Writing on the Wall (Bucks Fizz album)

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Writing on the Wall
Writing on the wall - Bucks Fizz.jpg
Studio album by
Released24 November 1986
Recorded1984 - 86
GenrePop
Length43:40 (Vinyl)
64:11 (Cassette)
56:31 (CD)
LabelPolydor
Producer
Bucks Fizz chronology
I Hear Talk
(1984)
Writing on the Wall
(1986)
The Story So Far
(1988)
Singles from Writing on the Wall
  1. "You and Your Heart so Blue"
    Released: June 1985
  2. "Magical"
    Released: September 1985
  3. "New Beginning (Mamba Seyra)"
    Released: May 1986
  4. "Love the One You're With"
    Released: August 1986
  5. "Keep Each Other Warm"
    Released: November 1986
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
Smash Hits(8/10) [1]
Number One Magazine4/5 stars [2]
Q Magazine3/5 stars [3]
Daily Mirror3/5 stars [4]

Writing on the Wall is the fifth and final studio album by the British pop group Bucks Fizz.[5] It was released on 24 November 1986 and featured the comeback top ten single "New Beginning (Mamba Seyra)". It was their first and only album to feature then new member Shelley Preston and their only album released on Polydor Records. Despite the album being initially unsuccessful in the charts, it was re-released twice - first in 2004 and again in 2012, both times with different track listings. It remains the group's final studio album to date.

Overview[edit]

Writing on the Wall was a significant album in the Bucks Fizz catalogue for many reasons. Apart from being their final studio album, it was also the only one to feature newly recruited member Shelley Preston, who had replaced Jay Aston a year before.[6] It was also their first album on a different record label — Polydor — after their 5-year contract with RCA had finished. Despite this, the album contained three of its ten songs from the RCA days. These being the first two singles, "You and Your Heart so Blue" and "Magical", along with a remix of "I Hear Talk", which was featured on their 1984 album of the same name, but included here as it had since become a big hit in the clubs in both the UK and US.[7]

The biggest selling point of the album was the top ten comeback hit "New Beginning (Mamba Seyra)", released in May 1986. The song become their first big hit in some time and received some of their biggest critical acclaim.[8] The group elected to release a cover version as the follow-up — a reworking of Stephen Stills' "Love the One You're With". The song stalled outside the top 40 and the next single, "Keep Each Other Warm", also failed to sell well.[9][10]

The album, released in November 1986, could not sustain the comeback success of the "New Beginning" single and, despite positive reviews, didn't make a great impression on the charts. Because of this, a planned early 1987 single release of "Love in a World Gone Mad" was shelved. On original release the album was issued on Vinyl, Cassette and Compact Disc, all with slightly varied track listings. The Cassette version boasted a whole side of extended remixes (cramming nine of the vinyl's ten songs on side one), while the Compact Disc version contained a new song, "Give a Little Love", in favour of the "I Hear Talk" extended mix.

The album was re-issued on CD in 2004 with a very different track listing, featuring 1986-only tracks. Between 2004 and 2008, alternate versions of the tracks "New Beginning", "You and Your Heart So Blue", "Magical", "Keep Each Other Warm", "Love the One You're With" and "Love in a World Gone Mad" have been released on various Bucks Fizz compilations.

The album was re-released yet again on CD in April 2012. This time as an "Ultimate edition" 2-CD set. The first CD follows closely to the 2004 track listing, but with remastered sound (the 2004 edition had received fan criticism at the low bass sound), while the second CD featured the third volume of The Lost Masters albums.[11]

"Love in a World Gone Mad" was covered by ABBA singer Agnetha Fältskog on her 1987 album I Stand Alone.

Reception and reviews[edit]

Writing on the Wall received some of the group's best reviews. Smash Hits awarded the album an 8 out of 10 rating and singled out tracks "New Beginning", "You and your Heart so Blue" and "I Hear Talk" as being particularly strong. Reviewer Tom Hibbert said that "[their music] is awesomely brilliantly conceived pop music performed with relish", while the songs "are thoroughly ravishing, proper popular music".[1] Number One magazine was impressed by the adult rock sound of many of the tracks, but feared that the album wouldn't stand up to repeated listenings. Nevertheless, they gave the album a 4 out of 5 rating, commenting that "Writing On the Wall sees the Fizzers moving ever further away from their light pop of old, [giving] a fair impression of American AOR rockers – in the most melodic way possible of course".[2] The newly established Q Magazine rated the album 3 out of 5 and favoured the tracks "Keep Each Other Warm" and "The Company You Keep".[3] On the re-issue in 2004, The Daily Mirror stated that though the album may not be cutting-edge, it had class,[4] while Music Week labelled the album "a gem".[12] Reviewing the 2012 re-release, Music News.com said the album saw the group lose their identity in a largely negative review. The album was rated two stars out of five but did compliment the group's performance, stating "The band themselves are in pretty good form and the performances are solid but subtleties are clobbered by the production".[13]

