Wish me love a wishing well to kiss and tell / a wishing well of butterfly tears / Wish me love a wishing well to kiss and tell / A wishing well of crocodile tears, sings Terence Trent D’Arby on the 1987 synth-soul hit, “Wishing Well.”
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The song was an international chart-topper for R&B vocalist Terence Trent D’Arby, who rose to fame in the late 1980s with his hit-filled debut album, Introducing the Hardline According to Terence Trent D’Arby. It was a release that arrived on a lofty promise, one that set the virtually unknown artist on the trajectory for stardom.
Terence Trent D’Arby Then
Terence Trent D’Arby—born Terence Trent Howard—was stationed near Frankfurt, West Germany, serving in the U.S. Army, when his music career began. While overseas in the early 1980s, he fronted a funk band called The Touch.
After his time in the military, he left Germany for London. There, he received a recording contract, releasing his debut single “If You Let Me Stay,” in 1987. The song became an immediate success in the UK, charting in the Top 10 upon its release. Introducing the Hardline According to Terence Trent d’Arby would follow shortly after and see a similar reception on the charts.
D’Arby’s success across the pond in his home country would not come until later when the album’s second single, “Wishing Well,” climbed to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. News of the singer, however, arrived on U.S. shores before his hit did when he claimed in an interview that his album was better than the Beatles’ acclaimed 1967 release, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
He later asserted that he had only been exaggerating, stating, “The thing is, you get an image—as I have in England—and people get to where they can only see the image. That’s what made me not want to do any more interviews. People miss the nuances—like the ‘genius’ thing. I was joking. I was making fun of the image I had built up . . . the whole arrogance thing. . . .”
The album was no Sgt. Pepper’s, but it did amass him a number of accolades at the close of the 1980s, including the 1989 Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Performance.
Throughout the ’90s, D’Arby attempted to release a follow-up album as hit-worthy as his debut—dropping Neither Fish nor Flesh, Symphony or Damn, and Vibrator—but his efforts all met the same fate towards the bottom of the charts.
Terence Trent D’Arby Now
By the 2000s, Terence Trent D’Arby no longer existed with Sananda Maitreya taking the artist’s place. He had changed his name, saying “Terence Trent D’Arby was dead. He watched his suffering as he died a noble death. After intense pain, I meditated for a new spirit, a new will, a new identity.”
Maitreya has released around a dozen albums in the last two decades and continues to record and release music today.
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