Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Was (Not Was) - "Spy in the House of Love"

Spy in the House of Love - What Up, Dog?

(Debuted October 1, 1988, Peaked #16, 16 Weeks on the Chart)

Was (Not Was) was a group formed and led by two friends from Detroit. David Was (or Weiss, as he was born) was the keyboard player, and Don Was (whose real last name was Fagenson) played the bass guitar, and both would take up a place behind the glass as producers. The rest of the "group" was largely studio musicians, with Sweet Pea Atkinson and Sir Harry Bowens as the primary singers by 1987-'88. "Guest stars" were known to pop up on their records, such as Elvis Costello and Frank Sinatra, Jr, who appeared on a song featured on their LP What Up, Dog?

That album was released in 1988 but included material that had been recorded as early as 1984. With four years' worth of studio time putting together a record and having solid studio musician support, it is hard to imagine much of it being bad. In the end, the album was the group's breakthrough and helped usher both of the Was "brothers" into positions as producers.

The group's first hit on the pop chart was "Spy in the House of Love," which had originally appeared as a single in 1987 but took a year and a half to chart. The song featured slickly-produced but hook-laden R&B/jazz-influenced elements and came up with a nice pop confection that shows its age today but sounded pretty bright when it came out.

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