Quotes in the text are taken from the biography material written in 2000, published on the Mudhut website.
© Sam Brown and Paola de Paola for the album cover.
© Sam Brown/A&M for the music (excerpt).
© Per A.J. Andersson for the text. Written July 2002, slightly updated November 2011.
You may have heard "Stop!", her international hit single from 1988. It reached number one in five countries, and her debut album sold 2.5 million copies. Commercially, her career started off from the top. But despite various setbacks, Sam Brown has continued with her well-crafted and personal pop. Her third album was no exception...
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One of Britain's best voices was more or less born into the trade (in 1964). Joe Brown (father) has been an all-round entertainer since the 60s, and Vicki Brown (mother) became a successful vocalist, singing in different bands for a long time, later releasing her own albums. Sam followed suit, doing background vocals from the age of twelve. Small Faces and Pink Floyd were two of the groups involved.
Through energetic demoing of her own, very varied music she eventually got a recording contract with A&M, and the debut album was a smashing success. The marketing of her as the peroxide blonde with an astonishing voice also put her in the focus of attention. Further proving the musical talent in the family, Sam's brother Pete produced the record, and her foster brother Richard Newman played the drums!
But the determined singer-songwriter was a tough act to handle for the record company. Following the reduced sales of Sam's second album, A&M demanded a hit song for her next release. Sam Brown thought otherwise, as she had made this as a concept album, dealing with the strong feelings of loss she felt having lost her mother to cancer. After a long legal battle, Sam won the rights to the recording tapes and released them on her own company in 1993.
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"My mum died in June 1991. While she was ill I started writing 43 Minutes, and the main lesson I learnt was a record's no use to anybody unless you believe in what you're doing. All I want to do is sit down and write songs at the piano, not thinking about copying Stop and having hits, which everyone wanted me to do at the time," Sam says.
"43 minutes... of music... for you..." was the full title. The album featured a more down-to-earth artist than ever before. It was sparsely orchestrated, in part with only Sam on piano as the only accompaniment to her intense vocals, and this suited the subject matter extremely well.
The cover for the UK release (and the later Australian one) was appropriate for the style and feeling of the album. The drawing of Sam's with an empty room were complete with the words designating the window as the divider between the "inside world" and the "outside world". Appropriately, the opening song of the set carried the title "Come into My World".
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This very personal project is also many a Sam Brown fan's favourite (including this writer). It is throughout a very harmonious production, despite its general theme. The totality of the 12 songs - one walking into another - bring forward a power and amount of strong feelings that has few or no equivalents in the music business.
"43 Minutes is the first album that really represents me," Sam says. "It's not directly about my mother's death, but it is a whole piece and very fierce. Pete produced it and I basically said, 'Don't change anything, this is how it is.' It really homed in on what I thought, What death chucks up at you. So many people go through that experience and you're not supposed to talk about it. Well, how the fuck are you supposed to deal with it if you can't talk about it?"
Sam talked about it, and she came out of the mourning a stronger person. The album she made while mourning also has that rare quality. //