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Eurythmics

Annie Lennox was born in Scotland and raised in the North Sea port of Aberdeen. The paternal side of her family was musical (her father even played bagpipes) and as a child, Annie took up piano and, later, the flute.

At seventeen, after attending Aberdeen High School for Girls, she went down to London’s Royal Academy of Music where she enrolled in a performer’s course focusing primarily on flute, with subsidiary studies in piano and harpsichord.

She grew increasingly restless at the Academy and finally just left. After kicking around London for two years – writing songs and singing with various anonymous groups – she encountered David A Stewart.

Two years older than Annie, Dave Stewart had grown up in Sunderland. His mother was a child psychologist with a special interest in the relation of colour to taste. His father was an accountant.

His early passion for sports gave way to a love of his guitar and leather jacket, although his subsequent musical career was motley to say the least – he played everything from folk and blues to rock & roll.

From the moment they met, Annie and Dave lived together and made music together. The group they put together in 1978 was a Byrds-influenced ensemble called The Tourists.

Over the next few years they toured the world and recorded three albums – even having a hit in 1979 with a cover version of the Dusty Springfield classic, I Only Want To Be With You– and yet they still found themselves penniless.

The Tourists broke up in 1980. Annie and Dave then created Eurythmics, recording their first album (In The Garden) in a studio outside Cologne, aided by an eccentric assortment of musicians including Clem Burke from Blondie and Holger Czukay and Jaki Liebezeit from Can.

The album sank without trace, but Lennox and Stewart built a low-budget 8-track studio in a warehouse in Chalk Farm (London) and recorded a series of demos which RCA decided to release as an album. Thus Sweet Dreams was made.

The 1983 album cracked the US Top 20, with the single – Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) – reaching the top of the US singles charts. Love Is A Stranger repeated the success.

Their third album, Touch (1984), provided the surging ballad, Who’s That Girl? (a tale of kinked-up sexual obsession), Right By Your Side, and their biggest hit, Here Comes The Rain Again.

Annie Lennox looked like a gender-bending robot zombie but sang with real soul. Dave Stewart, meanwhile, just hid behind his beard and quietly masterminded the sound. Together they made divine synth-pop.

Be Yourself Tonight (1985) featured some big name guest stars, including Stevie Wonder on harmonica on the single There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart) and Aretha Franklin singing a duet with Annie Lennox on Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves. The album also provided the hit single Would I Lie To You?

By Revenge (1986), both Lennox and Stewart had branched out to bigger, if not better things: Annie as an actress, Dave as a producer-stylist for artists ranging from The Ramones to Bob Dylan.

Save for the singles Missionary ManThorn In My Side and When Tomorrow Comes,  the album was a disappointment, and for the first time in five albums, Eurythmics sounded conventional.

eurythmics_032After working with outside musicians for a while, Lennox and Stewart recorded Savage(1988) as a duo again, presenting an album examining the world of domestically-induced insanity.

Ostensibly a concept piece, the album presented a housewife with a split personality in a series of harrowing portraits that shifted abruptly from Eurythmics usual user-friendly work.

Three years after her final outing with Dave Stewart, Annie Lennox released her debut solo album (Diva) in 1992