Features

Saturday Deluxe / 12 March 2016

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SDE Editor Paul Sinclair with Dave Stewart

Don’t Ask Me Why: How Eurythmics ended up at Sony

I had a very interesting chat with musician, songwriter, producer and Eurythmic Dave Stewart on Thursday. He was in London to promote his excellent new memoir Sweet Dreams Are Made of This: A Life In Music. We’ll be publishing the interview early next week, but as you might expect, I brought up the topic of reissues. It’s a sensitive subject with Dave taking the ‘I don’t know anyone at Sony’ stance and generally giving the impression that Sony have no interest in the band’s back catalogue. In fact, this tweet from a few weeks back, tells you all you need to know about the state of relations with the major label…

I know for a fact that Sony are interested, but of course there are thick layers of management in place, as well as another band member in Annie Lennox with her own management team and viewpoint.

It doesn’t help that the catalogue has ended up at Sony because of a load of complicated mergers and sell-offs that saw the label that Dave and Annie originally signed to – RCA Records – end up as part of BMG in the mid eighties due to GE (General Electric) buying the RCA group (Radio Corporation of America) and selling their 50% stake to the Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG – who at the time owned the other 50%). In 2004 Sony and BMG merged their music divisions (this was when the existing Eurythmics reissues were created) but – after loads of complicated shenanigans including RCA/Jive Label Group turning into BMG Label Group – in 2008 BMG sold their half of the Sony BMG merger back to Sony. THIS is why Eurythmics are now part of Sony’s roster.

So, as is the story for many artists, one day Eurythmics have relationships and trust with one set of record company executives and the next day they wake up and someone new is in charge. In fact, Dave mentions this very topic in his book, recalling in 1985 how RCA got a new head in José Menéndez, a man who was, shockingly, killed by his own kids in 1989. Gary Kurfirst was managing Eurythmics in America and he told Dave that Menéndez “didn’t have any clue about us or how best to promote our records and that he didn’t know anything about music at all”. It turns out that Menédez had come from Hertz Rent-a-Car where he’d been CEO. According to Dave Stewart this was what Menéndez said to him when he called a meeting: “I have an idea for you and Annie. We’ve been talking to Burger King, and we’re going to put your album out with them and they’ll have a CD free with a meal. They’ll make little plastic Dave and Annie toys!”. The mind boggles.

Back to the situation today, Sony have ‘ended up with’ the Eurythmics and the band have close to no history with the label. Fans need to hope differences can be resolved and good relations can be established before we see any catalogue activity.


Dave Stewart’s memoir is out now.

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70 responses to Saturday Deluxe / 12 March 2016

  1. Daran says:

    Wow on two counts Paul . First that corporate buy-out chain, what a mess. Secondly, reading that Wiki entry on the murders through to the end on the sons marriages in jail – unbelievable! Eurythmics perhasps the most screwed over / mis-managed duo of all time? Hard to believe their status now even as solo artists, as in the 80’s at one point they were right at the top as one of the biggest and most famous bands on the planet.

  2. SimonP says:

    Do we really need more Eurythmics reissues? I reckon all that’s required is a decent (period) 12″ mixes compilation, rather than all the albums being repackaged again. The last ones had some, but not all on them, the massively long Right By Your Side 12″ springing to mind…

    • Kiki says:

      Well, I’d answer yes! Definitely yes! We absolutely needs new reissue of Eurythmics back catalog ! But this time with full masters (the reissue of “Peaces” misses several seconds on some tracks) and with COMPLETE remixes and edits sections. Also, it would be time to add the “1984” soundtrack to it …

      • Billy Dojcak says:

        Virgin/Universal owns 1984. At last count. You need a very flexible scorecard to keep up with label shenanigans.

      • Mike the Fish says:

        The remaster of Peace has some alternate mixes as part of the main album. At least one of them is very different. I’m surprised you would notice track times but not a strikingly different mix.

    • Wayne Klein says:

      We need decent sounding ones. The 2004 reissues sounded horrid.

  3. Daran says:

    That’s mis-managed from a record company perspective I should say….

  4. Martin says:

    Their reissues have been done and only a vinyl reissue programme would spike interest but aside from that not interested in repackaged more of the same.

  5. joe says:

    oh thats not good news, I was thinking Dave might get around to put out Eurythmics vinyl after his done his book, Eurythmics are one band I love to see put out a deluxe of each album, I can’t wait for your interview Paul.

  6. Bruce says:

    Can’t wait to read the interview, Paul. I’ve met Dave a couple of times over the last few years while he has spend time recording, producing and performing here in Nashville, and he is one of the friendliest and most charming musicians I’ve had the pleasure to meet. Kind, humble and a bit shy, and clearly appreciative of his fans.

  7. Stephen E Cohen says:

    I always thought it was a bit curious how Eurythmics’ “We Too Are One” ended up being released on Arista Records (here in the US) after a decade of RCA albums. I wonder if this is also what happened to Daryl Hall/John Oates? Their 1988 album, “Ooh Yeah!”, was also released on Arista (again here in the US) after a decade of hits on RCA.

  8. BritinDetroit says:

    Many years ago, I wandered in to the Old Building at the LSE for a lunchtime concert and there were five of us watching (I might be exaggerating that many) …it was Dave and Annie as the Tourists.

    Hope the fab duo can control their catalog.

  9. Auntie Sabrina says:

    No chance of that 12 and half minutes Right By Your Side being dusted down for CD release then…

  10. John says:

    The 1989 Menéndez murders was a HUGE news story here in the States with the trial of the killer sons, Lyle and Erik, covered in the press for years to come. I never saw it reported that José Menéndez was once head of RCA. Fascinating stuff. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyle_and_Erik_Menendez

    • VanceMan says:

      Ditto … I had no idea about Menéndez being the head of RCA. (For non-USA folks, the Menéndez trial was the biggest nurder trial going until the O.J. Simpson one got underway.)

  11. spaceboy says:

    ‘PeaceTour’ on Blu-ray would make me happy as a clam. While I’m at it, Laurie Anderson’s ‘Home of the Brave’ and David Byrne’s ‘Between the Teeth’ would be long overdue Hi-Def delights.

  12. Mark says:

    While Eurythmics have had a pretty good reissue series in the past, Dave and Annie’s previous band, the Tourists, has suffered badly. Apart from a greatest hits CD there’s little else widely available.

    At the very least their first and second albums should be re-released with bonus tracks, especially the C side of the Blind among the flowers double single The Golden Lamp. That’s a lovely shot of shimmering guitar pop that’s been almost completely forgotten.

    http://youtu.be/Y_IwJ0Gl06s

  13. Peter says:

    The last reissues looked great but so much material was left off. A lot of Sweet Dreams era b sides didn’t make it and there’s been rumours of unreleased material circulating for years, tracks like ‘Beautiful Armadillo’. There’s justification for double disc deluxe editions to get out all the b sides, 12″ mixes, alternative versions as well as stuff from the vault. Not forgetting Touch Dance & 1984 that haven’t been re released.

    The one album crying out for the deluxe treatment is ‘Savage’, which needs the accompanying video album being released on DVD.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Can’t see Touch Dance ever been reissued. It was put out without their permission in the first place!

      • Peter says:

        True, but for the sake of completeness it would be good to see it out again. I quite like the long mix of Regrets.

        • Gordon says:

          Lack of permission/involvement aside, I don’t understand why they dislike ‘Touch Dance’ so much. The remixes/dubs don’t stray too far from the Eurythmics sound, plus they had been releasing 12″ singles, so what’s so bad about a whole album of ’em? Late last year I finally managed to get a second-hand CD of it for a reasonable price and I absolutely love it!

          As for everyone’s hopes for comprehensive Sony re-issues, considering what they just did to MJ’s ‘Off The Wall’ I won’t be holding my breath…..(actually I will, but only to avoid inhaling the chalk dust!)

      • Tom of FIN says:

        I agree. Touch and remixes as Dance deserve a deluxe treatment, at least combined. Their artistic peak despite may be more thoroughly marketed chart successes afterwards. Arguable is whether Sweet Dreams or Touch, but that’s where the fascinating progression stopped.

