Johnny Hates Jazz

Best of Johnny Hates Jazz

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This album will raise eyebrows. After all, didn't Johnny Hates Jazz have only one hit song? Forget the band's brief popularity on the American charts. Johnny Hates Jazz was a vastly underrated group, a British pop act whose handsome looks blinded many to the talent bubbling underneath the surface. Most of the record consists of tracks from the band's debut LP, Turn Back the Clock, and their lesser-known follow-up, Tall Stories. Tall Stories was recorded after vocalist Clark Datchler left the group, replaced by Phil Thornalley. Since the long-deleted Tall Stories is hard to find, this might be the only opportunity for fans to hear songs from it. Three of them are collected here: "Let Me Change Your Mind," "Last to Know," and "Fool's Gold." Sounding no different than anything on Turn Back the Clock, these tracks prove that Johnny Hates Jazz didn't lose their knack for soulful, danceable hooks after Datchler's departure. Given that Turn Back the Clock has no filler, the songs taken from that album shouldn't been seen as providing the complete picture. Nevertheless, "Turn Back the Clock" is gorgeous; its dreamy chorus expresses profound longing. Overshadowed by the worldwide success of "Shattered Dreams" on Johnny Hates Jazz's first LP, "Turn Back the Clock" is a buried treasure from the '80s. "Shattered Dreams" appears twice, and the 12" version has a more robust, intricate beat. The instrumental tracks are unusual choices, but collectors probably won't argue with their inclusion.

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