Song / The Harder I Try
Brother Beyond / The Harder I Try
In 1988, top British producers Stock Aitken & Waterman auctioned off their services for the Young Variety Club of Great Britain charity. Label EMI won the auction, and British boyband Brother Beyond was selected by Pete Waterman to be produced by the trio. The group had met Waterman previously and the producer liked the band.
Brother Beyond was by then a struggling pop act, with their first four singles only making the lower reaches of the UK top 75 singles chart. EMI saw this as their much-needed breakthrough and agreed with Waterman on producing the group.
The resulting song, "The Harder I Try", had a distinctive Motown-esque sound, and sampled the drum intro to The Isley Brothers' "This Old Heart of Mine". When released in July 1988, it became an instant success, peaking at #2 in the UK for two weeks, becoming the band's best-selling single. The song was kept off from the top spot by Yazz's "The Only Way Is Up" in the first week and by Phil Collins' "A Groovy Kind of Love" on the second week. The single topped the Irish charts and was mildly successful when released worldwide.
As a result, to the group's success with the song, EMI asked the producers to write and produce another track for the band, resulting in the song "He Ain't No Competition", a song that again featured a Motown sound. It was released as the band's next single and it became another big hit for the group, peaking at #6.
Brother Beyond's album Get Even had by the time of the release of the single already been released in Japan. It was repackaged for its release in the rest of the world, including the two Stock Aitken & Waterman-produced tracks, and omitting two of the band's self-penned songs from the original release. This version was released in November 1988, and the album was also a top 10 hit.