Alphaville – Sounds Like A Melody
1984 was a defining year for pop music, and created that launching pad that in a few months would lead to the highest and most original point of the entire decade, that is, the months between the Autumn of that year and the Summer of 1985. One of the bands that sprang up at that time and really lived it from the first to the last day were Alphaville, personally one of my favorite bands of the 80s.
Their career officially began in January, with the release of their first hit, Big in Japan, which was a runaway success. Really: success was so overwhelming that in a few months, as the great Marian Gold recalled, it transformed three boys dressed in sweaty leather jackets into three international stars living between hotel suites and airports.
Things happened so fast that even the production company was displaced and changed their strategies. In fact, while they released Big in Japan, Alphaville were also busy completing the album they were planning to release. More or less they were planning to release it after Summer, but they still had a lot of work to do, they really had very few songs ready.
In the original plans, the second song was supposed to be Forever Young. Moreover, the original version of Forever Young had a faster pace than the song we know, and no one was too convinced of that version, so they were also working to make it the beautiful song that later entered our hearts.
The record company, however, got in the way: Big in Japan had been a resounding success, and Forever Young, which most likely would have been a similar success, shouldn’t have come out too soon, because the album would have been ready after the Summer anyway. And to keep the band at the top of their fame until the album was released, it was better to move Forever Young‘s release, and in the meantime release something else.
Yeah, but what? There was nothing else ready. And so the record company ordered Alphaville to compose a song in a nutshell. Gold, Mertens and Lloyd set to work reluctantly, sensing the interference of the record company, and aware that their artistic talent and creativity could never be locked up in the space of two days: this was not the way for Alphaville to compose their songs.
Anyway, they decided to respect the commitment (or maybe they couldn’t help it), and in two days they wrote and arranged Sounds like a melody , which was launched on the market on May 14, 1984. The text is about a story of love where a young man in a cinema imagines that he and his girlfriend would become part of the action on the screen. And so in the lyrics he mentions living adventurous situations together, and the Cary Grants and Grace Kelly’s of the past are explicitly mentioned.
The video is quite peculiar and sees Alphaville playing in the middle of an ice rink with the skaters, dressed in stage costumes, spinning around them.
Sounds like a melody, although composed in two days, is a great song that reached the top of the charts in several countries, and remained one of Alphaville’s most famous songs. In short, everyone liked it … but themselves: Alphaville really felt compelled to compose it and never felt it as a real song of their own. Despite the success, in fact, they decided not to perform it in their concerts, because it did not show their true creativity. And in fact, since that day they have not performed it for over fifteen years!
Alphaville on Wikipedia