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Annie Lennox

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AboutAnnie Lennox was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, 1954. Making her even more special was the fact that she was born on Christmas Day. An only child, her mother, Dorothy, was a cook and her father, Tom, a boilermaker.

Her parents were supportive of her interest in the Arts - especially poetry, music and drawing. Her great promise in these subjects was recognised by the Aberdeen School for Girls which she attended from the age of four.

During her time in education, Annie learned to play the piano, flute, and also sang in the choir. She would go on to play in symphony orchestras and military bands and attended the dance classes of Marguerite Feltges who, interestingly, introduced pupils to a form of Greek Dance known as 'Eurhythmics'!

Although Annie was especially good at 'being musical', her teachers could be unsympathetic towards her as she was not as good at more academic subjects such as maths. However, they would still make the effort to praise her other more obvious artistic talents.

During her teenage years, Annie gained an interest in motown music - listening to the sounds of The Supremes and Marvin Gaye. An interesting statement she made of this time was when she attended a party and was given the opportunity to DJ for the night. She decided to play A Whiter Shade Of Pale repeatedly, because it always went down a storm, and of course, Annie later covered this track on her Medusa album many years later!

By the age of 17, Annie had won herself a place at London's prestigious Royal Academy Of Music. Before leaving for the capital in September 1971, she utilised her Summer break by making money in a frozen fish factory.

Lennox spent the next three years at the Academy studying classical music, but she ended up leaving just weeks before her final exams, unhappy with the direction her life was going in. Of her time she speaks: "Unfortunately, I never really fit in there so I spent the next three years looking for something better to do."

The years following her departure were marred with uncertainty, and her parents were anxious that she had missed her best opportunity of fame and fortune. Nevertheless, she stuck her time out in London for the next three years and gained a job in a bookstore. During this time she met up with Steve Tomlin - whose own record collection introduced Annie to Stevie Wonder. She could empathise with some of the lyrics from his songs and he's a musician she's admired ever since. Ironically of course, Stevie would go on to collaborate with the Eurythmics on There Must Be An Angel some years later and also presented them with an lifetime achievement award at the Brits, 1999.

For now however, the ambition was there, but the recognition seemed (and was) a long way off. Obviously inspired though, Annie took to singing lessons and admits to Joni Mitchell being a strong influence in her music and in defining her lyrics. Following a competition win in which she sang various Scottish folk songs, Annie toured local pubs and clubs in a band known as Dragon's Playground, but she soon grew tired and joined another act, the more established, Red Brass.

Following this, Annie auditioned for a touring jazz singer who was advertising for three female backing singers. Annie, Joy Dey and another girl won the audition (held in Covent Garden, London), but little came from the promised tours - other than a few rehearals and dance classes.

Annie suggested Joy and herself look for work as a duo as their voices appeared to blend very well. This they did, and their hard work paid off when they found a manager (from The Stage magazine), who then helped put together a programme for the cabaret duo to perform.

The manager suggested the name "Stocking Tops" which they didn't care that much for, but for whatever reason went along with it. For a while they toured South London clubs until they were sick of it. Both eventually parted ways but remained on good terms. Incidentally, Joy Dey is now an accomplished opera singer and has just released a fine album titled 'One Fine Dey'.

In mid 76', Annie took a job as a waitress at Pippins Restaurant in Hampstead, London, and it was here that she would meet her future partner Dave Stewart. His first words to her being "Will you marry me?". Although Annie remarks of this meeting "I Thought He was a complete nutter!", the two learned that they did infact have things in common both musically and personally and soon after, they moved in together...

Living in a small apartment together meant that things became even tougher for a while, but the two played with ideas and used a friend's studio in which to practice. At the time, Dave had contacted Logo Records run by Geoff Hannington and Olav Wyper (formally of RCA Records), but Wyper wouldn't sign a deal based on the fact that Dave and Peet Coombes (a friend), couldn't sing!

(Above) The Tourists
When they came back with Annie however, the result was different and thus a six album contract was drawn up. What followed was Annie and Dave's incarnation in the shortlived band The Catch which only released one single in Borderline and far from the success that was expected. When Annie and Dave added more members to their original line-up of three (including Peet Coombes) with Jim Tooney and Eddie Chin, this was met with disapproval from their record label.

