11 October 2020

Steve 'n' Bonnie - Eyes of Tomorrow/ Stay Away From My Dreams


Bright and dramatic entry to the 1972 Radio tele Luxembourg Grand Prix

Label: Youngblood
Year of Release: 1972

When we talk about song contests, naturally Eurovision is the first and probably only one that springs to mind these days. Way back when, though, other European and global contests did receive a certain amount of media attention, and the short-lived Radio Tele Luxembourg Grand Prix international song contest was a prime opportunity for songwriters and groups alike bursting to get attention on the global stage.

The husband and wife team of Steve (Hamilton) 'n' Bonnie (Lowe) (no relation whatsoever to Shakin' Stevens and Bonnie Tyler, obviously, though confusingly enough they did also release a single together in the eighties) were one of three UK entries to the contest, and the music mogul Miki Dallon could be heard bragging to Billboard magazine that he expected the Hamilton-penned entry to be judged on its "production value and not on its commercial value". 

Despite this somewhat backhanded compliment, it does have to be said that "Eyes of Tomorrow" packs a lot into its three-and-a-half minutes. The slow orchestral build at the start is a red herring - the track quickly picks up and begins to seep with action-packed cinematic drama. Bonnie's voice leaps impressively up and down the scale, Steve takes his vocals with gusto, and the punchy arrangement pulses around them. A close equivalent would be Robbi Curtice's "Soul of a Man" as featured on this blog some time ago, but Steve and Bonnie's cabaret background stops their track from being quite so hip and knowing. It's still immediately attention grabbing and powerful, though.

In contest terms, it failed to get into the magic top three and the UK only held down the top two places, with "Manana" by Bay City Rollers emerging victorious (so much for entries not being judged on their commercial value) and "Days To Remember" by Yellowstone and Voice in second place. 

While Miki Dallon appeared smitten with Steve 'n' Bonnie in trade press interviews and talked about their star quality and how he was searching for a great American deal for them, they never really did break through in a big way. Four flop singles and a flop LP on Youngblood saw him eventually give up, and they released a single apiece on Sovereign and Cube before diving back into the cabaret world from whence they came. 

A Christmas single by the pair, "Once In Royal David City" emerged in 1983, seven years after their last commercial release, though judging by the fact that the label it was on (Jeeves) appears not to have issued anything else, I'm tempted to conclude that was a vanity pressing. 

While information on the duo is scarce, it seems likely that they were a highly respectable cabaret act who kept the flame burning for a long time after their brief flirtation with fame. 

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1 comment:

Arthur Nibble said...

That single on Jeeves has all the hallmarks of a vanity pressing - a catalogue number featuring Steve and Bonnie's initials, and an SRT custom pressing catalogue number to boot.