Happy Anniversary: Book of Love, Book of Love

Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Happy Anniversary: Book of Love, Book of Love

29 years ago today, the band Book of Love made a whole lot of synthpop fans feel so good when they released their self-titled debut album on Sire Records.

Formed in Philadelphia, Book of Love featured Susan Ottaviano on vocals, backed by a trio of keyboardists / backing vocalists: Jade Lee, Ted Ottaviano, and Lauren Roselli, with Lee chiming in on acoustic and electronic percussion and Ottaviano offering a bit of piano, melodica, and - wait for it - tubular bells. The band got a big boost in profile when they secured the sweet gig of opening for Depeche Mode in 1985, so you can imagine that there were plenty of folks who were giddy at the thought of hearing Book of Love's first full-length effort when it finally arrived on record store shelves the following year. What's more impressive, though, is the fact that they secured the opening slot without even having an album. That came about the band found success with their first single, “Boy,” which hit #7 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart, and ended up attending the same party as the DM boys. The next thing you know, they're opening for the Mode on the Some Great Reward tour.

Post-tour, Book of Love went back into the studio, recording a few more songs, including their second single, “I Touch Roses,” which was released in September 1985, giving them their second top-10 hit on the Hot Dance Club Play chart. Right around the time of its release, they finally went into the studio to finish the remainder of the material which would ultimately make up their debut album, and once Book of Love was in stores, they found themselves touring with Depeche Mode yet again, after which they started on their own club tour.

Given how much exposure the band had received in advance of their debut album's release, it's kind of shocking that it never managed to hit the Billboard Top 200, but it didn't. Not that that's stopped it from being seen as a dance pop masterpiece. In fact, that's the exact phrase music writer David Medsker used in his review of the album's reissue, calling it “one of the most iconic dance albums of all time” and further noting that “there isn't a bum track in the bunch, and Ivan Ivan's production has held up remarkably well, clearly a product of '80s technology but sounding nothing like the club acts that Book of Love rubbed shoulders with at the time.”

Has it really been 29 years? It has indeed, but if you give Book of Love a spin today, you'll find the years melting away as you make a mad dash back onto the dancefloor.