Everything but the Girl

Everything but the Girl was an English sophisti-pop duo from Kingston upon Hull that released four albums and assorted shortplayers on Blanco Y Negro between 1984 and 1988, followed by a string of titles on Atlantic during the early 1990s.

Members: Ben Watt (vocals, guitar, piano, programming), Tracey Thorn (vocals, guitar)


Everything but the Girl formed in 1982 when musicians Ben Watt and Tracey Thorn, both signed to post-punk indie Cherry Red Records as solo artists, decided to pool their talents into a joint venture.

Watt (b. Dec. 6, 1962) debuted with the 1981 single “Can’t” (b/w “Tower of Silence” / “Aubade”), produced by folkster Kevin Coyne. Another track from that pairing, “Departure,” appears on the Cherry Red multi-artist comp Perspectives and Distortion along with tracks by Robert Fripp, the Lemon Kittens, Matt Johnson, and Eyeless in Gaza.

In 1982, he collaborated with Robert Wyatt on the five-song EP Summer Into Winter. That September, he recorded his debut solo album North Marine Drive, issued the following year. On it, he handles guitar, piano and vocals, accompanied only by saxophonist Peter King.

Thorn (b. Sept. 26, 1962) hailed from the Marine Girls, a post-punk quartet that released the album Beach Party on small-press Whaam! Records, followed by the single “On My Mind” (b/w “The Lure of the Rockpools”) on In Phaze, both in 1981. She made her solo debut with the mini-album A Distant Shore, released in 1982 on Cherry Red. The Marine Girls wrapped with the 1983 Cherry single “Don’t Come Back” (b/w “You Must Be Mad”).

Watt and Thorn took the name “Everything but the Girl” from an advertising slogan used by the retail outlet Turner’s Furniture, located on Beverley Road in Kingston upon Hull.

In March 1982, Everything but the Girl released their debut single on Cherry Red. It features the Cole Porter cover “Night and Day,” backed with a song apiece by Watt (“Feeling Dizzy”) and Thorn (“On My Mind”).

A1. “Night and Day” ()
B1. “Feeling Dizzy” ()
B2. “On My Mind” ()


Eden

Everything but the Girl released their debut album, Eden, on June 4, 1984, on Blanco y Negro.

1. “Each and Every One” Tracey Thorn Ben Watt (2:48)
2. “Bittersweet” Thorn (2:50)
3. “Tender Blue” Watt (3:05)
4. “Another Bridge” Thorn Watt (2:13)
5. “The Spice of Life” Thorn (3:30)
6. “The Dustbowl” Thorn (1:39)
7. “Crabwalk” Watt (2:02)
8. “Even So” Thorn (3:24)
9. “Frost and Fire” Thorn Watt (2:31)
10. “Fascination” Thorn (3:06)
11. “I Must Confess” Watt (3:20)
12. “Soft Touch” Watt (3:12)

Recorded January 1984
Studio Power Plant (London)

Tracey Thorn – vocals, acoustic guitar
Ben Watt – guitars, vocals, Hammond organ, piano, horn arrangements

Additional musicians
Simon Booth – guitar
Joao Bosco De Oliveira – percussion
Charles Hayward – drums
Chucho Merchán – double bass
Dick Pearce – flugelhorn
Nigel Nash – tenor saxophone
Pete King – alto saxophone

Producer Robin Millar
Mike Pela – engineering
Jane Fox – cover design

In May, “Each And Every One” appeared as the sole Eden a-side, backed with Tracy’s non-album “Laugh You Out the House.” The 12″ adds the Watt exclusive “Never Could Have Been Worse.”

B1. “Laugh You Out the House” ()
B2. “Never Could Have Been Worse” ()

Dutch Albums (Album Top 100) 3
UK Albums (OCC) 14
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ) 28


Non-album Singles

Jul 1984
A: Mine
B: Easy As Sin
Gun Cupboard Lov

Sep 1984
A: Native Land
B: Riverbed Dry

A1: Native Land
B1: Riverbed Dry
B2: Easy As Sin
B3: Gun Cupboard Love
B4: Don’t You Go

Everything but the Girl (US compilation)


Love Not Money

Everything but the Girl released their second album, Love Not Money, on April 15, 1985, on Blanco y Negro.