    • Trash says:

      Would love to see a deluxe edition of Savage. My favourite Eurythmics album and I also miss not be able to watch the Video album that was released at the time.

  14. vikerii says:

    Paul,
    Artists have the 35 year copyright termination option for recordings made starting with 1978. The Eurythmics first album was 1981. So starting this year, they can begin to reclaim ownership of In The Garden. Then Sweet Dreams and Touch in two years. Has Mr. Stewart not begun that process?

    • Billy Dojcak says:

      Apparently the process involves lawyers and is costly. Paid for by the musician.

      • vikerii says:

        Without a doubt for sure. However, at least Dave & Annie would own their recordings outright and be in absolute control of their future releases — both when and what. And with the copyright termination law already fought and won in the courts, it’s really just a matter of artists filing for it. One of the very few legal battles you’re guaranteed to win! :)

  15. Todd R. says:

    Of course I’m interested in the future of the catalog. Almost all their albums are possible box-sets in the making. Luckily we did get the catalog reissued with bonus tracks (and as much as a completist I am – happy it wasn’t just b-sides and remixes, but unreleased rare tracks and covers as well) – Almost every album has some kind of video content (single promo clips, live recordings, or video albums) that has never really been explored (A DVD of The Revenge Tour alone would be a miracle of love). The remastering was fine (I love the re-mastererd PEACE – almost a new album in length over-all). Most of all? I’d wish for a reunion (Revival? Revenge?) tour – so many of us never got to see Dave & Annie together…

  16. Rob says:

    A more thorough reissue series is certainly in order for Eurythmics. I would really love to see something along the lines of the XTC Blu-ray series: 5.1 mixes, hi-res stereo, all appropriate b-sides & remixes, and of course VIDEO! There is so much video for this band. As mentioned above, Savage had an entire video album. Revenge had an amazing concert video that’s never seen an official DVD release. And there’s lots more…..

  17. Jon Hank says:

    There are still a lot of B-sides not on CD as well as a few 12″ mixes that were not on the reissues. There is reportedly a lot of unreleased material. There is good reason for deluxe treatment of these albums.

  18. Brian says:

    I bought their boxset which came out a few years back. That was pretty good but there were a few omissions.

    • Mike the Fish says:

      It wasn’t really a box set as such. It was just all the individual BMG remasters that could be bought seperately collected in one box. The box itself was the only addition in the set.

  19. Tom Elliot says:

    Looking forward to the interview! been a fan since ’82.

    Having purchased all the 2005 ‘deluxe’ re-issues over a period of several years it’d be hard for me to get too excited about any similar reissues of the main studio albums so soon, but i’d appreciate a blu-ray compilation of videos and concerts as mentioned above.

    And i’d love ‘deluxe’ reissues of 1984 and Touch Dance with extra mixes (yes I appreciate the improbability but I can dream!). At the time I assumed Touch Dance was an official release and it only helped to solidify my affection for the band for releasing an LP which I thought was rather quirky; seven remixes including three long instrumentals. Whatever the intention, it didn’t seem to be some tacky, commercial cash-grab at all. I thought it was superb and I listened to it obsessively!.

  20. John Rock says:

    Paul …. Looking forward to your interview with Dave. I’m sure he had some interesting insight to their catalog.

  21. Chudbeagle says:

    No need for any further reissues-the last batch was fantastic.

    As for the Menendez brothers, you’d have to lived under a rock not to know that story.

    • Daran says:

      Really, how so? Arrogant comment for anybody not living in America. The world does not revolve around the USA, and why should news of a US domestic violent crime reach beyond the shores of the country it was committed in?

    • Charles K. says:

      Depends on where you were at the time. I just found out about Fred and Roemary West whose crimes are legendary in GB to this day. The Menendez killings were before the rise of the 24 hour news cycle.

      I agree on the reissues though, no need other than putting them back in print, releasing 1984 and collecting b-sides and rarities.

  22. Paul English says:

    Don’t forget 7″ edits.

