This week on the blog I’ve featured songs that were overshadowed by their bigger, more popular counterparts. I found another underrated gem from one of my all-time favorite acts for today’s “song of the day.”
As Eurythmics, Scotland’s Annie Lennox and England’s David A. Stewart have had 24 Top 40 hits in their native U.K. between 1983 and 2005, and over here in the U.S., they’ve scored 10 Top 40 hits on the BILLBOARD Hot 100, led by “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This),” which spent a week at No. 1 in September 1983. The last of those 10 Top 40 hits here in America debuted on the Hot 100 on this date (9.30) in 1989 – “Don’t Ask Me Why.”
From their eighth studio album, WE TOO ARE ONE (produced by David Stewart with Jimmy Iovine), “Don’t Ask Me Why” debuted on the Hot 100 on 9.30.1989 at No. 81. It spent a lone week at No. 40 in early November 1989, and was gone from the chart after just nine weeks. (It did fare better on BILLBOARD’s Modern Rock chart, reaching No. 12.)
Around the globe, “Don’t Ask Me Why” charted much better than here in America, reaching the Top 20 in Canada, Ireland, Italy and Japan, and the Top 30 in the U.K., Belgium and Switzerland.
WE TOO ARE ONE, an album that debuted at No. 1 and went double-platinum in the U.K., would be the last album the Eurythmics would release before splitting up, though not formally. Annie (one of the greatest voices in music ever) and Dave (an amazing musician, songwriter and producer) released eight albums in as many years, not to mention their extensive touring around the world, and basically needed a break.
That break lasted 10 years, and in October 1999, the Eurythmics released their comeback album, the brilliant PEACE, which was certified Gold in the U.S. (their first Gold record here since 1986), Canada and throughout Europe.
They got together briefly again in 2005 and recorded the song “I’ve Got A Life” for their ULTIMATE COLLECTION, and in 2014 for THE NIGHT THAT CHANGED AMERICA: A GRAMMY SALUTE TO THE BEATLES, where, backed with a full orchestra, they performed “The Fool On The Hill,” much to the delight of Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. They got a standing ovation from everyone in attendance, and rightfully so.
As for the last hit in America for the Eurythmics, don’t ask me why “Don’t Ask Me Why” didn’t chart better than it did. To this day, I’m not sure why this gorgeous song wasn’t well-received here. Yeah, okay, “Don’t Ask Me Why” is about the end of a relationship and the song’s lyrics do have a bitter feel to them (“Don’t ask me why / I don’t love you anymore / I don’t think I ever did / And if you ever had / Any kind of love for me / You kept it all so well hid…”), but honestly, how many songs about the end of relationships have done well? Maybe a post for another time. None come to mind that are as lush as “Don’t Ask Me Why,” though. Honestly, I think it’s one of the strongest songs Annie and Dave ever released.
Don’t worry guys – I’ll never keep my love for this song ever hid…