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Erasure : Bio

History | Vince Clarke | Andy Bell | Me

Erasure Are Born

It was back in 1985, when the Erasure story began. Andy Bell, from Peterborough was the 41st person to audition for a new project from ex-Depeche Mode and Yazoo supremo Vince Clarke. Given the lyrics and tune to two Clarke written songs, 'Who Needs Love Like That' and the Assembly single 'One Day', Bell performed the tunes in front of Clarke and impressed the keyboard wizard to the extent that he was hired and was subsequently put on a retainer whilst the 'One Day' single featuring Paul Quinn was released. 

It flopped and Vince and Andy recorded Wonderland, the first album. Although the the album was full of great material, Who Needs Love Like That didn't set the UK charts alight and charted at 55. It was not what the duo expected and brought them down to Earth with a thud.

Andy and Vince then started touring universities across the UK building up a small fan base.

The next single 'Heavenly Action' charted at a awful 100 and follow up, 'Oh L'amour', although a hit in France, failed to make an impact in the UK charting at 85.

It was back to the drawing board and after touring clubs and universities Erasure had built up a small fan base and then wrote the lyrics to Sometimes. After writing the mid section to the verses, Andy though HIT and he was right. Sometimes exploded onto the UK charts at #2 and Erasure never looked back.

The rest of the album called 'Circus' was a massive success peaking at #6 in the charts. Follow up singles 'It Doesn't Have To Be', 'Victim Of Love' and 'The Circus' all charted in the top 15. The album was successfully toured and soon Erasure were back in the studio.

The follow up, 1988's The Innocents, spurned the classic 'A Little Respect' plus Erasure's first ever American hit, 'Chains Of Love' as well as 'Ship Of Fools'. The album was their first in a succession of number one albums and indeed it peaked at the top spot again some months after it first hit the top, testament of how strong the album was.

A special 1988 Christmas release was the 'Crackers International' EP with the lead song 'Stop!' becoming one of Erasure's best loved songs and one of their signature tunes. The EP was only denied number one by Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan's duet 'Especially For You'

In 1989 Erasure released the album 'Wild' with the singles 'Drama!', 'You Surround Me', 'Blue Savannah' and 'Star' all being strong top fifteen hits followed by a massive world tour where Erasure sold out arenas across the UK before culminating in the massive 65,000 sell out concert at the Milton Keynes Bowl in 1990, with the most outrageous costumes they had ever performed in.

Erasure Mania Hits The World!

In 1991 Erasure released their new album Chorus, which was a resounding success. Using new technologies in synth, the album bore the pop gems of 'Chorus', 'Love To Hate You,' and 'Breath Of Life' and the more brooding 'Am I Right'.

With the success of the Chorus album, Erasure released a tribute to Abba, the Abba-Esque EP single that stormed in at number one and remained there for many weeks. It was Erasure's first and currently only number one single.

Erasure also toured again with the massive Phantasmogorical Entertainment Tour which was the biggest most memorable tour yet. The show had Andy arriving on a swan, peforming in a Rhinestone cowboy costume with his rear end exposed (!!!) and the show even had Vince's infamous Abba-Esque dance to Voulez-Vous. Vince says when he looks back on the tour: "I felt very uncomfortable doing it."

After releasing their greatest hits package, Pop! The First Twenty Hits (that got to number one in the album charts) and re-releasing 'Who Needs Love [Like That]' (that got to number ten in the single charts), Erasure took a well earned break through 1993.
 

Back Down To Earth

I Say, I Say I Say saw a welcome return from Erasure after their rest and became yet another number one album for the duo. The first single, the awesome 'Always' charted at a strong #4 in the UK charts, but the promotional videos had something missing, the live presence of Vince. After stating in 1990 that videos were just marketing tools and dressing up at Frida from Abba in the Abba-Esque performances, his presence in 'Run To The Sun' was his glowing head in the middle of the globe, and in 'I Love Saturday', he was just portrayed on a photograph.

The last single 'I Love Saturday', despite generous radio airplay, was a chart disaster by recent form and only just scraped in at number twenty, never bothering the top ten.

The next album saw Erasure completely disappear from the top ten. The experimental album, Erasure only charted at fifteen, but still achieved gold selling status, with the highest charting single 'Stay With Me' charting at #15. Follow up 'Fingers & Thumbs (Cold Summers Day)', although a firm fan favourite, was not a commercial success and didn't make it into the UK top 20.

German fans were treated to one more release, 'Rock Me Gently', the 10 minute ballard being transferred into a 4 minute pop song.

Now the videos were complete devoid of Mr Clarke. He was busy in his new recording studio, 37B. The strange dome like building became the nerve centre for Erasure releases.

Back To Their Pop Roots

Erasure returned to their pop roots in the next album Cowboy. US recording giants Maverick signed them onto their label for the States release. In the UK, the album made the top ten, peaking at #10. 

'In My Arms', the first single charted at a promising 13 with the video being shot at the recent Tiny Tour. This meant that Vince appeared in a video again. However Maverick didn't like the video. Erasure responded with a fabulous US video shot in New York which depicts a young boy climbing a tower block to rescue his love of his life. And he climbs on her hair like a rope ... a la Rapunzel. Vince also stars in the video simply plonking keys on a keyboard ... typical Vince.

