Friday, September 26, 2008

Number 449 - Terence Trent D'Arby


Number 449

Terence Trent D'Arby

"Wishing Well"

(1987)
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Genre: R&B
The album that spawned this number one hit was more important than Sgt. Peppers by the Beatles. No - wait ..... I am not saying that, in fact, it was D'Arby who said that. Actually there are two versions/quotes that D'Arby might have said, the 2nd one being "As being the next important album since Sgt Peppers". Whatever the quote, one has to say that is how Mr D'Arby [now Sananda Maitreya] viewed his masterpiece for the world. As for his name change to Sananda Maitreya, well, that idea came to him in a series of dreams. A huh. Well if Prince can do it .... ?
It was 20 years ago today
Terence Trent d'Arby emerged in 1987 amid a storm of publicity. Claiming his debut record was the best since Sgt. Pepper, his brash arrogance captured headlines throughout the U.K., eventually winding their way back to America -- which, ironically, is the exact opposite of how d'Arby conducted his career. During the early '80s, d'Arby was a soldier for the United States Army. While posted in Germany, he joined a funk band called Touch, which marked the beginning of his musical career. After leaving the Army, he moved to London, where he recorded the demo tape that led to his record contract with CBS. D'Arby's first single, "If You Let Me Stay," rocketed into the U.K. Top Ten upon its release. Its accompanying album, Introducing the Hardline According to Terence Trent d'Arby, was also a massive success, hitting number one and spending over a year in the top half of the chart.
White hands? Where?
D'Arby didn't have a major hit in the U.S. until 1988, when the sparse funk of "Wishing Well" hit number one. The ballad "Sign Your Name" followed it into the Top Five and Introducing ended up selling over two million copies. All of the success -- both commercial and critical -- had d'Arby poised as a major act, artistically and popularly. D'Arby's mix of soul, rock, pop, and R&B recalled Prince in its scope and sound, yet his sensibility was grittier and earthier. At least they were at first. By the time of his second album, 1989's Neither Fish nor Flesh, his ambitions were more nakedly pretentious. The record carried the weighty subtitle "A Soundtrack of Love, Faith, Hope & Destruction" and attacked many self-consciously important themes, including homophobia and environmental destruction. In addition to the self import of the lyrics, the music added a variety of new textures, from Indian drones to straight-ahead '50s R&B.
sign my name
Though d'Arby didn't make his commercial return until the early 2000s with Wildcard!, he remained active during the intervening years. He extracted himself from Sony and signed on with Glen Ballard's Java; an album titled Terence Trent d'Arby's Soular Return was recorded but never released. In 1999, he fronted INXS for the group's performance at the opening of Sydney's Olympic Stadium; later that year, he could be seen on TV as Jackie Wilson in the mini-series Shake, Rattle and Roll. After obtaining the rights to his Java album, he went about starting his Sananda label and eventually issued Wildcard! through the Internet. D'Arby had his name legally changed to Sananda Maitreya and, by the end of 2003, Wildcard! had received official release in most territories. ~ [Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide]
For Prince see Number 812
For the Beatles see Number 489, #587, #894 & #947
For INXS see Number 551 & #719
What does Rolling Stone think about Mr Maitreya?
It's tough to recall just how famous Terence Trent D'Arby was supposed to be. He was the great post-everything soul hope, a black American living in En gland with a Napoleonic sense of pop destiny, Eurotrash pretensions, and really amazing plaited braids. Packaged as a shiny new Prince at a time when one didn't seem nearly enough, this dude was slated to be more popular than Jesus. You might have noticed this didn't really come to pass, although the guy is no less (but no more) brilliant now than he was then.
Unless someone figures out how to get people to shell out for his often limitless talents -- or he starts producing albums for other, hipper people, preferably young women -- all that's left for TTD is a Behind the Music and a box set. And one final thought: Lauryn Hill, pay very close attention to how this man's career has played out. Consider yourself warned. ~ [RS 2004 - JOE GROSS]
Rolling Stone magazine deemed their '449th Song of all Time' was "Penny Lane" by The Beatles. The Beatles has appeared in The Definitive 1000 @ Number 489, #587, #894 & #947
Other songs with reference to Terence Trent D'Arby #503, #719
Rolling Stone Top 500 Songs ranked this song at Number (wtf is a Sananda?) and the Album ranked at (Next you will tell us hes on the cover) [his is - doh]
This song has a Definitive 1000 rating of 77.2 out of 108
Search Artist here:1-2-3-A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H-I-J-K-L-M-N-O-P-Q-R-S-T-U-V-W-X-Y-Z

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