Weak in the Presence of Beauty (song)

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This article is about the single. For the album, see Weak in the Presence of Beauty (album).
"Weak in the Presence of Beauty"
Single by Floy Joy
from the album Weak in the Presence of Beauty
B-side "You and Me"
Released June 1986
Format 7" single, 12" single
Genre Sophisti-pop
Length 3:24
Label Virgin Records
Writer(s) Michael Ward, Rob Clarke
Producer(s) Don Was
Floy Joy singles chronology
"Weak in the Presence of Beauty"
"Friday Night in This Cold City"

"Weak in the Presence of Beauty" is a song written by Michael Ward and Rob Clarke which was first released by their band, the British soul and jazz-influenced pop group Floy Joy, in 1986. The song was later covered by singer Alison Moyet in 1987 and became a hit for her.

Floy Joy version[edit]

Following the band's 1984 debut album Into the Hot, which spawned two minor Top 100 single entries in the UK chart ("Until You Come Back to Me" and "Operator"), lead vocalist Carroll Thompson left the group, along with Shaun Ward. Michael Ward continued the group with Rob Clarke, and lead vocalist Desi Campbell, the latter who originally the unofficial backing vocalist and bongo player for the group. Together the new trio released one album in 1986 - Weak in the Presence of Beauty - which would also be the band's final album. The title track "Weak in the Presence of Beauty" was the lead single from the album. It peaked at #85 in the UK, lasting in the Top 100 for a total of three weeks.[1] It was the group's highest charting single.[2] The song also saw minor success in Canada, where it peaked at #68 on the Singles Chart and #14 on the Adult Contemporary Chart.[3]

Like the band's debut album, the song (and the album) was produced by Don Was in Detroit.[4]

As revealed in The Face magazine during 1986, the inspired "Weak in The Presence" catch phrase originally came to Michael Ward as a joke. He stated "This girl was saying that she didn't trust me and I said, just off the cuff, "what can I do, I'm weak in the presence of beauty". I still don't know where it came from."[5]

In The Times, a Malta interview with Campbell saw the interviewer ask "Weak in the Presence of Beauty was a minor hit for you – but then, Alison Moyet covered it and it became a huge hit. Did you feel cheated?" Campbell replied "On the contrary, my association with that song has and continues to open many doors for me and I'm very proud to have been part of a little piece of pop history."[6]

Track listing[edit]

7" single
  1. "Weak in the Presence of Beauty" – 3:24
  2. "You And Me" – 3:07
12" single
  1. "Weak in the Presence of Beauty" (Extended Version) – 5:12
  2. "You And Me" – 3:07

Critical reception[edit]

In the official American Billboard Magazine of 18 January 1986, "Weak in the Presence of Beauty" was mentioned under the "Dance Trax" section. The article stated: "Floy Joy, much praised but barely charted (like Working Week, another of our undiscovered faves), sound like they have the key to both the U.S. and U.K. charts with "Weak in the Presence of Beauty" (Virgin/U.K.), a Don Was production that's sort of Shannon-meets-"Every Breath You Take". Addictive."[7]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1986) Peak
Canadian Adult Contemporary Chart[3] 14
Canadian Singles Chart[3] 68
UK Singles Chart[1] 85

Alison Moyet version[edit]

"Weak in the Presence of Beauty"
Single by Alison Moyet
from the album Raindancing
B-side "To Work on You"
Released February 1987
Format 7" single, 12" single
Recorded 1986
Genre Pop
Length 3:37
Label CBS, Columbia
Writer(s) Michael Ward; Rob Clarke
Producer(s) Jimmy Iovine
Alison Moyet singles chronology
Is This Love?"
"Weak in the Presence of Beauty"
"Ordinary Girl"

"Weak in the Presence of Beauty" is the first 1987 single released by Alison Moyet from her second studio album Raindancing. Unlike the original version, this cover became a hit throughout Europe.