1. “When All’s Well” Ben Watt (3:03)
2. “Ugly Little Dreams” Tracey Thorn (2:54)
3. “Shoot Me Down” Thorn Watt (4:13)
4. “Are You Trying to Be Funny?” Thorn Watt (3:18)
5. “Sean” Watt (3:32)
6. “Ballad of the Times” Watt (3:29)
7. “Anytown” Watt (3:27)
8. “This Love (Not for Sale)” Thorn Watt (3:07)
9. “Trouble and Strife” Thorn Watt (3:08)
10. “Angel” Thorn Watt (5:37)

Recorded Power Plant (London)

Tracey Thorn – vocals
Ben Watt – electric and acoustic guitars, piano, organ, vocals[2]

Additional musicians
June Miles-Kingston – drums, backing vocals
Philip Moxham – bass
Neil Scott – electric guitar
Dick Pearce – trumpet
Nigel Nash – tenor saxophone
B.J. Cole – pedal steel
Dick Pearce – flugelhorn, trumpet
Peter King – alto saxophone
Chris Thompson – banjo
Dave Golding – tin whistle
Robin Millar – piano on “Angel”

Producer Robin Millar
Ben Rogan, Mike Pela – engineering

Caryn Gough – cover design
Humphrey Spender – cover photography, taken from Worktown People: Photographs from Northern England 1937–38
Richard Haughton and Jean-Louis Gregoire – inner bag photograph

In March, “When All’s Well” appeared as the lead single, backed with the non-album co-write “Heaven Help Me.”

B. “Heaven Help Me” ()
B2: Kid

In May, “Angel” became the second single, backed with the non-album co-writes “Pigeons In The Attic Room” and “Charmless, Callous Ways.”

B1. “Pigeons In the Attic Room” ()
B2. “Charmless, Callous Ways” ()

A1: Angel
B1: Easy As Sin (Version)
B2: Pigeons In The Attic Room
B3: Charmless Callous Ways

UK Albums (OCC) 10
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100) 26
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ) 38


Baby, the Stars Shine Bright

Everything but the Girl released their third album, Baby, the Stars Shine Bright, on August 25, 1986, on Blanco y Negro.

1. “Come on Home” Tracey Thorn Ben Watt 3:21
2. “Don’t Leave Me Behind” Thorn Watt 3:15
3. “A Country Mile” Thorn 3:04
4. “Cross My Heart” Thorn Watt 3:41
5. “Don’t Let the Teardrops Rust Your Shining Heart” Watt 3:21
6. “Careless” Watt 3:26
7. “Sugar Finney” Thorn Watt 3:34
8. “Come Hell or High Water” Thorn Watt 3:22
9. “Fighting Talk” Thorn Watt 3:20
10. “Little Hitler” Thorn 4:05

Recorded March–April 1986
Studio Abbey Road Studios, London
Producer Everything but the Girl, Mike Hedges

Tracey Thorn – vocals
Ben Watt – guitar, orchestral arrangements

Additional musicians
Micky Harris – bass
Cara Tivey – organ, piano
Rob Peters – drums
Jeff Daly, Philip Todd, Peter King, Nigel Nash, Ray Swinfield – saxophone
Alan Downey, Derek Watkins, Luke Tunney, Stuart Brooks – trumpet
Andy Fawbert, Peter Thoms, Chris Pyne, Alan Hutt – trombone
James Handy, John Pigneguy – French horn
Gavyn Wright, Wilfred Gibson, John Willison, Richard Studt, Dave Woodcock, James Archer, Levine Andrade, Basil Smart, Bill Benham, Peter Oxer, Tim Good – violin
Kenneth Essex, George Robertson, Cathy Stevens, David Emanuel, Roger Garland – viola
Chris Green, Paul Kegg, Helen Liebmann, Clive Anstee – cello
Clare Torry, Linda Allen, Bob Saker, Lance Ellington, Gary Taylor, Tony Burrows, Vicky Silva, Tessa Niles – backing vocals
Steve Henderson, Joao Bosco De Oliveira, Frank Ricotti, Martin Ditcham – percussion
Nick Ingman – conductor, director

Technical
Caryn Gough – artwork
Richard Haughton – photography

Jul 1986
A: Come On Home
B: “Draining the Bar”

Sep 1986
A: Don’t Leave Me Behind
B: “Alfie”
double-pack
C: Come On Home (Piano and Vocal only)
D: “Always On My Mind”

UK Albums (OCC) 22
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100) 30
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ) 40 


Idlewild

Everything but the Girl released their fourth album, Idlewild, on February 29, 1988, on Blanco y Negro.

