Before there was Adele, and after there was Dusty Springfield, there was Alison Moyet, one of the great purveyors of British blue-eyed soul.
The first time I ever heard her sing was when her 1984 single, “Invisible,” became a Top 40 hit in the U.S. “She sounds like a man,” I remember a classmate of mine saying at the time. It didn’t matter to me. I was instantly in love with the full-bodied voice coming out of that full-bodied woman.
It was until college that I discovered Upstairs at Eric‘s and You and Me Both, the ground-breaking synth-soul opuses that she and Vince Clarke, an original member of Depeche Mode, recorded as Yazoo in the early ’80s. To this day, every time I’m on the verge of breaking up with a guy, I hear Moyet singing “Nobody’s Diary” in my head (please pardon the out-of-(lip)sync dubbing below).
Moyet has been on my mind lately. In the last week, two of my friends posted about her on my Facebook wall. The first was a clip of her performing with Paul Young at Live Aid in 1985, accompanied with a dig at Adele: “Kudos to Adele lately, but didn’t ALISON MOYET do it WAY before her & better, some 25-30 years ago? What do you think?” (For the record, I agree.)
The second, courtesy of my best friend Lori, were simple instructions: “Google Moyet 2009 — u won’t believe it! First performance in 2 decades….I’ll leave it at that.”
Here’s what I found.
Wow! Not only had Moyet dropped about half of her body weight, but she’d discarded about 20 years, too. (She turned 50 last year.) She’s always been beautiful to me, but now she looked like the star she no doubt would have been had the pop world been kinder to full-figured talents pre-Adele.
Her 1991 album, Hoodoo, was a sadly overlooked pop masterpiece that, at the time, deserved all of the plaudits and commercial success that 21 is getting now. Her most recent album, The Turn, which, at times, sounds like the score to the greatest love of all (R.I.P., Whitney), was released in 2007. Five years is much too long for me to wait for an Alison Moyet fix. May she soon return with new music to go along with her new look.
I won’t go on and on and on about why she’s one of my Top 5 female singers of all-time, when I can let you see — and hear — for yourself.