Tuesday, July 26, 1983

Asia released its sophomore album

First posted 4/19/2008; updated 9/20/2020.

Alpha

Asia


Buy Here:


Released: July 26, 1983


Peak: 6 US, 5 UK, 10 CN, -- AU


Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.06 UK, 1.06 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: classic rock


Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.)

  1. Don’t Cry (7/30/83, #10 US, #33 UK, #1 AR)
  2. The Smile Has Left Your Eyes (10/15/83, #34 US, #25 AR)
  3. Never in a Million Years
  4. My Own Time (I’ll Do What I Want)
  5. The Heat Goes On (8/20/83, #5 AR)
  6. Eye to Eye
  7. The Last to Know
  8. True Colors (8/20/83, #20 AR)
  9. Midnight Sun
  10. Open Your Eyes
  11. Daylight * (7/30/83, #24 AR)

* bonus track/B-side of “Don’t Cry”


The Players:

  • Geoff Downes (keyboards)
  • Steve Howe (guitar)
  • Carl Palmer (drums)
  • John Wetton (vocals/ bass)


Total Running Time: 42:16

Rating:

3.208 out of 5.00 (average of 14 ratings)


Awards:

About the Album:

Alpha is sorely disappointing, especially coming on the heels of a promising debut.” TD It was “a platinum-selling Top Ten hit,” TD but a “disappointment to some fans” WK compared to 1982’s Asia, which had sold 10 million copies worldwide and spent nine weeks atop the U.S. Billboard charts.

“Where Asia managed to make old sounds fresh, Alpha fails miserably. Nothing on Alpha packs the sheer sonic force of the band’s debut,” TD although lead single Don’t Cry did give the band their second top 10 U.S. pop hit. “Instead, much of the record is lightweight both lyrically and musically, leaning heavier on keyboard-laden ballads like The Smile Has Left Your Eyes, which managed to scrape into the Top 40, and My Own Time (I’ll Do What I Want). The only real meat on the record comes during the last cut, Open Your Eyes (and only at the end of the song).” TD

Alpha was the product of Geoff Downes’ and John Wetton’s song-writing. Steve Howe was mostly left out of the writing process, causing tensions within the band. Recorded in Morin Heights, Canada, Alpha is Asia’s…last album with Steve Howe as full-time guitarist until 2008’s Phoenix.” WK In the 25-year interim, Howe would go on to form the one-album-only supergroup GTR with former Genesis’ guitarist Steve Hackett, which released one self-titled album in 1986. Howe also frequently worked with former band Yes and occasionally turned in a guest spot on an Asia album.

Howe wasn’t the only one who jumped ship. Wetton bailed “before the year was out” (Demalon), replaced briefly by Emerson, Lake, & Palmer vocalist Greg Lake on tour. Wetton, however, would return by 1985’s Astra.

The “rumored creative differences, the album’s lukewarm reception, and flagging ticket sales for the ensuing tour” TD effectively ended the band’s momentum. The Asia brand name would soldier on with numerous personnel changes; it would be 25 years before the original four would record together again on 2008’s Phoenix.

Resources and Related Links:


Related DMDB Link(s):

Saturday, July 9, 1983

The Police hit #1 with “Every Breath You Take”

First posted 7/8/2012; updated 4/8/2020.

Every Breath You Take

The Police

Writer(s): Sting (see lyrics here)


Released: May 13, 1983


First Charted: May 28, 1983


Peak: 18 US, 17 CB, 18 RR, 5 AC, 19 AR, 1 CO, 14 UK, 12 CN, 2 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.6 UK, 1.6 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 14.0 radio, 634.16 video, 531.0 streaming

Awards:

About the Song:

If there was an award for misunderstood songs, “Every Breath You Take” would clearly be vying for the prize. Police drummer Stewart Copeland explains, “People often choose this...as their wedding song. They think it’s a cheerful song. In fact...it’s a very dark song.’” KL

Dark indeed. Sting, the band’s primary singer and songwriter, penned his very un-romantic song in the wake of his broken marriage to Frances Tomelty. Sting told Rolling Stone that it is actually “‘a fairly nasty song…about surveillance and ownership and jealousy.’” BR1 Ah, nothing expresses wedded bliss like a tale of an obsessive stalker.

Often mocked for pretentiousness, Sting whittled the lyrics for “Breath” down to bare essentials as well. The words are “pulled from the rock & roll cliche handbook” RS500 or “straight out of a rhyming dictionary.” TB The song came out of one of those few-minutes-of-writing sessions in the middle of the night and, according to various claims, was influenced by the Gene Pitney song “Every Breath I Take,” Leo Sayer’s “More Than I Can Say,” and the opening lines of Judith Merrill’s sci-fi short story “Whoever You Are.” WK Structurally, the song thrives on its simplicity. To avoid distracting from the song’s “hypnotic bass line,” RS500 the Police jettisoned an intricate synthesizer piece.

Regardless of where it came from, “Every Breath You Take” became the biggest pop song of 1983. WHC To continue the grand that-song-came-from-this-one tradition, it was memorably sampled in “I’ll Be Missing You,” the chart-topping 1997 tribute to slain rapper the Notorious B.I.G. helmed by Puff Daddy.


Resources and Related Links:

  • The Police’s DMDB Encyclopedia entry
  • DMDB page for parent album Synchronicity
  • BR1 Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). New York, NY: Billboard Books. Page 574.
  • KL Jon Kutner/Spencer Leigh (2005). 1000 UK Number One Hits: The Stories Behind Every Number One Single Since 1952. London, Great Britain: Omnibus Press. Page 291.
  • RS500 Rolling Stone (12/04). “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”.
  • TB Thunder Bay Press (2006). Singles: Six Decades of Hot Hits & Classic Cuts. Outline Press Ltd.: San Diego, CA. Page 205.
  • WHC Joel Whitburn (1999). A Century of Pop Music. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc. Page 112.
  • WK Wikipedia.org