Fade to Grey (Visage song)

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"Fade to Grey"
Visage Fade To Grey 500.jpg
Single by Visage
from the album Visage
B-side"The Steps"
Released1980
Genre
Length
  • 4:02 (album version)
  • 3:50 (single edit)
LabelPolydor
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
  • Midge Ure
  • Visage
Visage singles chronology
"Tar"
(1979)
"Fade to Grey"
(1980)
"Mind of a Toy"
(1981)
1993 re-release cover
Vis-FTG 93mixes.jpg

"Fade to Grey" is a 1980 song by British new wave band Visage, released as the second single from their debut album, Visage (1980), on Polydor Records.

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 Germany and Switzerland. Steve Strange was on lead vocals; the French lyrics were spoken by Rusty Egan's Belgian girlfriend Brigitte Arens.[3]

The music video became one of the first videoclips that Kevin Godley and Lol Creme directed, before they became known for their works with the Police, Duran Duran and Herbie Hancock.[4][5]

Background[edit]

Fade to Grey (Orchestral) released in 2014

"Fade to Grey" was originally written as an instrumental by Billy Currie and Chris Payne. Payne came up with the bassline and the chords while Currie added the other parts.[6] They worked on it during soundchecks on Gary Numan's 1979 tour. Cedric Sharpley, the drummer of Numan's backing band, was also heavily involved.[7] In those days it was called "Toot City". Initially considered to be released as a Billy Currie and Chris Payne single, the track eventually became part of the Visage project.[6] While setting the track listing of the Visage album, Midge Ure suggested the use of the melody[8] and wrote the song's lyrics.[9]

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

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.[10]

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

In 2014, Visage released "Fade To Grey (Orchestral)", a new version of the song re-recorded with a symphony orchestra. This followed the band's appearance at the 2014 World Ski Jumping Championships in Prague, Czech Republic, where they played a ten-song set backed by the Czech Synthosymphonica Orchestra. The band also released an album, Orchestral, which featured several classic Visage songs rerecorded with the orchestra.

Authorship[edit]

The song features the same lyrics in two languages, English and French. The English lyrics are sung, whereas the French lyrics are spoken by a female voice. Steve Strange and Midge Ure both claimed to have been the one who came up with the idea for the French vocal in the track.[8][11] On the finished track, the French vocal was performed by Brigitte Arens, a young student from Belgium who was Rusty Egan's girlfriend at the time.[12] On the album, the song is credited to Billy Currie, Chris Payne and Midge Ure.[13] In his 2002 autobiography, Strange 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".[11]

Music video[edit]

Visage's first music video was for this song, and was directed by Godley & Creme.[14] Appearing with Steve Strange in the video was his friend Julia Fodor, who mimed the French lyrics in the video.[15][16] The clip was included on band's 1986 video release, Visage.

Track listings[edit]

Chart performance[edit]

Cover versions[edit]

Mark 'Oh cover[edit]

German DJ Mark 'Oh covered "Fade to Grey" in 1996. His version reached no. 11 in Germany and was a Top 40 hit in Switzerland, Austria, Finland and the Netherlands.

Chart (1996) Peak
position
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[44] 24
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[45] 20
Germany (Official German Charts)[46] 11
Hungary (Mahasz)[47] 2
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[48] 35
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[49] 24
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[50] 45
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[51] 15

Other cover versions[edit]

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.[52]

Influence[edit]

