Song Of The Week: “Wishing Well” by Terence Trent D’Arby

terence trent darby wishing wellIt’s probably not a good idea to claim your debut album is better than The Beatles.

The ancient Greeks called that kind of boastful attitude “hubris.” And it’s exactly that kind of talk which led the gods of old to laugh heartily at puny, prideful mortals before changing them into a donkey, or a fern.

Terence Trent D’Arby came out of the blue in 1987 with Introducing The Hardline According To Terence Trent D’Arby. The album immediately grabbed everyone’s attention with its mix of cutting edge and classic R&B. D’Arby brought a soulful rasp and a sweet falsetto and began drawing comparisons to Prince and Stevie Wonder.

Terence Trent D'Arby coverThe first single from the album stiffed, but the second, titled “Wishing Well,” began a tenacious climb up the Hot 100 during the winter and spring of 1988, finally reaching #1 by knocking Whitney Houston off the top of the chart.

Darby’s sophomore album, though still a hit in the UK, tanked in the US, partially due to a backlash from his egotistical comments. He later said he was just trying to build up a rock star myth and create some buzz, but the damage had already been done. In the early 00s he pulled a Cat Stevens and changed his name to Sananda Maitreya after a period of intense meditation. He still makes albums fairly frequently that few know about, but will always be remembered for “Wishing Well,” his one glorious peak before the gods shook their heads and turned him into a fern.

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