Song of the Day: The Blue Nile “A Walk Across The Rooftops”
Obscure Scottish band, The Blue Nile (named for the classic book about East Africa by Alan Moorehead) are best known for two things: their beautiful, synth-driven ballads and the soaring, poetic delivery of singer Paul Buchanan. The band’s debut single, “A Walk Across The Rooftops” is an absolutely gorgeous ballad that underlines all of the things that the band does well. Despite the deeply heartfelt lyrics, the gestation of the song was an interesting one. Per allmusic.com:
Scotland’s Linn Electronics wanted a demo track to demonstrate the fidelity and versatility of their new recording console and tapped a struggling local trio, the Blue Nile, to provide it. Their effort was a deliberately disjunctive song called “A Walk Across the Rooftops.” To demonstrate the recording equipment’s dynamic range and clarity, the song was arranged most peculiarly, with vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, drums, and full string and horn sections all appearing, but never at the same time. Linn liked the song so much that they formed a record label and bankrolled the recording of this full album.
It is curious to think of such personal sounding and romantic music as having its roots in a marketing demonstration disc for recording equipment. That said, Linn absolutely hit gold by tapping The Blue Nile. The band have demonstrated that they were no one trick pony either. There first LP, A Walk Across The Rooftops, goes from strength to strength and is only bettered by their gorgeous sophomore LP, Hats, which became an underground staple.
The band are still around and kicking. They have recorded a total of 4 full lengths and seem to reappear every decade or so to make another album. They remain one of the best kept secrets in underground pop music.