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Music / The Outfield

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L-to-R: Alan Jackman, Tony Lewis, and John Spinks.
Josie's on a vacation far away
Come around and talk it over
So many things that I wanna say
You know I like my girls a little bit older
I just wanna use your love tonight!
I don't wanna lose your love tonight!
— "Your Love"

The Outfield was a British rock band formed in London in 1984. For most of its life, its lineup consisted of bassist and lead singer Tony Lewis, guitarist John Spinks, and drummer Alan Jackman. The three previously formed a band of a similar style known as "Sirius B" during the late '70s, but their sound was largely overshadowed by the popularity of Punk Rock during that time. When they got back together, the band was initially known as "The Baseball Boys", but later changed their name at their manager's insistence.

Their style mostly is straightforward power pop and pop rock, but with some elements of New Wave Music, and to a much lesser extent, Jangle Pop and Police and Men at Work-styled Reggae rock. They are most well-known for their song "Your Love" (not "I Don't Wanna Lose Your Love", which is actually a different song by Crystal Gayle), which reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100. They're often mistakenly seen as a One-Hit Wonder, as this is the only song of theirs that still plays on the radio, but they actually had many hits during the '80s in the U.S., despite being obscure in the UK, which was the result of them being marketed more towards an American audience because of their "American-sounding" genre (Their mixture of New Wave Music and Power Pop had previously been done by the American Cars). A few of their other hit songs include "All the Love in the World", "Since You've Been Gone", "Voices of Babylon", and "For You".

Unsurprisingly from this overseas success, and as you can tell by both of their names, John Spinks, who was the principal songwriter for most of their songs, preferred American sports such as baseball as well as American football (without even really being familiar with the sport, being British), and even referred to soccer (which is known as "football" in most places that are not America, Canada, or Australia) with that exact term.

The band's popularity declined in the early 1990s, and they eventually returned to their roots playing in British pubs, though they continued to release albums periodically. They officially broke up after John Spinks died in 2014. Tony Lewis continued to write solo music until his own death on 19 October 2020.

Studio discography:

  • Play Deep (1985)
  • Bangin' (1987)
  • Voices of Babylon (1989)
  • Diamond Days (1990)
  • Rockeye (1992)
  • It Ain't Over (1998) (Fan-club exclusive)
  • Extra Innings (1999)
  • Any Time Now (2006) (Initially released in 2004 through Tower Records and on the band's website before a wide release from Sidewinder Records)
  • Replay (2011)
  • The Baseball Boys: Early Demos and Rare Tracks (2020)
  • Final Innings (2021)

"I don't wanna lose your tropes tonight":

  • Author Appeal: Both of the band's names, as well as a few of their album titles are baseball references, despite the band not knowing much about baseball due to being British.
    • The band's original name, "The Baseball Boys" was actually specifically inspired by The Warriors. The band's manager convinced them it was corny, so they changed it.
  • Jangle Pop: Their music doesn't fully fall into this genre, being more pop rock than Alternative Rock, but their Power Pop songs still have elements of this genre, with a guitar style similar to that of R.E.M..
  • Lead Bassist: Downplayed with Tony Lewis, who was the lead singer and bass guitarist, but didn't write many of the songs, which were mostly written by John Spinks. Though he did co-write "Taken by Surprise" and "Stranger in My Own Town".
  • Lyrical Dissonance:
    • "Your Love" is about a man cheating on his girlfriend because he feels alone, but the upbeat tone makes it feel like a straightforward Silly Love Song or Intercourse with You song.
    • "Moving Target" likewise is above never living a Noodle Incident down, but it sounds as upbeat as many of their other songs.
  • Never Accepted in His Hometown:
    • A real-life example with the band's success. They never had a hit in their native Britain, but had quite a few hits in the U.S. The fact that "Your Love" is the only song of theirs that still receives radio airplay doesn't help.
    • Averted with "Stranger in My Own Town", which is actually not what the title refers to; the narrator is lamenting about how horrible his home town has become.
  • New Wave Music: Their style was primarily Power Pop and Pop Rock, but their music also has elements of New Wave.
  • Noodle Incident: The above-mentioned "Moving Target" doesn't describe what the narrator did or what happened to him.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: "Moving Target". Though it's unclear what actually happened, but the narrator fears this trope. The lyric "I don't wanna spend the rest of my time hiding when I know I'm right" hints that whatever it is isn't even true.
  • Power Pop
  • Reggae Rock: Like the above-mentioned Jangle Pop, The Outfield's music definitely doesn't fully fall into this genre, but their guitar style (most noticeably on "Moving Target") does take cues from the variety performed by The Police and Men at Work, to the point where quite a few of their songs have been mistaken for songs by The Police. It doesn't help that both Tony Lewis and Sting were both Lead Bassists. (And for the record, The Outfield has covered "Message In A Bottle" live).
  • Repurposed Pop Song: "Winning It All", the opening track from 1992's Rockeye album, would be used by NBC for the close of the last game of the NBA Finals from 1992 to 1996, as well as the closing credits of the first Mighty Ducks movie; also from 1992.
  • Rock Trio: Featuring John Spinks on guitar, Tony Lewis on bass and lead vocals, and Alan Jackman on drums. Strangely, the music video for "Your Love" prominently features additional musicians (including blind keyboardist Reg Webb) who played on the song but were never official band members.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The band's original name ("The Baseball Boys") was inspired by the Baseball Furies gang from The Warriors.
    • "John Lennon". One guess for who the song's about.
  • Silly Love Songs: Many of their songs are this.
  • Step Up to the Microphone: A few of their songs have John Spinks doing the main vocals instead of Lewis, like "Jane" and "Under a Stone".
  • That Syncing Feeling: A Real Life example, for some reason, they lip-synced a lot during their prime, and videos of them doing actual live performances are rare. Their actual live performances are mostly on their live albums.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: While the band has never confirmed the meaning of the song, the lyrics to "Your Love" is about the POV character and Josie's partner having feelings for each other and addressing the issue while Josie's away. The lyrics strongly imply that the POV character proposes an affair and she turns him down after thinking it over.
  • Wretched Hive: "Stranger in My Own Town" is about the singer's hometown becoming this. It's implied he was a WWII veteran and that they had to protect it from invasion during that time.