“This demands for power in the amp you know louds my diagnosis, ’cause I believe in miracles and words in heavy doses”. Neneh Cherry. Remember her…?
Stockholm born Neneh Karlsson has been active in the music industry since she was 18 years of age in 1982, but it wasn’t until 1988 that she came to the world’s attention with her single “Buffalo Stance” which reached No.3 in the UK, No.3 in the US and made the top ten in a further eleven countries worldwide.
Her mother married American jazz musician Don Cherry while Neneh was a young girl and is was his surname that Neneh would take instead of her maternal fathers. The family moved from Stockholm to the US when Neneh entered her teens before she moved to London at the age of 14. She joined the punk-rock band The Cherries as well as singing with groups such as The Slits, New Age Steppers and Rip Rig + Panic. She also played and sang rap on the reggae pirate radio station Dread Broadcasting Corporation.
In 1982, at the onset of Neneh Cherry’s solo career, she appeared on a cover version of Edwin Starr’s “Stop the War”, released in protest of the then-ongoing Falklands War. Spurred on entirely by her dynamic vocals, the dance track was a thrilling debut for Cherry’s funky, cool-girl persona, as well as a first fusion of her music and political beliefs.
But after many years of false starts, she landed a recording contract with Virgin at the beginning of 1988 and began to style the music she wanted to write and record. The first fruit of this labour of love came in December 1988 as everyone was gearing up for who would be Christmas number one that year. Would it be Cliff Richard, or Kylie and Jason with their duet “Especially For You“? Or maybe Angry Anderson with the Neighbours wedding theme hot on the heals of the two actors who appeared in that very scene? Or maybe something else…someone nobody had ever heard of. Till now!
“Buffalo Stance” rocketed up the singles chart to No.13 the week before Christmas and the following week had elevated itself to No.7, the very week Cliff was crowned Christmas number one of 1988. The first week of January would see the song take the No.3 position, spending a total of ten weeks in the UK top 40.
Neneh followed this with “Manchild” in the Spring of 1989 which made No.5 in the UK as well as making the top ten across Europe and Australasia. Both singles were taken from her debut album “Raw Like Sushi” which has sold over two million copies. Neneh won Best International Solo Artist and Best International Breakthrough artist at the 1990 Brit Awards. “Kisses On The Wind” (US No.8, UK No.20) and “Inner City Mama” (UK No.31) were also released from the album.
In 1990 she released her version of Cole Porter’s 1953 song “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” from the charity album “Red, Hot And Blue”. The song made No.25 in the UK and charted top 40 across Europe. Her second studio album “Homebrew” came in 1992 and was preceded by the single “Money Love” which made No.23 in the UK. She followed this with “Buddy X” when reached No.35 in the UK and No.43 in the US. “Homebrew” made No.27 in the UK.
In 1994 she scored a huge global smash hit with Senegalese artist Youssou N’Dour with the the song “Seven Seconds” which took ELEVEN weeks of climbing to peak at No.3 in the UK and spent a total of 17 weeks in the top 40! Becoming the sixteenth biggest selling single of the year. It replicated this chart position Stateside as well making the top ten in a further fifteen countries and topping the chart in France and Switzerland.
Neneh, together with The Pretender’s Chrissie Hynde and Cher, got her first UK number one the following year with the Comic Relief charity record “Love Can Build A Bridge”. The following year, 1996, Neneh returned with her third studio album “Man” which put her back in the charts the world over and included the singles “Woman” (UK No.9) and “Kootchi” (UK No.38).
Since then she has worked with such diverse artists as Gorillaz (“Kids With Guns”), Groove Armada (“The Groove Is On”) and with Peter Gabriel on his 2000 album “OVO”. In 2007 Neneh Cherry reunited with Youssou N’Dour on the track “Wake Up Africa” from his album “Rokku Mi Rokka”. “Blank Project”, her fourth studio album, was released in 2014 after a gap of eighteen years.
In October 2018 she released her fifth album “Broken Politics” that was preceded by the single “Kong”. She has since released the single “Shot Gun Shack” from the album.