Classics: Loose Ends – Hangin On A String (Contemplating) (Virgin)
Although they opened their account back in 1984 with the ‘A Little Spice’ album and its leading single ‘Tell Me What You Want’, Loose Ends would have to wait another year to establish themselves in the First League. This with ‘So Whare Are You?’. An album which spanned ‘Magic Touch’ and most likely their biggest classic ever by the likes of ‘Hangin On A String (Contemplating)’. The latter getting them to become the first British band to top the U.S. Billboard R&B chart. It would years later receive a brilliant remixing treatment courtesy of the late Frankie Knuckles.
Hard to not see a parental link between ‘Hangin On A String’ and 52nd Street‘s ‘Tell Me (How It Feels)’ as a matter of fact. Be it on their respective overall smooth flow. As in regards to their concept. With both of themm most likely displaying an 808 drum machine-driven sound. Meanwhile showcasing the talent of Philadelphia-based studio guru Nick Martinelli. A man who also came to produce Five Star. Remember ‘Let Me Be The One’ and ‘All Fall Down’…
I guess it will just be payin’ justice to Loose Ends when sayin’ they opened the path for the Brit-Soul to see the light back at the ends of the 80’s. The group emerged by the beginning of the decade. This from the reunion between keyboardist/trumpet player Steve Nichols and singer Jane Eugene. Two long time friends who first met at the London Guidhall School of Music and Drama. With top sesion bass player Carl McIntosh soon after joining them.
The threesome made their debut back in 1981 with ‘In The Sky’. A cut which Chris Amoo and his late brother Eddie of The Real Thing fame wrote for them. Meanwhile George Hardgreaves wrote and produced its follow-up, ‘We’re Arrived’ the year after. Then they released ‘Don’t Hold Back Your Love’ which they wrote by themselves in 1983. Eventually turning their name from Loose End to Loose Ends for the occasion. This before starting a fruitful relationship with Philadelphia-based in-demand producer Nick Martinelli.
Loose Ends dropped their debut-album – ‘A Little Spice’ – in 1984. Establishing themselves in Soul/Dance circles with ‘Tell Me What You Want’, but also ‘Emergency Dial 999’ and ‘Choose Me’. The year after seeing them scoring their biggest classic. This by the likes of ‘Hangin On A String (Contemplating)’. One of the highlights from their ‘So Where Are You?’ album along with ‘Magic Touch’. Further gems comin’ up in 1986 as a part of their ‘Zagora’ album. Beginning with ‘Slow Down’ but also ‘Ooh You Make Me Feel’. Meanwhile finding the time to collaborate with other artists. From Juliet Roberts (‘Ain’t You Had Enough Love’). To Five Star, writing the memorable ‘All Fall Down’ and ‘Let Me Be The One’ for them.
‘The Real Chuckeeboo’ would be their last album with their original line-up, as with producer Nick Martinelli. With both Nichols and Eugene soon after leavin’ upon artistic disagreements with McIntosh. It eventually spanned extra goodies such as ‘Watching You’ and ‘Mr Batchelor’. Although the latter was not included on the British pressing of the album for some reason.
McIntosh then on his own recruited new members Linda Carriere and Sunay Suleyman. And together they released ‘Look How Long’ back in 1990. But despite the presence of other delights such as its title track, ‘Love’s Got Me’ and ‘Don’t Be A Fool’, it would be the very last Loose Ends studio album. 10 Records releasing ‘Tighten It Up Vol. 1’ two years after. A Remix package featuring ‘Hangin’ On A String’ as remixed by Frankie Knuckles. But also ‘Slow Down’ by Andrew Komis and ‘Love’s Got Me’ by David Morales among others…
Sadly enough nothing new has ever seen the light from them anymore. This to the exception of a brief reunion of the band on a single by the likes of Pete Rock – ‘Take Your Time’ – back in 1996. And one could eventually hear the rumors of a new album to be released back in 2010. But that remained unheeded at the end.