Electronic may of been “Getting Away With It”, but did they “Get The Message” to you?
Electronic were a British ‘super group’ of sorts that occasionally recorded when they band members were not busy with their own, normal occupations. But when they did come together, their output was entirely successful and was met with general approval. Electronic formed in 1989 of New Order’s Bernard Sumner, The Smiths’ Johnny Marr and occasionally Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys. Sumner had wanted to take New Order away from the synths and keyboards for some time but was prevented to (the band eventually embraced this on their 1993 album, “Republic”). Electronic debuted in December of 1989 with “Getting Away With It”, which nervously moved up and down the UK singles chart before settling at No.12 in January 1990.
The song featured Tennant, Marr and Sumner and there was great expectation for a follow up soon after. But it didn’t happen. New Order got together with the England football team and topped the chart in the Summer of 1990 while Neil returned to Chris and recorded their new album, “Behaviour”, that same year. It would be a full eighteen months before Electronic reappeared again in the Spring of 1991 with that second single, this time less Tennant, for “Get The Message”. This time, the more guitar based song out performed their debut and made the UK top ten, peaking at No.8 as well as charting in parts of Europe and on the UK dance chart, where it followed “Getting Away With It” into the top ten. “Get The Message” was the lead single from the group’s debut album, recorded in the second half of 1990 that would follow in May.
Self-titled, the album would make No.2 in the UK and receive a Gold certificate for sales of 100,000 copies. It also made an appearance on the Australian album chart and at No.109 in America. The album would yield one further single release, “Feel Every Beat”, which just slipped into the UK top 40. The following year, 1992, Electronic contributed to the soundtrack of the film ‘Cool World’ with a new composition, “Disappointed”, which would not only prove their biggest success yet, making No.6 in the UK and charting well across Europe as well as another top ten placing on the US dance chart, but also see the return of Tennant to the fold. “Disappointed” was a one off and would also be the last we would see of three two or three men for some time as they concentrated on their own, normal projects.
Sumner and Marr reformed in 1995 and in 1996 released a new song, “Forbidden City”, the lead from their second studio album entitled “Raise The Pressure”. “Forbidden City” would chart only in the UK and Sweden, while the album peaked at No.8 in the UK and No.143 in The US. A further top twenty hit was had with “For You”, while the third and final single, “Second Nature”, made No.35 in 1997. The gap between this era and the next was not so extensive with the third album, “Twisted Tenderness”, released in April 1999, which featured the UK top twenty single “Vivid”, while the album, miraculously, made the top ten on the UK album chart. Although no formal break up of the group has ever happened, one can assume that the band have just ‘naturally drifted apart’, although with the individuals themselves enjoying continued success and recognition for their output since.
Neil Tennant has, of course, continued to enjoy regular and consistent success with Chris Lowe, releasing albums every three or so years and touring extensively across the world to the delight of their millions of fans and supporters. Johnny Marr has worked with The Pretenders as well as his own band, The Healers while also releasing his own solo work (his most recent album, “Call The Comet”, made the UK top ten in 2018) and writing and producing for any number of artists and bands over the decades since The Smiths and Electronic. Bernard Sumner returned to home territory and New Order enjoyed hge success with their albums “Get Ready” in 2001, “Waiting For The Siren’s Call” in 2005 and “Music Complete” in 2015. As for Electronic, a best of was released in 2006 and there is always the prospect that the door is very much wide open for all three to hook up and relive that alternative magic they gave us at the very end of the 1980’s and into the 1990’s…
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