King was one of those bands who did well in their native U.K. but never managed to break through in the States. Both of their albums–1984’s Steps In Time and 1985’s Bitter Sweet–broke the top 20 in England but didn’t chart on the other side of the Atlantic. The band’s singles suffered a similar fate: “Love and Pride,” their biggest hit, just missed the top spot in their native country but sunk in America after peaking at number 55.
“The Taste of Your Tears” was the band’s seventh of eight singles. It almost hit the top ten in England but didn’t even make the charts Stateside, which is curious. Eponymous lead singer Paul King was a good looking guy with requisite ’80s mullet, androgynous makeup, and a vibrato rich voice, and drummer Adrian Lillywhite laid down the steady boom bap beat that powered other pop new wave hits of the decade. The track would be right at home on a John Hughes soundtrack or a Talk Talk album:
Perhaps the fact that King fit the pop new wave mold so perfectly is what kept them from breaking out in the U.S. By the mid-80s, record stores were flooded with formulaic post-punk that was neither post nor punk, and while 2019 me may not pass poseur judgement on King, 1985 me certainly did. That’s a shame, because in retrospect “The Taste of Your Tears” is a pretty solid track.
Regardless of whether you love or hate the song this shape disc is pretty cool, and if you find one in your local record store it shouldn’t cost you more than two or three bucks. I dare you to find a diecut photo of a dude with a tambourine and overmanicured eyebrows for less. Happy hunting.