Thursday, 7 August 2014

Mike + The Mechanics 'Over My Shoulder'

Chart Peak: 12
Mike + the Mechanics are a hugely successful sometime group based around the musical talents of Genesis' Mike Rutherford and singers Paul Carrack (ex-Ace, Squeeze etc.) and Paul Young (ex Sad Cafe)... Over My Shoulder was a No.12 hit in March '95.
"Hugely" successful might be overstating the case a little, but it's true that they have lasted a long time for a side-project. Indeed they're still touring today, though with a different line-up as Young died and Carrack returned to solo activity. They only ever had one Top 10 single (with 'The Living Years', not a song I'm fond of) and this proved to be their next biggest hit. It's a song that gives me a strong sense of time and place, both from seeing the video in early 1995 (it was a big VH-1 favourite back then, as I recall) and from hearing it when I went on a work experience trip to France that summer. Fortunately, the memories are pretty positive and I actually rather like the song too.

Whilst it would probably be stretching a point to call Paul Carrack an overlooked musician, it does seem that he's a less well-known name than he probably should be given his talents as a singer; he has a great smoothness with just enough grit to stay the right side of bland, at least when he gets the right material. Though not commercially successful a songwriter as you might expect the man who penned a pop standard like 'How Long' to be, he certainly has skills in that department: he co-wrote 'Over My Shoulder' with Rutherford and in its modest way it ranks with the best of them both. It's very nearly a classic and then it seems to lose it right at the end, as if Carrack gets bored and leaves the backing singers to finish of as the song drifts into a slightly half-baked fade. As his only real appearance on a Now album though (the other Mechanics track has Young on lead vocal) it'll definitely do.

Bonus factoid: apparently Tom Fletcher, later to appear on several albums as a member of McFly, is an extra in the video.

Also appearing on: Now 33
Available on: The Singles: 1985 - 2014 + Rarities

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