The new look called for a new name and they would thus become The Tourists. They started off life as a punk infused band with elements of pop. Although their recordings were often met with critical bashing, including their first album The Tourists produced by Conny Plank, their live performances were more successful. They even toured with Roxy Music in 1979. In the same year their second album Reality Effect was released - spawning the UK #4 single and cover of Dusty Springfield's hit I Only Want To Be With You. By the early-eighties, the album had gone platinum. In 1980, another album followed in Luminous Basement.

(Above) An early pic of Annie & Dave.
Despite this, The Tourists could never really capitalise on their short-lived success, and after just five singles, they disbanded in early 1981, partly due to musical differences and a battle with Logo Records which eventually had to let them go to RCA. Despite this, Annie and Dave remained a strong team and eager for a change in direction, they once again turned their attentions to Conny Plank (based in Germany) and he helped them produce some demos.

The result would lead to the new band, newly titled the Eurythmics, and their first album In The Garden. As mentioned previously in this bio, the new name 'Eurythmics' was inspired by the Greek dance Annie learnt as a child. Dave stated to RCA that it summed up the 'European and rhythmical' elements within the band but because of previous failures, RCA still weren't convinced.

Nevertheless, in mid-1981, Eurythmics released what would be their first single in Never Gonna Cry Again which led to a promotional slot on the popular UK music show The Old Grey Whistle Test. Clem Burke (of Blondie fame) played drums on set. Even though these appearances did little to improve Eurythmics' profile or indeed sales, critics approved of In The Garden with its more polished, avant garde feel. They stepped up their promotion which included a live gig at Heaven - a famous night-club in London.

However, subsequent singles This Is The House and The Walk still didn't capture the public's imagination but this was partly due to RCA's poor marketing of the band. As a result, Annie started suffering from bouts of depression and agorophobia, while Dave suffered a major setback when he underwent a lung operation...

Once they'd recovered sufficiently to regroup and focus on their career once more, the Eurythmics enlisted the help of their graphic artist Laurence Stevens, who came up with distinctive lettering with a stylish feel that breathed new life into their image. They continued this momentum when they made the Love Is A Stranger promo on a shoestring budget - which saw Annie sporting a variety of guises and showcasing her natural on-screen prowess.

Love Is A Stranger didn't prove successful at first, but following their follow-up Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This), it was reissued and reached #6. Undoubtedly though, it was Sweet Dreams that broke Eurythmics to the World when the song went to #1 in the US and #2 in the UK - success that was long overdue and which came relatively by surprise.

Annie dressed as the Elvis-esque character from the 'Who's That Girl' vid
The song was accompanied by a now world famous video featuring Annie and Dave dressed for a board meeting with the inclusion of cows wandering past in a field. Annie used the androgynous image to striking effect from then on, playing with gender roles on many occasions. Most famously, she was asked to provide proof of her gender by the Americans who referred to her as a 'youth corrupting transvestite'. She even appeared dressed as the man in the video of Who's That Girl? at an awards ceremony - causing a storm.

It was this unpredictability and at times controversial approach that helped give Annie and Dave the attention they craved and they never looked back. Capitalising on their success, the duo embarked on a tour in early 1983.

Later in the same year, Touch - the duo's third studio album, was released spawning the hit singles Right By Your Side and the atmospheric Here Comes The Rain Again.

In 1984, following a gig, Annie met Radha Raman, a Hare Krishna Monk who turned Annie's world upside down. Annie was impressed by his personality and spiritual beliefs and quickly fell in love. They ended up marrying in March 1984 - much to her father's disgust - and soon after went to live in Switzerland away from the spotlight. By this stage, Annie was gaining a great deal of media coverage and for an intensely private person, she didn't always find this intrusion into her private life easy to deal with....

Later in the year, Annie and Dave accepted the offer to work on a soundtrack for the movie 1984 - which included the hit single Sex Crime (1984) and the more mellow Julia. Director Michael Radford was displeased when he heard the news that Eurythmics would be providing the score - mainly because he had someone else in mind. Nevertheless, 90% of their work was eventually used.

