British pop duo Erasure will release Other People's Songs, a twelve-track covers set of tunes popularized by Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, the Buggles and more, on January 28th. The album will be their first U.S. release since 1997's Cowboy.
"When you're a singer, you're always looking at standards that you'd like to do," says frontman Andy Bell. "It was going to be a solo project in the first place. I was just working with [longtime Erasure and Depeche Mode producer] Gareth Jones. We started picking songs and then Vince [keyboardist Clarke] came over to Spain, and said, 'Do you mind if I do it with you?' So we started to do it as a three-way thing."
Bell and Clarke -- who famously released an EP of ABBA tracks, ABBA-esque, in 1992 -- primarily chose early rock standards, including "I Can't Help Falling in Love", "You've Lost That Loving Feeling" and "Walking in the Rain".
"It was [originally] going to be an album of Phil Spector songs," Bell says, "because I was really crazy about his stuff when I was a teenager. A lot of my choices on the album have come from my parents' record collection. I used to rehearse a lot to [these songs] as a kid, not realizing how much they had sunk in."
Bell and Clarke will head out on a small U.K. tour with dates to be announced next week and a U.S. tour is tentatively scheduled for May. "When we get to do this tour," Bell says, "we're going to do five songs from the new album and then kind of marry it in with our old stuff -- a few of the more theatrical songs from some of our previous albums. [Touring] is my favorite bit of the whole process. I like being in the studio, but my thing is being on stage."
EMI is getting ready to re-release Erasure's back catalog, and the band is also planning some new material. But, for now, Bell is just happy to be back. "I really miss it," he says. "I can't do anything else. All I did before was being the barman and making sandwiches. I don't know what else I could do."
Other People's Songs track listing:
"Solsbury Hill" (Peter Gabriel)
"Everybody's Got to Learn Sometime" (the Korgis)
"Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)" (Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel)
"Everyday" (Buddy Holly)
"When Will I See You Again" (the Three Degrees)
"Walking in the Rain" (the Ronettes)
"True Love Ways" (Buddy Holly)
"Ebb Tide" (the Righteous Brothers)
"Can't Help Falling in Love" (Elvis Presley)
"You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" (the Righteous Brothers)
"Goodnight" (Cliff Eberhardt)
"Video Killed the Radio Star" (the Buggles)