39. Visage – Fade to Grey

Visage were a New Romantic band and Fade to Grey was their big hit. Steve Strange sang, wore makeup and just looked great. Singers these days spend their spare time in the gym and have ripped abs and 8% body fat but back then Steve Strange could get away with cute eyes and lipstick.

The video is worth watching to see how well it stands after 29 years. The girl speaking French made the song memorable, even if she was from Luxembourg (for those querying for her name, it is Brigitte Arendt). The synth riff is a monster and makes you wonder why bands ever need bass guitars.

At the time it came out I was a kid living in the UK and the radio and TV were bursting with synth bands like Visage, Gary Numan’s Tubeway Army, Ultravox and the soon to be arriving Depeche Mode. Visage had a couple of minor hits after this (Mind of a Toy and Visage) but then half the band left to go back to Ultravox.

This video looks embedded, but it isn’t. To watch the video, click on it and it will take you over to YouTube to check it out:

A few years ago Jean bought the Kelly Osbourne album Sleeping in the Nothing. We were driving in her car when the song One Word played I exploded with indignation that this was a total rip-off of Fade to Grey, even down to the spoken French. Back home, a trip to YouTube showed the similarities. According to wikipedia, the royalties from the single were shared with Visage, so at least Visage made a few bucks from it.

Were Kelly’s management just ignorant or did they not care that Kelly ended up being the new Vanilla Ice?


Next: 38. Frank Zappa – Valley Girl
Previous: 40. Rammstein – Wollt ihr das bett in flammen sehen


3 Responses to “39. Visage – Fade to Grey”

  1. 1 Jean
    July 22, 2009 at 22:50

    The Visage video reminds me of an episode of Spaced where Brian (the art dude) goes to see his transsexual ex-boy/girl friend’s new play. As Vulva (the ex) puts it, “Abstract expressionism is so mid-to-late eighties.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5TsMMN-s2Y

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