Freeez were a British group that were active from 1979 to 1985. "I.O.U." was their biggest hit, reaching No.2 in the UK on 17th July 1983, where it remained for three weeks, being cruelly held off the No.1 spot by Paul Young's "Wherever I Lay My Hat (That's My Home)".
If someone were to ask me to show them a music video that truly represented the 1980s, then it would have to be this one. It has just about everything; BMX bikes, a huge ghettoblaster, body popping, cyclops shades and a keytar. It makes you realise what a very cool time this was to be growing up as a teenager.
The single entered the UK singles chart at No.44 on 12th June 1983, and spent an impressive 8 weeks inside the top 10.
The single was also a major hit in several other countries, reaching No.2 on the Dutch Top 40, and No.3 on the Australian Kent Music Report chart - this became the Australian Kent Music Report in 1987.
The UK single was released on 7 inch and 12 inch vinyl (on the Beggars Banquet label), and a remix was released on CD in 1987 which reached No.23. The song was taken from the group's second album Gonna Get You, which reached No.46 in the UK album Charts. This was rather disappointing when compared to the debut album Southern Freeez, which had reached No.17. The title track became the band's first hit single, reaching No.8 in 1981.
The 12" single featured the "I.O.U." megamix on side A (remixed by John "Jellybean" Benitez and John Robie), with the tracks "I Dub U" and We Got Jazz" on Side B.
Freeez were formed by John Rocca, and started out as a jazz-funk band, with Rocca writing and producing all of the songs himself. They achieved success with four Top 40 singles in the UK between 1981 and 1985, which were "Southern Freeez" (#8), "Flying High" (#35), "IOU" (#2), "Pop Goes My Love" / "Scratch Goes My Dub (#26). "IOU" (Remix) reached #23 in 1987 after the group had disbanded.
The lyrics obviously refer to all the vowels in the chorus, "A E A E I O U, I sometimes cry". The song itself is refers to a man being made feel second best when his girlfriend is with friends, as in the line "But when we're out with friends, I see a change, You treat me bad, I feel like second best". The underlying message is "I owe you (IOU) so much".