Imagination – Body Talk
In mid-May 1981 there was a new song hitting the UK charts. The song was released on May 1st, and was the absolute debut for a rather peculiar and extravagant trio, made up of English guys of Caribbean descent. Two of them were already playing together in not so successful bands, and so they showed up for an audition to try to get into another group. At the audition they met the third boy, and in short, in the end they formed their own group.
They had a song, which they recorded on a “demo tape”, as was used in the early 80’s, and took the tape to producers Jolley and Swain. In 1981 Jolly and Swain were not yet famous, they were two former BBC technicians who moved into the world of music, but in hindsight we can say that if they then produced hits like Cruel Summer by Bananarama, Love Resurrection by Alison Moyet, and True by Spandau Ballet, well, they definitely had a gift to recognize successful songs!
And so the two producers told the boys to find a name for the group, and in honor of John Lennon who had recently passed away (December 1980) and of his masterpiece Imagine, the bold young men decided to call themselves Imagination.
And so their first song came out, absolutely a disco hit though quite soft, with very warm and engaging voices and melodies. In the days following the launch, Body Talk was virtually ignored by radio and record stores. Fortunately for the three boys, however, the song began to circulate in its natural environment, disco clubs, and was a resounding success. In a few weeks the three guys became the kings of the disco clubs, and within a few weeks the song entered the hit parade, where it stayed for several months, coming close to the top.
The video is Middle Eastern style, and is very reminiscent of the scenes from The power of love by Frankie Goes To Hollywood. Who knows if Holly Johnson in 1984 was inspired by the video of Body Talk?
In the video there are all the stereotypes of the One Thousand and One Nights, but we must think that what today appears a bit childish and obvious, in 1981 it was not at all, and indeed it was often perceived as innovative and transgressive. The first scene is fantastic, where Ashley and Errol walk in the desert carrying a voluminous rolled carpet on their shoulders. When they reach the tent and lay it on the ground and unroll it, magically the leader of Imagination, the great Leee John, appears from the carpet.
Yes, you read that right, it’s not a typo, Leee is written with three E’s. I don’t find references, but I remember that at the time there was a funny story that Leee John loved to tell when asked … But how come your name is Leee with a triple E? And he replied .. my mom called me Leee because my three E’s mean Extra Energy and Excitement !!! And welcome back to 1981, I would say!
Imagination on Wikipedia