Erasure (/əˈreɪʒər/) are an English synth-pop duo formed in London in 1985, consisting of lead vocalist and songwriter Andy Bell with songwriter, producer and keyboardist Vince Clarke, previously known as co-founder of the band Depeche Mode and a member of synth-pop duo Yazoo. From their fourth single, "Sometimes" (1986), Erasure established themselves on the UK Singles Chart, becoming one of the most successful acts of the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s. From 1986 to 2007, the pair achieved 24 consecutive top-40 entries in the UK singles chart. By 2009, 34 of their 37 chart-eligible singles and EPs had made the UK top 40, including 17 climbing into the top 10. At the 1989 Brit Awards, Erasure won the Brit Award for Best British Group.
Erasure made their debut with the studio album Wonderland in 1986, however it did not perform well chart-wise. With their second release The Circus the following year in 1987 came major success, the album skyrocketing to a UK number 6 and spawning four top-20 singles. Their third studio album, The Innocents released in 1988, was rendered a number one and was followed the same year by the Christmas EP Crackers International peaking at number 2. The Innocents set the scene as being the first in a string of albums to place in the top spot, with their next five long-form releases also reaching the pole position of the UK Albums Chart: the albums Wild! (1989) and the Mercury Prize nominated Chorus (1991), the ABBA tribute EP Abba-esque (1992), the compilation Pop! The First 20 Hits (1992), then the studio album I Say I Say I Say (1994).
Erasure's best-known songs are mainly from albums of this period and include "Oh L'amour", "Sometimes", "Victim of Love", "The Circus", "Ship of Fools", "Chains of Love", "A Little Respect", "Stop!", "Drama!", "Blue Savannah", "Star", "Chorus", "Love to Hate You", "Breath of Life", "Always" and "Run to the Sun". Erasure's commercial success began to fade from 1995, with the atmospheric self-titled studio album Erasure which, despite being a critical success, confused its audience. The mixed reception of the following studio album, Cowboy (1997), confirmed a career decline in Erasure's popularity until the studio album Loveboat (2000), which went almost unnoticed.
In the mid-2000s, however, the duo have managed to make a commercial comeback in some European countries and in the United States, notably thanks to their cover album Other People's Songs (2003), followed by the studio album Nightbird (2005), which won back fans. This return to favour gave the band their last two commercially successful singles: "Solsbury Hill" (2003) (a Peter Gabriel cover) and "Breathe" (2005). In the late 2000s, Erasure began briefly a new commercial decline with the acoustic album Union Street (2006) followed by Light at the End of the World (2007), Tomorrow's World (2011), and the Christmas album Snow Globe (2013). Erasure returned to the top 20 album charts with the following studio albums The Violet Flame (2014), World Be Gone (2017) and The Neon (2020). Despite the singles from this decade not managing to reach the charts, however, a solid international fanbase enables Erasure to maintain its activity through touring and online sales, as well as the royalties attached to the catalogue of their past successful records.
Achieving mainstream success at home in the UK, Erasure also has a strong following abroad, especially in some European countries—mainly in Ireland, Germany, Austria, Denmark and Sweden. Surprisingly, Erasure has a broad audience in some South American countries, especially in Argentina, Chile and Peru. In the US, Erasure had three successful singles: "Chains of Love" (1988) at number 12, their biggest chart placing ever in that country, "A Little Respect" (1988) at number 14, and "Always" (1994) at number 20. In Russia, as well as in the former Soviet bloc countries, Erasure is mostly known for the sole song "Love to Hate You" (1991). In France, "Oh L'amour" (1986) was the band's only successful single, peaking at number 14 in the singles top 50 of that country, followed by "Sometimes" (1986) that underperformed at a low number 39 (in February 1987) and still remains to this day Erasure's last entry in the French singles chart.
Overall in their career, Erasure have written over 200 songs and have sold over 28 million albums worldwide.
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