When Essex girl Alison ‘Alf’ Moyet put an advertisement in the music papers, she was looking for a “rootsy blues band”.
What she got was synthesizer wizard Vince Clarke (pictured at right), who had just left hit pop band Depeche Mode.
Together as Yazoo they became an instant success, receiving the Best Newcomer award at the 1983 BRIT Awards.
Their debut single, Only You, climbed to #2 in the UK charts in May and its appeal was endorsed by the success of The Flying Pickets’ acapella cover version, which topped the UK chart the following year.
Yazoo enjoyed an almost equally successful follow-up with Don’t Go, which climbed to #3 in July.
A tour of the USA saw the duo change their name to Yaz in order not to conflict with an American record company of the same name, although their highest US chart entry was a lowly #67 for Only You. Meanwhile, their album Upstairs at Eric’s (1982) was widely acclaimed for its strong melodies and Moyet’s expressive vocals.
Yazoo enjoyed further hits with The Other Side of Love and Nobody’s Diary before completing one more album, You and Me Both (1983), which went to #1.
Shortly after the release of the second album, the duo split up with Alison Moyet signing a solo recording deal and going on to greater things, gaining a reputation as the finest British chanteuse of the decade.
Clarke maintained his high profile with The Assembly and particularly, Erasure. Yazoo graced the UK charts on two further occasions, with François Kevorkian’s remix of Situation reaching #14 in 1990, and a new mix of Only You scraping into the Top 40 in 1999.