Monday, January 29, 1990

Fish released first solo album, Vigil in a Wilderness of Mirrors

Vigil in a Wilderness of Mirrors


Released: January 29, 1990

Peak: -- US, 5 UK

Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US and UK)

Genre: neo-prog rock

Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.)

  1. Vigil [8:43]
  2. Big Wedge [5:19] (12/27/89, #25 UK)
  3. State of Mind (Dick/Lindes/Simmonds) [4:42] (10/16/89, #32 UK)
  4. The Company [4:04] (7/18/90, single)
  5. A Gentleman’s Excuse Me [4:15] (3/5/90, #30 UK)
  6. The Voyeur (I Like to Watch) [4:42]
  7. Family Business (Boult/Dick/Lindes/Simmonds/Usher) [5:14]
  8. View from the Hill (Dick/Gers/Gessle) [6:38]
  9. Cliché (Dick/Lindes/Simmonds) [7:01]

Songs written by Derek Dick/Mickey Simmonds unless otherwise noted.

Total Running Time: 50:38

The Players:

  • Fish (Derek W. Dick) (vocals)
  • Frank Usher, Hal Lindes, Janick Gers (guitars)
  • John Giblin (bass)
  • Mickey Simmonds (keyboards)
  • Mark Brzezicki, John Keeble, Luis Jardim (drums/percussion)
  • Davy Spillane, Phil Cunningham (pipes/whistles)
  • Gavyn Wright, Alison Jones (violin)
  • Carol Kenyon, Tessa Niles (backing vocals)


3.927 out of 5.00 (average of 18 ratings)

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“Following Fish’s acrimonious split with Marillion in early 1988, wheels were set in motion for a full-on U.K. press inquisition. Pitting band vs. singer in a classic tabloid war of words, mud was flung, lawyers were hired, lawsuits were filed, and Marillion quickly moved to hire new vocalist Steve Hogarth. Soon thereafter, the band released the excellent Season's End to much critical and commercial acclaim.” JF

“From a fan’s point of view, it’s important to keep in mind that any time a band of Marillion’s stature splinters into two factions, anticipation for new product from both sides is always enormous. And much like the Van Halen/David Lee Roth divorce, each respective singer sought out counterparts/collaborators that would at least equal or better their band mates (not an easy feat by any stretch of the imagination).” JF

“Unlike Roth’s ‘let's pick the best session cats money can buy’ campaign, Fish had other ideas. Taking baby steps, Derek Dick (aka Fish) took a more organic approach in enlisting the services of keyboard man Mickey Simmonds to help with the creative process. But unlike David Lee Roth, Fish already had a few ideas kicking around. One of these included the genesis for Family Business (originally intended as the music bed for a track that would later be called ‘Berlin’ on Season's End).” JF

“Also under wraps was as cut titled The Company written at the request of producer Bob Ezrin after a meeting at David Gilmour's house just prior to the post-Clutching at Straws writing sessions (which would put the final nail in the Fish-led Marillion coffin).” JF

“As tracking for Vigil got underway, Fish handpicked Big Country drummer Mark Brzezicki and Dire Straits guitarist Hal Lindes to join his team. Vigil would also feature an array of special guests including…backing vocalist Tessa Niles (who also appeared on Clutching at Straws). Impeccably produced by John Kelly, Vigil in a Wilderness of Mirrors is not only a worthy debut, it's also Fish's best solo effort.” JF

“One of Vigil’s greatest strengths is that it not only features epics like the album’s title track and the magnificent A Gentleman's Excuse Me, it also showcases some super-commercial (not cheesy) material like Big Wedge and The Voyeur (I like to Watch).” JF

“It’s also no surprise that the more Marillion-sounding songs turn out to be the album’s cornerstones. First, there's the moving View From a HillJF which featured “future Iron Maiden guitarist Janick Gers, responsible for the main riffage.” JF

Then there’s Cliché, which “is not only one of Fish’s greatest love songs, it’s also one of his most emotional.” JF

Vigil never reaches “the depths of despair of Marillion classics like Fugazi or Script for Jester’s Tear, [but] it’s equally compelling. As Fish veers in and out of Pink Floyd territory on the aforementioned tune, one thing becomes clear as day. Artistically, it would be quasi impossible to top Vigil. But more drastic, still, from this point forward, Fish would be fighting for his life to retain his commercial status. As his financial problems spiraled out of control, so did his popularity. As Marillion took the more commercial path of the two acts, Fish’s voice and passion would be sorely missed. And if there was ever any doubt as to how integral Derek Dick was to Marillion’s sound (the lyrical content goes without saying), Vigil provides all the proof listeners will ever need.” JF


A 2002 remastered edition added bonus tracks “Jack and Jill,” “Internal Exile,” “Whiplash,” and demos of “The Company” and “A Gentleman’s Excuse Me.”

