Fade to Grey (Visage song)

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"Fade to Grey"
Single by Visage
from the album Visage
B-side "The Steps"
Released 1980
Format
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 Germany and Switzerland.

Background[edit]

Fade To Grey (Orchestral) released in 2014

"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.[3]

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.

Controversies[edit]

Authorship[edit]

On the album the song is credited to Billy Currie, Chris Payne and Midge Ure.[4] There are no known legal cases concerning the authorship.

Currie and Payne worked on the instrumental part during the sound checks on Gary Numan's 1979 tour. Cedric Sharpley, the drummer of the Numan's backing band was also heavily involved.[5] In those days it was called "Toot City". While setting the track listing of the Visage album, Midge Ure suggested the use of the melody[6] and wrote the song's lyrics.

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 Ure both claimed to have been the one who came up with the idea for the French vocal in the track.[6][7] 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, 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".[7]

"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". Currie accused "One Word" writer Linda Perry of copyright infringement and had discussions with co-writers Ure and 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 announced their intention to release a "One Word" remix, but this never materialised. They did, however, produce 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".[8]

Italian singer Tiziano Ferro had a hit in Italy in 2006 with "Stop! Dimentica", a song which heavily samples Osbourne's "One Word".[9]

Music video[edit]

Visage's first music video was directed by Godley & Creme.[10] 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.[11][12] The clip was included on band's 1986 video release, Visage.

Track listings[edit]

  • 7" single (1980)[13]
A. "Fade to Grey" – 3:50
B. "The Steps" – 3:13
  • 12" single (1980)[14]
A. "Fade to Grey" – 6:17
B. "The Steps" – 3:13
  • CD maxi-single (1993)[15]
  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)[16]
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
  • Orchestral version (2014)
  1. Fade To Grey (Orchestral Version)
  2. Fade To Grey (Main Version)
  3. Fade To Grey (Extended Version)
  4. Fade To Grey (Extended Instrumental)
  5. Fade To Grey (Orchestral Instrumental)
  6. Fade To Grey (Orchestral Radio Version)
  7. Fade To Grey (Orcapella)

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]

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)[42] 24
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[43] 20
Germany (Official German Charts)[44] 11
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[45] 35
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[46] 24
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[47] 45
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[48] 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.[49]
  • "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]

Influence[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 attempt became "New Year's Day", U2's first Top 10 single.[51]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "Visage – Artist Biography". AllMusic. All Media Network. 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. ^ a b "Archive Chart: 1993-08-28" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  4. ^ LeRoy, Dan. "Visage – Visage". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 26 March 2016. 
  5. ^ "Confession – December 1995". Webb.garynuman.info. Retrieved 5 January 2012. 
  6. ^ a b Midge Ure talks about Fade To Grey. YouTube. 14 January 2007. Retrieved 16 February 2008. 
  7. ^ a b Strange 2002, p. 66.
  8. ^ "Mixomatosis (2) – Very Unprofessional (CDr, Album)". Discogs. Retrieved 30 May 2010. 
  9. ^ (Italian) Plagio o somiglianza? Lo "strano" caso di Tiziano Ferro (ma Kelly Osbourne "pagò" i Visage…) at the Wayback Machine (archived 15 March 2007). MusicBlob. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
  10. ^ "Visage". Mvdbase.com. Retrieved 25 September 2012. 
  11. ^ Strange 2002, p. 65.
  12. ^ Visage – Fade To Grey. YouTube. 13 May 2010. Retrieved 10 October 2012. 
  13. ^ "Visage – Fade To Grey (Vinyl)". Discogs. Retrieved 4 October 2012. 
  14. ^ "Visage – Fade To Grey / The Steps (Vinyl)". Discogs. Retrieved 4 October 2012. 
  15. ^ "Visage – Fade To Grey (Bassheads '93 Remix) (CD)". Discogs. Retrieved 4 October 2012. 
  16. ^ "Visage – Fade To Grey (Bassheads 93 Remix) (Vinyl)". Discogs. Retrieved 4 October 2012. 
  17. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – Chart Positions Pre 1989 Part 4". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 24 July 2013. 
  18. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Visage – Fade To Grey" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  19. ^ "Ultratop.be – Visage – Fade To Grey" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  20. ^ "Billboard – Hits of the World". Billboard. Vol. 93 no. 30. 1 August 1981. p. 63. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  21. ^ "Le Détail par Artiste" (in French). InfoDisc. Select "Visage" from the artist drop-down menu. Retrieved 16 May 2016. 
  22. ^ "Musicline.de – Visage Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  23. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Fade To Grey". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  24. ^ "HitParadeItalia – Top10 del 03 Ottobre 1981" (in Italian). Hit Parade Italia. Creative Commons. Retrieved 24 July 2013. 
  25. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Visage - Fade To Grey search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  26. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Visage – Fade To Grey" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  27. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Visage – Fade To Grey". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  28. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (in Spanish) (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. 
  29. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Visage – Fade To Grey". Singles Top 100. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  30. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Visage – Fade To Grey". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  31. ^ "Archive Chart: 1981-02-07" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  32. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – Top 100 End of Year AMR Charts – 1980s". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  33. ^ "Jahreshitparade 1981" (in German). Austriancharts.at. Hung Medien. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  34. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1981" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  35. ^ "TOP – 1981" (in French). Top-france.fr. Retrieved 16 May 2016. 
  36. ^ "I singoli più venduti del 1981" (in Italian). Hit Parade Italia. Creative Commons. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  37. ^ "Schweizer Jahreshitparade 1981" (in German). Hitparade.ch. Hung Medien. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  38. ^ "Les Singles / Titres Certifiés "Or"" (in French). InfoDisc. Retrieved 16 May 2016. 
  39. ^ "Les Meilleures Ventes "Tout Temps" de 45 T. / Singles / Téléchargement" (in French). InfoDisc. Retrieved 16 May 2016. 
  40. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Visage; 'Fade To Gray')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  41. ^ "British single certifications – Visage – Fade To Grey". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Fade To Grey in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Select Silver in the field By Award. Click Search
  42. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Mark 'Oh – Fade To Grey" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  43. ^ "Mark 'Oh: Fade To Grey" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  44. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Mark 'Oh – Fade To Grey". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  45. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Mark'Oh - Fade To Grey search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  46. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Mark 'Oh – Fade To Grey" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  47. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Mark 'Oh – Fade To Grey". Singles Top 100. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  48. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Mark 'Oh – Fade To Grey". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  49. ^ "HitParadeItalia - Top20 del 12 Febbraio 1994" (in Italian). Hit Parade Italia. Creative Commons. Retrieved 26 June 2009. 
  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. 
  51. ^ Egan, Barry (16 January 2011). "Achtung baby, Adam is the proud father of a little boy". Sunday Independent. Retrieved 19 June 2011. 

Bibliography[edit]