Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Producer Turns Hitmaker

One of my favourite tracks from the early 80s was ‘Misplaced Love’ by Rupert Hine. It just had a haunting atmospheric quality that appealed to me then, and still does. Hine’s vocals were almost alien in nature, and just synched so well with the quirky synth work. The chilling tone was capped off perfectly with the eerie vocals of Marianne Faithfull in the song bridge - this was electronic pop at its best. Phil Collins also contributed percussion to two tracks from the album from which ‘Misplace Love‘ was lifted, the title track ‘Immunity’ and ‘Another Stranger’. ‘Misplaced Love’ reminded me a lot of the track ‘Screaming Jets’ by Johnny Warman (see earlier post), not in the tune but in the other-worldly ambience. And another ex-Genesis member contributed to Warman’s album too - Peter Gabriel. Yeah yeah I know, that’s a long bow to pull but these kinds of weird connections always fascinate me.
‘Misplaced Love’ reached as high as #22 on the Australian singles charts in mid 1981, spending a total of 15 weeks inside the top 100. The album it was
lifted from ‘Immunity’, matched those statistics precisely. Hine bothered Australian chart statisticians once more as an artist with the single ‘The Set Up’ which scraped inside the top 100 in mid ‘82 (#94). Neither the U.K. or U.S. mainstream caught on to the brilliance of Rupert Hine the artist.
Rupert Hine may have experienced a limited run of chart success as an artist in his own right, but as a producer his list of achievements is long. At age 16 Hine got his start as a performer in the business back in the mid 60s as one half of the duo Rupert & David who released the single ‘The Sound Of Silence’ (I don’t think it was the same song as Simon & Garfunkel). A gap followed before Hine resurfaced in 1971 with his solo debut album titled ‘Pick Up A Bone’. A second LP followed in 1973 with ‘Unfinished Picture’ before Hine turned his hand to the role of producer for other artists. Kevin Ayers’ 1973 album ‘Confessions Of Dr. Dream’ was one of Hine’s first major projects at the controls.
Hine then spent a period in the mid 70s fronting the trio Quantum Jump, which presented him with an opportunity to record some music that was a bit more commercially accessible than some of his complex, almost avant-garde solo work, though still primarily progressive rock in nature. Drummer Trevor Morais and bassist John G. Perry rounded out the trio, who were also joined on t
he Quantum Jump project by guitarist Mark Warner and Hine’s original creative partner in lyricist David MacIver (Rupert & David). Quantum Jump released two albums, a self titled in 1976 and ‘Barracuda’ in 1977, neither of which sold well enough to sustain the projects tenure.

The 80s would see Hine enjoy his most lucrative period as a record producer. Among his marathon list of production credits include: ‘Love Like A Rocket’ - Bob Geldof; ‘Private Dancer’ - Tina Turner; ‘Reach The Beach’ - The Fixx; ‘Watch The World‘ - The Little Heroes; ‘The Waterboys’ - The Waterboys; ‘Between Us’ - Murray Head; ‘The Choice Is Yours’ - The Members; ‘Don’t Pay The Ferryman’ - Chris DeBurgh’; ‘One Thing Leads To Another’ - The Fixx; ‘Human Lib‘ & ‘Dream Into Action’ - Howard Jones; ‘Power Station’ - Power Station; ‘I Can See Your House From Here’ - Camel; ‘Close To The Bone’ - Thompson Twins; ‘The Other Side Of The Mirror’ - Stevie Nicks.

Aside from 1981’s ‘Immunity’, Hine recorded two other solo albums in the first half of the 80s, with ‘Waving Not Drowning’ and ‘The Wildest Wish To Fly’ but neither caught wider industry attention, so in 1986 Hine recorded under the guise of Thinkman, essentially a fake group (made up of actors for the purposes of interview and media appearances), and a vehicle for Hine’s ongoing creative energies. ‘Thinkman’ recorded three albums, the most successful of which was 1986’s ‘The Formula’. Hine’s production worked has continued into the 90s and beyond with artists such as Duncan Sheik, Suzanne Vega and Eric Serra.

Both the album ‘Immunity’ and song ‘Misplaced Love’ were
originally released on the A&M label but remained unavailable on CD until 1989, at which time ‘Immunity’ was released for a limited 18 month period on CD. Rupert Hine eventually negotiated a re-release on CD via the Voiceprint label in 2001. The Voiceprint release featured a newly remastered version, which included a previously unreleased B-side ‘Scratching For Success’ and an additional track titled ‘Introduction To The Menace’. That track was originally used as an introduction track for live concert performances in support of the ‘Immunity’ album. Hine named his live support band for that tour ‘The Menace’. Hine also took the opportunity on ‘Immunity’s 2001 remaster release to revert to his original recorded versions of two tracks ‘I Think A Man Will Hang Soon’ and ‘Make A Wish’, which Hine had to compromise on the original A&M release.

No comments: