Our top 10 Cutting Crew songs list looks at the body of work of an English pop rock/new wave band that achieved critical acclaim with its debut chart-topping single “(I Just) Died in Your Arms.” Cutting Crew was formed in 1985 by singer Nick Van Eede and guitarist Kevin MacMichael. The two initially met when on tour with their respective bands. Nick was impressed by the guitar skills of Kevin MacMichael, tagging him in his new musical pursuit, Cutting Crew, following the breakup of his former band The Drivers.
Cutting Crew’s Career Beginnings and Breakthrough
Nick and Kevin had quite some strong chemistry which was reflected by the musicianship they showcased. Even before they added other members to the band’s lineup, their demos were enough to award the two a recording contract with Siren Records, a subsidiary of Virgin Records. In 1986, Nick and Kevin went on to add bassist Colin Farley and the impressive drummer Frosty Beedle who later recorded and toured with Sarah Brightman, Midge Ure, Steve Coogan, Sinéad O’Connor, and Kiki Dee.
In October 1986, the foursome issued its debut studio album, Broadcast. The album saw Cutting Crew members take on an amalgam of pop rock, soft rock, and new wave sounds. Broadcast is home to some of the best Cutting Crew songs including “(I Just) Died in Your Arms,” “I’ve Been in Love Before,” “Any Colour,” and “One for the Mockingbird.” Cutting Crew invited additional personnel including former Jethro Tull keyboardist Peter-John Vettese, percussionist Jimmy Maelen (worked with Bryan Ferry, Dire Straits, Alice Cooper, and Bryan Adams), and saxophonist Gary Barnacle.
Cutting Crew’s Album Releases over the Years
Cutting Crew’s debut album, Broadcast, was a success and remains the band’s most acclaimed release. The album made it to the Billboard 200 Chart, peaking at number sixteen. Broadcast settled for a peak position of number forty-one on the UK Albums Chart, rising to the Australian, German, Norwegian, and Swedish Albums Charts. The band also achieved commercial success with this album, having it Gold-certified in Canada, Finland, and the US. Broadcast was also Silver-certified by BPI in the UK.
In May 1989, Cutting Crew issued its sophomore studio album, The Scattering. The Scattering was not have been as successful as the band’s debut album. However, it also managed to catapult this English new wave/pop rock band to mainstream success in the US peaking at number one hundred and fifty. “(Between A) Rock and a Hard Place,” “The Scattering,” “The Last Thing,” and “Everything But My Pride” are the top songs by Cutting Crew from the album.
Cutting Crew’s next album was the 1992 LP, Compus Mentus. Unlike the band’s debut and sophomore albums, Compus Mentus never made it to the charts. However, songs like “If That’s The Way You Want It,” “Sweet Auburn,” and “Your Guess is As Good as Mine” called some attention to the album. Compus Mentus would be the last Cutting Crew studio album with lead guitarist Kevin MacMichael, who would later succumb to lung cancer in 2002. Kevin is also remembered for his significant role as a guitarist on Robert Plant’s 1993 solo outing, Fate of Nations.
Over a decade later, Cutting Crew released its fourth studio album, Grinning Souls. This 2006 LP was issued through Hypertension Records, featuring some notable musical gems including “Hard on You,” “Shot of Democracy,” “No Problem Child,” and “Silhouette.” The album failed to achieve critical acclaim showing the band’s diminishing influence. However, this didn’t stop the album from issuing a new studio album in 2015, Add to Favourites. Add to Favourites features one of the best Cutting Crew songs, “Till the Money Run$ Out,” a hit evocative of the band’s successful ‘80s.
Cutting Crew’s Legacy
Cutting Crew is remembered thanks to its one-hit wonder “(I Just) Died in Your Arms.” This power ballad rose to the top of the charts in the US, Canada, Norway, and Finland, while earning Cutting Crew commercial success, especially in Canada and the UK. Cutting Crew went on to be nominated for the Best New Artist accolade in the 1988 Grammy Awards ceremony. However, the band together with Breakfast Club, Swing Out Sister, and Terence Trent D’Arby lost the award to Jody Watley, best known for her hits “Looking for a New Love” and “Real Love.” Here we present the ten best Cutting Crew songs of all time.
#10 – If That’s the Way You Want It
At number ten on our ten best Cutting Crew songs list is the amazing hit “If That’s the Way You Want It.” The song is featured on the band’s third studio album, Compus Mentus. “If That’s the Way You Want It” was highly acclaimed thanks to its sizzling groove. The song features a few traces of blues rock, country, and soul sonic influences. How “If That’s the Way You Want It” never made it to the charts, remains a wonder, especially owing to its radio-friendly tune!
# 9 – Till the Money Run$ Out
Add to Favourites came at a time the band was still struggling to revive its fast-diminishing popularity. While the album wasn’t enough to catapult the band back to mainstream success, one of its cuts, “Till the Money Runs$ Out,” quickly rose to fan-favorite status. It is the lyrical beauty and emotions-driven vocal delivery that makes this hit one of a kind. While the song feels more folk/alternative country, Cutting Crew members manage to squeeze some new wave influences just to stick to the band’s sonic roots. Again, this is one of the songs that should have made it to the charts!
