Erasure Are Born
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
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
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.
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,
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
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
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
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
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.
group also toured again with the massive Cowboy Concerts, which saw
Vince Clarke, predictably enough shuffling about the stage wearing a cactus
The tour saw them support David Bowie in South America and saw them pack
out arenas through the UK.
The Boat Sinks
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.
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
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,
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.
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
Erasure are coming back!
Biography written by Steven