Happy Birthday, Annie Lennox! Here Are Her 20 Greatest Songs

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“Look at this freak on MTV!” Those were the words my sister screamed to me one balmy morning during the summer of 1983. I was in the kitchen picking the Crunch Berries out of the Cap’n Crunch box for my usual Sugar Saturday breakfast, but if there’s one thing that could get me running, it was the promise of Freaks On MTV.

I rushed in, and what I saw began a love affair that’s … going on 30 years. It was, of course, “Sweet Dreams” by The Eurythmics, and the freak in question was Annie Lennox.

Obsessive chart watcher that I am, I followed the rise of “Sweet Dreams” On The Billboard Hot 100, as it took an agonizingly long 17 weeks to reach #1, where it replaced “Every Breath You Take.”

They were no one hit wonders though, and for the next half decade, we could count on a new Eurythmics album every year. They took on different styles, sounds, and for Annie, looks, but they made some of the greatest pop music of the decade, and when they decided to part after 1989′s We Too Are One, it meant the end of an (MTV) era.

Annie didn’t go away, however. She came roaring back as a solo artist, releasing Diva in 1992, which would get a Grammy nod for Album Of The Year, and become the biggest selling album of her career. She continues to release solo albums (albeit extremely sporadically) and she and Dave Stewart have reunited occasionally as Eurythmics.

Annie’s 59th birthday is on Christmas Day, so let’s spread a little cheer by counting down her greatest songs, both solo, and with Eurythmics. (sorry, I know it’s appropriate for today, but “Put A Little Love In Your Heart” just missed the cut)

20. Love Song For A Vampire

Year Of Release: 1992
Hot 100 Peak: N/A

Annie’s contribution to Francis Ford Coppola‘s adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula was fragile and distant and would have been right at home on the Diva album (and in fact it was the B side of that album’s third single “Little Bird.”)

19. Sex Crime

Year Of Release: 1984
Hot 100 Peak: #81

1984′s Touch was the highest charting Eurythmics album, and yielded three top forty hits. At the same time Touch was riding the charts, they released the “side project” 1984 (For The Love Of Big Brother) which was the soundtrack for Michael Radford‘s version of the Orwell classic. Radford reportedly hated the music, however, and two versions of the film were released, one with Eurythmics music, and one with an orchestral score. The first single “Sex Crime” was released in November of 1984, and would herald the end of the Touch sound from Eurythmics.

18. Beethoven (I Love To Listen To)

Year Of Release: 1987
Hot 100 Peak: N/A

The 1987 concept album Savage was the lowest charting and selling release from Dave and Annie, and was torn apart by critics. Coincidentally, not only is it my favorite Eurythmics album, I think it’s one of the most brilliant albums of the 80′s. Annie’s “Diary of A Mad Housewife” journey throughout the album was spellbinding, and the opening track “Beethoven (I Love To Listen To)” kicks things off spectacularly.

17. A Thousand Beautiful Things

Year Of Release: 2003
Hot 100 Peak: N/A

Annie released Bare, her first studio album in eight years, in 2003, and it debuted at #4, becoming the highest charting album of her career. The opening track is a gorgeous, sparse, and delicate ballad that ranks with the best songs of her solo songbook.

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