NEM #37: Nik Kershaw: Follow the Melody

Nik KershawNik had some huge hits in the ’80s (e.g., “Wouldn’t It Be Good” from 1984’s Human Racing) and has been described by Elton John as “the best songwriter of a generation.”

We discuss “These Tears” from his most recent album EI8GT (2012), “Lost” from You’ve Got to Laugh (2006), and the acoustic re-recording of 1984’s “The Riddle” for No Frills (2010). Closing song: “Men United,” recorded in 2016 for Prostate Cancer UK’s A Gift for Men United.

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Here’s the full ’80s video for “Wouldn’t It Be Good,” and here’s Nik explaining “The Riddle” and commenting on its goofy video. Here’s the song “Old Friend” that Nik wrote and sang on (and played all instruments) for Elton John’s Duets album. Here’s another tune from No Frills particularly relevant to today’s politics.

Listen to Nik on the Sodajerker on Songwriting podcast, which dwells more on his “hit” period and on the period in the ’90s where he was just writing for other artists. Nik referred to the groove in Peter Gabriel’s “Growing Up”; if you don’t know it, check it out. Here’s Mark’s band playing “Wouldn’t It Be Good” live in 2016; you can follow us on Facebook.

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  1. As a curiosity, there are at least two major radio stations in Sweden (with a strong 80’s focus) that play “The Riddle” a few times a day. As much as I like that song, when I’m stuck in a car and “The Riddle” comes on, I scramble to change the station. I was delighted to hear the acoustic version, to hear the song as if for the first time. And this business of fitting unusual chords to an existing melody might be worth a try.


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