Neneh Cherry


“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.

Keep in touch with Neneh 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!

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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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