1. “Love Is Here Where I Live” Tracey Thorn Ben Watt 3:55
2. “These Early Days” Thorn 3:50
3. “I Always Was Your Girl” Thorn Watt 4:00
4. “Oxford Street” Thorn 3:21
5. “The Night I Heard Caruso Sing” Watt 2:55
6. “Goodbye Sunday” Thorn Watt 4:00
7. “Shadow on a Harvest Moon” Thorn 3:38
8. “Blue Moon Rose” Thorn Watt 3:37
9. “Tears All Over Town” Watt 4:35
10. “Lonesome for a Place I Know” Thorn Watt 4:02
11. “Apron Strings” Thorn Watt 3:07

Recorded Autumn 1987
Studio Livingston Recording Studios, London
Producer Ben Watt

Tracey Thorn – vocals
Ben Watt – vocals, guitar

Additional musicians
Ian Fraser – tenor saxophone
Steve Pearce – bass
Damon Butcher – piano, synthesizer
James McMillan – trumpet
Chucho Merchán – bass on “Lonesome for a Place I Know”
Peter King – alto saxophone

Technical
Jerry Boys – engineering

Feb 1988
A. “These Early Days”
B. “Dyed In The Grain”
A1: These Early Days
B1: Dyed In The Grain
B2: No Place Like Home

Mar 1988
A. “I Always Was Your Girl”
B. “Hang Out The Flags”

Jul 1988
A. “I Don’t Want To Talk About It”
B. “Oxford Street”
A1: I Don’t Want To Talk About It
A2: Oxford Street
B1: I Don’t Want To Talk About It (Instrumental)
B2: Shadow On A Harvest Moon

Sep 1988
A. “Love Is Here Where I Live”
B. “Living On Honeycomb”

UK Albums (OCC) 13
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ) 38


The Language of Life

Everything but the Girl released their fifth album, The Language of Life, on February 5, 1990, on Blanco y Negro.

1. “Driving” Ben Watt 3:57
2. “Get Back Together” Watt 3:55
3. “Meet Me in the Morning” Watt Tracey Thorn 3:49
4. “Me and Bobby D” Watt Thorn 4:09
5. “The Language of Life” Watt Thorn 4:01
6. “Take Me” Cecil Womack Linda Womack 4:08
7. “Imagining America” Watt 4:58
8. “Letting Love Go” Watt 4:45
9. “My Baby Don’t Love Me” Watt 3:40
10. “The Road” Watt 3:46

Recorded 1989
Studio Bill Schnee Studios (Los Angeles), Sunset Sound (Los Angeles), Ocean Way Recording (Los Angeles)
Producer Tommy LiPuma

Tracey Thorn – vocals
Ben Watt – guitar, piano, vocals

Additional musicians
John Patitucci – bass
Jerry Hey – flugelhorn (3, 10), horn arrangements
Larry Williams – piano, synthesisers
Kirk Whalum – tenor saxophone (4, 6, 7)
Russell Ferrante – piano (3, 6)
Lenny Castro – percussion
Michael Landau – guitar (2, 4, 6-9)
Omar Hakim – drums
Vinnie Colaiuta – drums (7)
Stan Getz – tenor saxophone (10)
Joe Sample – piano (5)
Michael Brecker – tenor saxophone (1, 8)
Marc Russo – alto saxophone

Technical
Al Schmitt – engineering
Bill Schnee – mixing
Nick Knight – photography

15 Jan 1990
A: Driving (Radio Edit)
B: Me And Bobby D

Mar 1990
A: Take Me
B: Driving (Acoustic Version)

UK Albums (OCC) 10
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ) 19


Discography:

  • Everything but the Girl (1984)
  • Eden (1984)
  • Love Not Money (1985)
  • Angel (EP, 1985)
  • Baby, the Stars Shine Bright (1986)
  • Idlewild (1988)
  • The Language of Life (1990)

Sources:

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