This week’s single of the week focuses on the fourth American / British duo to make the UK singles chart. Both were seasoned, yet very accomplished musicians with a combined age (at the time) of 78.
The duo in question is Wax, a combination of 10cc’s Graham Gouldman and American singer/songwriter Andrew Gold. Gouldman had started his career as a budding songwriter in the sixties who found fame in a number of small local Manchester bands, one being the Mockingbirds which included Kevin Godley. The Mockingbirds signed to Columbia records and Graham offered the label a song called For Your Love which they rejected. A month later Gouldman offered it to fellow label mates The Yardbirds to had a top three hit with it. Gouldman went on to write Heartful Of Soul and Evil Hearted You (Yardbirds), Look Through Any Window and Bus Stop (Hollies), No Milk Today and East West (Herman’s Hermits) and Pamela Pamela for Wayne Fontana. By 1972 he was having major hits with 10cc.
Andrew Gold was born in California and four years Gouldman’s junior. He had a musical background as his mother, Marni Nixon, had provided the singing voice for numerous major actresses like Deborah Kerr in The King & I, Natalie Wood in West Wide Story and Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady. His fast was the Austrian-born composer Ernest Gold who, most famously, wrote the music for the movie Exodus for which he won an Academy Award. Gold was a multi-instrumentalist who could play guitar, keyboards, accordion, bass, synthesizer, saxophone, flute and drums. His first international hit was the autobiographical Lonely Boy in 1977. He followed it with the top 10 hit Never Let Her Slip Away, which featured Freddie Mercury on backing vocals and How Can This Be Love. His next hit, Thank You for Being a Friend, missed the UK top 40, but is best remembered for becoming the theme for the US sitcom The Golden Girls.
When Kevin Godley and Lol Creme left 10cc in the late seventies, Graham asked Gold to join the band, but due to other commitments he declined. 10cc finally broke up in 1983 and Gouldman and Gold got together three years later to form Wax.
Their debut single, Right Between the Eyes, which was lifted from the appropriately named album American English, although quite catchy failed to interest the US and UK record buying public. In Gold’s hometown it peaked at number 43 and in Gouldman’s homeland it only got to number 60. Mind You, the Spanish loved it, it spent nine weeks at number one there in the summer of 1986.
They weren’t put off. I’m 41 and Andrew is 37,” Graham recalled at the time, “And it’s rather impertinent of us to carry on making records, but what else am I supposed to do? I’m just a humble songwriter. I may be knocking on a bit but mentally I’m still the same as I was when I first started writing songs. Being in an exciting business keeps you young and I still get excited by pop music and great songwriters. I love people like Prince and George Michael and my kids, of course, keep me young.”
Bridge To Your Heart opens with Andrew counting in, and then indicating he wasn’t ready by shouting ‘Hold it….now.’ The sentiment of the song is trying to repair a failed relationship between a man and a woman. He is trying to rekindle the dying relationship by promising her a new beginning and how everything will be alright because he will treat her better. “You’ve heard the expression ‘building bridges,'” stated Graham; “Well it was about building the bridge back to her heart.”
They enjoyed their brief appearance on Top of the Pops with Graham jokingly saying, “I don’t know about wooing the girls, although, I am, of course, the same, slim, svelte, good-looking fella I always was, but Curiosity Killed The Cat we ain’t, although some girls might go for the mature man. You never know, we might bring maturity back into fashion.
By the way, in case you were wondering who the first three UK/US duo’s to chart were, they were Laurel & Hardy in 1975, R & J Stone the following year and, of course, John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John in 1978.