One thing that is always interesting when looking back at old music magazines are those articles at the beginning of the year where the writers predict who they are convinced will be the next big thing, and of course most of their choices go on to have no further success and are never heard of again. When I wanted to find out more about 80s pop music, I looked at some magazine covers online, and there was a Record Mirror one that intrigued me.
This was because I didn’t recognise the woman on the cover, despite the insistence that she was going to be “THE VOICE OF 1981”. So I decided to investigate further, and as always there’s a rather interesting story worth sharing. Jane Kennaway was a singer/songwriter, and it seems that fame runs in the family because her dad James was a successful novelist.
In January 1981 the single “IOU” was released (although it was actually credited to “Jane Kennaway And Strange Behaviour”), and this reached only no. 65. I have heard this and I did enjoy it. As well as Record Mirror, Jane was also featured around this time in Smash Hits, and at this point there was some hope that she could still make the Top 40. But although this didn’t happen, she did release some more singles.
In March 1981, the follow-up to “IOU” was “Celia”, one critic was moved enough to say “this is very good”, and there was a video made, but it wasn’t a hit. This was followed in July 1981 by “Year 2000”, and I found this one interesting, firstly because it was produced by Thomas Dolby, who would go on to have some success of his own with singles including “Hyperactive!” (which also has a great video that I did a piece about a while back).
I also noted an online observation that this must be one of the earliest singles released to speculate what the world would be like in 2000, which was still almost two decades away by this point, when people really did think that we’d all be living on the moon by then. There doesn’t seem to be a video for this one though. And going into the mid-80s, there were a few more singles released including “Arabesque” and “I’m Missing You” (which do also have videos), but again these all flopped.
Unfortunately it seems that Jane never got as far as releasing an album, but about a decade ago a compilation was put together of the small amount of singles, live performances, and various leftovers that she made. Although she never became the star that people hoped, it seems that Jane and her guitar are still out there somewhere, and she has continued to work with various singers and groups.