With our list looking at the ten best Mike and the Mechanics songs, we look at one of the best supergroups of the 1980’s who were formed as a side project of Mike Rutherford who was the bassist and guitarist in Genesis. Rutherford has been the sole constant member, but the band has included several prominent musicians since its formation in 1985. The original line-up along with Rutherford was vocalists Paul Carrack and Paul Young, keyboardist Adrian Lee and drummer Peter Van Hooke. The latter two quit the band in 1995. Young died in 2000 which left Carrack as the only lead vocalist. As they never found a replacement keyboardist or drummer, they essentially carried on as a duo until disbanding in 2004. This period of non-existence lasted until 2010 until Rutherford put a new version of the group together with a completely different line-up which has continued to exist ever since.
The band had a string of hits throughout the late eighties and early nineties, all of which reached high positions across numerous charts.
Mike and the Mechanics have always had a consistent and loyal following which has given them their success, despite the fact that they have never been considered hip or fashionable by much of the music press. They are all brilliant musicians and have a real talent for writing catchy pop rock numbers. Here are ten of the best of them…
# 10 – Now That You’ve Gone
Kicking off our Top Ten Mike And The Mechanics Songs list is the opening track off the band’s fifth album released in 1999 which is their second self-titled effort after their debut. In an effort to avoid confusion with said album, this record is often referred to as “M6”, in a reference to the fact that despite being the band’s fifth proper album, it is their sixth full length release including their Hits compilation. This was a hit off the record, getting into the top forty. This record is also notable as being the last with Paul Young, who died a year after its release. It was also their last album to be released for quite a long with its follow-up Rewired not being released until 2004.
# 9 – The Road
Here is the title track of the band’s seventh album released in 2011. It was their first album to feature an entirely new line-up apart from Mike Rutherford. The band had been inactive since the tour to support the release of the previous album Rewired which as previously stated, was released in 2004. After reports that a new version of the group was being put together, this album’s production began in 2009 and was completed in 2010.
# 8 – Par Avion
This song is from the band’s self-titled debut released in 1985. This track features vocals from John Kirby of Journeyman fame. He puts in an exceptionally good performance over this track which has a rather melancholy feel to it. It is a particularly good early example of the band’s penchant for writing brilliant ballads.
# 7 – Nobody’s Perfect
This track was the lead single from the band’s second album The Living Years released in 1988. Considering how successful the band were in the United States, it is somewhat surprising that this very catchy track only managed to get to number sixty-three on the U.S. Hot 100. It was written by Mike Rutherford and his song writing partner BA Robertson.
# 6 – Over My Shoulder
This song was released in 1995 as the lead from the album Beggar On The Beach of Gold. Of all of the singles to be released from the album, it was the most successful peaking at number twelve on the UK Singles Chart. In certain European countries, it was the band’s only ever hit, being their first and last to ever chart in places like France and Switzerland.
# 5 – Word of Mouth
This track was released in 1991 as the first single from the album of the same name. Like the previous entry, it was the most successful from its respective album, having peaked at number thirteen in the Uk. It also charted in the US at number seventy-eight. The song has a brilliant mix of guitar and synthesizer and is very much the stuff of what stadium rock classics are made of.
# 4 – The Living Years
Up next is a single that was released in 1988 as the second single from Mike and the Mechanics’ third’ album from which it is the title track. It was an international hit topping the US Billboard in 1989. There have been numerous covers of the songs across a wide range of genres. Artists to have recorded it include Chris De Burgh, Michael Ball, Engelbart Humperdinck and James Last.
# 3 – Taken In
They say that they come in three’s, and at number three is the third single to be taken from Mike and the Mechanics self-titled album released in 1985. It was also their third single to reach the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Like all of the album’s songs, it started life as material on a demo tape that Mike Rutherford showed to producer Christopher Neil.
# 2 – All I Need Is A Miracle
This is another track from the band’s first record that was also released as a single where it reached number five on the Billboard in 1986. In 1987 it was nominated for Best Performance by a Duo or Group at the Grammy Awards. It is notably the only Mike and the Mechanics song to be played by Mike Rutherford’s other band Genesis who performed it as part of their solo career medley at the 1988 Atlantic Records Fortieth Anniversary Concert.
# 1 – Silent Running (On Dangerous Ground)
At number one is the opening track from the first record that was their first ever single where it peaked at number six on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It also topped the Mainstream Rock Charts where it remained for five weeks. It the UK it got to number twenty-one. A few years later during the time of the first Gulf War the BBC banned it because of its references to nationalism and religion.
Feature Photo at Top – Photo: Oliver Abels (SBT), CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Top 10 Mike And The Mechanics Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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