Pepsi & Shirlie | The Popjustice Forum

Pepsi & Shirlie

Discussion in 'Comeback corner' started by Vasilios, Oct 3, 2021.

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    Today I saw on Twitter that these legends have released a book? Off to Apple Books I went and 6 euros later I'm now spending my Sunday reading this and playing their two albums - luckily we're still at my boyfriend's place where all my CDs are!

    I'm playing the debut properly for the first time (I've had the vinyl and CD but both bought from bargain bins / Second Spin years after release) and it's so good? Shame it kinda bombed, all the singles were good and Hightime deserved to be a late smash with the Jellybean remix - which I remember being performed at the 1988 Montreux Pop Festival. I always loved Stranger (though it being very similar to Heartache probably made people not take them seriously) and Can't Give Me Love, the latter deserved so much more?

    Covering All Right Now for a single (and album launch) was kind of a bad move but listening now, I love the Black Cat vibes? Janet was listening!

    Surrender is such a Venus homage? Also Crime Of Passion is a very cute slice of spanish pop. I'm impressed.

    I'm playing the second album next - Someday was a big airplay hit here in Greece but I can't remember playing the album much, today's the day!

    Also can you say iconic?
    One of my very favourite Smash Hits covers ever:

  2. It's on Youtube! Someone uploaded it a few weeks ago.

  3. They appeared on the This Morning sofa last week - both still best mates and looking amazing. I initially thought they were announcing a return to music, which I'd not be averse to, but it was promo for this book. A lovely lil interview which kind of framed them as bigger than they actually were (beyond the Wham! days that is), but was a lovely call back to pop's halcyon days.

    Heartache will always be top-tier 80's pop (especially the extended version), and I was that one person who bought the All Right Now single back in late '87 - loved it.
    popdorian and Vasilios like this.
  4. The album repack was great, much better than the initial cover / artwork. But it was too late I guess.


    (Isn't that flag problematic though?)
  5. Maybe she was a fan of the car from the Dukes of Hazzard...
    Eric Generic and Vasilios like this.
  6. They keep mentioning the second album as All Right Now, mess.
  7. I still have trouble believing Stock Aitken Waterman had their production finger on Heartache. I love both them and the song, but as the connection was kept in the dark at the time I just can’t hear it now either!
  8. It was just Phil Harding no? Also they covered Sinitta's Who's Gonna Catch You (I'm guessing before Mel & Kim decided to put it on their album too) and then abandoned it so there probably was a connection there.

    It's so weird to compare their fortunes with Mel & Kim, Pepsi and Shirlie had an album that flopped pretty much everywhere with only a week or two in the UK chart while the former had a platinum UK album that spent months in the chart, peaked at 3 and sold around the world.

    Back then for a moment they seemed to be as big as each other. Mel & Kim of course had a lot more bangers and looked and felt way cooler.

    Pepsi & Shirlie really dropped the ball with their singles after Heartache. Stranger was okay but not strong enough to sustain.
  9. Actually I was just checking their releases on Discogs and was shocked to find that the credit was right there on the single cover: ”Produced by Phil Fearon & Tambi Fernando. Mixed by Stock, Aitken, Waterman & Hammond.” So not exactly a secret after all! According to the booklet of the rerelease it was indeed only Hammond’s doing, but Polydor decided to credit even SAW. I recall that it was never mentioned as a SAW release anywhere though, unlike most others that were.

    I used to love the song to bits back then and watched the video which I’d recorded on a VHS tape over and over again, so when the single finally reached the Northern town where I lived I was already quite sick of it and thus didn’t buy it. No wonder the credit escaped me.

    Hammond was also credited as a producer of Goodbye Stranger with Tambi Fernando. Meanwhile Phil Harding did the remixes of Heartache.

    The quickly vanished chart fortunes of Pepsi & Shirlie were indeed strange. Even if Goodbye Stranger was a copy of Heartache, it was still a hit and one would’ve thought it would’ve kept the interest up enough for a quite different third single to do well enough too. No such luck. I like Can’t Give Me Love, but yeah maybe it was slightly too ordinary and generic, could’ve been released by quite a few acts. At least Goodbye Stranger sounded clearly like a Pepsi & Shirlie song, if such a thing can be said based on two released songs.

    Interestingly they also managed to score a couple of minor Top 100 hits in the US. Heartache peaked at #78, and All Right Now (!) at #66.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2021
    Eric Generic and Vasilios like this.
  10. They should have definitely asked George for a Faith left over mid campaign - or a remix. I'm guess in both acts wanted to distance themselves from the other (P&S to prove they can make it alone, GM was in his serious face 'go away WHAM!' era).
    Eric Generic and Disco Blister like this.
  11. Agree. By the second album it was too late. Not even a George Michael song and production could get them a hit then. Well, arguably it was the worst song he ever created, so there was that.

    The second album was SUCH a mess. Maybe that was the reason they did their best to confuse the record buying public by being in a The Supremes disguise on the cover pic.
    Vasilios likes this.
  12. Really? I LOVE Someday. The album is cute in a throwaway discount Dannii / Cathy Dennis / Deee-Lite kinda way.
    mguyb and WarZard like this.
  13. I've tried, but Someday and the album just do nothing for me. And I SO would've loved to love them!
    Vasilios likes this.
  14. Why the dislike for All Right Now? Sure it did not add much to the original, but I adore its late-80s production. I like their debut, even the b-sides were pretty worthy tracks.

    Their quick chart misfortunes is a mystery to me, though I have to say - bless her - I found Shirlie really annoying on their videoclips.
  15. Nothing on that debut album came anywhere near close to the sheer brilliance and immediacy of Heartache, so they were sadly a lil bit doomed to the dumpster from the off really, the cruel twist of course being that their one shot at having a number one single was thwarted by their own bandmate. Heartache is forever on that list of songs that shoulda inched just one place higher on the chart - the number one that never was.

    Still fresh to this day.

    Edit: I have to add as it occurs to me, that if 1987 me had known I'd still be so invested in considering the chart fortunes of Pepsi & Shirlie in 34 years time, it would have probably blown my tiny teen mind! Impact indeed.
  16. I've got both versions of the 1st album, and have never listened to either (beyond the singles/remixes).

    Time perhaps to put that right. P&S just weren't what I was into in terms of pop by 1987.
    Vasilios likes this.
  17. When I was a nipper I remember thinking/being told they were sponsored by Pepsi.
    CDMCLP and Vasilios like this.
  18. I LOVED that type of clean sophisticated UK pop, Swing Out Sister, Wet Wet Wet, Johnny Hates Jazz, Black.
  19. See I loved all those (SOS, JHJ and Black were some of my biggest albums of 87/88) but P&S didn't do it for me at all.
    Vasilios likes this.
  20. Shirlie not.
    nostalgiakills and mguyb like this.
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