- FINE YOUNG CANNIBALS She Drives Me Crazy (London)
- Week Ending 21st January 1989
- 1 Week At #1
1989 is upon us, but its first brand-new chart topper didn’t arrive until the 3rd week of the year. As in the real world of the Top 40, sometimes a #1 was a result of extenuating circumstances rather than a true reflection of its popularity with me.
In the absence – temporarily – of too many exciting candidates at the beginning of 1989, Fine Young Cannibals took full advantage of the post-Christmas lull to grab a single week at the summit. She Drives Me Crazy was the lead single for their second album, The Raw And The Cooked, although 1987’s cover of Ever Fallen In Love (from the “Tin Men” soundtrack) ended up on the album as well.
I’d liked all the singles from FYC’s debut long-player, and had I not been a cash-poor teenage music fan in December 1985 I’d have almost certainly bought it on release. Johnny Come Home made my Top 10, Blue came agonisingly close to repeating the feat by peaking at #11,while Suspicious Minds and even Funny How Love Is cracked the Top 20. So they were a band I enjoyed listening to, but fell just short of that top-tier which they needed to be in for me to be tempted enough to purchase their music in such a competitive market.
This continued to hold true for the (then still) non-album Ever Fallen In Love; my personal chart archives show it made #13, which tallies with my memories of it being in the upper limits of okay-but-not-outstanding.
Less than 2 years later, something obviously changed, and that was mainly the snappier production from Prince assocciate David Z. She Drives Me Crazy was sharper, catchier and the perfect fit for a pop landscape which had already moved on considerably from the Spring of 1987. Ironically, it hasn’t aged as well for me as most of their other singles; I almost forget it even topped my charts, when I think back to the tracks I liked most in Jan/Feb 1989.
Commercially, it hit the bullseye – a Top 5 smash, which helped the album debut at #1 shortly after. America went peculiarly overboard in their enthusiasm for not only She Drives Me Crazy but the whole The Raw And The Cooked era. Back to back US #1s (Good Thing also going all the way), and the album topped the Billboard listings to boot.
Then…….nothing. For 7 years. Towards the end of 1996, a Best Of appeared (The Finest) which wasn’t packaged very enticingly and, with only 2 whole albums’ worth of material to pick from, had a will-this-do feel about it. A new (or at least unreleased) song (The Flame) was included as a tempter for fans, and to try and resuscitate the FYC brand for late 90s tastes. Kate Bush or The Blue Nile might be able to return after 7 years, but other than a mopping-up exercise (if that is what it was meant to be) The Finest was and underwhelming post-script to a band who, for whatever reason, chose to bail out while still at the top.