratop.be – Jack Holiday & Mike Candys – The Riddle Anthem" (in French). Ultratip.
  27. ^ "Lescharts.com – Jack Holiday & Mike Candys – The Riddle Anthem" (in French). Les classement single.
  28. ^ "Officialcharts.de – Jack Holiday & Mike Candys – The Riddle Anthem". GfK Entertainment.
  29. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Jack Holiday & Mike Candys – The Riddle Anthem". Swiss Singles Chart.

External links[edit]