Cover Versions

Only You

Song: Only You
Artists: The Flying Pickets
Original artist: Yazoo (Alison Moyet)

Only You gives me the chance to explore three very different ways of presenting the
same song – one sung a cappella, another with a mainly synthesizer accompaniment and
the trio is completed by the singer having the backing of a full orchestra.
The song was written by Vince Clarke when he was still a member of Depeche Mode,
but it was recorded in 1982 after he had formed Yazoo with singer Alison Moyet. Clarke
would go on to establish the duo Erasure with Andy Bell.

Only You was Yazoo’s first single and it peaked at No 2 in the UK charts. However, it did
not enjoy similar success in the USA, only reaching No 67.
More than 30 years later Moyet performed the number as part of a four-song set for the
Burberry Women’s Spring/Summer 2016 Fashion Show (see below) backed by a full
orchestra. See if you can spot Vogue editor Anna Wintour, actor Benedict Cumberbatch,
singer Paloma Faith and model Kate Moss among the audience.

Although I very much associate the song with Alison Moyet, she and Clarke did not
have the biggest success with it. More than 18 months after the Yazoo version was
launched the song would become the Christmas No 1 for the group The Flying Pickets,
a name inspired by the trade union activists who would travel to support fellow union
members on picket lines in their disputes with employers.
Ironically, perhaps, Wikipedia says that the Pickets’ version was a favourite with the late
UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher, the Iron Lady known for her Government’s efforts
to dismantle the power of the trade unions. The Flying Pickets group supported the
1984-5 miners’ strike which Thatcher so fiercely opposed.
The Pickets’ version was an obvious success given that it stayed in the top chart spot
for five weeks. It has the distinction of being the first a cappella song to reach the No 1
position in the UK.

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