23
May 13

CHER, CHRISSIE HYNDE AND NENEH CHERRY WITH ERIC CLAPTON – “Love Can Build A Bridge”

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#717, 25th March 1995

“Love Can Build A Bridge” has one of the best line-ups of any charity single – three women who have each made, on their day, magnificent pop records. What’s more, Cher and Hynde and Cherry aren’t off-form, phoning it in or smoothing themselves down – their voices blend and contrast in exactly the intriguing ways you might have expected.

And yet this is a tiresome record. It’s a simpering bore, a dose of pop castor oil, a lacklustre plod whose only appeal is the background sense you’re doing some good. What went wrong?

Maybe it’s just a mismatch of singers and material. What makes each of these three singers special on their best work is their different flair for drama – the way they use the grain of their individual voice (raucous or smoky or squeaky) to bring characters and situations alive – whether the characters are them or not. “Love Can Build A Bridge” doesn’t use that side of their talent – it’s a solemn song about togetherness in adversity, and what it requires from its singers is oaken solidarity, not individual spark. Hynde has a useful roughness as the song opens, but Cher is too much in blunderbuss mode and Cherry is underused. And then they all have to get out the way for Eric Clapton, anyhow, whose uninspired solo fits the trudge of the arrangement in general. It helped people, I guess, though you wouldn’t know it to listen.

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Comments

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  1. 26
    Patrick Mexico on 25 May 2013 #

    Don’t much care for Cher, but I might do, albeit when we discuss her more later in arguably even more dubious contexts. Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders were alright. Neneh Cherry was a pop chameleon – loved Rip Rig and Panic and how she crash landed into the Bristol urban scene, sleeping in Massive Attack’s front doorway and sharing some amazing ideas, and though a lot of her first album has not aged well she was often quite brilliant, especially on Manchild, Kisses on the Wind and Buffalo Stance… but with my customary audacity, following on from my comments on Think Twice, here are the bad lads behind the bike sheds and Neneh united in holy matrimony on this cover… don’t take the first comment too seriously, he meant to say, “Good song but are you affiiiated with Flowered Up?”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18fmxNf5JL8

  2. 27
    swanstep on 26 May 2013 #

    @Patrick, 26. Cher’s worth springing for at least a post-Believe Greatest Hits Collection in my view. That’s what I have, and there’s not a duff track on it, and the peaks are outstanding – one of those coming up, un-Bunnied in 1996.

  3. 28
    Faloola Chong on 27 May 2013 #

    This really was a shocker, especially considering that the previous year’s Comic Relief single was the Pet Shop Boys’, er, absolutely fabulous ‘Absolutely Fabulous’. Now THAT should have been No. 1!

  4. 29
    MBI on 27 May 2013 #

    Don’t ya think it’s time… don’t ya think it’s time. *smiles wisely*

    I want to punch this song.

  5. 30
    fivelongdays on 28 May 2013 #

    @9 – Back in the day, I learned the director of Transport For London was called Tim O’Toole. Oh, how I laughed.

  6. 31
    Another Pete on 28 May 2013 #

    Clearly Chris Morris, and the respective casts of Father Ted and the Fast Show, all said no to doing a single. After all as were seemingly told repeatedly in 1995 ‘comedy was the new rock ‘n roll.’ That said Vic and Bob worked with EMF later in the year to cover I’m a Believer, which could easily of been mistaken for a Comic Relief release.

  7. 32
    Billy Hicks on 28 May 2013 #

    #31 – Leading, to this day, people of a certain age to clap their hands thricely and shout “OI!” at various points in the song, mimicking the EMF cover. For what was meant at the time as a silly cover version, its legacy seems to have lasted surprisingly well.

    And then there’s Roy Chubby Brown slightly destroying ‘Living Next Door to Alice’ forever in the same year. As we’ll see with some later chart toppers, 1995 seems to be the point where swearing in songs became cool and hitmaking.

  8. 33
    ciaran on 28 May 2013 #

    #22 – If is wasn’t for this project I doubt I would ever have heard LCBAB again. I’m sure I can remember every number 1 after this until 1999.

    #31 – Whatever about the other 2 Father Ted did not begin until around May 1995 so it was well after comic relief time. Even then the entire cast was unknown and the show itself only gained classic status after the flawless second series in 1996.

