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.