26 Apr Terence Trent D’arby – 1987 – Introducing The Hardline According To Terence Trent D’arby

Terence Trent D’arby – 1987 – Introducing The Hardline According To Terence Trent D’arby

One of the greatest records of the 80’s, an album that did so much for me, offered so much to me, an album that I still play, that still sounds great. It mixed soul and funk with the pop sound of the day. It offered up a bunch of killer singles, but it was a listening experience as a full album.

A strong debut by this young singer, who wrote virtually every note, played a multitude of instruments, and claimed that this was the most important album since the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper. Hits included “If You Let Me Stay“, “Dance Little Sister“, “Sign Your Name” and the number one “Wishing Well“. It is a curious mixture of old and new styles. Although the production is quite modern, d’Arby shows his roots in the work of older artists, borrowing a page or two from Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder, while James Brown appears to have had the strongest influence on d’Arby’s stage presence.

Tracks
A1 If You All Get to Heaven 5:17
A2 If You Let Me Stay 3:14
A3 Wishing Well 3:30
A4 I’ll Never Turn My Back on You (Father’s Words) 3:37
A5 Dance Little Sister 3:55
A6 Seven More Days 4:32
B1 Let’s Go Forward 5:32
B2 Rain 2:58
B3 Sign Your Name 4:37
B4 As Yet Untitled 5:33
B5 Who’s Lovin’ You 4:24

Review by Daryl Easlea BBC

Trent D’Arby’s ambitious and accomplished debut album.

With his swooning looks and unparalleled ability to dance and preen, Terence Trent D’Arby’s pop-soul channelled most reference points of 20th century R&B with a surfeit of swaggering self-belief. With this debut album he was everywhere. As Q Magazine wrote, D’Arby displayed “an extraordinary gift for soul ventriloquism and a frisky tendency to do the splits”. This combination, married with well-written pop songs, garnered him tremendous critical and commercial success.

 

D’Arby appeared mysteriously, and fully formed. A US citizen, he had a gospel upbringing, was a trained boxer and had a spell in the US army. After going AWOL in Germany he sang with the group The Touch, before settling in the UK.

Produced (bar two tracks) by Heaven 17’s Martyn Ware, Introducing the Hardline… is ambitious and accomplished, its crisp and clean sound a triumph of synthetics and soul. The Howard Grey-produced If You Let Me Stay was D’Arby’s calling card, an impassioned pop rush with his keening, pleading vocal. And then, the hits kept tumbling out. There was the Prince-meets-James Brown of Dance Little Sister and the skewiff soul of  Wishing Well – the latter topped the Billboard Hot 100 stateside. Sign Your Name, his biggest UK hit peaking at number two, was a growling, sensuous ballad wrapped in the sweetest of melodies. Away from the hits, Let’s Go Forward is a remarkably intimate performance.

D’Arby said at the time that he wanted his work to “leave a taste in your mouth that’s as wholesome as your mum’s best apple pie,” and it clearly did, winning the singer a Grammy for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and a BRIT Award for Best International Breakthrough Act.

The album didn’t need a publicity machine: D’Arby took care of that all himself, proclaiming it “the most brilliant debut album from any artist this decade”. And although not the case (insert your own favourites here), it certainly came close to perfection.

The complexity of D’Arby’s 1989 second album Neither Fish Nor Flesh derailed his commercial juggernaut, crystallising Introducing the Hardline… as his moment, a soundtrack to the turning point when the 80s turned from austerity to prosperity. It’s as central to that decade as the much-seen image of the city trader waving his wad of banknotes to the camera.

It remains one big, infectiously glorious record.

Buy the Album

Download the Album

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19 Comments
  • Kevin
    Posted at 23:05h, 26 April 2018 Reply

    Superb!! The whole album is a masterpiece of 80’s R’n’B.

  • Denise
    Posted at 00:50h, 27 April 2018 Reply

    I’ve rarely seen someone sing with soo much soul…with such emotion.

  • Mack
    Posted at 11:08h, 27 April 2018 Reply

    Sign your name across my heart what a brilliance…..Summer of 88….great times.

  • Francis
    Posted at 11:14h, 27 April 2018 Reply

    James Brown meets Mick Jagger. A phenomenal album! Not only the hits… So much talent!

  • Mariya
    Posted at 10:40h, 28 April 2018 Reply

    Love it

  • The Farmer
    Posted at 10:45h, 28 April 2018 Reply

    Anita bakers’ “Rapture” and this one are my fav 80’s black albums

  • Dorothy
    Posted at 14:57h, 28 April 2018 Reply

    Just wonderful. Whising well and Dance little sister are my jams.

  • Jaime Palacios
    Posted at 23:15h, 28 April 2018 Reply

    I absolutely love this record! I really thought he was gonna give Prince a run for his money. Sadly, TTD didn’t live up to my expectations. Still a wonder of a talent!

  • Kenneth Lahey
    Posted at 23:16h, 28 April 2018 Reply

    I think he was a bit to “confident” for American tastes. You know, no matter how awesome you are you must remain humble….Me, I agreed with him, The Hardline was a hell of a debut. I remember his Grammy performance …Sign Your Name is a classic

  • Neill Walker
    Posted at 23:17h, 28 April 2018 Reply

    he had the songs, the looks, the moves , the voice. He could’ve been a huge star .

  • Kelvin Page
    Posted at 23:18h, 28 April 2018 Reply

    Yep it’s my collection it’s classic alright

  • Stanley Bull
    Posted at 23:19h, 28 April 2018 Reply

    I absolutely agree. Sananda Maitreya AKA Terrence Trent D’Arby was masterful on vocals on every track. I love his interpretation of “Who’s Loving You” on this album. Great studio work by the band. I enjoy the whole album.

  • Phillips Mike
    Posted at 22:22h, 30 April 2018 Reply

    Not a bad song on Hard-line!

  • Nikos
    Posted at 22:30h, 30 April 2018 Reply

    Α perfect singer, he really deserves more recognition.

  • Alan
    Posted at 10:07h, 02 May 2018 Reply

    Man… I never heard of him before. If you recommend it then it bears me giving it a listen. Thanks

  • Carnaby
    Posted at 09:28h, 03 May 2018 Reply

    Another high grade pure R’n’B Music.

  • DFunky
    Posted at 09:20h, 08 May 2018 Reply

    what a wonderful tripping music.

  • Jason
    Posted at 23:41h, 17 May 2018 Reply

    Kickass!!

  • Angela
    Posted at 23:02h, 23 May 2018 Reply

    Wow!!! a Classic..

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