Thursday, 14 November 2019

På en gammal bänk - Siw Malmkvist

Although the sleeve of this single simply credits the song 'På en gammal bänk' to Siw, the label clears up the mystery: yes, this is Siw Malmkvist, the Swedish singer who was popular both in Sweden and in Germany. In 1969 she participated in the Eurovision Song Contest with 'Primaballerina', but this single proves that she was still interested in the Contest two years later: 'På en gammal bänk' is a Swedish version of 'Un arbre, un banc, une rue', with which Severine won the Contest that year.

What's more, the B-side, 'Ett Rött Äpple' is a Swedish version of 'Pomme pomme pomme', another Eurovision song from that year. No wonder, then, that this single had to end up in my collection. Even if the sleeve isn't in the best of conditions...

My collection: 7" single no. 6190
Found: Discogs.com, received November 12, 2019
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'På en gammal bänk' / '
Ett Rött Äpple'

Uh jeg ville ønske jeg var dig - Birthe Wilke

Birthe Wilke was born on March 19, 1936. When she was in her teens, she won a talent competition at the National Scala Theatre in Copenhagen, sang as soloist with Bruno Henriksen's Orchestra at Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, made her first recording, and was named "Denmark's Doris Day" and recorded 'Que sera sera' in 1956. She participated in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1957 where she sang 'Skibet skal sejle i nat' ('The ship is leaving tonight') with Gustav Winckler. They ranked third of 10 competitors at the end of the voting, and stunned television audiences with a 13-second long kiss at the end of their performance.

Birthe returned to the Contest two years later with the song 'Uh jeg ville ønske jeg var dig' ('Oh - I wish I were you'). This time, she finished in fifth place. In 1961, she won the award for best singer at the first international song festival in the Gdansk shipyard hall, the forerunner of the Sopot festival and Intervision Song Contest. In 1966 she retired from public life, but made a short-lived return in 1973. In addition to her recording successes, she participated in radio, television, advertising and commercial film.

My collection: 7" single no. 6189
Found: Discogs.com, received November 12, 2019
Cost: 4 euro
Tracks: 'Uh jeg ville ønske jeg var dig' / 'Augustin'

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

The busker - Marty Wilde

Released in 1971, 'The busker' is one of the rarer Marty Wilde singles. Marty continued to release singles in the 1970's, even if he didn't manage to reach the singles charts anymore by himself. By contrast, his song 'I'm a tiger' was a hit for Lulu in 1968 and 'Jesamine' was a worldwide hit for the Casuals in 1969.

Written by Parker and Stirling, 'The busker' was the only Marty Wilde single I was still very much after - although obviously I'll continue to hunt for variations and EP's in the near future.

My collection: 7" single no. 6188
Found: Discogs.com, received November 9, 2019
Cost: 10 pounds
Tracks: 'The busker' / 'It's so unreal'

Sunday, 27 October 2019

Wonderful life - Black / Hai hai - Roger Hodgson

Another Italian promo I acquired recently is this single, featuring a track by Black and one by Roger Hodgson. 'Wonderful life' went on to become a major hit worldwide, whereas ex-Supertramp frontman Hodgson didn't really make an impression with the title track of his second solo album.

'Hai hai' did make the album charts in strange places like Canada, Switzerland and Norway (peaking at number 42, 16 and 20 respectively) but it was released just after Hodgson fell from a loft in his home and broke both wrists, which disabled him from promoting the album. Doctors told him he would never play music again. Within a year and a half, he was playing again. These days, he is still touring, although I understand his Supertramp past is still what attracts the most attendees.

My collection: 7" single no. 5965
Found: Discogs.com, received December 7, 2018
Cost: 5 euro

Tracks: 'Wonderful life' (Black) / 'Hai hai' (Roger Hodgson)

Running up that hill - Kate Bush / Some people - Belouis Some

There's not much to be said about Kate Bush's 'Running up that hill' that hasn't already been said. It's the first of four remarkable singles from a remarkable album - some would say her creative peak (although the previous album 'The dreaming' and 2005's 'Aerial' are not to be missed either!). The single reached number 31 in Italy, and for this Italian promo it was paired with a track by Belouis Some.

Belouis Some's 'Some people' was a hit in Italy, reaching number 34, just one place below its chart peak in the UK.