  23. Alessandro says:

    Eurythmics are among the very few Sony acts not to have an “Essential” double-CD set. A well remastered anthology with 7″ versions in chronological order still has to happen. Greatest Hits from 1991 had most of their singles but wasn’t remastered, Ultimate Collection had two new songs and two singles from”Peace”, but ignored 1984 and We Too Are One completely.

  24. Philip Cohen says:

    The one thing that Dave Stewart is understandably upset by, is that Sony’s American affiliate refused to release the 8 expanded “Eurythmics” CD’s, leaving fans such as myself to buy the discs as imports. Eurythmics are now largely forgotten in America, despite having numerous hit singles here.

  25. James says:

    “I know for a fact that Sony are interested.” Any chance you can elaborate on this statement, Paul?

    Looking forward to reading the interview.

  26. Joshua Higgins says:

    There is definitely a huge demand Worldwide for definitive boxsets of all the Eurythmics back catalogue. There were so many b-sides, edits, alternative mixes, remixes, live versions, outtakes, demos, etc. missing from the ‘Boxed’ release (which was released in 2005!).

    In addition, though released on the Virgin label, the 1984 album with its singles, b-sides, etc. has not been remastered and re-released. Nor has the Touch Dance album.

    With the album Savage, the video album remastered and released on DVD/Blu-ray is long overdue.

  27. gb says:

    lovely photo paul.
    looking forward to the interview.
    never realised how complex the record company thing was. makes us realise how lucky we were to have got the bananarama singles box set (as well as many many great re-issues) I would love a deluxe of 1984/savage esp. but would also buy all up to Be yourself tonight for sure. box sets
    like The Hurting would be a dream come true. would really love a ‘Touch one.

  28. baward says:

    I’m looking forward to the article. It seems like their music got progressively not-quite-as-good as the years rolled by, and the corporations began to take over. I loved ‘In The Garden’, most of ‘Sweet Dreams’ and the follow-ups (the early singles are fantastic), loved ‘Savage’ but then my interest started to wane.

  29. patjoller says:

    I’m still wondering what ‘s happening with a boxset he mentioned a few years ago with his solo stuff, especially Spiritual cowboys stuff, an era I’m a fan of….

  30. Shane says:

    Not Americans serving these comments to the rest of the world on a silver platter once again.
    Thank you Daran, unbelievable that someone should think that anyone would care about two sons killing their parents. It happens almost every month somewhere in the world. Only that we don’t make movies about them.

    And it makes me think it could only happen there that a person who has absolutely no idea about music would end up a CEO of a record company. However I’m sure it happens everywhere, even where I work.

    Even though I own two copies of the box set and the reissues individually (the latter purchased on sale) I would gladly buy them again. They do need at least a two-disc treatment and I demand an accompanying book! The visuals this duo put out rivals Lady Gaga!

  31. Kev says:

    That explains why Eurythmics (and Annie’s solo albums) moved to Arista, RCA’s sister label.

    Their label move isn’t as complicated though. They were signed to RCA Records, which was distributed by BMG. BMG then merged with Sony to become SONY BMG for a few years, and then finally just back to SONY. RCA Records is still part of SONY Music, while Arista, J, and Jive merged onto RCA Records.

    Please someone correct me if I’m wrong but… have the single version and the extended mix of “There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart)” ever been issued on CD format?

  32. Kev says:

    It’s just an edit. In fact, the single version is called “Edited Version”. It clocks at 4:30 or so.

    https://www.discogs.com/Eurythmics-There-Must-Be-An-Angel-Playing-With-My-Heart/release/649336

    The version found on the different greatest hits is about 4:42-4:45. Does anyone know if it’s indeed the “Edited Version” with maybe dead silence at the end?

    • Mike the Fish says:

      In the UK the 7″ wasn’t labeled as being any particular version as was the case with many singles of that time. It would be a nice surprise to get the album and find a longer version of a song. Jumpers for goalposts, etc.

  33. Neil says:

    I just went to listen to There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart) – Special Dance Mix on YouTube and get the message This video contains content from SME, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds. Shocking to say the least.

