23 August 2006

Fischer-Z - So Long

5 comments:

elasticwaistbandlady said...

I've never heard of this group before your blog, jams. The last video made me think of Bryan Ferry. This one screams New Wave-ish Spandau Ballet. Maybe, its all the black eyeliner and double breasted suits?

jams o donnell said...

It was definitely of that era ewbl. So Long was issued in 1980 and got to about number 70 or so.. They went on until the lat 80s I think. Obviously being popular in Germany helped them greatly

Paulo said...

After watch the Fischer's Marliese i found this. I'm portuguese and So Long played a lot in Portugal. It was on top for sure. Not the number 70 or so. I don't remember if it went to number one here. Fischer Z was very popular in Portugal by that time.

jams o donnell said...

Sadly it only got to number 70 in England. It is a big shame that they never got the success they deserved here

Wayne said...

Fronted by the enigmatic John Watts (vocals/guitar), Fischer-Z leaped onto the music scene in 1979 with their quirky debut album, Word Salad. This quartet (also featuring Steve Skolnick on keyboards, Steve Liddle on drums and David Graham on bass) played a rough-and-tumble form of new wave that was equal parts Roxy Music and Talking Heads with art-pop and prog-rock leanings. Watts' vocals were extremely distinctive, veering from a low baritone to a higher register that was not unlike Pete Townsend on helium. Although this schizophrenic debut didn't set the charts on fire, they did score a few minor hits with "The Worker" and "First Impressions (Pretty Paracetamol)" (a tamer re-recording of the album's opening track). Their second album, 1980's Going Deaf for a Living, was a far more cohesive effort, less prog-rock and more melodic than their debut. It even contained a bona-fide hit in "So Long" which even drifted over to the U.S. and garnered impressive radio play. By the time Red Skies Over Paradise was released in 1981, Skolnick was gone and Watts' musical vision was more direct and less arty than before. Although European sales for this album were FZ's strongest yet, it was passed up for release in the U.S. (as has been the case with all of the subsequent FZ albums). Realising that his musical vision belonged to him and only him, Watts chose to end FZ on a high note and continue as a solo artist. Watts released One More Twist in 1982 then the slickly produced The Iceberg Model the following year, neither living up to the huge sales of the last FZ album. After EMI let him slip away, Watts formed the Cry (with Graham back on board) and released an album on Arista before quietly slipping out of sight. Reforming Fischer-Z in 1987 (with Watts being the only original member, although Skolnick makes a cameo), FZ hit big in Europe and Australia with the single "The Perfect Day" and the album Reveal. Though the album sounded nothing like the Fischer-Z of old, Watts took his finely tuned talents and presented them to a much wider audience. Fish's Head (1989) was more of the same, albeit a bit heavier. With yet another line-up change, Watts and FZ released the absolutely stunning Destination Paradise in 1992, their best effort yet. This touching and beautiful album featured more acoustic guitars than ever before and focused on Watts' songwriting skills and passionate, earthy vocals (which had dropped an octave or so since their debut). Trying to capitalise on the success of Destination Paradise, FZ quickly issued the rougher Kamikaze Shirt in 1993, mixing their softer side with an edge (and, in some cases, a dance beat). Two years later, FZ issued Stream, a close second to Destination Paradise as FZ's finest. Realising he was at another crossroad, Watts laid FZ to rest again and began pursuing his solo career in earnest. His first solo album under his 'new' monicker, JM Watts, 1997's Thirteen Stories High, continued where Stream left off. With a new solo album due in late 1998 or early 1999, it's unclear whether FZ are gone for good or just on sabbatical. No matter what Watts does, FZ's spirit lives on in his music.

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