Does Rock ‘N’ Roll Kill Braincells?! – Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart

In Does Rock ‘N’ Roll Kill Braincells?!, we quiz an artist on their own career to see how much they can remember – and find out if the booze, loud music and/or tour sweeties has knocked the knowledge out of them. This week: the Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart takes the ultimate test!

Which Los Angeles indie band covered ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)’ for their 2019-released ‘The Teal Album’?

“That’s a leftfield question! [Laughs] There’s so many people who have covered ‘Sweet Dreams…’ that I’m cycling through them now…No, I don’t know the answer.”

WRONG. It was Weezer.

“‘Sweet Dreams…’ is like ‘Happy Birthday’. It’s everywhere I go. If it’s not playing out a speaker, someone comes up and goes: ‘Ey, aren’t you the guy from Eurythmics?’ and starts singing it at me!”

Which comedian played you in a ‘90s Rock Profile sketch as a mad scientist who had created a Frankenstein-style Eurythmics bandmate Annie Lennox out of ‘the mind of a professor, the body of an athlete, the hands of a sculptor, and the arse of an old man who worked down the bingo?”

“Erm… I’m going to be shit at this!”

WRONG. It was Matt Lucas.

“I’ve never seen it. I’ll have to watch it on YouTube. I’m not doing very well so far!”

Speaking of sewn-together body parts, didn’t you and Lou Reed once have to persuade the artist Damien Hirst out of hacking off his hands?

“He wanted to have his hands chopped off and then stitched back on by a surgeon in Mexico, while filming it as an art piece. He seemed dead-serious but myself and Lou Reed were trying to convince him: ‘No, this isn’t a good idea. This could go badly!’ [Laughs]. That was when we were all reasonably inebriated in The Village in New York. Thank god he didn’t do it!”

Which three characters from The Simpsons perform a version of Eurythmics’ (featuring Aretha Franklin) 1985 hit ‘Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves’ on their 1998 ‘The Yellow Album’?

“I don’t know!”

WRONG. It was Lisa Simpson alongside Patty and Selma Bouvier (Marge Simpson’s chain-smoking sisters), accompanied by soft-rockers Heart.

“I actually wrote songs for [the 2007] The Simpsons Movie, and recorded them with the cast.

[Dave gets out his phone and plays them]

Here’s one called ‘Alaska’ which was meant to accompany a scene about them moving to Alaska, where they’re in a bar and everybody joins in. I also wrote a great song called ‘Springfield Saturday Night’, which the cast loved singing [but was also unused]”

Apparently when Aretha Franklin first read the lyrics to ‘Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves’, she mistakenly assumed she was recording a lesbian anthem with Annie Lennox

“I was alone with her in a little room, which was amazing because she was playing piano and singing Gladys Knight’s ‘The Way We Were’ at the top of her voice. Then she started going through the lyrics of ‘Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves’ and got to the lyric ‘ringing on their own bells’ , and she asked ‘Does it mean…?’ with a wink, and I said: ‘No, no. It can be interpreted any way you want, but that’s not really the message. To put your mind at rest, I lived with Annie. We used to be a couple.’ In the middle of recording, George Clinton came down from upstairs because he’d heard her through the ceiling and thought: ‘Fucking hell, what’s going on here?!’”


You co-wrote Shakespears Sister’s 1992 chart-topper ‘Stay’. What country was its video banned from and for what bizarre reason?

“I didn’t know it was banned. Italy?”

WRONG. It was Germany. According to Shakespears Sister member (and your ex-wife) Siobhan Fahey, they “said it was sacrilege because we were raising the dead.”

“That was weird because it was a massive hit in Germany as well!* Annie [Lennox] and I had a number of our songs banned as well, including ‘Sexcrime (Nineteen Eighty-Four)‘ in America. Nobody knew I’d co-written ‘Stay’ at the time because I used the pseudonym Jean Guiot. I remember being pleased at its success, whereas Siobhan was getting a bit fed up with it being ‘Stay’, ‘Stay’, ‘Stay’. Hits are like that.”

*’Stay’ reached Number 3 in the German charts.

Can you name your three backing singers and their pseudonyms when you performed your solo single ‘Happy to Be Here’, as well as a Eurythmics medley, on Channel 4’s TFI Friday in 1998?

Kylie Minogue, Sinéad O’Connor, and Natalie Imbruglia – and we used the name A Tramp, A Drunk and An Unfit Mother.”


“I’m one of those people who couldn’t care less what people thought of my records. At the time, on purpose my hair was dyed white, and I was wearing big goggly glasses, with the most terrible unmatched clothes I could find. I don’t know how Kylie, Sinéad, and Natalie agreed to be my backing singers, but we had a great time. Brian Eno was also on the keyboard in the shadows. ‘Happy to Be Here’ was bonkers and nonsensical, and on top of that you’ve those three in wigs. We didn’t tell anybody beforehand, so when we started, the audience was looking confused thinking: ‘Huh?’”

You later produced the late Sinéad O’Connor’s 2000 ‘Faith and Courage’ album…

“I’ve got so many great films of Sinéad howling and crying with laugher and joking and larking around. She had a brilliant sense of humour and there was that side of her. There was another side where she’d had such terrible trauma when she was a kid and she would sometimes find it very hard to get rid of it and would get very paranoid. That only happened twice with me – when she was worried about someone outside or something like that. But normally we’d just fall about laughing. She came on holiday with me, stayed in my house, and we had great fun.”

Will those videos ever see the light of day?

“I started transferring them over onto my phone, so I now have an archive where I can type say, ‘Sinéad’ into my phone and millions of footage with her comes up.

Dave demonstrates on his phone…

“See: here’s Sinéad, Kylie and Natalie getting ready to go on TFI Friday [He shows footage of the three of them laughing and joking backstage and adjusting their wigs]. And if I type ‘Shakira’ in, here’s us larking about in Jamaica. I’m trying to think of a context to make the clips into a film which isn’t just behind-the-scenes for the sake of it. I made a trailer called The Art of Chaos which starts with me and Lou Reed in the a basement of a New York club. While we were drunk, we decided to play a little club and ring up a radio station and tell them. Then we got there and realised we didn’t have any instruments. So The Art of Chaos starts with us there and Lou Reed turning round and going: ‘And Dave, who has manifested chaos, is now filming it!’ And then it goes into the film.”

“The one tape I still want to find is when Terry Hall and I were recreating The Shining together down a corridor! [Laughs] We filmed loads of different stuff together that had nothing to do with the music we were making.”

You composed the film score for the 1995 camp cult classic film Showgirls. How many Golden Raspberry Awards did it win that year?

“No idea. I just know that it still seems to be on everywhere at midnight!”

WRONG. The film was the winner of a then-record seven Razzies, from a still-record 13 nominations. 

The film’s director, Paul Verhoeven, garbled to me over the phone about how Prince was doing the music, but they couldn’t do the deal, and now he has all his dancers rehearsing. He offered me a quarter of a million dollars to do some music so they could carry on rehearsals. When he arrived at my flat, I hadn’t seen a script and didn’t know anything about the film. Paul – a Dutchman nearing 60 – started dancing around the room saying: ‘So it goes like this… and then music’s like a volcano!’ And I’m like: ‘Yeah, but what is it? What’s it about?’ So I gave him some tempos and beats while I worked out what the hell it was about. When working together, one day he came in and raged at my 60-piece orchestra, shouting that ‘There should be 100 people in an orchestra!’, before storming out. So I went a clothing shop, got dressed as a woman and when he returned, I grabbed hold of him and started dancing around with him. That made him realise the ridiculousness of it! [Laughs]”

Talking of movies: Colonel Tom Parker, who was played by Tom Hanks in the 2022 Elvis film, once wanted to manage you and Annie Lennox. Any chance of a Eurythmics biopic?

