The Associates were a Synthpop band from Dundee, Scotland that included the gifted vocalist Billy MacKenzie and his musical partner Alan Rankine. They enjoyed Top 20 success in the UK with tracks from their second real studio album Sulk in 1982 but Rankine left the band in the same year. (In between their first and second album was a compilation of singles and B- sides).
It took three more years for the third album, Perhaps to be released. This album was essentially a Billy MacKenzie solo album with hired musicians and although at this point it was all over, Mackenzie’s incredible voice still thrilled. It was Bowie-esque, Walker-esque but had special qualities all of its own, distinctive, soaring then sensitive and always captivating.
Breakfast was the third unsuccessful single from Perhaps. Too much time had elapsed since the band’s last hit, Rankine had gone and MacKenzie had to re-record Perhaps from scratch as the record company were unhappy with his first attempt. Three years went by, the budget exploded and three singles in a row had failed to break the Top 40 despite major record company support. Although Breakfast was a wonderful song, exquisitely sung with European piano of moody interludes – it was exactly what the public didn’t want at the time.
Suffering from clinical depression and grieving the loss of his mother the previous year, Billy Mackenzie committed suicide in 1997 – he was just 39 years old. A tragic loss to the world of music but the power and beauty of his voice lives on forever.