Where has all the love gone? Where has all the Yazz gone?
by Christopher Smith
In 1988 a London born singer and former model Yasmin Evans took the music world by storm with her captivating voice and her hip, trendy looks. Over the course of twelve months, she racked up four consecutive top ten hits and three consecutive top five hits on the US dance chart, as well as a multi-platinum debut album. So after that amazing success, what has happened to Yazz, and where did she go?
Yazz made her chart debut in February 1988 with dance producers Coldcut along with her group The Plastic Population on the track “Doctorin’ The House”, which reached No.6 in the UK and made No.3 on the US dance chart.
Following this success, she began writing and recording for her debut album and signed to her husband Gordon ‘Jazz’ Summers’ (1944-2015) record label Big Life.
She returned that July, again with The Plastic Population, with the tune “The Only Way Is Up”. The Summer of ‘88 was awash with uplifting dance numbers and it seemed this song really cut through the rest. Within weeks it was sitting on top and stayed there for five weeks, becoming the second biggest seller of the year. It also reached No.2 on the US dance chart, as well as charting top ten in 18 countries around the world.
Her third single “Stand Up For Your Love Rights” came in the Autumn of 1988 and was another groovy, soulful dance anthem that made No.2 in the UK and No.5 on the US dance chart.
The album “Wanted” came the following month, reaching No.3 in the UK and eventually being certified a double platinum in that territory for sales in excess of 600,000 copies.
In early 1989, she made the top ten for a fourth time with the gorgeous, down-tempo reggae number “Fine Time”.
A fourth single “Where Has All The Love Gone?” was released in April 1989, reaching No.16 in the UK.
After that, Yazz wisely took time out to spend with her family and her daughter who was born in 1990. She began writing and recording new material in late 1989-early 1990. She returned that Summer with a new single “Treat Me Good” which reached No.20 in the UK but failed to chart in many countries she had seen success only two years earlier. Her second album “Revolution Of Love” was scheduled for release that Autumn, but was shelved when Yazz left Big Life.
She next signed with Polydor and began writing for her next album “One True Woman”, the title track being released in 1992, but stalled at No.60 in the UK and made no impression anywhere else in the world. The album, once again, was scrapped.
She made a triumphant return, in a small way, to the charts the following year with reggae group Aswad on their cover of Ace’s 1974 classic “How Long?”, which reached No.31 in the UK.
With this revitalised interest, she wrote and recorded for the rest of the year and in 1994, her second, actual studio album, “One On One” saw the light of day, replete with recycled material from her two previous unreleased albums. The lead single “Have Mercy” just missed the UK singles chart, reaching No.42.
She covered The Korgis 1980 hit “Everybody’s Gotta Learn Sometime” as the follow up single, which reached No.56 in the UK. By this time, her hits were just confined to her home country.
She continued to write and record throughout the rest of the 1990’s but with only very limited success. During this period, she suffered from an increased alcohol dependency, perhaps as a result of the collapse of her marriage to Summers. She found solace in The Church and in 2008 released the album “Running Back To You” celebrating her ‘spiritual journey’ and her new found faith. She performed on stage for the first time in twenty years in 2009.
Since then, all has been quiet and very little has been seen of Yazz (now in her late 50’s).
It’s now thirty years since “The Only Way Is Up” became THE soundtrack to the Summer of 1988 and Yazz was at the very top of her game. So “hold on, hold on” and take a trip down memory lane this Summer, and celebrate one of Britain’s most talented and brightest stars. We miss you Yazz!
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