# 8 – The Last Thing
Coming in at number eight on our top 10 Cutting Crew songs is the charming hit “The Last Thing.” The song stands out thanks to its fantastic tune that make the song straight fire from the beginning to the end! Special credit to Ronnie Aspery who delivers prodigious sax tunes which add glamour to this song’s mind-blowing tune.
Quite vatic is the song’s title, since “The Last Thing” was the last song by Cutting Crew to make it to the mainstream charts, settling for a peak position of number ninety on the Canadian Singles Chart. The song also made it to the Billboard Adult Contemporary Chart, peaking at number seventeen.
#7- Everything But My Pride
“Everything But My Pride” is haunting yet impressive cut from the band’s sophomore album. This hook-packed hit was inspired by Kevin’s first failed matrimony citing how he got back home only to find his apartment emptied by his wayward wife. The song featured backing vocals by Jackie Rawe who also sings background vocals to the hit “Feel the Wedge.” “Everything But My Pride” peaked at number seventy-two on the Canadian Singles Chart, rising to the fourth spot on the Billboard Adult Contemporary Chart.
#6- Any Colour
Number six on our top 10 Cutting Crew songs list is the charming hit “Any Colour.” The song is featured on the band’s debut studio album, Broadcast. “Any Colour,” like most songs on the album, brings out the individual brilliance of Kevin MacMichael on the guitar. His magical guitar riffs on this song complement the soulful crooning of lead vocalist Nick Van Eede. This heart-rending song about loneliness managed to enter the UK Singles Chart, peaking at number eighty-three.
# 5 – The Scattering
“The Scattering” serves as the album title track to Cutting Crew’s sophomore album. Like most of the songs on the album, the song fails to bring on the catchy tunes like those seen with releases on the band’s debut album. However, “The Scattering” remains a treasure for lovers of songs that ooze ‘fine’ melancholy.
This timeless jewel is a lyrical wonder rich in incredible instrumentation! In the song, Nick sings about the detriment to rural communities as a result of urbanization. Cutting Crew was miles away from matching the musicianship and blistering riffs of European bands like Big Country and U2. However, songs like “The Scattering” guided the band to its endured mainstream success in the late ‘80s. “The Scattering” went on to peak at number ninety-six on the UK Singles Chart.
#4 – One for the Mockingbird
Broadcast is home to the fourth pick on our ten best Cutting Crew songs, “One for the Mockingbird.” This catchy and powerful anthem is revered for its stellar hook. Its propulsive rhythm also proves too strong not to note. “One for the Mockingbird” was critically acclaimed, rising to number twenty-nine on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart. The song also climbed to the Billboard Hot 100, rising to a peak position of number thirty-eight. “One for the Mockingbird” managed to rise to number fifty-two on the UK Singles Chart.
#3 – (Between A) Rock and a Hard Place
The third pick on our top 10 Cutting Crew songs list is the ravishing hit “(Between A) Rock and a Hard Place.” Thanks to the tasteful guitar riffs by Kevin MacMichael, the song sounds quite heavy and magical. The song is featured on the band’s sophomore studio album, The Scattering. “(Between A) Rock and a Hard Place” entered the UK Singles Chart, peaking at number sixty-six.
The song was among the most successful hits from the band’s sophomore LP in the US and Canada. “(Between A) Rock and a Hard Place” rose to number forty-one on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart, while peaking at position seventy-seven on the Billboard Hot 100. The song managed to peak at number fifty-four on the Canadian Singles Chart.
# 2 – I’ve Been in Love Before
Cutting Crew’s follow-up to its chart-topping hit “(I Just) Died in Your Arms,” “I’ve Been in Love Before” was a massive success, to say the least. This sad ballad was penned by Nick inspired by a real relationship. “I’ve Been in Love Before” went on to be featured on the band’s debut studio album, Broadcast.
The song was covered in 1991 by Wakin Chau, a Taiwanese pop artist. “I’ve Been in Love Before” rose to number nine on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at the second spot on the Billboard Adult Contemporary Chart. The song also made it to the UK Singles Chart, where it peaked at number twenty-four.
#1- (I Just) Died in Your Arms
Number one on our top 10 Cutting Crew songs list is the impressive hit “(I Just) Died in Your Arms.” The song is the band’s debut single and signature song featured on the album, Broadcast. Nick penned the lyrics to this ballad about his girlfriend and the mother of his daughter. The singer had just rebounded with his girlfriend for just a night after a year of being apart.
Was it worth it? Well, Nick revealed that he should have walked away in the lyrics of this song. “(I Just) Died in Your Arms” was a success, topping the Billboard Hot 100, while rising to the fourth spot on the UK Singles Chart. The song has had its hook/riffs sampled by Mika in his 2006 hit “Relax, Take It Easy.” “(I Just) Died in Your Arms” has been covered by multiple artists including Komodo, Bastille, Savage, The Lost Fingers, and Jason Donovan to name a few.
Feature Photo: Mattlegg42, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
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