Erasure formed after Andy answered Vince’s advertisement for a singer. He was the 43rd (41st?) singer to be auditioned; Who Needs Love (Like That) was one of the songs he had to sing. Previously, Andy had first seen Vince playing Space Invaders before a Depeche Mode gig!
Erasure have said that their name came from the movie Eraserhead. The many stories involving a demo tape being mistakenly marked “Erasure” have never been confirmed (as far as I know). There’s also another story that they wrote a long list of potential names which was circulated amongst friends and acquaintances for them to cross off the ones they didn’t like. “Erasure” was the name that was left.
The first single (Who Needs Love (Like That)) was released in September 1985, but their first big hit was Sometimes, which reached number 2 in the UK singles chart in August 1986. That was the first of 24 consecutive UK top 20 singles (including the number 1 Abba-esque EP), up to In My Arms in January 1997. Since then they have still hit the top 20 regularly — most recently in March 2005, when Don’t Say You Love Me hit number 15.
Vince wrote the first Erasure songs himself, but gradually they settled on Andy writing lyrics with mainly Vince doing the music. Andy has sole writing credits on just one song: Cry So Easy, from the Wonderland album.
Vince’s full name is Vincent John Clarke. He was born on July 3, 1960. His music career started out (much later) in a three-piece synth band called Composition Of Sound, later to evolve into the rather more successful Depeche Mode. (The name came from a French fashion magazine and can loosely be translated as “fashion despatch”.) He left the group in 1981 after the release of their debut album Speak And Spell. Every DM song up till then had been written by him except Big Muff and Tora Tora Tora (both written by Martin Gore, who took over writing duties when Vince left). Vince and Martin went to the same school, and Vince attended Martin’s wedding in August 1994. Alison Moyet (from Yazoo) was there too.
Why did Vince leave Depeche Mode? Probably simply because he didn’t like the group’s musical direction. The rest of the band were understandably unhappy with his decision, but they seem to have gotten over it now; there are reports of Vince hanging out with DM occasionally.
After leaving DM, Vince got together with singer/songwriter Alison Moyet (nicknamed “Alf”). Alison named the group Yazoo after a small American blues record label. In the US, Yazoo called themselves Yaz to avoid confusion (and possibly for legal reasons). Yazoo released two albums. Alf went on to a successful solo career, and Vince formed the Assembly.
The Assembly was Eric Radcliffe and Vince; they intended to recruit different vocalists to suit each song. The Assembly only released one recording: the single Never Never with vocals by Feargal Sharkey was released in 1983. In 1985, Vince Clarke and Paul Quinn released a single, One Day. Later that year, Erasure was born.
Vince lived in Amsterdam for a few years around 1990, but moved back to England in 1994. He likes Sci-Fi movies. He is devoted to analogue electronic instruments and music. He is not gay.
Andy’s full name is Andrew Ivan Bell. He was born on 25 April 1964. Jumping ahead to the early eighties, Andy was in a group called The Void for about two weeks; he then split off with the bass player, Pierre Cope, to form their own band, Das Baume (German for The Trees). Later they changed the name to Dinger, that being Andy’s nickname for obvious reasons. They didn’t last long either, but played a few gigs in pubs and so on. They also released one single (Air of Mystery). It wasn’t long after that Andy auditioned for Vince Clarke’s new musical venture, and history was made.
In 1994 he played Judy Garland in a play called The Night We Buried Judy Garland, which was a musical about gay rights. The play ran for a month at the Shaw Theatre in London, but Andy was only in it for a week. He was one of many people who played the part of Judy during the course of the performance. He sang seven Judy Garland songs; no official recordings have been released, but Mute Records apparently has a recording of Reckless in their vaults.
Erasure FAQ Copyright 1994-2005 Bennett McElwee. All rights reserved. Please ask me before copying any part of it. Thanks!