Anglo For Your Ear: Sweet Sensation’s “Sad Sweet Dreamer” and Marcel King’s “Reach For Love”

One of my fave Brit bloggers is Marcello Carlin, writer of the brilliant music blog, The Church of Me. He has another blog, The Blue in the Air, and there, he alerts us to a little-known classic, “Reach For Love” by British soul singer Marcel King.

King was the young lead singer for a British ’70s soul band modeled after The Jackson Five. They were called Sweet Sensation and were best-known for 1974 hit, “Sad Sweet Dreamer.” They faded into obscurity in the late ’70s and eventually split up. However, in 1984, Marcel King released an unexpected solo single, “Reach For Love” on Tony Wilson‘s Factory Records. Carlin writes:

Produced by Bernard Sumner, it received enthusiastic, if slightly baffled, notices in the music press but sold minimally, even though it filled the floor of the Haçienda regularly; to this day [Happy Mondays lead singer] Shaun Ryder regards it as the best record Factory ever released…

Listening to “Reach For Love” now, it seems like a pop single just slightly out of its time – it should have been a huge hit, but Factory’s legendarily crap distribution and marketing facilities militated against that, as did lack of radio play. There is also the question of whether “Reach For Love” was slightly too intense a song and performance to become that huge a hit.

Well, you be the judge. Below I’ve posted the videos for “Sad Sweet Dreamer” (mislabeled as Sweet Sensations) and “Reach For Love.” The “Reach For Love” clip isn’t an offical video; it’s just an homage from a YouTube user who’s really into analog technology. No matter; the song is great. (FYI: Marcel King tragically died in 1995 of a brain hemorrhage at age 38.)

Sweet Sensation – “Sad Sweet Dreamer”

Marcel King – “Reach For Love”

Kevin Wicks

Kevin Wicks founded BBCAmerica.com's Anglophenia blog back in 2005 and has been translating British culture for an American audience ever since. While not British himself - he was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri - he once received inordinate hospitality in London for sharing the name of a dead but beloved EastEnders character. His Anglophilia stems from a high school love of Morrissey, whom he calls his "gateway drug" into British culture.

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