Rising Phoenix like from the ashes of minor hit-makers the Tourists in the early ‘80s Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart surfed to even greater success on the new wave of synth pop outfits (via keyboard driven classics like 'Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)' and 'Love Is A Stranger'), neatly side-stepping the collapse of the genre in the mid ‘80s – due in no small part to their song-writing skills, their experimental approach to music making and of course Lennox’ remarkable vocal skills - and went on to become one of the most successful duo’s of all time. Almost twenty five years down the line they are once again back in the charts with new single 'I’ve Got A Life' and the Ultimate Collection album, simultaneously re-releasing expanded versions of their entire back catalogue alongside an 8xCD retrospective entitled Boxed.
Clearly as busy as they have ever been TotalMusic-Online's Andy Basire nevertheless managed to nab a few words with Dave Stewart
How did the idea of the box-set come up?
“We have been talking about re-releasing the back catalogue re-mastered and with liner notes for some time. The new songs by Annie and I triggered the release for the Ultimate Collection and this was followed by the reissues and the boxed set”
What do you feel are the best previously unreleased or rare tracks that are included on the box-set?
“'Last Night I Dreamt Somebody Loved Me', a cover of the Smiths song
What is the story behind the choice of covers included on the box-set (covers which include Lou Reed, the Beatles and David Bowie)?
“I had an idea for a movie set in the future and these were meant to be included as a soundtrack. It was about a woman who manned a satellite in space that beamed down programming to Earth, she only lived there with actoids (robot actors) and was very lonely, hence the Smiths song”
Looking back, which albums do you think stand up best?
“[For me] it’s the songs that stand out as opposed to the albums”
Is there anything you wish you'd done differently on any album?
“I always would have done things differently in retrospect, but that is the pain of being an artist”
Were there any tracks that you 'rediscovered'?
“Yeah, we discovered a bunch of cover versions we recorded in the mid ‘80s all with a strange sound as they were recorded on a Synclavier
Tell us about the two new tracks that are on the Ultimate Collection?
“'I’ve Got A Life' came about very quickly, I was showing Annie the studio I share with Glen Ballard (producer of Alanis Morrissette’s Jagged Little Pill and No Doubts Return Of Saturn) on Hollywood Boulevard. It’s all white with high ceilings (like the John Lennon 'Imagine' video), and we just started to experiment for fun. The song was written in just 45 minutes and tips it’s hat to our earlier work like 'Sweet Dreams'. 'Was It Just Another Love Affair?' has a Dionne Warwick kind of soul feel.”
Is there any possibility of a DVD release in the future?
“I hope so as we filmed the Revenge tour in Sydney Australia and it captured something special. Also a gig in Rome Italy which deserves to be seen.”
Finally, can you tells us more about your new band called Platinum Weird?
“Platinum Weird is like Fleetwod Mac meets the Beatles and I’ve been working on it for a year already. It’s a partnership with Kara DioGuardi (Kara’s dulcet tones can be found on releases by Santana, Kelly Osbourne and many more) and it has a lot of history. It’s coming out on Interscope Records in early 2006.”
The Ultimate Collection, Boxed and the entire Eurythmics back catalogue (see left), are available now on RCA records