Ranking Erasure and Vince Clarke’s UK top tens

Andy Bell could sing Vince Clarke’s melodies and hooks but he was no match for Alison Moyet or Martin Gore in the lyrics department, yet as the list below indicates he and his partner wrote a handful of indelible tunes that people for whom The Eighties remains a signifier of electronic fun will continue humming and streaming absent of context; and Bell’s epicene, quivering vocal lent an average-bloke authenticity to Clarke’s verse-chorus-verse simplicity. Erasure didn’t experiment. There are no Ennio Morricone or John Barry collaborations; they didn’t need them, hence their impressive UK chart run. Fanfares for the common man, let’s say.

I included Clarke’s hits with Yazoo, under whose moniker he and Moyet released Upstairs at Eric‘s, one of the decade’s most heartbreaking synth pop records. Clarke’s synth twinkles and Moyet’s voice allowed for a queerness commensurate with the times but somehow more blatant (“Midnight,” “Only You”). Speaking of quavering lead singers, The Undertones’ Feargal Sharkey makes an appearance as part of Clarke’s one-off The Assembly.


The Circus
Run to the Sun
Solsbury Hill

Sound, Solid Entertainment

Ship of Fools
Victim of Love
Nobody’s Diary (Yazoo)
Breath of Life
Who Needs Love (Like That)
Take a Chance on Me
The Other Side of Love (Yazoo)

Good to Great

Don’t Go (Yazoo)
Chains of Love
Only You (Yazoo)
A Little Respect
Oh L’Amour
Blue Savannah
Never Never (The Assembly)
Love to Hate You

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