Yazoo (known as Yaz in North America) were an English synth-pop duo from Basildon, Essex, consisting of former Depeche Mode member Vince Clarke (keyboards) and Alison Moyet (vocals). The duo formed in late 1981 after Clarke responded to an advertisement Moyet placed in a British music magazine, although the pair had known each other since their schooldays.
Over the next 18 months the duo released two albums, Upstairs at Eric's and You and Me Both, which received critical acclaim for their production, particularly the blending of Clarke's synthesizer melodies with Moyet's blues- and soul-influenced vocals.
Yazoo enjoyed worldwide success, particularly in their home country, where three of their four singles reached the top three of the UK Singles Chart and both their albums made the top two of the UK Albums Chart. In North America, they are known for the song "Situation", which, though originally only a B-side in the United Kingdom, was a club and airplay success in the United States and Canada before being released as the band's debut single in North America.
Despite their success, the duo split acrimoniously in May 1983 as a result of a combination of Clarke's reluctance to make more records under the Yazoo name, a clash of personalities, and a lack of communication between the pair.
Clarke went on to form Erasure, another successful and longer-lasting synth-pop duo, while Moyet embarked on a highly successful solo career. Although their musical career was short, Yazoo's combination of electronic instrumentation and soulful female vocals has been cited as an influence on the house music scene that emerged in the mid-1980s, as well as on bands such as LCD Soundsystem (who name-checked the duo on their debut single "Losing My Edge"), Hercules and Love Affair (whose leader Andy Butler has said that "Situation" was his biggest musical inspiration as a child), La Roux, Shiny Toy Guns and Blaqk Audio.
In 2008, 25 years after splitting, Clarke and Moyet reconciled and reformed Yazoo to play a successful tour of the UK, Europe and North America in support of the reissue of Yazoo's two studio albums and a box set of their material titled In Your Room. The pair briefly reunited in May 2011 to play three Yazoo songs at a music festival organised by their record label.
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