It’s time for another look back at a pop group whose fame in the 80s turned out to be rather short-lived. Nu Shooz were an American group that formed as early as the late-70s, consisting of John Smith and Valerie Day, who were also married. They weren’t the only husband-and-wife duo who had some chart success in the 80s though. There were also many others including Timbuk 3, Womack And Womack, and is this another opportunity to go on about The Techno Twins again? Well, I suppose it is!
Nu Shooz had released singles and albums as long ago as 1982, but it wasn’t until May 1986 that they had their first (and biggest) chart success in the UK when “I Can’t Wait” was released, which reached No. 2 (it reached No. 3 in America). They also performed this on various shows including Razmatazz and Top Of The Pops, which were definitely the places that you would want to be seen on TV in those days. The rather nonsensical video must’ve given it a boost too. I don’t think they had any magazine covers though.
“I Can’t Wait” was been covered and sampled on several occasions. Over 15 years later, in April 2002 a cover that had a UK Garage reworking was the second and final hit single for Ladies First, which reached No. 19. Now I’m usually sceptical when big hits are covered in rather different musical genres, but I was rather fond of this one, because as you’ll discover when this series reaches the 2000s, I was a really big fan of the UK Garage movement and I thought that it was all rather exciting. But this one isn’t the main focus of this piece of course.
In June 1986, their third album (but only hit in the UK) “Poolside” was released, which reached No. 32. This means that it didn’t sell a huge amount, but I’m sure that the people who did buy it enjoyed listening to it, because they put their Nu Shooz on, and suddenly everything is right. I’m awfully sorry… Could they possibly follow “I Can’t Wait” with further chart success?
In July 1986, just two months after “I Can’t Wait” entered the chart, “Point Of No Return” was released. It was another really nice piece of electropop, and it also had a great video that featured plenty of stop-motion animation. But it was scuppered somewhat by “I Can’t Wait” actually still being on the chart, meaning that this one was overshadowed somewhat, and it only reached No. 48.
This turned out to be the second and final hit single for Nu Shooz in the UK, meaning that their whole chart career barely lasted three months out of the four decades that they have been working together, which was rather disappointing. It seems that Smith and Day are still out there though, and as well as still being married, they still perform under the Nu Shooz name.