My collection: 7" single no. 6109
Found: Record fair, Den Haag, June 1, 2019
Cost: 5 euro
Tracks: 'Running up that hill' (Kate Bush) / 'Some people' (Belouis Some)

Babooshka - Kate Bush / Dammelo - Bianca Berg

Two women on this single: one is a woman who has produced excellent music since 1978, the other has only ever released one single. They ended up on this Italian promotional single, because Bianca Berg's 'Dammelo' was released around the same time as Kate Bush's 'Babooshka'.

After the release of 'Dammelo', Bianca Berg faded back into anonymity, and today it's impossible to find information about this Italian singer with her thin voice. Kate Bush, on the other hand, is still going strong. There are even some rumours that there might be a new album in the works for the next decade.

My collection: 7" single no. 5994
Found: Discogs.com, received January 29, 2019
Cost: 5 euro
Tracks: 'Babooshka' (Kate Bush) / 'Dammelo' (Bianca Berg)

Hammer horror - Kate Bush / Una serata in rima - Marras

Another odd pairing on this Italian promo single: Kate Bush and Italian singer Piero Marras. And since Kate Bush is a familiar name on this blog, here is some information about that Italian guy.

He started his musical career in Nuoro, playing in local bands like Jollymen and I Granchi. In 1967 he moved to Cagliari and joined the Nobles, immediately after he founded the Yamaha and later in 1971, he will be a singer keyboardist with the 2001 Group, which is part of the Italian progressive rock scene. The band releases three singles and one album, after which Marras went solo in 1974. 
An initial period of songs in Italian with three LPs released for EMI, was followed by a period of songs in Sardinian with the records Abbardente, Funtanafrisca and Tumbu. Their contents refer to characters and atmospheres of Sardinian culture. In 2000 he was invited to participate in the Christmas Concert in the Vatican before John Paul II.

My collection: 7" single no. 6107
Found: Record fair, Den Haag, June 1, 2019
Cost:  5 euro

Tracks: 'Hammer horror' (Kate Bush) / 'Una serata in rima' (Marras)

Sat in your lap - Kate Bush / Bette Davis Eyes - Kim Carnes

The unlikely pairing of Kate Bush and Kim Carnes is something that can only happen in Italy. For years they released promotional 7" singles with two (potential) hits on them. I recently acquired quite a few of them.

Whether these singles became a hit in Italy is unknown: although the web offers mountains of information, I have yet to find a good source for Italian singles charts data from the past. Suggestions welcome in the comments, of course...

My collection: 7" single no. 6108
Found: Record fair, Den Haag, June 1, 2019
Cost: 5 euro
Tracks: 'Sat in your lap' (Kate Bush) / 'Bette Davis eyes' (Kim Carnes)

Saturday, 5 October 2019

Ik wil me Donaldukkie - Bob Bouber

On August 25, 2019, Bob Bouber passed away. This is probably not a famous name for those outside the Netherlands, but during the Sixties he was quite famous in this country. In 1962 he founded the beat band ZZ en de Maskers. Their career lasted for four years. After this, Bouber went solo.

His most remarkable single has to be 'Ik wil me Donaldukkie' from 1968, which basically is a song about someone who wants his rubber duck (in the shape of Donald Duck) back. The song is loosely based on Napoleon XIV's 'They're coming to take me away ha-haaa!', which was released two years before.

I knew about this single and have searched for it for many years, but it was always too expensive. Prompted by Bouber's passing, I started looking for it online, with more luck this time.

My collection: 7" single no. 6187
Found: Discogs.com, received October 5, 2019
Cost: 5 euro
Tracks: 'Ik wil me Donaldukkie' / 'Kie ka kaketoe'

Star people '97 - George Michael

Taken from his third album 'Older', 'Star people '97' was the fifth single from that album. It was called 'Star people '97' because the single version is a remixed and re-recorded track. The lyrics make reference to the materialism and frivolity of certain (not specified) people in the show business, suggesting that those behaviors are derived from some insecurity or a bad childhood (parental neglect, being given up for adoption, etc.).The single peaked at number 2 in the UK singles chart.

The B-side of the single was taken from George's MTV Unplugged performance, recorded in New York on April 10, 1996.

