Top 10 Mike + The Mechanics Songs

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Our list of the top 10 songs by Mike + The Mechanics takes a look at some of the most popular songs the band have released over their 20+ year career. Long known for his work in Genesis, Mike Rutherford formed his own solo band Mike + The Mechanics in the 1980s, as many of his Genesis bandmates were also celebrating solo projects and careers.

Top 10 Mike + The Mechanics Songs

#10 – Quiet Operation

We open our Mike + The Mechanics song list with the sensational song “Silent Running”. The song was released on the band’s debut album titled Mike + The Mechanics. The album was released in 1985. Mike Rutherford co-wrote this song with his longtime musical collaborator, Scottish artist BA Robertson. Rutherford explained that the song is ultimately about time travel. The grandfather in this tale is able to peer into the future and warn his family that things are not going well in England. He tries to contact his loved ones to let them know that they need to be prepared for the impending calamity. This is why there is a sentence that says: “Can you hear me; can you hear me calling you?

Lyrically, the phrase “Silent Running” does not appear; rather, it is a reference to the narrative structure in which the father continually asks the boy if he can hear him running. The song’s subtitle, “On Dangerous Ground”, was added to promote the film of the same name. However, most of that effort was wasted, as the film was released in the US as Choke Canyon (On Dangerous Ground was the UK title). Unfortunately, the film’s box office performance was not matched by the song’s success. No explanation was given for closed captioning for US listeners.

#9 – All the Light I Need

Continuing with our Mike + The Mechanics song list, we present the great song “All The Light I Need”. The song was released on the album M6. The album was released in 1999. It was the third single released from the albums and the only one not to enter the music charts. Paul Carrack sings lead vocals on the song.

#8 – Save My Soul

The lead vocals on this version of the Mike + The Mechanics recording were Andrew Roachford (“Cuddly Toy (Feel for Me)”) and Tim Howar. In “Save My Soul”, Roachford sings the lead, he seeks a higher power or a cause to dedicate his life to. Many biblical allusions and a redemptive message are woven into this song. The song begins with “I have traveled south to wash away my sins”.

The song was co-written by Roachford, chief mechanic Mike Rutherford and Rutherford’s longtime friend and music producer Fraser T. Smith, who has also worked with Rick Wakeman, Craig David, Britney Spears, Lily Allen and a plethora of other artists.

#7 – Always listen to your heart

In the seventh place of our list of the 10 best songs of Mike + The Mechanics is the very beautiful song “Always Listen To Your Heart”. The song was released in 1999. At the beginning, several electric guitars are distorted and the song progresses slowly with ordinary drums. Listen to your heart, be honest and show strength in every life; This advice may seem obvious, but Paul Young plays the role of an ancient sage who made mistakes and learned from them in order to impart wisdom to the younger generation. Paul Young’s vocals layer over and over to accompany the chorus.

#6 – Let Me Fly

While many of Mike Rutherford’s compositions have an ominous tone, his song “Let Me Fly” is upbeat and upbeat. The message, he asserts, is “In other words, don’t feel bad about anything. Try it if you are curious. Mike + The Mechanics’ eighth studio album, and second featuring the Andrew Roachford and Tim Howar combination, is titled Self-Titled. Roachford, whose single “Cuddly Toy (Feel For Me)” was a hit in the UK, provided lead vocals here.

This song was co-written by Johnny Hates Jazz vocalist Clark Datchler and Rutherford and Roachford. “Shattered Dreams” was a huge hit for them, and he wrote it. Just like on Mike + The Mechanics’ massive hit “The Living Years”, this one also incorporates a choir. Their lineup includes Cherrice Kirton, Godfrey Gayle, Joy Malcolm, Priscilla Jones, Subrina McCalla and Xavier Barnett.

#5 – Open up

As Paul Carrack’s vocals kick in, the song transforms from quiet synth beats and gritty guitar tones into a melodic pop melody. Don’t be afraid to let your partner know how you feel; Paul Carrack also asks for another opportunity in their relationship. Maybe a breakup hasn’t happened yet, but by keeping silent and not sharing your feelings, one is continually misunderstood and seen as unreliable.

#4 – No one knows

Mike Rutherford, the band’s frontman and lyricist, and Christopher Neil, the album’s co-producer, penned this heartfelt song. In the song, the protagonist dissects his love after it ends. What kills it is the time and effort they both put into their marriage. A verse at the end of the song, “It kills just knowing your children won’t be mine,” is particularly poignant. Paul Carrack, one half of the Paul Carrack and Paul Young singing duo, was the lead singer here. The album’s title track was also sung by Carrack.

#3 – Over My Shoulder

One of Mike + The Mechanics’ biggest UK hits is “Over My Shoulder”, which was written by the band’s frontman, Mike Rutherford, and the song’s lead singer, Paul Carrack. The song’s protagonist reflects on his relationship with his ex-girlfriend.

#2 – All I need is a miracle

Mike Rutherford, who is best known for his work with Genesis, is the “Mike” of Mike + the Mechanics. In addition to Genesis, each member has pursued other endeavors; The solo careers of Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins received the most attention, while Mike Rutherford’s Mike + the Mechanics enjoyed great success, with their 1988 single “The Living Years” becoming a top ten hit.

Mike Rutherford once said, “If you write a great song, you want a fantastic voice, and that voice isn’t me.” This was his justification for not contributing vocals to the group. This song and three others on the CD feature Paul Young, formerly of the Sad Cafe (not to be confused with the Paul Young who performed “Every Time You Go Away”). Paul Carrack, of Squeeze and solo fame, contributed vocals to three additional tracks.

Young died in 2000, aged 53. Mike Rutherford (guitar, bass) and Christopher Neil (record producer) wrote this song for Mike + the Mechanics’ debut album. The song’s protagonist abused his girlfriend and now desperately wants her back. The upbeat beat challenges the sad subject matter of the song, creating an example of linguistic dissonance.

#1 – The Years of Life

We close our list of the top 10 Mike + The Mechanics songs with the band’s heartbreaking son “The Living Years.” The song was composed by Mike Rutherford and BA Robertson. As Robertson and Rutherford had experienced the loss of their fathers, the song is deeply personal to them. Several drafts of the song were created. Before his father died in 1986, BA Robertson wrote the first verse. Rutherford’s father also died that year. With this verse as inspiration, the two worked together to write the music, and then some time later Robertson wrote the second verse. He didn’t finish writing the last verse of the song until just before it was recorded.

Top 10 Mike + The Mechanics Songs Articles Posted on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022

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Grace D. Erickson