This week’s song, in its original form, was a fairly gentle ballad which barely scraped into the chart when initially released in the summer of 1994. The following year a re-mix by top producer Todd Terry saw it fly in night clubs across Europe and subsequently land itself back in the chart peaking at number three. The bizarre thing is, that’s how the two members of Everything But The Girl originally intended it to be.
Everything But The Girl comprise Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt who were both musicians from London and both had secured a record deal with the London-based Cherry Red records but had never met. That meeting happened when they both attended Hull University. They were soon inseparable and whilst passing a second-hand furniture store called Turners that had a sign on the window which stated that everything was for sale but the girl behind the counter. That became their name.
The track was lifted from the album Amplified Heart which was the second single released. I remember hearing the first single, Rollercoaster, on the radio and went out to buy the album. I visited the Virgin Megastore in Tottenham Court Road, the one with some very odd-looking staff and not the sharpest tools in the box. This was proved to me when I asked a young girl with blue hair and several pins hanging out of her face where I could find the new Everything But The Girl album to which she replied, Who? I said never mind, I’ll go and find it myself. I eventually did find it in the rack which had been labelled Tracet Thron – Amplefied Heart. No wonder she’d not heard of it!
Anyway, the song was about missing an ex and sings of haunting a former lover’s old abode and missing him ‘like the deserts miss the rain’. Thorn said in an interview with Rolling Stone, “It was written with the idea of being more upbeat in mind, totally, we put on sort of a laid-back house groove instead. Then when we gave it to Todd, he took it in a really, really strong New York house direction, which had a real simplicity to it, but it was very infectious.” Watt was more ambivalent to the re-mix, “Todd’s mix was a serendipitous moment,” he said in an interview with Songfacts, “When he delivered the mix, no-one thought, wow, a hit record. It was seen as a useful club mix. The people decided it should be a hit. They danced to it. Requested it.”
Terry, a New York-born DJ and record producer, has made some really infectious dance music and explained how he managed to convince them about the re-mix he had in mind, “We fought for the record to come out. We believed in it, and believed that it was what that group needed at that time. In fact, the guys around me thought they were a lame group, and that I had given the track life, ha.”
In 1984, the duo had signed a record deal well Blanco Y Negro which was a subsidiary or Warner Music and were with them for 10 years. But when it came to their biggest hit, the label wasn’t involved as Watt explained, “Our record company had famously dropped us after we delivered it (the re-mix) seeing no future. There was no promotional push for months and in the end it was a hit on its own merits. I have always loved that about it.”
The song peaked at number three in the UK and spent 22 consecutive weeks on the chart. It topped the chart in Canada, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Iceland and Italy. In America it went to number two and became their only real hit but it did break a record on Billboard when it became the first single to consecutively spend over a year on the Hot 100.
In 2019, the album was remastered and re-issued on vinyl for the very first time, “I think it’s a real rebirth record,” Thorn said at the time, “the moment we got our mojo back. And it’s where Missing began its story, so it’s a significant album for us.”