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You Broke My Heart In Seventeen Places

Tracey Ullman

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Album Review

Although comic actress Tracey Ullman is these days entirely dismissive of her early-'80s sideline career as a chart-topping pop singer, that's an unfair assessment. There is nothing much of lasting import on Ullman's 1983 debut, You Broke My Heart in 17 Places, but it's kitschy pop fluff at its best. The twin highlights are the title track and "They Don't Know," both written by the indescribably talented Kirsty MacColl. (Indeed, Ullman's "They Don't Know" is merely the backing track of MacColl's original 1979 single with Ullman's voice on top, with MacColl's Spector-like multiply-overdubbed harmonies actually mixed higher than Ullman's lead vocal. That's MacColl singing the climactic "BAY-bee!," too.) However, the other tracks, almost all covers of '60s and '70s pop classics, are pretty terrific as well. Jackie DeShannon's "Breakway," Doris Day's "Move Over Darling," and Blondie's brilliant new wave torch song "I'm Always Touched by Your Presence Dear" are great songs given good to great readings, and even the lesser material, like Reunion's horrid "Life Is a Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me)," is delivered with a nod and a wink that makes it palatable. This is highly recommended to bubblegum fans. [The 2007 reissue includes five bonus tracks made up of extended versions and b-sides.]


Born: 30 December 1959 in Buckinghamshire, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Before she became a famous TV comedienne, Tracy Ullman recorded two albums in the early '80s that effortlessly recalled the classic girl group sound of the '60s. Ullman covered everything from Doris Day ("Move Over Darling") to Blondie ("[I'm Always Touched by Your] Presence, Dear"), finding the underlying connections between classic pop songs of all eras. You Broke My Heart in 17 Places, her debut album, was a hit in the U.K., and she even managed to have a Top Ten hit in America with a version...
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You Broke My Heart In Seventeen Places, Tracey Ullman
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