Everything But The Girl member wants PH vinyl copy of surprise hit single

July 28, 2017 - 10:53 AM
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Everything But The Girl, the English duo composed of Ben Watt and Tracey Thorn. (Reuters)

Between 1984 to 1999, the English duo Everything But The Girl composed of singer-songwriter Tracey Thorn and all-around musician Ben Watt recorded 10 studio albums that produced several hit singles.

In the Philippines, the duo first became known to music fans in 1985 when their second studio album, “Love Not Money,” yielded two hits — the bouncy “When All’s Well,” which was also on heavy rotation on MTV, and the track “Ballad of the Times” which received extended airplay on the new wave radio station WXB 102.

The following year, Everything But The Girl released their third studio album, “Baby, the Stars Shine Bright.” It yielded two hit singles, “Come on Home” and “Don’t Leave Me Behind,” which charted in Europe. Wea Records, the Philippine distributor of their album, however, had other ideas. The label released another track as a single, the jazz-flavored ballad, “Cross My Heart.”

“We really chose that song as the album’s single, because it’s a ballad. And because the song became a huge hit, Everything But The Girl became known as more than just a new wave act,” recalled Peter Chan, operations manager and international label director of Universal Records which was actually known as Wea Records until Warner Music Philippines was established in later years.

Chan said that on the strength of “Cross My Heart” alone, “Baby, the Stars Shine Bright” became the biggest selling album of EBTG (as the duo is also known) in the Philippines. The song was never released as a single in any other country.

Radio DJ Pinky Aseron, best known for her time with Top 40-heavy station KISS-FM and smooth jazz network Citylite 88.3, remembered how “Cross My Heart” enjoyed heavy airplay back then.

“As far as I can recall, ‘Cross My Heart’ was part of our Quiet Storm playlist back when I was still at KISS FM. So when I joined Citylite, I think I suggested that we include it in our playlist. I vaguely recall this since I was the only one from KISS that joined Citylite then,” Aseron told InterAksyon.

The success of “Cross My Heart” in the Philippines was apparently unbeknownst to EBTG. Watt, who was in a relationship with Thorn for years until they got married in 2008, recently tweeted his startling discovery.

Watt’s tweet was picked up by independent music news website bandwagon.asia, which wrote an article about his holy grail-like quest for the vinyl single and got a response from Odi Lon, a “long-time” Filipino fan of EBTG.

Lon has a copy of the vinyl single with fading prints and marker signatures that at first glance, looked like autographs of the duo.

Odi Lon’s copy of the ‘Cross My Heart’ single.

“I wish. I think this copy was pre-owned by a radio station. There were many copies like that in the provinces. After a year a single was released, it is sold on record bars and later gets sold as second hand items. I don’t think there were still consignments. Sadly, the place that I bought this during the late ’80s had been closed for a long time,” Lon told InterAksyon in mostly Filipino.

Lon is aware that another Filipino directly replied to Watt’s tweet and posted a photo of her copy of the vinyl single, apparently in better condition.

Watt expressed his interest in Lim’s copy with this tweet.

For his part, Lon doesn’t mind giving way to Lim.

“It’s okay. One Filipino offered his pristine copy already. Thanks, buddy. I had this for the last three decades and don’t mind another three decades more,” he commented to a friend who offered to tweet Watt about his own copy.

As for EBTG, the duo has been on hiatus since 2000 but continued to release compilation albums until 2007. Watt, who continued to perform and record as a solo act, also became a book author, DJ and radio presenter.

Thorn also authored books herself and, in 2013, published her memoir called “Bedsit Disco Queen: How I Grew Up and Tried to be a Pop Star.” She has not ruled out the prospect of EBTG performing again someday.