Over the last decade, Moyet has revealed that the song was only recorded as she knew it would be a hit single, and that she is not actually fond of the song at all. To promote her 2004 album Voice, Moyet appeared on This Morning. On the show the introductory clip used was a snippet of the song's music video. Immediately after Phillip Schofield commented "You just said you hate that song? Why'd you hate that song?" Moyet stated "Oh, because I know how cynical I was being when I recorded it. I recorded it 'cause I knew it was a hit rather than the fact that I loved it, and that will teach me, you know? You have a massive hit with something you're not particularly fond of, and it's not a good feeling." Schofield added "Of course it's gonna haunt you forever then." Moyet stated "Oh yeah it does, you know?"[8]

In an interview by Ian Wade for The Quietus in May 2013, Wade had commented "You seem much happier that you have fuller control over everything." Moyet mentioned the song in her response, where she stated "What I must say is that it's sometimes very easy to sit there and rescind responsibility, but sometimes I couldn't be arsed. That's the truth of it. We can all make the right choices, but sometimes we're just too lazy to. And sometimes I was just too lazy to do it myself. "Love Letters" and "Weak in the Presence of Beauty" – neither song I enjoy now – they're both my fault. I found them. That was when I was feeling smart, thinking that I knew what a hit was - I don't know what's a fucking hit! But they were hits, and now I'm forever to fucking sing them years later!"[9]

In a June 2013 interview by Chi Ming Lai for The Electricity Club, Moyet spoke of the song and her reason for recording the track. Lai asked "Was that the same circumstances when you released "Love Letters" after the success of "Raindancing"?" Moyet replied "Love Letters" was me shooting myself in the foot! That was me being a show-off! That was me showing I had an A&R thing... "oh, I know what a hit is"! I did that twice, I did it with that and with "Weak in the Presence of Beauty"! Two times that I recorded songs knowing they were hits as opposed to the fact I loved them! I say that honestly, that's the only time I've ever recorded anything cynically!"[10]

Track listings[edit]

7" single
  1. "Weak in the Presence of Beauty" - 3:37
  2. "To Work on You" - 4:13
12" single #1
  1. "Weak in the Presence of Beauty" (Extended Remix) – 6:04
  2. "Weak in the Presence of Beauty" (Single Version) - 3:37
  3. "To Work on You" - 4:13
12" single #2
  1. "Weak in the Presence of Beauty" (Extended Remix) – 6:04
  2. "To Work on You" - 4:13
  3. "Take My Imagination To Bed" - 3:41

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1987) Peak
Australian Singles Chart 30
Belgian Singles Chart 16
Dutch Singles Chart[11] 25
French Singles Chart 9
German Singles Chart[12] 18
Irish Singles Chart[13] 4
Italian Singles Chart[14] 33
New Zealand Singles Chart[15] 7
Norwegian Singles Chart[16] 4
Swiss Singles Chart[17] 23
UK Singles Chart[18] 6

Other versions[edit]

The American band Eddie & the Tide released a version on their 1987 album Looking For Adventure.[19]


  1. ^ a b "Official Charts Company : Search Results : WEAK IN THE PRESENCE OF BEAUTY". Theofficialcharts.com. Retrieved 8 May 2014. 
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ a b c "Results - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 8 May 2014. 
  4. ^ "ELLE Magazine Interview | Desi Campbell Singer,Songwriter". Desi Campbell. Retrieved 8 May 2014. 
  5. ^ "Floy Joy, The Face Interview | Desi Campbell Singer,Songwriter". Desi Campbell. Retrieved 8 May 2014. 
  6. ^ "The Times-Malta - Desi Campbell Singer,Songwriter | Desi Campbell Singer,Songwriter". Desicampbell.com. 7 July 2013. Retrieved 8 May 2014. 
  7. ^ "Billboard - Google Books". Books.google.co.uk. 18 January 1986. Retrieved 8 May 2014. 
  8. ^ "Alison Moyet - Voice interview". YouTube. 10 June 2007. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  9. ^ "Features | A Quietus Interview | Changeling: Alison Moyet Interviewed". The Quietus. Retrieved 8 May 2014. 
  10. ^ "ALISON MOYET Interview". The Electricity Club. 10 June 2013. Retrieved 8 May 2014. 
  11. ^ Steffen Hung. "Dutch charts portal". dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  12. ^ "Die ganze Musik im Internet: Charts, News". musicline.de. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  13. ^ Jaclyn Ward - Fireball Media Ltd (1 October 1962). "The Irish Charts - All there is to know". Irishcharts.ie. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  14. ^ "Hit Parade Italia - Indice per Interprete: M". Hitparadeitalia.it. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  15. ^ Steffen Hung. "New Zealand charts portal". charts.org.nz. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  16. ^ Steffen Hung (15 June 2006). "Norwegian charts portal". norwegiancharts.com. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  17. ^ Steffen Hung. "Die Offizielle Schweizer Hitparade und Music Community". swisscharts.com. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  18. ^ "UK Singles & Albums Chart Archive". Chart Stats. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  19. ^ "Looking For Adventure". Eddie and The Tide. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 

External links[edit]