- MR. MISTER Kyrie (RCA)
- Week Ending 15th March 1986
- 2 Weeks At #1
Despite – or perhaps because of – the new-found nightmare engulfing my life, the fascination with all things American continued to grow. Especially mainstream American culture, which was really all we were exposed to back in the Britain of the 1980s.
Best known for their staple of Drive Time compilations, Broken Wings, there was more to Mr. Mister than just that one song. Broken Wings was the track which became their biggest UK hit (making the Top 5 around the turn of 1985/86), and is a classy slice of moody AOR, but it was the follow-up which grabbed me the most and remains an all-time favourite.
The US Hot 100 being ahead of the UK in those days, Kyrie was already bounding up the American charts when Broken Wings was peaking over here, on its way to emulating the chart-topping feat of its predecessor. There was almost a Huey Lewis scenario of waiting for the single to eventually get its UK release, but RCA helpfully issued the Mr. Mister album – Welcome To The Real World – in early January 1986. I still bought the 7″ single when it came out six weeks later anyway!
Kyrie is probably the finest, purest example of why mid-80s AOR is such a wonderful thing. It’s anthemic without being overblown, musically it’s very muscular with massive, echo-laden drums and synths that Q Magazine could have described as “sounding as if they were fed raw meat”, while Richard Page’s vocals are a marvel of masculinity that combine sensitivity with strength and an ability to avoid cliche. The chorus, based on a latin hymn/poem “Kyrie Elaison” (Lord Have Mercy) is uplifting, insistent and impossible to dislodge from the brain once you hear it.
In some ways, I was surprised it only reached #11 in the UK. The album reached our Top 10 (and topped my own chart), and contained many more delights. Uniform Of Youth shared a similar musical vibe to Kyrie, while Run To Her was another Broken Wings in waiting, and the dramatic title cut might have been the best of all.
Mr. Mister may have had just the two modes best exemplified by the contrasting hit singles, but they excelled at both.