Hailing from Stockholm, Sweden, is the multi-talented Neneh Karisson, whom the public better identifies with as Neneh Cherry. Raised since birth by her birth mother, who was an artist, and her stepfather, jazz musician Don Cherry, the influence of music was heavy enough throughout Nenah’s childhood that it would inspire her to lay out a musical path of her own. While still just a child, the original last name of Karisson was dropped in favor of her stepfather’s last name, Cherry. At the age of fourteen years old, Neneh Cherry dropped out of school and accompanied Don Cherry while he toured with the British punk band, The Slits. Inspired, Neneh Cherry opted to move to the UK as she admitted meeting the likes of Ari Up of The Slits, plus Viv Albertine and Tessa Pollitt was like finding “her own people.”
When Neneh Cherry first moved to south London, the fifteen-year-old shared an apartment with Ari Up. Shortly after moving there, she teamed up with a number of punk rock bands as the late 1970s was still in the midst of the punk era. In addition to performing with these bands, Cherry also took up work as a disc jockey that catered to rap music. It would be while doing this Cherry would discover her own singing voice, which she credits Poly Styrene of the English punk band, X-Ray Spex. Starting in 1982, Neneh Cherry would embark on a musical career as a solo artist, catering mostly to the genre of dance and hip-hop.
Cherry’s debut as a solo artist started off with a protest song, “Stop the War,” which was her way of protesting against the ten-week Falklands War that erupted between Argentina and the UK when there was a dispute over the British-dependent territories, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. Later, in 1989, Cherry would record and release her debut album, “Raw Like Sushi.” Cherry’s career in music, whether as a recording artist or DJ personality, has proven to be highly successful within the UK, as well as throughout Europe. As for being able to connect with the North American audience, the experience was not as positive for Cherry as she felt there is too much focus on the commercialism of labels and genre identities than on the music itself. Throughout Cherry’s career, she has recorded and released a total of five studio albums, a live album, a video album, two remix albums, and twenty singles. She has also collaborated with a number of artists where her vocal talent as a rapper has been featured in six different albums, as well as a total of forty-four singles unrelated singles so far.
Top 10 Neneh Cherry Songs
#10 – Inna City Mamma
The single, “Inna City Mamma,” comes from the debut album, “Raw Like Sushi.” It was released as a single only for New Zealand and European audiences and it did chart as a hit. The Dutch Charts peaked the song at number six, while Irish Singles Chart took it to number twelve. On the Official New Zealand Music Chart, Inna City Mamma peaked at number fifteen. The UK Singles Chart had the song peaked at number thirty-one.
#9 – Money Love
In 1992, “Money Love,” would chart throughout most of Europe within the top forty of their respective lists, as it peaked as high as sixth in Greece with its music chart, sixteenth on the Europe Dance Chart, and at number twenty-three on the UK Singles Chart. In Canada, the RPM Top Singles Chart ranked the song at number seventy-nine. This song was the first of two singles coming from the album, “Homebrew,” that would realize chart success for Cherry.
#8 – Love Can Build a Bridge (featuring Cher, Chrissie Hynde, and Eric Clapton)
As a collaborative song, “Love Can Build a Bridge” was recorded and released as a contribution towards the 1995 British Comic Relief charity. The original was written and performed by the Judds in 1990. It has since become a song of choice among a number of recording artists, especially as one designed to raise awareness and funding of chosen charitable events as it was sung by Children for Rwanda during the the1994 Save the Children Fund campaign. Cherry’s collaborative version in 1995, reached the top of the Official Charts Company, specifically within the UK and Scotland. As a single, this song also earned Silver Certification from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) for having over 200,000 copies sold.
#7 – Buddy X
On the US Billboard Dance Club Songs Chart, “Buddy X” peaked at number four in 1993, and at number forty-three on the US Billboard Hot 100. In Canada, the song appeared at number twenty-eight on its RPM Top Singles Chart. On the Europe Dance Radio Chart, Buddy X peaked at its highest at number two. The original release of the song was part of “Homebrew,” which came out on October 26, 1992, as Neneh Cherry’s second studio album. Buddy X was released again in 1999 on its own as a remixed single, which reached the top of the UK Dance Singles Chart. The original version of Buddy X performed better on the music charts of North America than it did throughout Europe, including the UK, which has so far been a rarity for Cherry.
