Erasure () are an English synthpop duo, consisting of songwriter and keyboardist Vince Clarke and singer and songwriter Andy Bell. They entered the music scene in 1985 with their debut single "Who Needs Love Like That". Following the release of their fourth single "Sometimes", the duo established itself on the UK Singles Chart and became one of the most successful artists of the mid-to-late 1980s and early 1990s.
From 1986 to 1997, Erasure achieved 24 consecutive Top 20 hits in the UK, while only having 3 Top 20 hits in the US (on the Billboard Hot 100): "A Little Respect", "Chains of Love" and "Always". By 2009, 34 of their 45 singles & EPs (of which 8 out of the 45 were not chart eligible in the UK) had made the UK Top 40, with 17 climbing into the Top 10.
The duo are most popular in their native UK and mainland Europe (especially Germany, Denmark and Sweden) and also in South America (especially in Argentina, Chile and Peru). To date, Erasure have sold over 25 million albums worldwide.
The band is also popular within the LGBT community for whom the openly gay singer Andy Bell has become a gay icon.
HistoryVince Clarke was a founding member of Depeche Mode and sole writer of their first three singles (including the breakthrough Top 10 hit "Just Can't Get Enough"). After leaving the band in late 1981, Clarke forged an equally successful career with the duo Yazoo (known as Yaz in the U.S.).
After two hit albums in as many years (1982-1983), he split with Yazoo partner Alison Moyet and briefly formed The Assembly with producer Eric Radcliffe. The project spawned a UK number four hit single, "Never Never," featuring Feargal Sharkey on vocals. Clarke then released another single with vocalist Paul Quinn, "One Day." It flopped, leading Clarke to place an advertisement in Melody Maker looking for a vocalist for a new musical project. He selected Peterborough-born Andy Bell.
The origins of the band's name are unclear. One possible explanation is that in 1985, a Mute Records technician is believed to have accidentally written "erasure" on a demo tape for "Who Needs Love Like That" submitted by Clarke and Bell. At the time, the duo still hadn't chosen a name for themselves, and when they rescued the tape, they decided upon Erasure.
Beginnings and international success: 1985-1994
Erasure's first three singles were commercial failures in the UK, although the third, "Oh L'amour", charted well in Australia and a few European countries (especially in France, where it still remains Erasure's only hit to date,and Germany where it was a Top 16 success). Their debut album, Wonderland, was mostly recorded in 1985 and released in June 1986. Although it only made the UK Top 75, it made a sizeable impact in Germany, making the Top 20.
It was with the release of their fourth single, "Sometimes", that Erasure finally received recognition in the UK in late 1986. The song peaked at number two in the UK and Germany and spent many weeks in the UK Top 40, marking the beginning of a long string of major hits for the duo.
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