In Annie's private life, her marriage was beginning to crumble and by February 1985, she had separated from Raman altogether. As a consequence, Annie channelled her energies into the next album Be Yourself Tonight which benefitted greatly from Annie's personal touch with it's rock, op and and in particular, soul influences. It included such hits as There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart) which brought the Eurythmics their first, and to date, only UK #1 single. Annie also collaborated with Soul Queen Aretha Franklin on Sisters Are Doin It For Themselves and Elvis Costello on the underrated Adrian (which wasn't released).

Due to recurring throat problems, Annie decided not to tour the album and her condition also led to her missing the Live Aid Concert. Despite this, Lennox continued to support various campaigns and charities including a performance with Chrissie Hynd at the Royal Albert Hall in 1986 - a show to benefit the Columbian Volcano Disaster victims.

During this time, the Eurythmics had also been working on a new album in Revenge (recorded in France), and had an impressive new band to support them comprising Clem Burke (once again) on drums, and the vocal talents of Joneice Jamison.

The record which was toured worldwide, included some rockier numbers such as Missionary Man and the popular Thorn In My Side - perfect for stadiums, and which led to some critics speculating incorrectly that they had 'sold out'. The band ended the year when they released the more mellow Miracle of Love which reached #23 and included a video directed by Dave.

While on tour, Annie met Isreali film-maker, Uri Fruchtman. He shot a documentary on Eurythmics in Japan, and together they enjoyed a relationship which eventually led to their marriage to each other in 1988. A year earlier, Dave married Siobhan Fahey of Bananarama fame (and later Shakespear's Sister who enjoyed a UK #1 hit with Stay). Unfortunately, at the time of writing, both Annie and Dave have now split from these partners....

Also in 1987, towards the end of the year, Eurythmics released their album Savage to much critical acclaim. The record featured a more back to basics feel with sparse synth sounds. For many, this remains the stand-out album and is a firm fan favourite. It includes such hits as You Have Placed A Chill In My Heart and the frank track I Need A Man. It was also released as a video album directed by Sophie Muller - who worked with Eurythmics on so many occasions, along with Annie on her solo work.

The record in many ways dealt with the problems of relationships and its sometimes bitter lyrics helped Annie come to terms with her situation. Although critics approved of the album, the less commercial feel meant that the public didn't warm.

Annie's superb acting abilities present in the Savage video album, led to a part in Harold Pinter's The Room, in which she co-starred with Donald Pleasance..

Her other projects included a collaboration with Al Green for the film Scrooged on Put A Little Love In Your Heart. Lennox also played at the Nelson Mandela Concert in 1988 to a crowd of 70,000 at Wembley Stadium, London.

With her life in order, and with personal happiness, Annie gave birth to baby Daniel in December of 88' but life would strike its cruelist blow when Daniel was tragically stillborn.

Following this news, Annie was awarded with the BPI (later renamed the Brits), award for 'Best Female' in early 1989, and she also contributed to an album for Greenpeace. Her personal tragedy spurred her into making more music and in September 1989, Eurythmics released We Too Are One which included Angel - a poignant song devoted to Daniel. A video was also released called We Two Are One Too and the album was backed up with the Revival world tour.

Although success continued for the duo including another BPI Award for Annie in 1990, suddenly, Annie and Dave decided to stop recording together, altogether....

Even though they never officially announced their split, it would be 10 years before Annie and Dave would reform their musical partnership.

It seems they just grew tired of each other and needed some time apart. At the same awards ceremony in which she picked up her award in 1990, Annie said that she would be taking two years off to concentrate on her family life, to try for another baby, and to work for Shelter - an organisation devoted to the homeless.

True to her word, Annie gave birth to daughter Lola on December 16th 1990. Soon after, in 1991, RCA released a Greatest Hits Package which remains one of the top selling albums of the 1990's. It reached #1 in the UK and stayed in the album charts for an impressive 40 weeks.

With her private life in order, Annie turned her attentions to her solo project, which she had begun prior to giving birth. Dave had already found success working with his own band The Spiritual Cowboys as well as working and producing for other artists.

