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Heart and Soul by T'Pau
Album: Bridge of SpiesReleased: 1987Charted:
This song, written by lead singer Carol Decker and bandmate Ron Rogers, was borne out of a happy accident when Rogers bought a new keyboard with a built-in sequencer but didn't know how to use it. Decker explained in a Kickin' It Old School
interview: "He was just trying to get used to the gizmos in it and while messing around with the sequencer he started the 'bum bum buh buh bum bum bum' of the bass riff. T'PauI started to sing a melody over it, the wafty vocal and came up with 'more than an ocean keeps us apart.' The lyrics were about when I went on holiday with my parents and Ronnie couldn't come. I missed him so much, but then I morphed the story into a fictitious one of not being loved back (which I was). The rap was the idea of Andy Piercy, our then producer. He said the gaps needed filling, so I started these syncopated sort of nonsense noises. I then turned those noises into words which took about a week to get right."
This was T'Pau's first single. It the UK, it went nowhere when it was first released, but when it was re-released after being used in a commercial for Pepe jeans, it shot up the charts. In America, thanks to a video that was put in rotation on MTV, it went to #4 in August 1987. A month later, the song reached its peak chart position in the UK, also #4.
Don't read too much into this song's lyric. Carol Decker says, "'Heart And Soul' isn't about anything - it just goes moon/june/spoon."
Carol Decker's voice is layered on this song, with her melody lines ("More than an ocean...") coming in over her rap parts. This presents a challenge in live performances. In our interview with Decker
, she told us how she handles it. "I rap the first two verses then cut to the melody for the verse before the chorus," she said. "No one really notices or minds as I cover the essential dynamics of the song. It works well. When I have several backing vocalists we can cover more parts, but the basic version still works."
The band was named after a Vulcan high priestess on Star Trek; Carol Decker was watching an episode when the character appeared, and when she suggested the name, the band went for it.
This was T'Pau's only hit in the US, putting them in the one-hit wonder category there. Their next single "China In Your Hand
," was ignored in the States but ran wild in the UK, where it went to #1 for five weeks. At this point, the band gave up on America, and their second album wasn't even issued there. They continued their success in the UK, placing six more songs in the Top 40.
When in the US, Decker says she is often mistaken for Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York. It must be the red hair and British accent.
The Bridge of Spies album sold over 4 million copies. In America, it was issued with the title T'Pau.
Lead singer Carol Decker was offered but declined the role of Don Johnson's wife on Miami Vice. The role went to Sheena Easton.
Decker told Kickin' It Old School she loves this song because, "It's unique still and has a killer chorus plus a universal message. We all want to be loved, don't we?"
Despite the single's success in the US, the country was not a great touring locale for the band. Decker lamented in a 1987 interview: "Most of the gigs we played in America were awful. Real toilets. We were there three months and even at the end, the biggest audience we were getting were less than a thousand."