Formed in 1989 in the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire, EMF is an alternative band that is probably best known in the UK for their smash hit debut single, “Unbelievable”. The band produced three studio albums between 1989 and 1997 before splitting up. However, the band has since reformed three times and has been a going concern since 2012. Founder member Ian Dench is a songwriter with considerable success outside of EMF. For example, he wrote the duet “Beautiful Liar” in 2007, which was recorded by Beyoncé and Shakira. He also contributed to “Bedroom Hymns” for Florence and the Machine, a track that featured on their Ceremonials album.
EMF's early years and breakthrough
All the members of EMF were already active on the local music scene close to their base in Cinderford. By October 1989, Derry Brownson had left his band, Flowerdrum, to join Zac Foley, Mark Decloedt, James Atkin and DJ Milf as EMF. Dench, a former member of Apple Mosaic, was soon added to the line-up. The following year, the group toured the UK as a support act for the then up-and-coming Stereo MCs.
On the back of the tour, EMF released their first single. “Unbelievable” went to number three in the UK charts. It was also a top 10 hit in the Netherlands, Ireland, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Germany and Switzerland. However, these remarkable successes pale when compared to the reception of the song in the United States. It was a hit there in 1991 and sold over 500,000 copies.
Having entered the public's consciousness, EMF released their debut LP to much anticipation. The resulting work was called Schubert Dip. It reached a high of number three in the UK album charts. Other than “Unbelievable”, it spawned three other singles, notably “I Believe”, which was a top 10 hit. In 1992, the band unleashed an EP named Unexplained.
The following studio album was called Stigma, which got to number 19 in the UK, but failed to make a big impact in the US. The group's third album came out in 1995, entitled Cha Cha Cha, which was a moderate hit. However, in that year, EMF got into the top 10 once more with a cover version of “I'm a Believer”, written by Neil Diamond and a hit for the US band, The Monkees. It featured the comedians Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer.
EMF split up in 1997 but reformed in 2001 and then again in 2007. After a further hiatus, the band got back together in 2012 to take part in some summer festivals. The group has been performing regularly since then.
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