  9. 34
    Mark G on 29 May 2013 #

    It took about three episodes, really

  10. 35
    Ed on 29 May 2013 #

    @26 “Neneh Cherry was a pop chameleon”.

    Too right. It’s a mighty long way from LCBAB to this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jovsxh8FeYo

  11. 36
    Patrick Mexico on 29 May 2013 #

    #31 – Speaking of Chris Morris… holy crap, listen to the preposterous German Eurodance act Real McCoy (though I guess all’s not lost.. call them Mr Vain, call them Mr Wrong, call them a poor man’s Magic Affair)’s Run Away, released a few weeks earlier and hitting a peak of number 6. The rap, “Don’t get your hopes up” subject matter and execution of the record are pure Ted Maul. And this.. well.. it’s (sorry) using hate to build a bridge. Is this what they fought the Hacienda wars for?

    “”Run Away” has two music videos. The first video was made for the European market and contains a desert-like setting with Patsy singing while walking in the desert. The second video made for the North American market, which featured heavy allusions to George Orwell’s “1984″, was rejected by their North American record label Arista Records for its ‘dark’ imagery. Arista chose to use the less stark European video in its place. The North American video was directed by Nigel Dick and contains a factory-setting with many overworked ‘slave-like’ workers meanwhile Olaf Jeglitza plays the role of ‘Big Brother’ monitoring all progress and demanding the capitalist workers to work harder while yelling at them in typical German fascist manner.”

  12. 37
    mintness on 30 May 2013 #

    The (Aforementioned) Real McCoy subsequently turned up as part of Poland’s 2006 Eurovision effort. Nobody was entirely sure why, least of all the televoting public.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5UzdWKg-gw

  13. 38
    Billy Hicks on 30 May 2013 #

    The Now 30 version of Run Away – and, indeed, all sorts of ‘Now Dance 95′ etc spinoffs – cuts out the rap entirely, which is a shame. That and Another Night are utter tunes, though. We’re kinda coming to the end of the Eurodance phase after its 1993-4 peak, although we’ve got one of the biggest tracks of the genre yet to come…

  14. 39
    Patrick Mexico on 30 May 2013 #

    Re 37: Poland gave Germany Podolski and Klose, they return the favour with that (and a singer who looks like a crust punk from Hebden Bridge seemingly sniffing the girl’s crotch at the end.) World War III on the cards?

    Re 38: I really quite like Another Night but it’s one of the cheesiest songs ever recorded. Not necessarily a buzzkill but I don’t like using “cheese” as an informal adjective any more than old school marms like using the word “nice.” But that, the Bronski Beat-sampling Automatic Lover and It’s On You (for the guitar solo alone) are prime slices of Cathedral City. On toast. WITH WORCESTER MOTHERFREAKIN’ WORCESTER SAUCE.

    Sorry, got a bit carried away there.

    In fact, as well as Cotton Eye Joe, the former’s one of the “bad example’ tracks used on Kerrang! Radio ads, given the good ones feature C******y (1) I somewhat doubt their authority to declare “death to false metal.”

    The Ted Maul/Uzi Lover bit was CUT? Criminal. Yes, depending on your kitsch-o-meter, there’s some very interesting slices of Eurodance to come – after the unexpected and brilliant feedback on Omen III in Popular ’94, can’t wait to dissect future bunnies. That alone is motivation to carry on Popular till the bitter end. (Not quite the video for Morrissey’s Interesting Drug!)

    (1) Censored less because they’re a bunny, and more because they’re crap.

  15. 40
    Erithian on 4 Jun 2013 #

    Seems I’m alone in actually liking this! Cold do with a bit less of Cher’s “blunderbuss mode” in Tom’s phrase, but apart from that the voices work well together and Neneh, looking very much a team player, enjoys herself with the better-known names and contributes a lovely sweet vocal. Clapton is restrained rather than flashy (though not dull as fas as I’m concerned) and although I can see why some would find it all terribly worthy, for me it was a deserved number one.

  16. 41
    enitharmon on 27 Jul 2013 #

    Struggling to find a better slot to say farewell to JJ Cale, blues guitarist, songwriter, inspiration to the likes of Mark Knopfler (who picked up his guitar style) and Eric Clapton (who covered a couple of his songs and thus stole much of the credit due to Cale who was a fine but underrated performer in his own right.

    As Clapton it namechecked here it will have to do.

    Not to be confused with John Cale, of course.

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