You Say It's Your Birthday: Tracy Thorn of Everything But The Girl

Today is the 35th birthday of Everything But The Girl singer Tracy Thorn.

EBTG is one of the few late '80s pop acts to successfully stick with the

genre throughout the turbulent world of music in the '90s. Born in

Brookman's Park, England, Thorn's first band was called Stern Bops, a

group for whom she played guitar and sang David Bowie's "Rebel Rebel" while

imitating the voice of Siouxsie Sioux. The group broke up in 1980, and

Thorn got together with two friends to form the Marine Girls. The Marine

Girls were signed later that year to Cherry Red Records, an indie label

which also was the home for Ben Watt, her future partner in Everything But

The Girl. In 1982, the two recorded a cover of Cole Porter's "Night And

Day" for a Cherry Red compilation and then released two solo EPs, Thorn with

A Distant Shore and Watt with North Marine Drive. In 1984,

the duo signed to the fledgling London label Blanco Y Negro as Everything

But The Girl, a name they got from a local retailer who promised its patrons

it could get them "everything but the girl."

The duo released Eden in 1984. Eden was a pretty big hit for

the group, with "Each and Everyone" and their cover of "I Don't Want To

Talk About It" both hitting on the U.K. charts. When Blanco Y Negro fell

apart, EBTG signed with Atlantic and released the much more polished The

Language Of Life in 1990. It hit #77 on the U.S. charts based on the

success of "Driving," the first single of the album. EBTG floundered for a

bit in the early '90s, releasing Worldwide in 1991 and a collection

of "unplugged" covers in 1992 called Acoustic. The band's sound at

this time was too soft for rock radio and too hard for "lite" stations, so

none of their albums made a dent in the charts. During this same period,

Thorn sang lead vocals and co-wrote two songs for Massive Attack's second

album, 1994's Protection and both she and Watt guested on dates on Massive's 1995 tour. Thorn also sang on Massive Attack's recording of Smokey Robinson's

"The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game" for the Batman Forever

Soundtrack. The group's 1994 release, Amplified Heart was

released to great critical acclaim but didn't really hit until Todd Terry's

melancholy house remix of "Missing" was released a year later. Capitalizing

on that success, Walking Wounded was released in 1996 and became

the duo's biggest selling album. Fully adopting a dance sound only hinted at in

previous recordings, the album spawned three hit singles, "Walking Wounded," "Wrong" and "Single."

Other birthdays: George Chambers (Chamber Brothers), 72; John Bauer

(Youngbloods), 56; Brian Ferry, 52; Lynn Anderson, 50; Olivia Newton John,

49; Stuart Tosh (Pilot/10cc), 46; Craig Chaquico (Jefferson

Starship/Starship), 43 and Mike Paradinas (U-Ziq), 25.