The early '80s new wave/synth pop era was a relatively prime one for sophisticated pop music produced by elegantly dressed, typically British bands. Employing touches of blue-eyed soul, funk, rock and dance music, Haircut 100 certainly fit this bill during its brief existence. Following the band's demise, frontman Nick Heyward continued along a similar path as a solo artist, maximizing his bright, clean vocals on top of soft arrangements anchored by keyboards, acoustic guitar and gentle melodic phrasing. Never a huge fixture in the U.S., Heyward enjoyed a strong following throughout the decade in his native U.K., registering several worthy hit singles on the pop charts there.
"Blue Hat for a Blue Day" qualifies as a particular standout from Heyward's debut solo album, 1983's North of a Miracle. The record was a Top 10 LP in England, even if it just barely scraped into the Top 200 in America. It's not entirely clear why Heyward and his former band failed to break out wildly in the U.S. while similar acts like Spandau Ballet and ABC did, but the culprit was certainly not Heyward's dignified delivery or keen melodic sense. Strains of an accordion-like instrument that pulse throughout this track definitely add to its cosmopolitan appeal, but Heyward's wounded romantic crooning always manages to take center stage. A pleasant if certainly not raucous document of a smooth '80s niche.
- Sample or download "Blue Hat for a Blue Day" here.
- Compare prices on Nick Heyward solo CDs here.
- Compare prices on Haircut 100 CDs here.
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Album Cover Image Courtesy of Sony/BMG Int'l