January 21 – Public Thought It Would Be Good If Nik Had A Hit

The same day as “Wrapped Around Your Finger” hit the U.S. charts (as described in today’s other post), the new wave kept on rolling in. On this day in 1984, most of the public got its introduction to another new British talent to the public, Nik Kershaw. He released the single “Wouldn’t it Be Good“.

The single was the forerunner of his Human Racing debut album. Nik had recorded one prior single in ’82, but most people didn’t hear it then, although the song, “I Won’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” ended up being the one song of his that charted higher than this one when it was re-released. Kershaw was a formidable talent, writing, playing keyboards, guitars, bass and singing the record himself. So his gamble of a year or two earlier – quitting a job at the unemployment office, risking becoming a client there himself – to devote himself full-time to music seemed a good one. Turned out to be a good risk- by the end of 1984, this song had been a top 10 hit in Britain and Canada, got widespread play on MTV and he’d released a second hit album, The Riddle. So hot was he early on that he actually had more weeks on the UK singles charts than any other solo artist in 1984-85!

Little wonder he got to appear on the London Live Aid stage and do the hit as a finale of his four-song set. He’d also drawn the attention of Elton John (who said of Kershaw “he’s one of the best songwriters of the generation”) paving the way for him to help Elton on his “Nikita” record the next year.

“Wouldn’t It Be Good” would soon after go on to be rerecorded by Danny Hutton (formerly of Three Dog Night) for the Pretty In Pink soundtrack, something which helped Nik’s bank account if not his public profile. Kershaw’s still recording, putting out a new album, Oxymoron, around the end of last year.

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9 thoughts on “January 21 – Public Thought It Would Be Good If Nik Had A Hit

  1. badfinger20 (Max)

    I don’t remember his name but I do remember Wouldn’t it Be Good. The Danny Hutton version is the one I know better.
    I admire anyone that takes that chance to make it…because sometimes it’s a huge chance and can set you back years if it doesn’t work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. it certainly does take some guts to do that, and I guess that’s what’s needed to succeed (in the arts at least.) I can’t find any reference to why John Hughes et al got Danny Hutton to redo this song for ‘Pretty in Pink’…perhaps Kershaw or MCA (his label then) wanted too much to include it on the album. Both are quite good I think.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. badfinger20 (Max)

        The are both good. That is why musicians deserve the money they get…they are gambling parts of their life…like baseball players to some degree.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yep… and until they become Elton, or Jagger or Sir Paul, most of them don’t have as much as we probably guess. that’s why years ago, when I still hated pop hits in advertising (as we’ve talked about, with the changing music world, I now see it as a near necessity to get yourself noticed) , I didn’t like the Stones letting Microsoft use “Start Me Up” but fully endorsed Modern English letting Burger King use “I Melt With You” as much as I found it a bit of a sellout. I figured, they had one hit single, which at the time wasn’t even that big in the US, so even if they made a million dollars combined from it (a big if), that wasn’t going to set any of them up for life.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. badfinger20 (Max)

        I never blamed the 50’s artists for doing it even when it was uncool…they got ripped off left and right so I understood why they did it. Yea the Stones didn’t need it and wanted to record a different version so Keith and Mick could make more lol.

        The stigma has vanished these days because of the business now. No I don’t blame Modern English at all.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow, didn’t know about him chucking in the job, especially in 80s Britain. Musicwise, he came along, sang a few humalong songs and went; to me another typical slick 80s player., though he was and is still well regarded.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. yep, he put out several quite good singles but didn’t really stick out among the 80s crowd… I compare him to Howard Jones but think Jones had a better consistency and productivity. Still, that said I like this song and especially “The Riddle”. Had both of them as singles back in the day.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I so agree with merchandising tie-ins. I never used to like it either, but you gotta gig as a band to get and keep the cash flow coming in nowadays, or luck out if someone wants your toon to sell some ”Hey, you want fries with that?’
    Over here theres an ad campaign using Chuck Berry and if that gives some music minded fourteen year old wannabe pause for thought- great.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. yep- that’s a good way of having a new generation find out about the old music. I must admit, the first time I ever heard Nick Drake was in a VW commercial maybe 15years back, after he’d long been dead unfortunately.

      Liked by 1 person

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