Review Sources:

Last updated 6/12/2021.

Faith No More “Epic” released


Faith No More

Writer(s): Mike Patton, Billy Gould, Jim Martin, Roddy Bottum, Mike Bordin (see lyrics here)

Released: January 29, 1990

First Charted: January 30, 1990

Peak: 9 US, 7 CB, 21 RR, 25 AR, 25 UK, 19 CN, 13 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 0.5 US, 0.2 UK

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 42.07 video, 160.74 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

The rock band Faith No More formed in 1979 in San Francisco, California, although they didn’t settle on that name until 1983. The group underwent several lineup changes early on, but bassist Billy Gould, drummer Mike Bordin, and keyboardist and rhythm guitarist Roddy Bottum remained constants since 1983. Singer Chuck Mosley appeared on two albums before replacing him with Mike Patton, who has been with the group ever since.

Patton’s first album with the group, 1989’s The Real Thing, was a major breakthrough, giving the group its first charting album (#11 on the Billboard album chart) and a platinum seller. The single “Epic” was the first chart entry for Faith No More in the United States, reaching #9 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The first single, “From Out of Nowhere,” was such a disappointment to the label that they allowed the group to pick whatever song they wanted for the next single and video. WK The lyrically-enigmatic song, which never uses the word “epic,” is “about sexual frustration,” according to Patton. SF The video was filled with surreal images inspired by Salvador Dali SF combined with performance footage of the band. The video generated controversy because of a shot with a fish out of water that appears to be dying. WK

The Philadelphia Daily News hailed the song as “radio-ready” WK while the Los Angeles Times called it “radical,” WK probably for its blend of genres, including funk, rap, heavy metal, and even classical. SF It has been credited as a cornerstone in the formation of nu metal. SF The song has been ranked on VH1’s top 100 lists of the greatest metal songs and best hard-rock songs.


Related Links:

First posted 10/1/2022.

Fish released “Cliché” on Vigil album



Writer(s): Derek W. Dick, Hal Lindes, Mickey Simmonds (see lyrics here)

Released: January 29, 1990 (as cut on Vigil in a Wilderness of Mirrors album)

Peak: 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 0.61 video, 1.33 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Fish established himself as a giant of the prog world with his band Marillion in the ‘80s. After four albums with them, including the UK chart-topping Misplaced Childhood, he left for a solo career. He released his first album, Vigil in a Wilderness of Mirrors, in 1990. The album was supported by four singles, three of which reached the top 30 on the UK charts.

The song, however, which garnered the most attention for me was “Cliché.” Despite not being released as a single, the song has proven popular. With more than a million plays on Spotify, it is second only to “A Gentleman’s Excuse Me,” one of the singles from Vigil, as his most-played song on the platform.

In the All Music Guide review of the album, John Franck says of the song that it “is not only one of Fish’s greatest love songs, it’s also one of his most emotional.” AMG He goes on to say that while it doesn’t reach the “depths of despair” of Marillion classics like “Fugazi” and “Script for a Jester’s Tear,” “it’s equally compelling” AMG as “Fish veers in and out of Pink Floyd territory.” AMG

Fish wrote it with his keyboardist Mickey Simmonds and guitarist Hal Lindes. The song uses the idea that saying “I love you” may sound cliché, but “it’s simply the best way.” The song is riddled with clichéd phrases like “for my best friend, my lover,” “I want to say that I need you, I miss you when you’re away” and “I find it hard to express the way I feel about you.” Astonishingly, though, Fish sings the lines in such a heartfelt manner that even though the song sounds like it could be written for anyone, it has a very personal feel to it.


Related Links:

First posted 4/3/2021; last updated 7/12/2022.

