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'How did we do all that?': Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart discuss Eurythmics legacy in new interview

Exclusive: As the band reissue eight classic records on vinyl this year, they reflect on their achievements in a new video interview

Roisin O'Connor
Music Correspondent
Wednesday 11 April 2018 07:29 BST

Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart, one of the most iconic duos in music history, have featured in a new interview about the legacy of their band Eurythmics.

Ahead of an extraordinary string of re-issues of their music on vinyl from the original tapes, the pair sat down to talk about their first experiences, favourite memories, and reflections on their enormous body of work.

"When I look back on what I was writing and singing about, the subjects of the songs are broadly based on the human existential condition," Lennox says. "A lot of Eurythmics work is fairly melancholic. I was quite depressive and I do have that tendency, so I had a need to express something emotionally, psychologically and artistically through writing, singing and performing.

"The songs are often layered in meaning, textured, nuanced and somewhat ironic. I loved being in the studio because it's just a place to be free and create. I couldn't sit down and think 'We're going to make a No.1 record. That would be impossible.

"Some people think they can, but I don't think we thought in those terms. We used to think, let's just try to make the best music we can. For us, there was a feeling of being reaffirmed that if the public liked it, and bought our records, that was a stamp of 'We love it' and that was a nice feeling for us."

Stewart adds: "There was a hell of a lot of work between 1981 and 1989. All those albums and tours. You look at it and wonder how did we do all that? It was an explosion of creativity. We'd take our references from fashion and the art world, mainly because of the people we were knocking around with... I think people recognise in us two that there was a respect of each other as artists. Forget about the man and the woman and anything like that, but what we were really obsessed about was what we were doing. You need to have a strong partner in all that, it's like sailing in a little dinghy through a stormy sea."

Lennox says of the vinyl format: "When I was very young, we had a salmon pink Dansette record player. Someone gave me birthday money and the first record I think I bought was Mary Poppins followed by Procul Harum's Whiter Shade of Pale.

"Both records are magical and transporting. I used to visit my grandparents in the countryside and would always go into the recesses of a cupboard to pull out a box full of old 78 rpm records which I'd play over and over again, especially the Vilja song from The Merry Widow, which I was obsessed with.

"If you're going to create a listening experience, it has to have a shape, otherwise, it's just disparate. So we always gave a lot of thought to the running order of the songs on our records. Dave would write his running order and I would write mine. We might shift a song here or there, but we would come to an agreement, so the listening experience had a continuum on one side and then you would flip the record over to something else on the other side."

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"My dad blew my mind when I was six years old because he built his own Gramophone," Stewart recalls. "He had the albums for every Rodgers & Hammerstein musical and he switched his homebuilt record player on and you heard this crackling sound and then 'Boom!' I remember walking to school singing 'I Enjoy Being A Girl'. To buy a vinyl album, you had to record player and you have to have speakers, and this is a great thing because that means people are going to listen to your music not on a cell phone, but they're going to listen to it out of a sound system, which is what we all did when we were growing up.

"The important thing about vinyl releases is that people buy them and actually put them on the turntable and listen to a side, because we chose the tracks to be played in a particular order, and that was really important.

"They will sound better," he adds of the new Eurythmics vinyl re-releases. "In the archives, we have the original half-inch masters, which have a fantastic sound. That's what we're going from, not the digital remasters where the sound has been compressed."

Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart (Associated Press )

Reissues of Eurythmics' albums are being released by RCA/Legacy Recordings between April and October 2018, beginning with In The Garden (1981), Sweet Dreams (1983) and Touch (1983) on April 13, followed by Be Yourself Tonight (1985), Revenge (1986) and Savage (1987) in July, and We Too Are One (1989) and Peace (1999) in October - the only time Peace will be available on vinyl. Available here.

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