This is the signature song of Everything But The Girl, a British duo consisting of Ben Watt and Tracey Thorn. They were students at the University of Hull when they met. She was a singer in the pop duo Marine Girls and Ben contributed a photograph to the cover of their LP. They wound up becoming inseparable, forming their own group in 1983 and getting married not long after. The name Everything But The Girl was inspired by an advertising slogan of Turner's Furniture, a popular store in Hull near the university. Watt and Thorn quickly became popular in their native Great Britain and began to gain popularity in the United States in 1990 with the release of the album The Language of Life, which produced singles that got airtime on VH1. However, their career was almost ended when Watt contracted Churg-Strauss syndrome, an autoimmune disease which can lead to death. Watt ultimately recovered, but the prospect of his death contributed to this song's heartfelt lyrics.
"Missing" was initially a minor hit on the pop charts and a bigger one on the Adult Contemporary charts. In 1995, they gave the song to producer Todd Terry, who remixed if for nightclubs. The new release was a big worldwide hit, ultimately peaking at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. However, many of the band's fans greatly prefer the original release, which is the version that's usually performed now. They continue to record, but have cut back on performing to raise their children, whom they wish to provide with as much of a normal life as possible, which means keeping them out of the limelight. (thanks, Mike - Santa Barbara, CA)
Tracey Thorn told Rolling Stone that "Missing" was originally intended as a dance-oriented track. She explained: "It was written with that idea in mind, totally... we put on sort of a laid back house groove instead. Then when we gave it to Todd, he took it in a really, really strong New York house direction, which had a real simplicity to it, but it was very infectious."
In our interview with Ben Watt
, he told us that he has never been bothered by the fact that the group's most successful song was a remix rather than the original tune. "Todd's mix was a serendipitous moment," he said. "When he delivered the mix, no-one thought, wow, a hit record. It was seen as a useful club mix. The people decided it should be a hit. They danced to it. Requested it."
This was the first ever single to spend an uninterrupted year (55 weeks in total) on the US chart.
Everything But The Girl signed with the Warner Music UK subsidiary Blanco Y Negro in 1984, but were dropped from the label 10 years later after Amplified Heart was released. It was bad timing for the label, who would be missing the hit remix of this track. "Our record company had famously dropped us after we delivered it seeing no future," Ben Watt told us. "There was no promotional push for months. In the end it was a hit on its own merits. I have always loved that about it."
The song reached the Top 10 of nearly every chart around the world and landed at #1 in Canada, Germany and Italy.
The House music producer, Todd Terry, revealed to Thump how Everything But The Girl were not initially sold on his "Missing" remix. "The group and some of the label guys felt it didn't fit their image," he said.
Terry explained how he changed their minds: "We fought for the record to come out. We believed in it, and believed that it was what that group needed at that time. In fact, the guys around me thought they were a lame group, and that I had given the track life, ha."