In their year-end polls, Number One magazine rated Bucks Fizz as the thirteenth best act of 1986, and placed the single, "New Beginning", fifteenth in the best songs of the year. "New Beginning" became a much played song on radio during 1986 and elicited many positive comments from DJs, while the song remains a firm fan favourite — repeatedly being placed as their best ever song.[14]

Track listing[edit]

1986 vinyl[edit]

Side One
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."New Beginning (Mamba Seyra)"Mike Myers / Tony GibberMyers / Andy Hill4:08
2."You and Your Heart So Blue"Hill / Pete SinfieldHill3:59
3."Soul Motion"Hill / SinfieldHill / Trevor Vallis4:03
4."Magical"Meat Loaf / John ParrHill4:07
5."Keep Each Other Warm (Long version)"Hill / SinfieldHill5.38
Side Two
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Love the One You're With"Stephen StillsHill3:23
2."Love in a World Gone Mad"Billy Livesey / SinfieldDavid Motion3:57
3."Don't Turn Back"Ian Bairnson / Bobby GeeBairnson / Gee4:16
4."The Company You Keep"Mike Burns / Steve Glen / GeeGee4:08
5."I Hear Talk (Extended Mix)"Hill / SinfieldHill6:58

1986 Cassette[edit]

Side One
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."New Beginning (Mamba Seyra)"Myers / GibberMyers / Hill4:08
2."You and Your Heart So Blue"Hill / SinfieldHill3:59
3."Soul Motion"Hill / SinfieldHill / Vallis4:03
4."Keep Each Other Warm"Hill / SinfieldHill4:12
5."Magical"Meat Loaf / ParrHill4:07
6."Love in a World Gone Mad"Livesey / SinfieldMotion3:57
7."Don't Turn Back"Bairnson / GeeBairnson / Gee4:16
8."The Company You Keep"Burns / Glen / GeeGee4:08
9."Love the One You're With"StillsHill3:23
Side Two
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."New Beginning (Extended version)"Myers / GibberMyers / Hill7:31
2."I Hear Talk (Extended version)"Hill / SinfieldHill6:58
3."Keep Each Other Warm (Long version)"Hill / SinfieldHill5:38
4."Love the One You're With (Extended version)"StillsHill7:51

1986 CD[edit]

Side One
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."New Beginning (Mamba Seyra)"Myers / GibberMyers / Hill4:08
2."You and Your Heart So Blue"Hill / SinfieldHill3:59
3."Soul Motion"Hill / SinfieldHill / Vallis4:03
4."Love the One You're With"StillsHill3:23
5."Keep Each Other Warm (Long version)"Hill / SinfieldHill5:38
6."Magical"Meat Loaf / ParrHill4:07
7."Love in a World Gone Mad"Livesey / SinfieldMotion3:57
8."Don't Turn Back"Bairnson / GeeBairnson / Gee4:16
9."The Company You Keep"Burns / Glen / GeeGee4:08
10."Give a Little Love"Diane Warren / Albert HammondHill3:30
11."Love the One You're With (Extended version)"StillsHill7:51
12."New Beginning (Extended version)"Myers / GibberMyers / Hill7:31

2004 CD[edit]

Side One
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."New Beginning (Mamba Seyra) (Original version)"Myers / GibberMyers / Hill4:40
2."Soul Motion"Hill / SinfieldHill / Vallis4:03
3."Love the One You're With (Dance edit)"StillsHill5:05
4."Keep Each Other Warm (7" edit)"Hill / SinfieldHill4:10
5."Love in a World Gone Mad (1986 New version)"Livesey / SinfieldMotion3:48
6."Don't Turn Back"Bairnson / GeeBairnson / Gee4:16
7."The Company You Keep"Burns / Glen / GeeGee4:08
8."Give a Little Love"Warren / HammondHill3:30
9."In Your Eyes"Hill / Warren BacallHill4:18
10."Too Hard"Bairnson / GeeGee3:55
11."I Need Your Love"GeeGee4:37
12."New Beginning (Ian Levine Club mix)"Myers / GibberMyers / Hill / Ian Levine9:27
13."I Hear Talk (1986 remix)"Hill / SinfieldHill6:58
14."Love in a World Gone Mad (1986 extended mix)"Livesey / SinfieldMotion6:44
15."New Beginning (Ian Levine Dub mix)"Myers / GibberMyers / Hill / Levine8:20

2012 "Ultimate edition"[edit]

