Mike & the Mechanics – Silent Running (Mike & the Mechanics, 1985)
This super-group of sorts started as a fun side project for Genesis’ Mike Rutherford and turned into a pretty formidable commercial music force in it’s own right. Featuring the reassuring vocals of Squeeze’s Paul Carrack, ‘Silent Running’ was the first track on the groups self-titled debut album and the first single as well. It went all the way to #6 on the pop charts and continues to find consistent play on 80’s stations to this day.
I remember being in grade school when this was a popular song and the chorus:
“Can you hear me? Can you me running? Can you hear me calling you?”
This would get stuck in my head all day long. Not that I minded too much. As a song the single version (featured above) was a bit better since it boiled the song down to it’s essence. I’ve learned to really appreciate this song more as time has gone by as the guitar work by Rutherford was really top-notch. The other element I love is the little mysterious synth parts that haunt your subconscious when you least expect it.
I also latched onto the political message when Carrack sang “Pledge allegiance to the flag, whatever flag they offer” though I’m not totally sure what the overall message was other than maybe esoteric paranoia. While they’d have bigger hits in “All I Need Is A Miracle” and “The Living Years” this was Mike & the Mechanics at their peak.