If any song had the male half of the world at its feet it must have been Judie Tzuke and Mike Paxman’s 1979 torcher Stay With Me Till Dawn.

It had the street cred of being on Elton John’s Rocket Records label but more importantly it was sung by the sultry and sexy (and blonde) Tzuke in the same “this one is just for you” manner that anyone who has ever been convinced that their favourite performer really is looking straight at them and only them during a concert.

Yes, alright “sultry,” “sexy” and “blonde” are terribly sexist and non pc in a day and age when we should all concentrate on the quality of the song and not the dateable and (further down the fantasy road) beddable quality of the singer – but in 1979 hearing and seeing Tzuke deliver:

“But I need you tonight
(Need you tonight)
Yes, I need you tonight
(Need you tonight)
And I’ll show you a sunset
If you’ll stay with me till dawn”
meant the world to any hot blooded, sickeningly shy and acne ridden teenage male.

With three appearances on Top of the Pops on 12 July, 26 July and 9 August 1979 to promote a song which peaked at number 16 and only actually stayed in the charts for 10 weeks something had obviously also been spotted by tv moguls.

Whilst the lyrics more than hint at something deeper than chatter (“Is this a game you’re playin’?
I don’t understand what’s goin’ on
I can’t see through your frown
First you’re up
Then you’re down
You’re keepin’ me from someone
I want to know”) Tzuke has insisted the song is about a good friend of hers with whom she often used to stay up till dawn chatting.
So how does that explain: “Is this a game you’re playin’?
Playin’ with my heart
(Need you tonight)
Ooh, stop playin’ with my heart
(Need you tonight)
And I’ll show you a sunset
If you’ll stay with me till dawn.”
Still, if she says it’s just a friendly chat it would be rude to argue.

Judie Tzuke didn’t materialize from nowhere. She was born Judie Myers on 3 April 1956. Her family had relocated from Poland to England in the 1920s, and changed their surname from Tzuke to Myers. Her mother, Jean Silverside, was a television actress who appeared in The Rise and Fall of Reginald Perrin, The Marty Feldman Show and The Goodies, and her father, Sefton Myers, was a successful property developer who also managed artists and singers — most notably Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice during the writing of Jesus Christ Superstar.

When she embarked on her singing career, she decided to reclaim the family’s Jewish-Polish name as her stage name. Educated in the visual and performing arts (and music), she performed in folk clubs from the age of 15. Her meeting with Mike Paxman in 1975 was a turning point and they began to collaborate. Under the name Tzuke & Paxo, they eventually secured a recording contract and the duo released a single, These Are the Laws produced by Tony Visconti for his Good Earth label.

Her solo career began in 1977, when she signed to Elton John’s label after meeting David Croker from Rocket and playing him a few songs including Stay With Me Till Dawn. The pair proceeded to spend around six months or so recording her début album at Air Studios in London and Stay With Me Till Dawn’s John Punter-produced parent album Welcome to the Cruise.
Her first single on the Rocket label, For You, was released in 1978 – and bombed.

In fact her only notable singles success was Stay With Me Till Dawn in 1979. The song became a Top 20 hit in the UK in the summer and a Top 10 hit in Australia and was featured on Tzuke’s 1979 debut album, Welcome to the Cruise, which was also a Top 20 hit.
In 2002, the song was ranked 39 in a Radio 2 poll of the 50 Best British Songs 1952–2002. It was also sampled by Scottish dance musician Mylo in the song Need You Tonite on his 2004 album Destroy Rock & Roll.

On the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, the single peaked at 47, spending 6 weeks on the chart. It also peaked at number one on the Bubbling Under the Hot 100 chart. After Stay With Me her four subsequent UK releases failed to peak higher than number 92 on the UK Singles Chart, rendering her a one-hit wonder.

Judie’s daughter, Bailey Tzuke is a British singer/songwriter whose vocals were featured on the Freemasons cover of the Alanis Morissette track Uninvited, which reached number 8 in the UK charts in 2007.

Plans for the 40th anniversary of Welcome To the Cruise and planned tour have been postponed until early 2020. Tzuke has begun working in 2019 on a new album with the working title of The Wolf Moon Sessions.

WRITERS: Judie Tzuke & Mike Paxman
PRODUCER: John Punter
GENRE: Easy Listening
ARTIST: Judie Tzuke
LABEL Rocket Records
RELEASED 15 June 1979
COVERS Wicked Beat Sound System