Side One
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."New Beginning (Mamba Seyra) (Full length version)"Myers / GibberMyers / Hill4:40
2."Love the One You're With (7" version)"StillsHill3:26
3."Don't Turn Back"Bairnson / GeeBairnson / Gee4:53
4."Keep Each Other Warm (Long version)"Hill / SinfieldHill5:38
5."Love in a World Gone Mad (1986 7" version)"Livesey / SinfieldMotion3:48
6."The Company You Keep"Burns / Glen / GeeGee4:08
7."Soul Motion"Hill / SinfieldHill / Vallis4:03
8."Give a Little Love (Unedited version)"Warren / HammondHill4:38
9."In Your Eyes"Hill / BacallHill4:18
10."I Need Your Love"GeeGee4:37
11."Too Hard"Bairnson / GeeGee3:55
12."Love the One You're With (Extended version)"StillsHill7:52
13."I Hear Talk (1986 extended version)"Hill / SinfieldHill6:58
14."Love in a World Gone Mad (Extended version)"Livesey / SinfieldMotion6:44
15."New Beginning (Extended version)"Myers / GibberMyers / Hill7:33

Personnel[edit]

Vocals

  • Bobby G - lead vocals on "You and Your Heart so Blue", "Soul Motion", "Magical", "Keep Each Other Warm", "Love the One You're With", "Don't Turn Back", "I Hear Talk", "Too Hard", "I Need Your Love", Harmonica on "The Company You Keep"
  • Cheryl Baker - lead vocals on "Give a Little Love", "Love in a World Gone Mad" and "In Your Eyes"
  • Mike Nolan - lead vocals on "The Company You Keep"
  • Shelley Preston - shared lead vocal on "Love in a World Gone Mad (1986 version)" and "In Your Eyes"

Musicians

Production

  • Andy Hill - Producer on "New Beginning", "You and Your Heart so Blue", "Soul Motion", "Magical", "Keep Each Other Warm", "Love the One You're With", "I Hear Talk"
  • Bobby G - Producer on "Don't Turn Back", "The Company You Keep"
  • David Motion - Producer on "Love in a World Gone Mad"
  • Mike Myers - Producer on "New Beginning"
  • Trevor Vallis - Producer on "Soul Motion", Engineer
  • Brian Tench - Engineer
  • Trigger - Engineer
  • Peter Woodroffe - Engineer, Fairlight programmer
  • Michael Hoppen - Photography
  • Green Ink - Design
  • Alwyn Clayden - Art direction

Chart performance[edit]

Release date Single title UK Chart position"[15]
June 1985 "You and Your Heart so Blue" 43
September 1985 "Magical" 57
May 1986 "New Beginning (Mamba Seyra)" 8
August 1986 "Love the One You're With" 47
November 1986 "Keep Each Other Warm" 45
Release date Album title UK Chart position[15]
November 1986 Writing on the Wall 89
November 2004 Writing on the Wall (CD re-issue) -
April 2012 Writing on the Wall (CD re-issue) -

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Tom Hibbert. Smash Hits album reviews, November 1986
  2. ^ a b Karen Swayne. Number One Magazine album reviews, November 1986
  3. ^ a b Q Magazine album reviews, November 1986
  4. ^ a b Daily Mirror. "Daily Mirror album reviews - Writing on the Wall". Retrieved 13 July 2008.
  5. ^ Ian Bairnson. "Guitarist's website with song clips and info". Retrieved 18 July 2008.
  6. ^ BBC news (5 July 2007). "Bucks Fizz article with reference to Jay Aston and Shelley Preston". BBC News. Retrieved 18 July 2008.
  7. ^ Ian Bairnson. "Guitarist's website - "I Hear Talk"". Retrieved 18 July 2008.
  8. ^ Chartstats. ""New Beginning" UK Chart details". Archived from the original on 24 September 2012. Retrieved 18 July 2008.
  9. ^ Chartstats. ""Love the One You're With" UK Chart details". Archived from the original on 18 September 2012. Retrieved 18 July 2008.
  10. ^ Chartstats. ""Keep Each Other Warm" UK Chart details". Archived from the original on 18 September 2012. Retrieved 18 July 2008.
  11. ^ Music News. "Bucks Fizz to release Writing on the Wall". Retrieved 18 April 2012.
  12. ^ Music Week (8 January 2005). "Music Week album review, 8 January 2005". Music Week. Retrieved 10 September 2009.
  13. ^ Paul Chapinal (21 April 2012). "Music News album reviews - Writing on the Wall". Musicnews.com. Retrieved 2 May 2012.
  14. ^ Early years. "Bucks Fizz fans' top 40". Archived from the original on 29 May 2007. Retrieved 18 July 2008.
  15. ^ a b Chart Archive. "Bucks Fizz UK Chart discography". Archived from the original on 12 January 2013. Retrieved 18 April 2012.