#RockHall2018 Message from Eurythmics
First time Nominees Eurythmics changed the world's perception of what a pop group looked or sounded like -
and even though they've pursued other projects in recent years, they've created a message for fans during the nomination period. Listen below and read our Q&A with the duo.
q&a with Dave stewart and annie lennox
Rock Hall: How did it feel to receive the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nomination? What were your first thoughts?
Dave Stewart: I was very excited as I am a fan of so many artists and bands that have been inducted to date.
Annie Lennox: My thinking was that there are so many artists and bands from entirely different genres who qualify for this kind of recognition that it’s a very mixed bag.
But then I realised that everyone who has ever been nominated for the Rock Hall has one common experience, in that we’ve all ‘walked the full distance’ and gone through whatever it takes to survive in terms of longevity in music and music making. That common bond alone makes the nomination very special!
Rock Hall: What kind of fan reactions have you received to being on the ballot?
Stewart: All the fans on Eurythmics Facebook page are going crazy hoping we will be inducted and imagining and asking/begging for a Eurythmics world tour.
Lennox: I’ve been very touched by people’s responses, in that they’ve been so consistently supportive and appreciative of everything Eurythmics has meant to them over the years. It’s been fun having an excuse to post archival Eurythmics images on social media and read everyone’s feedback.
Rock Hall: What are your thoughts about the bands on the ballot as a total this year?
Stewart: It's a great mixture of genres from Sister Rosetta Tharpe (who I have always adored) through to Depech Mode and the Moody Blues. Such different artists all great in their own unique way, not forgetting Nina Simone who was such a force of nature.
Lennox: It’s such a broad cross section - from artists who I feel should have been inducted years ago, to ‘newcomers’ who all deserve to be nominated.
As an American award, it’s interesting to see how many British artists have been put forward. I’ve always been aware as to how much music travels from one country or culture to another as this year’s line-up fully proves.
Rock Hall: With regard to your Eurythmics career, how important was your visual presentation compared to your sonic presentation? How did you work together to strike that balance?
Stewart: We worked really well together, as between us we covered all areas and were able to critique each other when writing or recording without any ego interfering on making videos. I was obsessed with imagery and storyline in a surreal way and so was Annie. Often I would be directing behind the camera and Annie was a perfect video star as she is a superb performer and with a stunning look.
Lennox: The music was obviously the central core of our work and when we had the opportunity to represent it visually, we were able to create a kind of complimentary extension from that baseline, which we absolutely revelled in. We worked very intuitively together, in that we both drew on our individual resources to create a distinctly collaborative outcome.
Rock Hall: How did you both influence each other - visually, sonically - did it come organically from working together or were there ways over time that developed?
Stewart: I think because we had lived together as a couple for 4 years before we became a duo and because we had made three albums in another band we know everything about what we both liked or did not like. We actually made that into a manifesto board before we started recording the "Sweet Dreams" album.
Lennox: We each naturally brought our own skills, tastes and sensibilities to the table, which were very much in synch at the time. We spent hours, days and weeks, honing our craft and trying to create our own distinctive style to introduce to the zeitgeist.
Rock Hall: How do you think your strong visual presence impacted your early success? Your career as it progressed? Your work today?
Stewart: We worked really hard at the beginning to make sure we were not part of any fashion movement and to create a unique visual presence. We were influenced by the look of visual artists Gilbert and George. We wanted to wear the same suits to take away the "pretty girl in a dress image." Annie really embraced the whole idea of being a strong independent woman - to represent herself as the powerful person she was and is.
I took my original video ideas from French and Italian surrealist film makers and the beginning. The marriage of these things made for a unique strong visual presence on MTV and our early stage performances.
Lennox: I think when MTV was broadcast in almost every household, as an additional extension to radio and television, the platform had a massive impact. The strong visual aspect of Eurythmics was very organic and natural for us and it was a wonderful creative opportunity to represent our music through this medium.
Rock Hall: How did you view performance and the importance of live performance when it came to artistic representation?
Stewart: Annie and I had already performed live together for 3 or 4 years and learned so much I suppose "paying our dues" so when we started performing as Eurythmics we knew what we wanted to do and had the experience to do it. It was experimental at first and we developed into a full blown arena and stadium performers who toured constantly, delivering a powerful and emotional show every night.
Lennox: There is no substitute for live performance. That’s what makes it so special. Audiences come for miles and spend their hard earned cash to experience something they expect to inspire and uplift them. Our live performance level of expectation was very high and we had to deliver every night.. which we did to the very best of our ability to 100+%.
Rock Hall: What about each other inspires you?
Stewart: I'm inspired by Annie's ability to write out her innermost feelings and then to perform our songs so passionately onstage, there is no faking it at a Eurythmics concert it's all real emotion and full of raw energy. Annie's ability to come up with great lyrics and melodies always makes me inspired in the studio to do something great.
Lennox: Dave has a very unique ‘can do’ approach, where nothing’s a problem and anything is possible. He’s a polymath who’s incredibly knowledgeable about cutting edge technology as it evolves, and he’s also the most ridiculously funny person I’ve ever known.
Rock Hall: Do you continue to influence each other’s work today?
Stewart: Probably in a subtle way within the meanings of certain songs.
Lennox: We both lead different lives in different countries, but we’ve known each other for decades, so we’re part of each other’s history, in a present day sense which is very unusual. I’m Annie Lennox and he’s Dave Stewart – but if we walk into a room together we become Eurythmics.
Rock Hall: Now that you’ve branched out into different artistic mediums, what experiences and influences has music given to your other artistic projects?
Stewart: I think we both have had such a wide breadth of experiences from working with orchestras, gospel choirs, film music and solo performances. Between us we've touched almost all forms of music.
Lennox: My musical background and the experience has taught me infinite lessons about so many things. I’ve learned much of it through osmosis, so I’m less consciously aware of my skills and abilities as I am intuitive. I am something of a perfectionist and very into God being present in the detail!
Rock Hall: Has your artistic process changed now that the medium has changed as well (writing a song vs. writing a book vs. taking photos…)?
Stewart: Not really. A great song or story always starts in your head and whatever tools available get used. That could be a ukelele or a sophisticated electronic set up or a pencil and paper.
Lennox: EVERYTHING HAS CHANGED!! WHAT CAN I TELL YOU??!!!! THUS SPAKE THE BUDDHA.
Rock Hall: How do you apply the artistic process to your participation in philanthropy or political causes you support?
Eurythmics donated all our 1999 world tour income to Amnesty International and Greenpeace - we both individually still continue to work with these organizations today.
Lennox: As an advocate and activist for the global rights of girls and women, I follow my passion and try to inspire people into awareness and engagement in the best way I can - by supporting organisations, giving interviews, raising funds through performances and recording sales, as well as putting my energy and support towards the causes I believe in.
I am the founder of a charitable organisation called "The Circle" which works to connect and support grassroots projects focused on some of the most disempowered girls and women across the globe.
Stewart: Music and creativity is a powerful combination. I have used my creativity or ability to think different to help create or advise on numerous philanthrop endeavours. I helped Nelson Mandela create his 46664 Foundation by using his prison number as a telephone number then having people donate as they listened to the unique songs I wrote with Bono, Paul McCartney, etc. This culminated in the largest concert ever broadcast worldwide from Africa hosted by Nelson Mandela. It went out to over 1 billion people raising awareness of the spread of HIV/AIDS in South Africa.
As a musician and musical director I have helped organize many charity concerts and TV specials including "Stand Up to Cancer" telethon in 2010 raising over 100 million dollars during one hour of music.