Sparks was first formed in 1969 by brothers Ron and Russell Mael. Two siblings that looked like complete opposites. Their look and onstage performances depicted European cabaret at times. The band was huge in the United Kingdom. However, many people would have been shocked to learn that the brothers were actually from California.
The due released their first album as a band in 1971 entitled Halfnelson.At the time the band was also named Halfnelson. A year later, the group changed their name to Sparks and reissued their debut album under the new name. From that point on, Sparks have released twenty four studio albums. Their last album as of this writing was released in 2017 entitled Hippopotamus.
Our top 10 Sparks songs is just a subjective sampling of some of the band’s most famous songs.
# 10 – Edith Piaf
We open up our top 10 Sparks songs with a track from the duo’s most recent album entitled Hippopotamus. This amazing record was released in 2017. Hippopotamus is the groups twenty third album. It’s astonishing that after almost 50 years, Ron Mael and Russell Mael are still releasing incredible witty, substantial and brilliant music. We were so blown away by this track that we had originally listed at at number one on this top 10 Sparks songs list. However, we thought it would be more interesting to open the list with it. Does it really matter?
# 9 – Looks Looks Looks
I remember always walking through records stores in the 1970s and staring at this cover. Many of the band’s album covers were brilliant, but this one just kind of struck a chord. Eventually I purchased the record and have been a fan ever since. It’s amazing how many people bought albums based on covers back in the 1970s. I purchased Rush’s 2112, Meat Loaf’s Bat Out Of Hell and The Runaways debut album all based on those records cover’s without ever having heard of those bands. That’s how it was done in the pre-digital world.
“Looks, Looks, Looks” was released in 1975 on the Indiscreet album. It was the band’s fifth album. The song “Looks, Looks, Looks” always reminded me a bit of Freddie Mercury of Queen. The flamboyant vocal styles were similar.
# 8 -Never Turn Your Back on Mother Earth
The great Sparks song “Never Turn Your Back on Mother Earth,” was released on the album Propaganda. The album was released in 1974. “Never Turn Your Back on Mother Earth,” was the album’s first single. It was a huge hit in the United Kingdom reaching the top 20 in 1974. It was the first of four singles released from the album.
# 7 -The Number One Song in Heaven”
Sparks closed out the 1970s with a great album that yielded three songs that landed in the top 100 on the U.K. charts. Two of the three songs were top 20 hits. “The Number One Song in Heaven,” reached all the way to number fourteen. “The Number One Song in Heaven,” was released on the album entitled No. 1 In Heaven. The record was released in 1979.“The Number One Song in Heaven,”was the album’s first single. It was also the first top 20 hit the band had since early 1975.
# 6 – Something For The Girl With Everything
Continuing with our top 10 Sparks songs list, we once again turn to the fabulous Propaganda album. The track “Something for the Girl with Everything” was the third single released from the album. It scored the band another top 20 hit in the United Kingdom. The song reached all the way to number 17 in 1975.
# 5 -Beat The Clock
The Sparks went a little disco with this one in 1979. But not like Bee Gees disco, it was cool disco. Sort of like Blondie style disco, a bit new wave and all. 1979 was a strange year in music in which we saw so many styles blending together with the advent of new wave and the end of disco and punk. “Beat The Clock,” was a great representation of what was happening in music in 1979 especially in the United Kingdom.
# 4 -Amateur Hour
“Amateur Hour,” was one of the band’s most successful and loved songs. The classic Sparks song was released on the album entitled Kimono My House. The record was released in 1974. “Amateur Hour,” was a top 10 hit in the United Kingdom. The song peaked at number seven. The song was re-released in 2009 with a completely new arrangement.
# 3 – This Town Ain’t Big Enough for Both of Us
As we get closer to the top on our top 10 Sparks songs list, we present three of the band’s most popular songs. The great song “This Town Ain’t Big Enough for Both of Us,” was released on the band’s Kimono My House album. It was the closest The Sparks ever got to enjoying a number one single. It reached all the way to number two on the United Kingdom pop charts in 1973.
# 2 – I Predict
The Sparks defined their brilliant wit on the classic Sparks song “I Predict.” The song was released on the cleverly titled album Angst in My Pants. The album was released in 1980. The song “I Predict.” did not chart in the United Kingdom. However the song did hit number 60 in the United States.
# 1 – Cool Places
The great duet “Cool PLaces,” between Jane Wiedlin of the GO GO’s and Russell Mael tops our 10 best Sparks songs list. It was the perfect blend of pop music fused with the band’s original sound that laid the groundwork for a pop masterpiece. It was simply a very cool song. The Sparks song “Cool PLaces,” was released in 1983. It was issued on the album In Outer Space. While many Sparks songs always did better commercially in the U.K. than the U.S., “Cool PLaces,” was a much bigger hit in the United States than it was in the United Kingdom.