All Asians born from the late 1970s to the early 1990s know almost all of their hit songs. While Sri Lanka as an insignificant isle in terms of the mainstream music industry does not witness concerts of many top notch musicians, we are indeed privileged to have these Danish guys rocking Colombo for the second time.
Michael Learns to Rock, was formed as a foursome in 1988 composed of Jascha Richter, Mikkel Lentz, Kåre Wanscher and Søren Madsen. They have now sold over 11 million records worldwide for a career spanning for almost thirty years. They are extremely famous in Asia, mostly due to their subdued clean image and also because their love songs are very pure with little or no hint of sexual innuendo.
Although the quality of their songs was on a level of those boy bands of the nineties, they never made ground in the two big music markets – US and UK. However, their popularity in Asia and Scandinavia is undeniable as they are overplayed on radio stations, television music shows and in any sort of lounge atmosphere. Theirs is a very pop/soft rock sound with any hardly fast paced beats or rhythms.
Their eponymous debut album was released in 1991 and peaked at No.1 in the home country. This album contained their signature hit The Actor which peaked at number one in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines.
Their second album Colours released in 1993 contained another two hits – Sleeping Child and 25 Minutes. Their third album Played on Pepper was released in 1995 which contained their second No.1 hit, That’s Why (You Go Away) and a somewhat fast paced pop rock single Someday.
In 1996 the band released their first edition of their greatest hits titled Paint My Love – Greatest Hits wherein the title song Paint My Love, became their greatest love song. The song composed by lead singer Jascha Richter was initially written in Danish – Kun med dig – as the Danish entry for the Eurovision Song Contest of 1996 sung by Dorthe Andersen and Martin Loft. However, it was one of seven entries voted off in a pre-contest semifinal. This led the band to release the English version in their album.
The band took to the studio again and released their fourth album Nothing To Lose in 1997 which contained the hits Breaking My Heart, I’m Gonna Be Around and Something You Should Know.
In 1999, the band rebranded themselves with the simple acronym MLTR and released another compilation album under the same name. This album contained their hit Strange Foreign Beauty. In a process undertaken by MLTR for the first time, the song was made by compiling the best details from recordings of ideas made individually by the four members. This album included their previous hits, either remixed or refined in some way by notable international producers. This greatest hits album went to the top of the Danish sales charts (the second MLTR album after their first album to do so), as well in Sweden and Portugal, and logged sales of nearly a million copies.
In 2000, Søren Madsen left the band and the remaining members decided to continue as a trio and released Blue Night which was also moderately successful and produced hits such as You Took My Heart Away, Angel Eyes and the title track. In 2001, they released another compilation album titled 19 Love Ballads with all their best singles and an original single titled The Ghost of You.
In 2004, the band released their sixth studio album which was another eponymous album. This album produced hits such as Frostbite and Take Me To Your Heart. Take Me To Your Heart was one of the most downloaded songs in Asia that year exceeding 6 million downloads alone and this memorable ballad proved to be their last hit single worldwide.
After 2004, the band went on to release two more studio albums Eternity in 2008 and Scandinavia in 2012. Thereafter, the band celebrated their 25th anniversary in 2014 with the release of a compilation album 25: The Complete Singles wherein two original singles Silent Times and Call on Love were released. In 2016, they released an Extended Play titled With Love which produced the singles We Shared The Night and Dream Girl.
Although I have covered in this review almost all the songs that were hits for the band, here are some of the other songs which are worth listening to:
· How many hours
· Anyway you want it
· We shared the night
· More than a friend
· Nothing to lose
· Sweetest surprise
Till the next review...