“Don’t Go” by Yaz (1982)

Alison Moyet’s voice is a force of nature. Those lungs are so powerful, I often imagine her singing the chorus to “Don’t Go” to an actual human being and blowing them away like the guy in the Memorex commercial back in the day. I am sure Adele has a Moyet or Yaz album somewhere in her collection, as she’s Alison’s most obvious descendant.

Upstairs At Eric’s, the 1982 album “Don’t Go” opens, is a weird one. Classic album, no doubt. Might be the best electronic album of the ‘80s. But it jumps quickly between straight up synth-dance bangers (of which “Don’t Go” is an example) and weird shit like “I Before E Except After C”. Also, given Vince Clarke’s future as half of Erasure (and his eventual reunion with Moyet a quarter century after Yaz’s split), how awesome would it be to get a Clarke-produced duets album featuring Alison Moyet and Andy Bell?

Four star songs between “Don’t Give Up” and “Don’t Go”Don’t Give Up On Love” (Rick James, 1980) | “Don’t Go” (Mary J. Blige, 1994) | “Don’t Go” (En Vogue, 1990) | “Don’t Go” (Marlon Jackson, 1987)

NOT QUITE FIVE STARS…

“Don’t Give Up” by Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush (1986): Kate Bush is a bit of an acquired taste for me. Despite my attempts to get into her work, my two favorite Bush-related songs don’t actually have her name on the label; “This Woman’s Work” (as rendered by Maxwell) and this Peter Gabriel song on which she lends her voice to the chorus…

…although “lends her voice to the chorus” feels kind of like saying Eddie Van Halen “lent his guitar playing expertise” to “Beat It”. Kate floats down on feathery white angel wings and gives “Don’t Give Up” life. The warmth and compassion in her voice is the perfect soothing counterpoint to Peter Gabriel’s downtrodden, cold-sounding verse. I can’t think of many other examples of a song in which a guest vocalist is so well-utilized.

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