Bucks Fizz – You and Your Heart So Blue
Sometimes a pop singer or a group comes along and speaks directly to your soul, and there isn’t a thing you can do about it. When I was eight the group that spoke to me, saying “buy every single one of our records” was Bucks Fizz. I cried when Making Your Mind Up was knocked off no.1 by Stand and Deliver (and, quite rightly, was given a stern telling off). Of course for the purposes of playground survival I had to pretend to be more of a Madness person, but behind closed doors I would open up my gatefold LP, which had lifesize head shots of Cheryl, Jay, Mike and Bobby inside, and prop it up against my bedroom window to try and fool the local toddlers into thinking I had the Fizz round for tea. It never worked.
Would I do anything differently with the benefit of hindsight? Yes I would. I’d march into school festooned in Bucks Fizz badges, loudly proclaiming that My Camera Never Lies is one of the best pop records ever. And then I’d head directly to sick bay, as I’d have gotten a good kicking. But it would totally have been worth it.
The group has never really undergone any sort of critical reappraisal – dismissed for being manufactured, for being lightweight, for being Eurovision winners, and for splintering into so many warring factions that at one point there were almost more versions of Bucks Fizz touring the country than there were remaining fans. But this is doing them a great disservice, because they made for a terrific pop group – and it’s easy to forget that for a couple of years they were the most popular one in the country. Their Imperial Phase lasted from The Land of Make Believe through to If You Can’t Stand the Heat, taking in the aforementioned Camera as well as Now Those Days Are Gone – the latter showing off vocal prowess worthy of Abba.
In 1985, with their golden days behind them and internal politics that would have scared off even Fleetwood Mac‘s relationship counsellor, Jay Aston abruptly quit the band just prior to the release of their first new single since 1984’s terrifying bus crash. Amid flying lawsuits and tabloid headlines, it’s perhaps not surprising that You and Your Heart So Blue passed by almost unnoticed. It would perhaps have been better to postpone it entirely until the recruitment process for new member Shelley Preston had been completed. As it was, it snuck out in June with a video sans Aston, and a slightly too late performance on Wogan with a visibly terrified Preston, at this point just a few days into the job. Perhaps a kindly Bucks Fizz fan can tell me if she ever re-recorded the vocals (as Jacquie O’Sullivan supposedly did on I Want You Back when she replaced Siobhan in Bananarama) or whether she gaily mimed along to Jay’s.
People who have opinions about this sort of thing tend to consider You and Your Heart So Blue to be one of, if not the greatest Bucks Fizz single – and there’s a strong argument to be made for that. Not a million miles away from the sort of thing Don Henley was doing at the time, it’s desperately sad and yet is driven by a stately Footloose-ish rhythm. It’s also probably one of the very best team effort vocals they ever put in. Had things been managed better this would have made a lovely send-off single for Jay – imagine a video where she tearfully says goodbye to her band-mates, holding the door open for Shelley on her way out. Sob! In the finish up, it crawled to no.43 during this awkward interregnum and was quietly forgotten.
It wasn’t until June of 1986 that the new line-up scored another top 10 hit with the ace New Beginning (Mamba Seyra). But its parent album’s title – The Writing on the Wall – was to be more prophetic, for Bucks Fizz would never visit the top 40 again. But their influence really does live on – have a listen to Some Nights by fun. and Can’t Deny My Love by Brandon Flowers. That classic Bucks Fizz vocal style is front and centre in both. Hooray!
Entered chart: 22/06/1985
Chart peak: 43
Weeks on chart: 6
Who could sing this today and have a hit? fun. featuring Brandon Flowers!