“Breakin’ Down The Walls of Heartache” is now seen as a Northern Soul classic, standing the test of time. It was written and produced by Denny Randell and Sandy Linzer. Both had a track record of writing hit songs together and independently during the 1960’s and 70’s. They were responsible for amongst others, “Native New Yorker” by Odyssey and Get Dancin’ by Disco Tex and the Sex-O-Letts both in my record collection.
Formed in the US during 1967 Artie Fullilove, Billy Bradley, Terry Lewis and lead singer Johnny Johnson were billed as The Bandwagon. After a short career at Direction Records the group disbanded in 1969, however, Johnny Johnson was given star billing as he carried on using the group name with a variety of vocalists thus becoming known as Johnny Johnson and The Bandwagon. In the UK he had two top ten hits in the early 1970’s when moving to Bell Records. Success was found mainly in the UK.
When released this single reached the top ten in the UK peaking at #4 in a run of 15 weeks on the chart and over the years has been covered by several artists. It’s become a favourite with soul clubs and featured on a variety of Northern Soul compilation CD/Albums.
This particular single was found in Birmingham’s best used vinyl record store “The Diskery”. The copy is well-worn and scratchy in places but very playable. It was bought just before I went to a Northern Soul night in November 2014. The B side “Dancin’ Master” is very easy on the ear.
Johnny Johnson has retired from the music business after suffering from ill-health for several years.