Number Ones: #37


  • GO WEST We Close Our Eyes (Chrysalis)
  • Week Ending March 30th 1985
  • 1 Week At #1


There was no shortage of male synth duos in the mid-Eighties, and Go West entered into this crowded market at the start of 1985. With their stylish and soulful transatlantic brand of pop, they were more like Britain’s answer to Hall & Oates than another Blancmange, Soft Cell or Pet Shop Boys (in an early interview with Record Mirror magazine, they confessed as much).

We Close Our Eyes was a memorable debut single, driven by a strong keyboard hook and Peter Cox’s energetic vocals (the late Robert Palmer enthused over Cox’s muscular singing style in 1986). America was quick on the uptake, too, aided by Godley & Creme’s simple but clever video that set the duo against a backdrop of animated wooden figurines. Cox would come to rue their decision to grease him up and give it some serious wrench action, which earned them the “Go Vest” nickname for a time, but the clip undoubtedly helped them get noticed.

The upshot was a Top 5 UK hit, closely followed by a debut album which itself entered the charts inside the Top 10. Some observers felt the album had been rushed, and while there was nothing else among its 9 tracks to quite equal We Close Our Eyes, it had a unity of sound and consistency of songwriting skill; Call Me became a popular Top 20 single, and a jazzed-up remix of Don’t Look Down (the closest to a We Close Our Eyes Part 2) enjoyed similar success at the end of 1985.

Go West the album, meanwhile, stayed on the UK listings for over a year, helped by the addition of Bangs & Crashes – a collection of mixes and B-sides – in May 1986 (Gallup chart rules of the time allowed for remix albums and expanded versions to be added to the original LP’s sales for chart purposes, at the label’s discretion).

The popularity of Bangs & Crashes sadly did not extend to the second Go West album proper, Dancing On The Couch, which belatedly appeared in the early summer of 1987.  The brutal pop cull of late 1986 – that claimed everyone from Howard Jones, Nik Kershaw and Paul Young to O.M.D., Human League and Frankie Goes To Hollywood – also affected Go West, with their single True Colours, the first fruits of Dancing On The Couch, stalling at #48. A six-month gap until I Want To Hear It From You (their strongest track since We Close Our Eyes) couldn’t turn things around, and the album campaign never really got going despite including arguably their greatest moment, the late-night jazz pop of The King Is Dead with Kate Bush on backing vocals.

It would be another three years until they resurfaced with a contribution to the soundtrack of Pretty Woman, The King Of Wishful Thinking, and a brief renaissance as a more Soul/R&B-influenced purveyor of cover versions such as What You Won’t Do For Love and The Tracks Of My Tears in the early 1990s, before Peter Cox embarked on a solo career.

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