#270: Wouldn’t It Be Good by Nik Kershaw
Nicholas David Kershaw was born in 1958 in Bristol, England. His father was a flautist and his mother was an opera singer. Kershaw taught himself to play guitar in 1974 and joined a Deep Purple cover band named Half Pint Hogg. He was part of a number of bands in Ipswich in his late teens and early 20s, including a jazz band called Fusion. But in 1982 he went solo.
In 1983 he released a debut single titled “I Won’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me”. It climbed to #6 in Switzerland, #8 in Norway and #10 in Sweden. It was a track from Kershaw’s album Human Racing. The second single from the album was “Wouldn’t It Be Good”.
“Wouldn’t It Be Good” was written by Nik Kershaw. The song offers a contrast between two people. One has a life where “the grass is greener,” and they “live without a care” and have no problems. They “don’t know when [they’ve] got it good.” While the narrator of the song declares “I got it bad,” and “It’s getting harder just keeping life and soul together I’m sick of fighting.” The dire circumstances of their life cause them to conclude “My broken spirit is frozen to the core. I don’t want to be here no more.”
“Wouldn’t It Be Good” climbed to #1in Yellowknife (NWT) and Ottawa (ON), #3 in Vancouver (BC) and Regina (SK), #5 in Toronto, Winnipeg (MB), and Edmonton (AB), #7 in Hamilton (ON), and #8 in Calgary (AB), and #10 in Seattle. Internationally the song peaked at #1 in Poland, #2 in Ireland and West Germany, #3 in Switzerland, #4 in the UK, #5 in Australia, #10 in Italy, #12 in Austria, #14 in South Africa and #16 in Belgium.
In 1986 Danny Hutton recorded a cover of “Wouldn’t It Be Good” which appeared on the soundtrack for the 1986 film Pretty in Pink. Hutton has been one of the lead vocalists for Three Dog Night.
In August 1984 Nik Kershaw’s “I Won’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” was a Top 40 hit in Toronto. Internationally, the single climbed to #2 in the UK, #3 in Denmark, #4 in Ireland, #6 in the Netherlands and Switzerland, #8 in Norway, #10 in Sweden, #11 in Poland, and #12 in West Germany.
In the spring of 1985 Kershaw’s single “The Riddle” – the title track from The Riddle – climbed to #13 in both Ottawa and Montreal. The single was a substantial international hit peaking at #3 in Ireland and the UK, #4 in Poland, #5 in Norway and Sweden, #6 in New Zealand and Australia, #8 in Belgium and West Germany, #15 in Switzerland, #18 in France and #19 in the Netherlands.
Later in 1985 his single “Wide Boy” peaked at #5 in Ireland, #7 in Australia and #9 in the UK. A final track from The Riddle titled “Don Quixote” made it to #9 in Ireland, and #10 in the UK. In 1985 Kershaw appeared at Wembley Stadium to perform for the Live Aid fundraiser for famine relief in Ethiopia.
In 1986 Nik Kershaw’s hit making ways trended downward. “Nobody Knows” was one of four singles released from his album Radio Musicola. It peaked at #2 in Japan, and #20 in Ireland. The other three releases failed to get much attention.
In 1989 Kershaw released his album The Works. And in 1999 he released the studio album 15 minutes. In an interview in 2014 with the Belfast Telegraph, Nik Kershaw reflected on the shift from being a hit-maker to falling off the radar on the Top 40. “It was quite a slow process actually. You go through a period where it’s not so massive, but that’s alright, because you’re still loving what you’re doing, and then it slowly diminishes. All of a sudden, you haven’t got a record deal, but again, that’s okay, and then you go through a period where people are still asking you for autographs in restaurants, but you’re not really a ‘celebrity’ anymore, and then you become a civilian. You’re not getting people coming up to you at parties and saying, ‘Hello’ – you have to go up to them and say, ‘Hello’. It’s about rediscovering yourself.”
In 2020 Kershaw released his ninth studio album Oxymoron. Though he has at times received critical acclaim for his musical efforts, Nik Kershaw hasn’t had any notable commercial success since his 1986 album Radio Musicola.
August 13, 2021
“How Nik Kershaw Didn’t Let the Sun go Down on his Career,” Belfast Telegraph, May 22, 2014.
“An Interview With Nik Kershaw,” Yorkshire Magazine, UK, 2019.
Christopher Bryant and Bryon Fear, “Interview with Nik Kershaw,” Polari Magazine, August 6, 2012.
For more song reviews visit the Countdown.