Annie's solo career came with a change of image.
In April 1992, Annie released Diva - her first solo outing and which, for the most part, garnered critical acclaim. It reached #1 in the UK charts and stayed in the charts for 70 weeks. In the US it reached #23 and stayed around for over 70 weeks! The album included such hits as Why (which won an Ivor Norvello for music and lyrics), the upbeat Little Bird, and Walking On Broken Glass - all of which went Top 10.

In the same month she attended The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert which helped raise millions for the Aids campaign. Others who attended included Lisa Stansfield and George Michael.

The awards continued to come in 1993, including another Brit Award for 'Best Female' and a prestigious Grammy award for 'Best Video' which also had a lot to do with the directing capabilities of Sophie Muller.

Around this time, Annie also contributed music for the soundtrack to Bram Stoker's Dracula starring Gary Oldman, with the song Love Song For A Vampire. She also recorded an MTV Unplugged session - the live songs of which, can be found on the Cold, Colder and Coldest Boxed Set.

In the same year, Annie gave birth to her second daughter Tali, and Eurythmics Live 1983-89 album was released - thought by many to be the last official Eurythmics release by RCA...

In 1995, after another break to concentrate on family life, Annie returned to the limelight with an album of covers titled Medusa. The record spawned such hits as A Whiter Shade Of Pale and Waiting In Vain.

Annie performing 'In The Park' in New York City 95'.
She continued her solo success with an awe inspiring and one off performance at Central Park in New York. Following this, no world tour, but more time off, and although the second album sold well, it didn't eclipse the success of Diva. Annie did however, pick up a Grammy award for No More I Love You's'. Annie added to her Brit award collection with another for 'Best Female' in 1996.

After a period of three years out, in 1999, Annie teamed up with Dave once again to reform the Eurythmics for what looked like a one night only occasion, in order to collect an award at the Brits for their outstanding contribution to British music. It marked the return of a live closing set and the first time Annie and Dave had performed together for almost a decade.

Unbeknown to many that night, prior to the show, Annie and Dave had been working on new material and soon after, they announced that they were working on a new album.

So, the band that looked the most unlikely to reform did, and in 1999, Eurythmics released Peace - an album with inspiring lyrics in support of organisations such as Amnesty International and Greenpeace. In the world tour that followed, concert proceeds were donated to these organisations.

With Annie and Dave's return, their unpredictability was perhaps, the most predictable thing about them!. Their music temporarily breathed new life into a stale music scene made up of manufactured teenyboppers. Music with meaning, focus, a more adult orientation and a sense of progression.

The Eurythmics, reformed after almost 10 years apart.
Their single releases from the album included I Saved The World Today (UK #11) and 17 Again (UK #27).

With a sell out tour, the public and the media were hungry for more. Annie and Dave contributed to the Millennium celebrations and for a time were never off the TV. Older and I assume wiser, they could now choose which approach and direction they wanted to take their music in...

Following a back injury that Annie sustained while on tour, the tour was prematurely and unexpectedly ended. Following this, news of the duo went quiet once again.

Although rumours were rampant that the duo would once again team up for another album, nothing in reality materialised. Annie once again returned to family life making only the occasional public appearance. Dave meanwhile, always the workaholic, had hundreds of projects to keep him busy and broadened his talents to incorporate other areas of interest including a film (Honest) which included members of the pop act All Saints.

Annie made a one off appearance at Arista's 25th Anniversary concert in 2000, with a rousing performance of Why on piano. The concert also featured Whitney Houston. The 'latest news' section chronicles other appearances from the last two years in much more detail in fact.

On June 3rd 2002, Annie performed at the Queen's 50th Anniversary Jubilee concert - singing Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves and Why.

In December 2002, she was awarded with the Billboard Century Award for her contribution to music.

In 2003, Annie returned with a new album Bare (released in June), along with a sell out tour of North America, Canada and Europe. But the success of this was balanced with passing of her mother, Dorothy.

In 2004, she contributed to the soundtrack of the final instalment of The Lord of the Rings trilogy - Return of the King. Her collaboration with Fran Walsh and Howard Shore, produced the film's theme Into The West - which went on to win an Oscar.

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