Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Song Of The Day; Tracey Ullman 'They Don't Know'!

Few musical careers have been as successful, yet as brief, as Tracey Ullman's.

Back in 1983, Ullman's second single, "They Don't Know", from her first album, You Broke My Heart In Seventeen Places, rocketed into the Top 10 in both the U.S. and Britain, receiving steady rotation on MTV and Top 40 radio stations.

Already a household name in the UK due to her revelatory stint on the BBC comedy series "Three of A Kind", a trip to the hairdresser quite literally led to a record deal with esteemed punk label Stiff Records.

Having already succeeded as a teen model, dancer, and actress, why should Ullman's foray into music have been any different? In the hands of a lesser label or production team, Ullman's first album could have been an overly hokey spasm of novelty pablum, but, instead, it was a gloriously retro pop masterpiece that paid loving homage to '60s girl groups and perfectly captured that Brill Building/Burt Bacharach aesthetic that so many have attempted to imitate over the years.

Of course, the album's secret weapon was another Stiff Records artist, Kirsty MacColl, who had written and previously recorded "They Don't Know", as well as the title cut. Those of us already familiar with MacColl recognized the similarities between MacColl and Ullman, but that Ullman's natural charisma and stage polish gave her the edge.

If one chose to exploit this formula, Ullman could make a career of turning MacColl tunes into massive pop hits while the more reserved MacColl could keep on cashing the checks.

Considering her first album had been such a smash, it was only natural that her second, You Caught Me Out, didn't even receive a U.S. release - especially when you consider that, by 1985, Ullman was living in Los Angeles with TV producer husband Allan McKeown.

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