Back in the days when one would buy an album based solely on the cover art, a promotional sticker with two quotes drew my attention to the record. The first was from Phil Collins — back then referred to as “Phil Collins of Genesis.” I wasn’t a huge fan, so I glossed over that one. The second was from Curt Smith of Tears for Fears. I can’t remember the exact words, but one could not have crafted a stronger endorsement. So I took a chance, having never even heard of The Blue Nile.
Honestly, if not for that quote, I probably wouldn’t have given it a second listen. The songs all had a sameness and a sparseness to them, all but one stretching out past the five-minute mark. But I heard something in “Let’s Go Out Tonight” that I wanted to experience again.
I was used to hooks and catchy choruses, but this was the opposite of that. Every note built towards a single climax, which couldn’t be rushed. The payoff was long in coming, but ultimately magnificent.
The album holds a special place in my heart, and drove me to seek out their prior work: their debut record, A Walk Across the Rooftops. While it lacks the cohesiveness and consistency of Hats, I fell in love with “Tinseltown in the Rain.”
Years later it became my favorite song to perform, in the short period that I actually did perform. Simple yet brilliant. Comfortably passionate, if that makes any sense!
Matt Mancid didn’t know my history with the song when he produced our cover version from my piano demo, having never heard it before. I didn't want to put too much pressure on him.
But as you’ll hear, he delivered. Two versions, in fact!