#18: Run Home Girl by Sad Cafe

City: Fredericton, NB
Radio Station: CIHI
Peak Month: February 1979
Peak Position in Fredericton: #12
Peak position in Vancouver ~ did not chart
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #71
YouTube: “Run Home Girl
Lyrics: “Run Home Girl

Sad Café formed in 1976 in Manchester, UK. Lead singer Paul Young was born in greater Manchester in 1947. When he was just 16-years-old, Paul Young joined The Toggery Five. They opened concerts for Freddie and the Dreamers, and the Hollies. The Toggery Five were offered a song titled “I’m Alive” and had it recorded. But the Hollies quickly recorded the song and got it released two weeks before The Toggery Five. “I’m Alive” became a number-one hit for the Hollies and The Toggery Five missed out on a hit record. Later Paul Young formed Gyro in the mid-70s. Sad Café emerged as am amalgamation with a progressive rock band called Mandalaband. From Mandalaband came Vic Emerson on keyboards, Ashley Mulford on guitar, Tony Cresswell on drums, and John Stimpson on bass guitar. Another member of Sad Café was guitar player Ian Wilson. The band took their name from the Southern Gothic novel by Carson McCullers titled The Ballad of the Sad Café.

Vic Emerson was born in Greater Manchester in 1949. At age four, he had his first piano lessons. In the early 1960s, he bought a Hammond organ, and later became a cinema organist in Stockport after he left school. In the 1960s, Emerson worked on the cabaret circuit, playing keyboards, then became a session musician at Camel Studios. It was at Camel Studios Emerson met fellow session musicians Cresswell, Mulford and Stimpson.

In 1977, the band released their debut album Fanx Ta-Ra. Several tracks from the album were minor hits. In 1978 the band released Misplaced Ideals. From the album came the single “Run Home Girl”.

Run Home Girl by Sad Cafe

Ian Wilson and Paul Young wrote “Run Home Girl”. It’s a song about a woman who has made a miscalculation about things. Something is missing in her life. She recognizes it is a love connection with someone back “home” and he wants her to “come home.” “Something that you thought you had has gone. And somehow things will never be the same.” The remedy is to go back home and surrender to the lure of what is calling to her.

“Run Home Girl” climbed to #8 in Seattle, #12 in Fredericton, NB, and #13 in Salt Lake City.

In 1979, Tony Cresswell left the band and was replaced on drums by Dave Irving. That year Sad Café released their third studio album titled Facades. With one of the album tracks they had a #3 hit in the UK titled “Every Day Hurts”. Emerson wrote the song and Paul Young provided lead vocals. On the strength of “Every Day Hurts”, Sad Café went on a North American tour with concert dates that included stops in Montreal and Vancouver. A second Top 20 hit in the UK from the album was “My Oh My”.

A fourth studio album was self-titled, and included a second single to chart in the USA titled “La-Di-Da” climbing to #78. The single stalled at #41 in the UK. A followup single from Sad Café  was “I’m In Love Again”. It reached #40 on the UK singles chart, but didn’t crack the Billboard Hot 100. In 1981 the band released Live in Concert. Their final charting single in the UK was “Keep Us Together” in 1983, which appeared on their 1985 album Politics of Existing. 

Though Sad Café continued to record and perform in concert until 1990, the band went through some changes. Stimpson left the band in 1980.

Paul Young continued to be the lead vocalist for Sad Café. Simultaneously, he became a member of Mike and the Mechanics in the mid-80s. Young was the lead singer on Mike and the Mechanics Top Ten hits “Silent Running”, “All I Need Is A Miracle” and “The Living Years”. The latter was a number-one hit in Australia, Canada, Ireland, Japan, and the USA. “The Living Years” also made the Top Ten in Norway, Sweden and the UK. In 2000, at the age of 53 Paul Young died of a heart attack.

In 1981, Vic Emerson became a member of 10cc. He toured with the band and played on the albums Ten Out of 10, and Windows in the Jungle. At the same time, Emerson remained with Sad Café until 1984.

Ashley Mulford left Sad Café in 1981, and moved to Toronto where he joined the rock band Champion. From 1986 to 1990, Mulford was back in the Sad Café lineup. He later returned from 2012 to 2014. Dave Irving was also back with the band from 2012 to 2019.

Ian Wilson was the only original member of the band to remain a constant in the lineup, until he retired in 2022.

Vic Emerson moved to Paris in the late 1980s. He died in 2018 at the age of 69 in Paris, France, of pancreatic cancer.

John Stimpson died in 2021.

The bands last album released on a record label was in 2015, a live album on Edsel Records titled Access All Areas. In 2019, the band self-released Live In Wolverhampton on an MP3.

Sad Café continues to perform with an ever-evolving lineup in 2024.

January 12, 2024
Ray McGinnis

Guy Mowbray, “Obituary: Vic Emerson,” Guardian, November 8, 2018.
Dave Laing, “Paul Young: Singer who made Manchester rock,” Guardian, July 19, 2000.
Richard Oliff, “Ian Wilson (Sad Café) Interview,” mixcloud.com, October 8, 2012.

Run Home Girl by Sad Cafe

CIHI 1260-AM | Top 15 | Fredericton (NB) | February 23, 1979

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