The group also toured again with the massive Cowboy Concerts, which saw Vince Clarke, predictably enough shuffling about the stage wearing a cactus suit.

The tour saw them support David Bowie in South America and saw them pack out arenas through the UK.
 

The Boat Sinks

After a three year gap Erasure returned with a new style in October 2000. Vince had started to use more acoustic instruments and the synth was minimal on the new material. The new single Freedom, was not a commercial success, reaching 27 in the official UK charts. The album, Loveboat, produced again by Flood reached a terrible 45. The album focussed on harder edge material with hip hop, r & b, techno and beaty music with only Freedom, Alien, Here In My Heart and Catch 22 classic Erasure sing-a-long songs.

The video for Freedom saw Vince in the directors chair and his presence in the video was again, not real life, but in the form of cardboard cut outs.

In 2001, the group released Moon & The Sky + from the album, heavily reworked into a great pop song which could have made a great impact on the UK charts, but it wasn't eligible having 11 tracks.

There was no tour to accompany Loveboat, with Andy and Vince doing some small promotional gigs.

The Boys Are Back In Town!

After the failure of the 2000 material, Andy teamed up with producer Gareth Jones with the intention of making an solo album of cover songs with heavy emphasis on Phil Spector material. With Vince busy raising money for charities and creating music companies with Heaven 17's Martyn Ware, this was Andy's chance to show the world he didn't need Vince for chart success.

However progress was slow and it wasn't long before Vince got chatting to Andy. They discussed their favourite songs and before long Vince got involved and this became an Erasure project, 'Other Peoples Songs'.

At Christmas 2002, the boys found themselves performing in front of their adoring fans at a special gig, organised by the official fan club. There was a question and answer session with the manager of the club, Jonny Morris.

The next month, January 2003, the first single from the album was released. 'Solsbury Hill' became a the boy's first top ten since 1994 peaking at number 10 and the follow up Make Me Smile (Come Up & See Me) also made the top fifteen.

Solsbury Hill saw another Vince Clarke directed video, and this time no appearance at all from the electro wizard. However, the video for MMS saw Vince back in the actors role, with the video directed by Jonas Odell and the production company, Nexus, created the opening sequence for the latest Steven Spielburg smash 'Catch Me if You Can'. 

The group also toured again the 'The Other Tour' and in October Erasure brought out their Greatest Hits package named 'Hits' and they finally re-released Oh L'amour, now achieving a number 13 in the charts, slightly better than number 85.

Erasure Hit Back Big Style!

After the commercial success of the covers album, Erasure set about writing and recording a new studio album, which would be back to basics synths. In 2005 they released the first single off their first self-penned album since Loveboat. Breathe was a massive chart success, receiving generous air play, with a Top Of The Pops performance. The platform was set for the album Nightbird, but unfortunately the promotion for the album from Mute was minimal, which only allowed the album to chart at #27. The album though became a firm favourite of the fans, with the album having many strong songs including 'I'll Be There', 'Sweet Surrender' and 'I Bet You're Mad At Me'.

During the Spring, Erasure set off on a world tour which would see them in the UK, Europe and America. 'The Erasure Show' was Erasure live at their very best - extravagant performances by Andy Bell, glittery costumes and not only were fans treated to many songs not performed love in fifteen years, but they were also treated to Vince Clarke rapping during a cover of Blondie's 'Rapture'.

The tour was a sell-out and afterwards Andy and Vince took time off. Vince became a father in September with his wife Tracy, whilst Andy released a solo dance album that he had recorded with DJ friends of his. Both the single and album were massive commercial flops, but Andy has sure enjoyed his experience.

An All Different Affair

2006 saw Erasure tackle a completely new project - recorded at the same time as Nightbird in Brooklyn USA, the album 'Union Street' contained many Erasure tracks from the past re-worked in a country & western/acoustic style - the first album releases with absolutely no synth on it at all.

In April and May boys toured once again with a full acoustic band. The gigs were a success with fans saying how much they enjoyed hearing classic Erasure songs in a new light.

What They Know Best

2007 saw Erasure return with another studio album and it was back to pure synths. With new rules in the charts meaning downloads counted towards the chart placing, Erasure were back on the back foot but new single 'I Could Fall In Love With You' was still a top 30 hit and follow up 'Sunday Girl' also charted in the top 40.

The tour saw Erasure play for the first at the iconic Royal Albert Hall in London, which was recorded for audio and DVD. After the tour, Erasure went on extended hiatus to give Andy a much needed break. Vince however was back touring in 2008 with ex bandmate Alison Moyet as Yazoo in a series of sell out gigs. Andy has recorded a new solo album which will hopefully be released in 2010.

They're back!

With no material on the horizon, Mute kept Erasure fans happy in 2009 with the 'Pop! Total 40 Hits' and 'The Innocents boxset' collections. During the year Vince shipped his 37B studio from the UK to his new home in Maine, America. The best news however came in the winter of 2009 when it was announced Andy and Vince had finally begun work on a new Erasure album in which Vince can fully utilise the power of his entire analogue synth collection.

Erasure are coming back!

Biography written by Steven


News articles are taken by me and credit for photos are always given. This site is not affiliated with Erasure (Andy Bell & Vince Clarke) nor Mute.
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