“Annie’s always not wanted to do a Eurythmics one, but I could see it being completely surreal, like Almost Famous. I can remember that scene [at the 1984 Grammys]. We were with our manager Gary Kurfirst, who had managed Talking Heads and the Ramones, and Colonel Parker comes up and barks: ‘You got a manager? Get rid of him!’ Annie had dressed as Elvis, so he thought we were a weird Elvis camp electronic act and he said he could get us a Vegas residency! [Laughs]”

When co-producing Daryl Hall’s 1986 album ‘Three Hearts in the Happy Ending Machine’, what did you hallucinate you were choking on?

“A fish bone.”


“It was our first day of recoding. I’d never met him before, so I suggested we drink this psilocybin /magic mushroom tea, but I got the wrong measurement and it was much too strong. We realised within 20 minutes, and had to go to my house and didn’t record anything. The smell of fish soup was wafting strongly from the kitchen, and although I hadn’t eaten any, I hallucinated I had a fish bone stuck in my throat, so I’m lying on my back on the kitchen table and Daryl’s got a torch and he’s looking down my throat, while his bass player T-Bone is protesting: ‘Fucking hell, you’ve not eaten any! I also once ended up in A&E with [co-founder of new wave band the Associates] Billy Mackenzie with a champagne bucket stuck on his head. I was recording him singing and we decided we liked the sound of the champagne bucket upside down on his head, because it was ringing. But when we went outside, it contracted in the cold.”

“I get a lot of work done but have a lot of fun with artists because I’m not looking at the outcome. Although I am worrying about the outcome of this quiz – I’ve barely got any fucking right yet!”


Name any four of your escorts in the video for the Eurythmics’ 1983 single ‘Who’s That Girl?’.

Marilyn and Bananarama.”

CORRECT. Apart from ‘80s pop star and Boy George acolyte Marilyn and all of Bananrama, you could have also had (among others): Bucks Fizz’s Cheryl Baker and Jay Aston, Kiki Dee, Hazel O’Connor, and Kate Garner of Haysi Fantayzee.

You’re touring Eurythmics Songbook: Sweet Dreams 40th Anniversary Tour in November, alongside an all-female band with singers including your daughter Kaya Stewart. Does that mean there’s no chance of you and Annie Lennox reuniting for a tour?

“There’s no chance of Annie touring as she doesn’t like, or want to, tour. Eurythmics are constantly offered tours on a massive scale and Annie just doesn’t want to tour. For his 2019 Meltdown festival, Nile Rodgers asked me to put something together playing Eurythmics songs so I had Emeli Sandé and various people join me, and it gave me the initial idea for the Eurythmics Songbook. Annie gave me her total blessing for that and sent champagne, and a few days ago, she sent me an email saying good luck with the tour. She wants to do one-off things of just a song or two or a photographic exhibition.”

“I have three singers with me all of them go ‘Fucking hell!’ because the songs are very demanding – high and swooping, then sometimes powerful, or delicate. You couldn’t put Eurythmics in a box!”

What band name did you call yourself when you and Bob Geldof played together for an Amnesty gig at the LA Forum in 1986?

“The Brothers Doom.”


“I’m getting into my stride!”

In 2009, what unusual item did you design that retailed for £1,000?

“People were up in arms that people were downloading music for free, so I said OK, I’m going to make a vibrator that you can buy for £1,000 and you get the song for free! [Laughs]”

CORRECT. A diamond-encrusted ‘Little Steel Tonight’ dildo, also containing a download code for your solo song ‘Let’s Do It Again’.

“I got an ergonomics specialist from NASA involved. It wasn’t just a giant big wobbling vibrator. It looked like this very small pen, but he made it very powerful and totally silent. They ended up selling really well!”

The verdict: 5/10

“Oh god! I bet Liam Gallagher would get 10/10!”

‘Eurythmics Songbook: Sweet Dreams 40th Anniversary Tour’ plays Sunderland Empire on November 10 and London Palladium on November 17