Saturday, January 27, 1990

50 years ago: Coleman Hawkins charted with “Body and Soul”

Body and Soul

Coleman Hawkins

Writer(s): Johnny Green, Ed Heyman, Robert Saur, Frank Eyton (see lyrics here)

First Charted: January 27, 1940

Peak: 13 US (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 1.0 radio, 2.1 video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

“Body and Soul” is “an all-time classic torch song” SF and “the most recorded jazz standard.” WK The song was originally written for actress and singer Gertrude Lawrence to sing for the British Broadcasting Company. MM Then Libby Holman introduced it in the United States through the 1930 Broadway revue Three’s a Crowd. Paul Whiteman, with vocal by Jack Fulton, hit #1 with his version that year. It became one of the top five recorded songs from 1890-1954 with fourteen charted versions during that time, including takes by Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Ozzie Nelson, Leo Reisman, and Art Tatum. PM John Coltrane, Ella Fitzerald, Billie Holiday, Etta James, Charles Mingus, Frank Sinatra, and Sarah Vaughan are among the others to tackle the song. WK

However, in an unusual twist, the highest-ranked version of the song is neither the first nor the highest-charting version. Coleman Hawkins, who has been called “the father of the tenor saxophone” NPR’09 for his role in establishing the tenor sax as a jazz instrument, NPR revived the song as an instrumental in 1939, showing how “it was possible to modernize well-worn Tin Pan Alley standards.” NPR It “became one of the most important jazz recordings of all time” JA as one of the genre’s “most influential performances” NPR’09 and one of its best-known performances in history. NRR

His recording was unique because it only hinted at the song’s melody in his recording, focusing instead on two choruses of improvisation. WK When “Body and Soul” came out, people continuously told him he was playing the wrong notes. NPR He had been playing in Europe and upon returning to the United States, Hawkins was surprised jazz artists hadn’t changed styles. NPR Swing bands still ruled at the time, but “the early tremors of bebop” were in the air. NPR

He “replaced blues-based riffing with brisk arpeggios, sharp-cornered phrases and endless lines that were the jazz equivalent of run-on sentences. He danced at the upper extremes of chords, foreshadowing the altered harmonies that later were so important to bebop.” NPR Hawkins made the song “a standard for tenor sax players, with many later recordings referencing parts of Hawkins’ solo and playing in the challenging key of D flat.” NRR

The song has shown stamina. In 2011, Tony Bennett charted with a duet with the late Amy Winehouse. It won the Grammy for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance.


Related Links:

First posted 1/27/2013; last updated 8/16/2022.

50 years ago: Tommy Dorsey landed at #1 with “All the Things You Are”

All the Things You Are

Tommy Dorsey with Jack Leonard

Writer(s):Jerome Kern, Oscar Hammerstein II (see lyrics here)

First Charted: December 16, 1939

Peak: 12 US, 12 HP, 1 GA (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 0.11 video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

“All the Things You Are” was introduced in the Broadway musical comedy Very Warm for May in November 1939. SB It was sung by Hirma Sherman, Frances Mercer, Hollace Shaw, and Ralph Stuart. DJ The show was the last hurrah for famed composer Jerome Kern. Despite delivering what some considered his finest score, script rewrites demanded from producer Max Gordon destroyed the play’s plot. It was a commercial failure, closing shortly after New Year’s Day after only 59 performances. By the second night, there were only 20 people in the audience. SB

The song is “a ballad of exquisite beauty, but also such melodic complexity” SS along with its unconventional structure and twelve-note range that Kern didn’t have high hopes for “All the Things” being popular. MM He even considered removing it from the show because it was too “musically sophisticated” SS and “the public wouldn’t get it.” SS However, it has been regarded by some as his masterpiece. SS Composer Arthur Schwartz considered it the greatest song ever written. SS

Three versions of the song charted in 1940. It became the twelfth of Tommy Dorsey’s seventeen trips to the summit. It featured vocalist Jack Leonard, who would also sing on the chart-topping “Indian Summer,” which hit the charts a week before “All the Things You Are,” but reached #1 after “Things.” This was the last big hit for Leonard with Dorsey’s orchestra. He left in November 1939, succeeded by Frank Sinatra. SS

Artie Shaw (#8) and Frankie Masters (#14) also found success with the song in 1940. Four years later, the show was adapted for the film Broadway Rhythm DJ and in 1945 it was used in the romantic comedy A Letter for Evie. WK Tony Martin sang it in Kern’s 1946 biopic Till the Clouds Roll By and it was crooned by Mario Lanza in the 1952 film Because You’re Young. DJ

It became a standard covered by Dave Brubeck, Miles Davis, Placido Domingo, Ella Fitzgerald, Erroll Garner, Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Kenton, Wes Montgomery, Willie Nelson, Oscar Peterson, Charlie Parker, Frank Sinatra, and Barbra Streisand. A survey done by identified “Things”as second only to “Body and Soul” for appearances on jazz albums. SB Parker said the song contained his favorite lyrics. WK In a 1964 Saturday Review poll, more composers named “All the Things” as their favorite than any other. TY1


Related Links:

Last updated 4/10/2023.