In an interview with the now-defunct Kicking It Old School Blog, T’Pau’s Carol Decker explained the genesis of the song that would become Heart and Soul. It all began when her bandmate and then-boyfriend Ron Rogers purchased a new keyboard with a built-in synthesizer:
“He was just trying to get used to the gizmos in it and while messing around with the sequencer he started the ‘bum bum buh buh bum bum bum’ of the bass riff. T’PauI started to sing a melody over it, the wafty vocal and came up with ‘more than an ocean keeps us apart.’ … The lyrics were about when I went on holiday with my parents and Ronnie couldn’t come. I missed him so much, but then I morphed the story into a fictitious one of not being loved back (which I was) … The rap was the idea of Andy Piercy, our then producer. He said the gaps needed filling, so I started these syncopated sort of nonsense noises. I then turned those noises into words which took about a week to get right.”
The song reached #4 in both the U.S. and the UK Charts. In the UK, it became a hit after it was used in a clothing advertisement while, in America, its success was largely credited to the above music video, which was put into heavy rotation on MTV.
The song is best known for its vocal layering, with Decker’s melody lines coming in over the rap. Stylistically, the video’s is similarly layered, resulting in a perfect synthesis of audio and visual.
Heart and Soul is song that epitomizes an era. Personally, I have fond memories of fleeing from the Liberty City police while listening to it.
And yes, T’Pau was named after a Vulcan who appeared on an episode of Star Trek. Before Decker saw that episode of Star Trek, the band was called Talking America.