#6 – I’ve Got You Under My Skin
“I’ve Got You Under My Skin” was originally written in 1936 by American composer, Cole Porter and was performed and included in the musical, “Born to Dance,” by Virginia Bruce. Since its original release, the song has been covered by a number of artists, including Neneh Cherry and her 1990 version. The 1990 album, “Red Hot + Blue,” featured this song as part of its track lineup of recordings. The album was released by the Red Hot Organization, which dedicates itself to raising funds and awareness to fight AIDS through the influence of pop culture. Cherry’s rapping version of his song achieved mediocre chart success within the European nations, as it reached number fourteen on the Dutch Top 40 chart, sixteen on Sweden’s, twenty-third on Germany’s, and twenty-fifth in Switzerland and the UK.
#5 – Woman
“Man” is the third studio album recorded and released by Neneh Cherry. The album itself earned Silver Certification from the UK’s BPI and Gold Certification from Switzerland’s International Federation of Phonographic Industry (IFPI). The single, “Woman,” earned France’s National Syndicate of Phonographic Publishing (SNEP) Gold Certification for the 250,000 copies it sold since its 1989 release. On the music charts, the song peaked as high as second on Iceland’s top 20 singles chart and as high as third on Belgium’s Ultratop 50. On the UK Singles Chart, Woman cracked into the top ten as it peaked at number nine. The song did well throughout the European nations, as it peaked within the top forty of their respective music charts with the exception of Germany, which ranked the song at number fifty-two.
#4 – Kisses on the Wind
The album, “Raw Like Sushi,” was first released on June 5, 1989, and brought forth a total of five charted hits, including “Kisses on the Wind.” For Neneh Cherry, it would be the second time her songs would chart on the US Billboard Hot 100, as it peaked at number eight, and on the US Billboard Dance Club Songs at number nineteen. On the UK Singles Chart, it peaked at number twenty. In New Zealand, the song charted as high as eighth while its Australian neighbor ranked it as high as sixty-three. With the exception of France, Kisses on the Wind charted within the top forty among the European nations, scoring as high as fourth on Finland’s Official Finnish Charts and as low as thirty-three on the Eurochart Hot 100. On RPM Canada’s Dance/Urban Chart, the song peaked at number four while on the nation’s Top Singles Chart at number seventeen.
#3 – Manchild
Coming from the album, “Raw Like Sushi,” is the single, “Manchild.” Released in 1989, the song charted well among the European nations but wasn’t as well recognized in America nor Canada. With the exception of France, the song charted within the top twenty among the most respected music charts. While it only peaked at number forty-one in France, Manchild charted as high as second on the Official German Charts and as high as third on the Dutch Top 40 and Dutch Top 100 Charts. On the UK Singles Chart, the song peaked at number five.
#2 – 7 Seconds (featuring Youssou N’Dour)
“7 Seconds” was a collaborated duo recording between Neneh Cherry and Youssou N’Dour, which reached the charts in 1994. Among the European nations, the song peaked as high as number one in France and Switzerland while it reached number two in the Netherlands and number three in Australia, Germany, Ireland, Poland, Sweden, and the UK. In Canada, it reached number fifteen on its Top Singles Chart and number thirty-two on its Adult Contemporary chart. On the US Billboard Hot 100, it charted at number ninety-eight.
The single awarded Cherry and N’Dour Best Song in 1994 by the MTV Europe Music Awards, as well as Best International Single by the Danish Music Awards in 1995. This song served as a promo on behalf of Senegalese Studio and would not officially appear on an album until Cherry’s third studio album, “Man,” was released on September 2, 1996.
#1 – Buffalo Stance
Closing out our top 10 Neneh Cherry Songs list is her legendary hit single “Buffalo Stance.” What a smoking tune this one was., The groove is one for the ages. The song was released in 1988. The album, “Raw Like Sushi,” served as a strong introduction on a global scale to the rapping talents of Neneh Cherry. It was a huge international hit. “Buffalo Stance.” even topped the charts in Canada, The Netherlands’ and Sweden’s Sverigetopplistan,. It hit number one one the US Billboard Dance Club Songs. It also charted at number thirty on the US Billboard Hot 100. The amount of copies sold has also resulted in Buffalo Stance achieving Gold Certification in Canada, Sweden and the United States.