Single Of The Week 14/03/97

Single Of The Week is where I review a single I'm particularly enamoured of at the moment. It might be a brand spanking new release, or a classic from decades past that I just feel like going on about.

One Step Ahead
Nik Kershaw

Nik Kershaw is no fool. Even at the height of his popularity in 1984 and 1985, when songs like 'Wide Boy' and 'Wouldn't It Be Good' were regular and welcome features of the airwaves, he always claimed that he was basically just a songwriter and would be happy to take a backroom role, writing and producing for other people. This is a common ambition amongst pop stars, but Nik didn't just make the claim; he actually went out and did it.

Of course, his most famous writing job was on 'The One And Only', Chesney Hawkes' 1991 UK number one (a pinnacle Nik never reached on his own, although 'I Won't Let The Sun Go Down On Me' managed to hit #2 back in 1984 and he was a featured vocalist on Ferry Aid's 'Let It Be' which topped the charts in 1988). He's also written and produced singles for Let Loose and Cliff Richard. Even as we speak, Wounded Knee, the Nik Kershaw mailing list, is working on assembling a complete list of his production and songwriting credits.

Although most of Nik's best-known work featured on his first two albums, Human Racing and The Riddle, he didn't actually abandon his own pop solo career straight away. Two much less successful albums, 1986's Radio Musicola and 1989's The Works, followed. It's from this latter album -- which was released with so little fanfare that a CD copy is now as scarce as hen's teeth -- that 'One Step Ahead' was drawn, to more or less no public response.

Which is, as ever, a bit of a shame. Nik's gift for witty lyrics and catchy melodies hadn't deserted him on this track, which wasn't even the album's standout track (for my money, that goes to the closing tune, 'Walkabout'). How it was going to go over with a crowd more interested in post-acid house dance is perhaps another question.

Since then, there have been at least three compilations of Kershaw hits, but no new material in the man's own name. Last year, though, he told Q magazine that he was, in fact, working on new material. We await this with our customary eagerness.

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