Listen to this storming power-pop hit lost to the mists of time – “Tears On Your Anorak” by lost British-Canadian power-pop act The Drivers. The song was a Canadian hit in 1983 , found on compilation albums and TV commercials. And then, it and the band that created it disappeared without a trace. Or so it seemed. Because I’m some kind of freak, this tune seems to have remained in my memory, only having just found the above clip very recently.
Before then, the chorus would pop up in my head from time to time, kind of hazy with a patina of skinny ties and teased hair kind of floating around the edges. I remember at the time of hearing it that I had no idea what an anorak was. I found out later, upon being a resident of the United Kingdom for a time, that an anorak is what I’d call a winter coat with a hood. It’s also a slang term which loosely means ‘geek’.
In the 80s I just thought it was a cool-sounding word. It didn’t matter what an anorak was. I loved this tune. As far as I knew, the Drivers never had a follow-up hit, and I couldn’t find hide nor hair of who the Drivers were after I’d heard “Tears on Your Anorak” in the early 80s. Until now. And what an unexpected history it is – at least to me. The Drivers were a trio, formed by vocalist Nick Van Eede, a transplanted Brit in Canada. He formed the band with his buddies Steve Boorer (who wrote this song), and Mac Norman, and the group was later signed to RCA Canada, the label probably taking advantage of Canadian anglophilia at the time.
The song was a lead single off of the band’s Short Cuts album in 1983, a top 40 hit. The success of the single led to a North American tour during which Van Eede met Kevin MacMichael who was in the support slot. Their eventual collaboration led to the formation of another band, a group which had considerably more chart success than the short-lived Drivers. That band was the Cutting Crew, who had a couple of smash hits from 1986 onward – “I Just Died in Your Arms Tonight”, “I’ve Been In Love Before”. They put out a few more albums, and then broke up by the early 90s.
As much as I loved “Tears on Your Anorak”, I was never a fan of the Cutting Crew. I find it incredible that the two things are even in the same universe, frankly. But, good luck to them. The band is reformed, minus MacMichael who died in 2002 of lung cancer.
29 thoughts on “The Drivers play “Tears on Your Anorak””
I just love this tune! Thanx for the info. I just came across your post and it made me think about both bands, thanx man!
You’re welcome Chris.
This song has been sitting around in my memory for years. But, true of a lot of Canadian pop, or in this case Canadian-abated pop, it was left in the dust when the next shiny thing came along. We obsess about cultural protectionism in this country of mine, and yet… Nah. That’s another post. Cheers for comments!
Thanks for providing the information. We were discussing one hit wonders in office and I was recalling the Drivers. They had out a video as well I saw them perform in a in a bar in Calgary in 1983.
Very cool – thanx
There was a time when I thought I’d dreamed this tune. 🙂 Thanks for comments!
I was given this record by a music critic friend of mine in the early 80’s & fell in love with it. I use to drum to the whole album & saw the band live at Nags Head North in T.O. I mention this band today to people I know & they don’t know who the hell I’m talking about but freeze frame a portion in my life in the 80’s and this band had meaning.
We have photos of that Drivers show at Nags Head No
rth in 1983!
Wow – thanks for the info – I was a huge fan of the Drivers for there short burst of fame. I did not realize that they were the preamble to The Cutting Crew – Another 80’s band that I enjoyed.
You make reference that they have reformed – where and what – more info please.
It seems that the band reformed in 2006, and (according to their website) played some dates in 2008. But, I can’t seem to locate any 2009 dates. Their site needs an update (and an overhaul).
Glad you found the post useful – and thanks for comments!
I had a cassette of this album — played it to death. I remember seeing the band (and the video for this song) on The New Music. Like you, I’ve never forgotten this song. Like you, never liked Cutting Crew.
Saw the Drivers several times at the Cartoon in Croydon,The Shelley Arms and the Harvester as a group of us loved their music. A brillant set every time. Would be good to see them reform as they were before Cutting Crew and perform Short Cuts.
