Of all things, it took a Family Guy episode to remind me of how dope Terence Trent D’Arby was. Hearing the familiar instrumental sing-songy refrain of Wishing Well, I was immediately possessed by the urge to pop in Introducing the Hardline According to Terence Trent D’Arby and groove to some of the Eighties’ best pop/soul.

For a second, it seemed like D’Arby was destined for world domination. His raspy voice drew comparisons to the soul greats of old, he had killer dance moves to rival Prince and Michael Jackson, and he had this cool British air about him-never mind the fact that he was American. Introducing the Hardline went Platinum, Wishing Well hit #1, D’Arby delivered a knockout performance on the 1988 Grammys, and then won one for himself a year later.

You know how Kanye West’s mouth is big? Well, TTD was the Kanye West of his day, making outlandish pronouncements and dripping in pretension. That pretension turned out to be his downfall, as his second album, Neither Nor Flesh, was a resounding flop despite tons of promotion-most of which came from D’Arby himself. Stretching himself topically and artistically (the album’s actually quite good), Flesh went way over the heads of the teenage girls who bought the Wishing Well single, and suddenly D’Arby was a nobody again.

Those of you who thought D’Arby’s story ended there, though, would be wrong. He made two albums in the Nineties (Symphony or Damn, which is decent, and Vibrator, which is excellent) although neither made much noise. After severing ties with his label in the late Nineties, he moved to Europe, settling in Germany and then Italy. His last commercially released album was 2003’s TTD’s Wildcard, but he continues to make music and releases it now through his website. Oh yeah, and Terence Trent D’Arby is no longer Terence Trent D’Arby. In 2001, he legally changed his name to Sananda Maitreya.

While he might be seen as a one-album wonder to most casual music fans, TTD’s music is some of the most challenging and eclectic pop/soul/rock of its’ time. From 1989’s Billy Don’t Fall (a song on which TTD supported a gay friend) to 1995’s Undeniably (which contains one of Branford Marsalis’s most batshit-crazy solos), he’s continually pushed the artistic envelope. Too bad most music fans didn’t hang around to see that Terence Trent D’Arby is almost as good as he thinks he is.