  34. james shoop says:

    Such a shame a giant group such as the Eurythmics (and others) catalogs are tied up by legal B.S. Ive always wondered why the in-between year of the Eurythmics (1982) with all the
    special b-sides and the cassette step on the beast can’t be released to CD.
    Why oh Why!
    James

  35. JD says:

    I was in a duo in the 80’s.Signed to London Records,which was owned by Polygram and then Universal and Warners acquired our back catalogue. They have done nothing with it and now in limbo as they are selling off chunks to whoever now. So who knows who will end up with my back catalogue.I agree it should be back to the artist.60 plus tapes in an archive doing nothing ! =frustrating

    • Philip Cohen says:

      Warner Music also ended up with the China Records catalogue, including a substantial part of the “Art of Noise” catalogue, and they do nothing with it, though they licensed some of the hits for an “Art of Noise” compilation on the “Salvo” label.

  36. Ian Harris says:

    As someone else mentioned I’m still waiting for The Tourists albums to come out on CD with bonus tracks etc. Plus the single they did as The Catch pre-Tourists.
    The videos for Never Gonna Cry Again and The Walk have never been issued in any format, and there must be lots of material for a Eurythmics At the BBC style release. I think they promoted In The Garden with a live set on the Old Grey Whistle Test.

    There’s probably more than enough Sweet Dreams era material for a super deluxe edition and that’s just the released b-sides and mixes. The aforementioned Step On The Beast cassette, 12″ mix of This Is The House, all the b-sides from The Walk, the superior single version of I Could Give You (A Mirror), Let’s Just Close Our Eyes, Baby’s Gone Blue, there are BBC sessions too, including a studio version of 4/4 In Leather which was available in a live version on the This Is The House 12″. A full length version of the Sweet Dreams Live In Heaven video plus TV appearances, promo videos.

  37. Eddie says:

    I am in the UK and I remember the Menendez case being covered quite extensively here.

  38. Carlton says:

    Eurythmics was and still is one of my favorite groups (period, no “of the 80s” to add to it). If Sony won’t get it in gear to get something put together, then hopefully Edsel, demon, or Cherry Pop will step up and license it. For one thing, it strikes me that there MUST be a ton of material that has never seen the light of day in any form, and I would be fascinated to hear what demos and outtakes from their sessions (especially the Sweet Dreams, Touch, and Savage sessions) would sound like. Then there are all the missing remixes and even missing b-sides that didn’t make the reissue campaign. (And I’m still mad that I could never get a copy of the reissue of Touch with the correct booklet inside of it–every copy I bought had the booklet for Sweet Dreams).

    Since the band was so visually based, an Anthology release like the Belinda Anthology would be a great opportunity to pair a proper singles collection (with the actual singles mixes), a couple of 12″ mix discs, an a few DVDs/Blu Rays (please, please, please let’s get a reissue of the Savage film) with a hardback book of photographs and video stills. I can think of few other acts who deserve a coffee table book treatment as much as Eurythmics do. Make is a mixture of official promotion shots, video stills, and behind-the-scenes shots. Then they could move on to doing other sets or an album-by-album reissue campaign. The Anthology could serve as a “taster” (like Sound & Vision), and then the proper individual reissues could follow. (Though it would be nice if, for once, we could reduce the amount of redundancy between the two. Since the fans would be the most interested in the big box, keep the single versions and exclusive 12″ versions for that set and find other bonus material for the reissued albums.)

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      One thing I’d put my house on is that no major label is going to licence the Eurythmics out to a smaller label.

  39. Daran says:

    Can someone list all the material that was missing off the Savage reissue please? What could they add audio / video to make us a full coomplete SDE?

  40. Kev says:

    So does anyone know for sure if the version of “There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart)” found on the different greatest hits collections (4:45) is the “Edited Version” (4:30) from the various vinyl singles?

    Interestingly, the Peruvian vinyl single was credited to Eurythmics & Stevie Wonder.

  41. Dustin says:

    http://www.Eurythmics-Ultimate.com is one the most amazing resources for The Tourists/Eurythmics/Annie/Dave discography information out there.

    http://www.eurythmics-ultimate.com/discography-main-menu/

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