I suppose it makes sense that they would play the UK (I assume we’re talking the Croydon here of course…). Odd that some of the members were from there, but “Tears on Your Anorak” never charted there. I suppose that sound was over by that time in Britain.
Cheers for the comments!
I’ve looked this up on google countless times. Today I tried and wow!! I found the answer.
I loved this song and never forgot it for some bizarre reason despite never having heard it on the radio since ’83. I recall hearing an interview with the band members on 1050 CHUM when the song was breaking and thought they would go on to be stars. Well, I guess they did if you count the Cutting Crew years (I hate that band too).
The Drivers were the best. Saw them countless times at The Cartoon in Croydon and even loaned Nick my amp one night when his packed up. Cutting Crew were good but they never had the energy of Drivers.
Peter, they were great nights at the Cartoon. The Drivers were a guarantee that it would be packed. It’s ironic that if they had been around today they would have probably succeeded as The Drivers because they had a large fan base that would have followed them online. The Cutting Crew might never have happened.
I seen them many times in Ottawa, Kingston, Renfrew- started the fan club with Dallcorte records until they went bust shortly after. The Driver’s made 4 video’s off short cuts all with same director Rob Quartley( he did videos for Canadian Band, the Spoons). I’ve only seen all 4 a couple of times when local indie Roger’s cable had a video show hosted by CHEZ 106 d.j. Workman John. They were I believe Stolen Treasure, Found You Out and Talk all Night (going from memeory here from 83!). Found you out a personal fav. They were a great little pop trio and its no wonder Nick Vak Eede had major success success with Cutting Crew. he has worked with many artists and is a very
talented guy. STill tours!
There is a facebook page called “I Saw the Drivers” you should join!
I have been looking for this song and information about The Drivers for years and never found anything until now. I remember the video from my teen years and then they just disappeared. I saw Cutting Crew many years ago but didn’t realize the connection. Until today i thought i was the only person on earth who remembered them. Another Canadian group i enjoyed fron that era that no one seems to know was Goddo especially their “if indeed it is lonely at the top WHO CARES its lonely at the bottom too.” which includes their tribute to Carol Pope “Oh carol kiss my whip”. thanks for the info and the memories
Rob, I remember seeing The Drivers play the stadium in Springhill, NS back in the early 80’s. I loved the band live, and also thought that another song from the album should have done well — There’s no Time Like the Right time. Like Rob, I was not a fan of Cutting Crew, and was absolutely shocked when a friend of mine who loved Cutting Crew happened to mention that Nick Van Eede was a member of the group. On another note, I love Goddo too, James, and saw them not too long ago in Belleville. I’m surprised Oh Carol (Kiss my whip) hasn’t received as much attention as “Money For Nothing” has these days, given the new penchant for political correctness in music!!!
Can we just be clear on one thing. Drivers was an English band, not Canadian.
Fair enough. But, they charted here, and were supported here on radio, and not in the UK, hence my Canadian-British tag.
Thanks for comments. 🙂
Canadian record label-Dallcorte records- went bust fast!
Thanks a lot for the additional information, Kathy!
How cool to find this thread! This song has been rattling around in my head for decades. I still play the intro to “Tears On Your Anorak” on guitar… great riff!
I love Talk All Night and Avalanche as well.
Great article Rob. I bought the album Shortcuts back when it was released and put it on the turntable every now and then to have a listen. Brings back fond memories….I was in and still live in Toronto. I played in a band back in the early ’80’s which was more along the lines of a Kingbees sound (remember them?) but not too far off from The Drivers sound. Be well.
Thanks for chiming in, Chris. I do remember The Kingbees, and “My Mistake” in particular.
Wow, Thanks for this, I too saw the The Drivers many many times in the Cartoon in Croydon, and also in a great pub in Sharpethorne in West Sussex. They were an incredibly good band, a real power pop trio, very tight on stage, great rapport with the audience, with great catchy songs, as many others have mentioned, I believe they were better that the Cutting Crew.