Sybil. She will sing, when she’s good and ready. She had a love she lost, but have we lost Sybil altogether?
by Christopher Smith
Sybil Lynch (born 1966) began her career at the age of 19 in 1986 and is best remembered for her cover versions of some classic songs including “Don’t Make Me Over”, “Walk On By” and “The Love I Lost”. Initially her production was handled in the US by production trio Dolores Drewry, James Bratton and Ron Wilmore, but in 1989 she moved to UK based production team Stock Aitken Waterman where her records were released under their own label PWL.
Sybil signed to Next Plateau Records in 1986 and released “Falling In Love” that Autumn. It reached No.29 on both the US dance chart and the US R&B chart but failed to make the Billboard 100. It would later peak at No.68 in the UK. Her follow up was with US singer Debbie Pender, “Let Yourself Go”, which fared better making No.23 on the US dance and No.46 on the R&B chart and broke the UK top 40 reaching No.32 in May 1987.
That was followed with “My Love Is Guaranteed” which got to No.4 on the US dance chart and stopped at No.42 in the UK. All these tracks were taken from her debut album “Let Yourself Go” which failed to chart in the US but made No.92 in the UK.
Her first taste of success out of the US came in September 1989 when she released her version of Dionne Warwick’s classic “Don’t Make Me Over” which she took to No.19 in the UK, No.20 in the US and to the top of the singles chart in New Zealand!
In January 1990 she released “Walk On By”, produced by Stock Aitken Waterman, which she took to No.6 in the UK, No.74 in the US and No.2 in New Zealand, as well as many countries across Europe. Both tracks were taken from her second studio album “Sybil” which made No.21 in the UK and No.75 in the US. Unsurprisingly it charted high in New Zealand, where it reached No.3 on the album chart there.
Sybil actually holds the distinction of the highest UK chart placing for “Walk On By”. Dionne Warwick’s version reached No.9, whilst Gabrielle’s 1997 version reached No.7. Prior to her monstrous chart success in the mid-1990’s, Dina Carroll released a version in 1989 but this could only make No.95 in the UK!
Now working with Stock Aitken Waterman, production of her third studio album began in earnest in early 1990, with the lead single “Make It Easy On Me” being released in September that year. The song flopped and only reached No.99 in the UK. A total of four singles were released, including a cover of Bill Withers “Lovely Day”, from late 1990 into the Summer of 1991, but none of these failed to reach even the top 100 of the UK singles chart. The album, “Sybilization”, also failed to find an audience. Sybil disappeared for a while but was certainly not idle. S/A/W were busy working with her on a fourth album that would put her back on top.
And indeed, Sybil was relaunched in January 1993 with “The Love I Lost”, a cover of Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes 1973 US No.7 hit. Credited as ‘West End featuring Sybil’, the song flew up the UK chart to peak at No.3, her highest charting single in that territory and would end the year as the 29th biggest seller overall. It would also play well across Europe and make No.18 on the US dance chart, her first showing there for six years.
With renewed success, this was followed by an original song from the smash hit making trio “When I’m Good And Ready” in the Spring of 1993. It too would play to a popular audience and reach No.5 in the UK as well as charting across Europe. Both singles would feature on the album “Good And Ready” released that June, peaking at No.13 in the UK, Sybil’s highest charting on the UK album chart.
Her third release from the album was “Beyond Your Wildest Dreams” which had been recorded by another SAW artist Lonnie Gordon in 1990. She was only managed to take the song to No.48 in the UK, but Sybil bettered that (only just) by taking her version to No.41 in July. A fourth single, “Stronger Together”, was released in the Autumn of 1993, again peaking at No.41 in the UK.
She released a cover of “So Tired Of Being Alone” in 1996 (UK No.53) prior to releasing her fifth album “Still A Thrill” in 1997. The title track served as the lead single but only reached No.55 in the UK and failed to chart anywhere else. The album sank without trace. Since then Sybil has mostly recorded as a guest artist. She had a big hit in 2002 with US house-dance group Blaze with the single “When I Fall In Love”. She appeared in the 2005 series of Hit Me Baby, One More Time performing “When I’m Good And Ready”. She now mainly teaches songwriting and creative writing for college students, but occasionally makes the odd live performance.
For more on Sybil see her FACEBOOK page or the S/A/W FACEBOOK group for all things PWL