Lisa Stansfield 1989

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Lisa Stansfield – Part One

She had a quarrel, but is this the right time to re-evaluate Lisa Stansfield, and what is she doing now?

by Mark Keen

Many of us grew up with Lisa in the mid 80s, but probably didn’t know it as she was a teenage presenter on Razzmatazz, an afternoon pop show. I had a paper round so I never had the pleasure. It would be a few more years before Lisa (born 1966), from Rochdale, would come to my attention. In 1984 she would start her pop career in the group, Blue Zone, although there had been some solo singles beforehand. The group released a number of singles, but none hit the UK charts and neither did their album “Big Thing”. Big things were predicted for their single “On Fire” and it would have been a hit if it had not been withdrawn by the record company in the wake of the tragic Kings Cross Fire.

A minor hit (number 54) was achieved in 1988 in America with the cover of “Jackie” (originally recorded by Elisa “Who Found Who” Fiorillo) coincidentally written by Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly who wrote “Like A Virgin” and “I Drove All Night” to name but two. Blue Zone’s recordings have recently been re-released on CD.

Lisa would soon be cutting a solo path, although her band mates from Blue Zone would remain a vital component of her pop career – she married one of them!  In early 1989 with kiss-curl intact (at one point as synonymous with Lisa as the eye patch was to Gabrielle) Lisa would enjoy a big hit with dance outfit Coldcut with “People Hold On”, hitting number 11 in the UK and a top ten dance hit in the US, where Lisa has enjoyed enormous success over the years.

Lisa would enjoy a successful follow up with “This Is The Right Time” hitting number 13 in the UK and number 1 in the US dance charts, the first of many, and more crucially hitting the top 25 in the Hot 100 and despite being a white girl from Rochdale, Lisa also had a R&B hit in the US.

However, a worldwide hit was just around the corner. In fact it was her most famous song “All Around The World”.  It was a huge number 1 hit in the UK and hit the top 3 in the US. In fact it was a top 10 hit in most territories.

Lisa would solidify her new found fame with a memorable contribution to Band Aid II “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” the 1989 UK Christmas number one, before going on to have several more hits from her first solo album “Affection” including “Live Together” (UK No.10), “What Did I Do To You?” (UK No.25) and the big US hit “You Can’t Deny It” (No.14).

“Affection” was a worldwide hit reaching the top 10 in most countries, selling five million copies to date, and entirely written and produced by Lisa and her pals from Blue Zone.  Lisa would also make a great contribution with “Down In The Depths” from the AIDS charity album “Red Hot + Blue”.

Lisa would return in 1991 with her classic, and in my view, best album “Real Love” which reached number 3 in the UK album charts. The album took more of a classic Philly sound rather than the pop/dance of the previous album and Lisa’s love of Barry White was clear to see. The first single, the still memorable “Change”, was an international hit and made the UK top 10 and the US dance and R&B charts (number 1) showing a more sophisticated Lisa. Her voice had never sounded so rich and soulful.

Equally well known, if not such a big hit, was “All Woman” hitting the top 20 in the UK. Perhaps a bit corny, but nevertheless quite touching and a real emotional tune, and a great video.

A number of further singles were released from the album including the sexy UK top 20 “Time To Make You Mine” and “Set Your Loving Free”. You can catch a glimpse of Ken ‘Coronation Street’ Barlow’s son, Linus Roche, popping up in the “Set Your Loving Free” video.

It may have looked like the top 10 pop hits had dried up, but Whitney came to the rescue in 1992 and the success of a song on ‘The Bodyguard’ soundtrack has probably paid the bills ever since. It can’t be underestimated how huge the film was and how enormous the accompanying soundtrack was. It’s actually the fifth best selling album of all time selling just short of 30 million copies. “Someday (I’m Coming Back)” is a great pop song supported by a classic Frankie Knuckles remix and no doubt being signed to the same record label, Arista, as Whitney obviously helped.

Lisa would return in 1993 to the UK top 10 with another song from a film soundtrack. The story goes that Lisa auditioned for the main part in ‘Indecent Proposal’, but lost out to Demi Moore. Nevertheless, Lisa’s prize was to record the theme song, the John Barry assisted “In All The Right Places” (UK No.8), which I have always found a haunting song, although avoid the flat album soul mix.

To find out what happens next, join myself and Lisa in PART TWO

Stay in touch with Lisa through her WEBSITE and her FACEBOOK page

Take a look at all our other Where Are They Now posts and don’t forget to follow the playlist!

Where Are They Now?

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Written by

So perhaps you’ve read an article or two that I’ve written and wondered “just who is this character?”! Well I thought maybe it would be time to introduce myself and what I’m all about. Well it’s all about the music! Having been born in the late 1970’s I was heavily influenced by my parent’s love of ‘popular’ music and rock and roll of the 1950’s and 60’s. My Mother always said she should of married Elvis and my father was, and is still, in love with Sandie Shaw! But while my Dad’s tastes stopped in about 1967, my Mum carried on loving music throughout the 70’s, 80’s and beyond. My first memory was playing on the floor whilst my Mother was ironing one day with the radio on, and hearing ABBA’s “Super Trouper” dancing my nappy off to it! Maybe that’s where it all went wrong…?! Having been subjected to all and sundry in my infant years, I finally found my feet in the mid-1980’s and began ‘partying’ to the likes of Culture Club, Stevie Wonder(!), Elkie Brooks and Bananarama to name but a few! The year 1987 would have a profound effect on my listening tastes and from thereon in my life would be dominated with buying and listening to music. Any number of outstanding songs were released and listened to that year, most notably “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and “La Isla Bonita”. That Summer my mind was completely taken over with music and sounds I’d never heard before and I was totally taken in by it all. My father would say “whaaar rubbish you got on naaaaao?” (I’m from Norfolk!) but I was hooked. And it continued so for the rest of the decade and the next. At the beginning of 1988 I ‘met’ my true love and the singer I’ve worshipped more than any other artist or group. You may know of her. She’s from Australia…! Aside from pop music, my tastes are many and varied and continues to grow and expand as I ‘mature’ in age. I’ve always been heavily interested in films and in particular the mechanics of film making and of course film music, so scores and subsequently orchestral music takes up a lot of my tastes and collection. 90’s dance and club tunes also takes up much of the space in my head and I’m surprised my brain has stopped shaking from the years of abuse it took being dragged to nightclubs, often three times a week in my 20’s! I find with each year that passes I regress back to my youth and of course the 1980’s. 80’s music dominates and the lust to see as many 80’s acts and singers play live now is insatiable. I’m still getting into the groove as much as every breath I take, but I’m never gonna give up listening to my heart and pumping up the volume, simply because I LOVE MUSIC…any kind of music!

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