Eurythmics: Touch Page 2

It sold relative modestly, but this combination was refined on the single 'Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)', released in January 1983 along with the album of the same name. They had composed it quickly after an intense row in the studio. It was the song that launched them, and went on to be an international hit, reaching No 2 in the UK and No 1 in the US. It felt as if the duo had found their true voice at last.

Androgynous Look
'We were in a little bubble away from anything that was going on in the pop music world. So that's why we didn't sound like anybody in the pop music world at the time,' Stewart told Sound On Sound magazine in 2018.


While fronting The Tourists, Lennox's peroxide blonde hair had provoked some admittedly rather spurious claims for her and the group as 'The British Blondie'. In Lucy O'Brien's 1991 book Annie Lennox, the singer was said to have declared: 'I wanted to get rid of the woman completely and killed 'Annie of The Tourists' stone dead'. She certainly never reappeared.

Now Lennox was seen in publicity shots in a masculine-looking suit and with a dyed ginger crop. This invited similarly lazy comparisons with Grace Jones, but while the Jamaican-American singer also purveyed an androgynous look, her image was far more severe, while Lennox came across as a rather more capricious character who enjoyed rummaging through the dressing-up box.


The early 1980s was the time when MTV was really taking off and videos took on a greater importance. And while the cover of The Eurythmics' early 1983 single 'Right By Your Side' featured Lennox grinning, wearing a gold suit with red platform boots, the video saw her in a leopardskin hat, sash and gloves, while Stewart, with his dyed blonde hairdo and cream jacket, looked every inch the pop star.

But, more importantly, this song was a lot more direct in its delivery than anything they had released before. It was a colourful, exuberant calypso-like creation with horns and synthesised steel drums and marimbas. It was also included on the album Touch that was released in Nov '83 and in his review for Rolling Stone magazine Christopher Connolly singled out the song as being 'appealingly melodic, lyrically intriguing and truly inventive'.


Melancholic Tinges
The lyrics carried references to inner states, and Lennox explained the song's darker shades of meaning to Mat Snow of Q in 1991: 'Music should express a whole spectrum of emotion. Why should it be miserable in order for it to be meaningful? Does it mean when it's happy that it's mediocre?

'But if you listen to the words, they say "When depression starts to win/I need to be right by your side". In retrospect, everything I've done has been tinged with irony – or melancholia.'

A similarly wide combination of lyrical and musical moods informed 'Who's That Girl?', which Lennox wrote while she was in love, although it deals with unrequited love. In the video she further blurred lines of gender, playing a nightclub singer in a blonde wig, who leaves with a man whose part she also played, while Dave Stewart is filmed swanning in with male pop star Marilyn on his arm.


The third single from Touch 'Here Comes The Rain Again' was released in 1984, and is the album's highlight with its synths and sequencers punctuated by big guitar chords and a brilliant string arrangement. In his review, Connolly also praised the sounds Stewart created as opposed to the 'blowsy' efforts of some of his synth pop peers. It also had a bittersweet twist.

'It has a mixture of things, because I'm playing a B-minor, but then I change it to put a B-natural in it, and so it kind of feels like that minor is suspended, or major. So it's kind of a weird course,' Stewart told Carl Wiser of Songfacts in 2008.


Dazzling Setting
'That starts the song, and the whole song was about that undecided thing – like here comes depression, or here comes that downward spiral. But then it goes, "So talk to me like lovers do".' And this dazzling musical setting prompted one of Lennox's most characterful vocal performances, which is full of yearning. Touch was internationally commercially successful, reaching No 7 in the US Billboard chart and getting to No 1 in the UK.

The Eurythmics continued until 1990, re-forming in 1999 until 2005, and Lennox and Stewart still play occasional one-off shows, a career path that even the most perspicacious seer would have been unlikely to predict back in 1981.