  • In the official U2 autobiography, U2 by U2, Bono claims that Adam Clayton was trying to work out how to play the bassline of "Fade to Grey" and his attempt became "New Year's Day", U2's first Top 10 single.[53]
  • French DJ Vitalic depicts the song as "incredible" and "is an influence you can hear in my [his] music" in an interview for greenroom.fr[54]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "Visage – Artist Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  2. ^ O'Neil, Dave (10 May 2013). "Vienna comes to Doncaster 'shoppo'". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  3. ^ Perrone, Pierre (13 February 2015). "Steve Strange: Lead singer with Visage and club owner who became the leading light of the 1980s New Romantic movement". The Independent. Retrieved 13 September 2016.
  4. ^ "Visage, the '80s synth legends, are back!". The Latest. 17 September 2013. Retrieved 13 September 2016.
  5. ^ "Give me 10ccs of creativity, stat". The Irish Times. 19 November 2011. Retrieved 13 September 2016.
  6. ^ a b Payne, Christopher (1 September 2019). Visage 'Fade to Grey' explained (video). Archived from the original on 21 December 2021 – via YouTube.
  7. ^ "Confession – December 1995". Webb.garynuman.info. Retrieved 5 January 2012.
  8. ^ a b Midge Ure talks about Fade to Grey. YouTube. 14 January 2007. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021. Retrieved 16 February 2008.
  9. ^ Ure 2014, p. 77.
  10. ^ a b "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  11. ^ a b Strange 2002, p. 66.
  12. ^ Ure 2014, p. 78.
  13. ^ LeRoy, Dan. "Visage – Visage". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  14. ^ "Visage". Mvdbase.com. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
  15. ^ Strange 2002, p. 65.
  16. ^ Visage – Fade to Grey. YouTube. 13 May 2010. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
  17. ^ "Visage – Fade to Grey (Vinyl)". Discogs. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
  18. ^ "Visage – Fade to Grey / The Steps (Vinyl)". Discogs. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
  19. ^ "Visage – Fade to Grey (Bassheads 93 Remix) (Vinyl)". Discogs. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
  20. ^ "Visage – Fade to Grey (Bassheads '93 Remix) (CD)". Discogs. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
  21. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – Chart Positions Pre 1989 Part 4". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Archived from the original on 26 August 2014. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  22. ^ "Visage – Fade To Grey" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  23. ^ "Visage – Fade To Grey" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  24. ^ "Billboard – Hits of the World". Billboard. Vol. 93, no. 30. 1 August 1981. p. 63. ISSN 0006-2510.
  25. ^ "Le Détail par Artiste". InfoDisc (in French). Select "Visage" from the artist drop-down menu. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  26. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Fade To Grey". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  27. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Visage - Fade To Grey" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  28. ^ "Visage – Fade To Grey" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  29. ^ "Visage – Fade To Grey". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  30. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (in Spanish) (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  31. ^ "Visage – Fade To Grey". Singles Top 100. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  32. ^ "Visage – Fade To Grey". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  33. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  34. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Visage – Fade To Grey". GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  35. ^ "Dance Singles" (PDF). Music Week. 28 August 1993. p. 28. Retrieved 9 April 2021.
  36. ^ "National Top 100 Singles for 1981". Kent Music Report. 4 January 1982. p. 7. Retrieved 22 December 2020 – via Imgur.
  37. ^ "Jahreshitparade 1981" (in German). Austriancharts.at. Hung Medien. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  38. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1981" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  39. ^ "TOP – 1981". Top-france.fr (in French). Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  40. ^ "Schweizer Jahreshitparade 1981" (in German). Hitparade.ch. Hung Medien. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  41. ^ "French single certifications – Visage – Fade To Grey" (in French). InfoDisc. Select VISAGE and click OK. 
  42. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Visage; 'Fade To Gray')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie.
  43. ^ "British single certifications – Visage – Fade To Grey". British Phonographic Industry.
  44. ^ "Mark 'Oh – Fade To Grey" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  45. ^ "Mark 'Oh: Fade To Grey" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  46. ^ "Mark 'Oh – Fade To Grey" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  47. ^ "Top National Sellers" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 14, no. 5. 1 February 1997. p. 19. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
  48. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Mark'Oh - Fade To Grey" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  49. ^ "Mark 'Oh – Fade To Grey" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  50. ^ "Mark 'Oh – Fade To Grey". Singles Top 100. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  51. ^ "Mark 'Oh – Fade To Grey". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  52. ^ "HitParadeItalia - Top20 del 12 Febbraio 1994" (in Italian). Hit Parade Italia. Creative Commons. Retrieved 26 June 2009.
  53. ^ Egan, Barry (16 January 2011). "Achtung baby, Adam is the proud father of a little boy". Sunday Independent. Retrieved 19 June 2011.
  54. ^ Pernot, Olivier (13 December 2016). "Les plaisirs rétro de Vitalic". Greenroom (in French). Retrieved 19 June 2017.

Bibliography[edit]