The Closest Thing To Heaven
The north-east of England has provided us with some of Britain’s stars over the years, but not that many. The Animals spring to mind, as Eric Burdon and the rest of that group were all from this industrial area of the UK. More recently, Cheryl Cole has made much of these roots, and traded on the distinctive accent too. In 1985, another sound emerged from county Durham, a trio that went by the name of The Kane Gang delivered a song that was in the new ‘sophisti-pop’ style. Somewhere between smooth soul, and the British new wave, it appealed to me a great deal, although it was some years before the wonderful ‘Swing Out Sister’ would take this genre to a new level, and mainstream acceptance.
The first Kane Gang album, ‘Bad And Lowdown World Of The Kane Gang,’ had all the right credentials. Produced by Pete Wingfield, (Eighteen With A Bullet) and with backing vocals by stars-in-their-own-right Sam Brown and P.P. Arnold, it also had the excellent ‘Small Town Creed’ (released before my choice), ‘Losersville’ and a cover of ‘Respect Yourself’, all included in a list of tracks that were good enough to be singles. The trio looked serious enough, did not try to appeal to young girls, and wrote some of the tracks that were not covers of existing songs. I was suitably impressed, and bought the album immediately, pleased that the popular single release was included. I played it a lot, and looked forward to the next offering.
I had to wait almost two years, for the 1987 release, ‘Miracle.’ It was more of the same, so still pretty good. The standout track was ‘Motortown’, released as a single, it sold well on both sides of the Atlantic. Then that was that, as the saying goes. With band members seeking solo careers, as they often do, the line-up split in 1991, after less than seven years.
Here is the official video of the emotional ballad that started it all. Love those vocals.