My collection: 7" single 6186
Found: Discogs.com, received October 3, 2019
Cost: 5 pounds
Tracks: 'Star people '97' / 'Everything she wants (Unplugged)'

Mitt liv - Kate

'Mitt liv' ('My life') was the Norwegian entry in the Eurovision Song Contest 1987, performed in Norwegian by Kate Gulbrandsen. She was only 21 when she performed the song on the Eurovision stage. This was, after all, the year after Sandra 'Je suis quinze ans' Kim won the Contest, so young women and children were flocking towards that stage at the time. (It would take the EBU decades to finally organize a Junior contest for those who are actually interested in seeing children sing. For the record: I am not one of them.)

The song was written and composed by Norwegian Eurovision veterans Hanne Krogh and Rolf Lovland. It finished ninth in a field of 22 competitors. 

My collection: 7" single no. 6184
Found: Discogs.com, received October 2, 2019
Cost: 5 euro
Tracks: 'Mitt liv' / 'The woman and the girl in me'

Sangen om dig - Bjørn Tidmand

Bjørn Tidmand was born on January 24, 1940 in Copenhagen, Denmark. After being a member of the Copenhagen Boys Choir as a child, Tidmand began performing in local nightclubs and signed a recording contract in 1959, having a hit with a Danish-language version of 'Only Sixteen'.

In 1964, he represented his country in the Eurovision Song Contest with 'Sangen om dig'. He finished in ninth place in a field of 16 competitors. The song is a love ballad, with Tidmand singing that the song about his lover can never end because it would "never get everything said".

My collection: 7" single no. 6185
Found: Discogs.com, received October 2, 2019
Cost: 3 euro
Tracks: 'Sangen om dig' / 'Ingen'

Sunday, 29 September 2019

Spinning the wheel - George Michael

You may have noticed a recent surge in my acquisition of George Michael singles. Truth is, I ordered this one online before I came across 'Older' and 'You have been loved' at the record fair last week. There's a few more I'd like to have, but that's something for another day.

'Spinning the wheel' was the third single from the album 'Older' and would have been the third number one hit in the UK, if it wasn't for the Spice Girls' debut single 'Wannabe' which kept it from the top spot. The song depicts the worry of a lover whose partner is sexually promiscuous during the period when AIDS was newly discovered and rampant in the West.

My collection: 7" single no. 6182
Found: Discogs.com, received September 26, 2019
Cost: 4 euro
Tracks: 'Spinning the wheel (radio edit)' / 'You know that I want you'

I was made for lovin' you - Kiss

The very first Kiss single I ever bought could also be my last - at least, I don't foresee any more purchases on disc from this legendary American band. But I had to have this one, because it appeared on red vinyl, back in 1979, when this single charted all over the world. This red vinyl single was released in Germany, and as far as I know it's the only territory where the 7" single was released on red vinyl.

A 12" single on red vinyl also exists, but since I don't collect 12" singles that much, I doubt that will ever appear in my collection. You never know, of course...

My collection: 7" single no. 6164
Found: Discogs.com, received September 18, 2019
Cost: 4 euro
Tracks: 'I was made for lovin' you' / 'Hard times'

Monday, 23 September 2019

Heaven's in the backseat of my Cadillac (DD mix) - Hot Chocolate

After Errol Brown left Hot Chocolate in 1986, there must have been some panic at the record company quarters. In 1987 they put together a remix album, using the hits that the band racked up until then to 'update' the tracks to the dance flavours of the time. Confusingly, the remix album was called '2001'


Several singles were released from the remix album, one of which was this, 'Heaven's in the backseat of my Cadillac', remixed by Al Topo. Who? Exactly. Meanwhile, the band went on without Errol Brown - but didn't have any chart success with their releases.

My collection: 7" single no. 6181
Found: Record fair, Amsterdam, September 21, 2019
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Heaven's in the backseat of my Cadillac (DD mix)' / 'Brother Louie'

Sovereign Light Cafe - Keane

Keane is back! They released a new album last week, and earlier this year they released a green vinyl single featuring two tracks from the so-called Dave Fridmann Sessions. 'Sovereign Light Cafe' and 'Disconnected' were taken from their previous album, 'Strangeland', released in 2012.

The Dave Fridmann Sessions took place in 2011, and were never released before. The single was released in April for Record Store Day for ridiculous amounts of money - but on the record fair this weekend I was able to get a copy for less.

My collection: 7" single no. 6180
Found: Record fair, Amsterdam, September 21, 2019
Tracks: 'Sovereign Light Cafe' / 'Disconnected'

Calling you - Paul Young

One of the big surprises of Paul Young's later career is that he started recording cover versions of better known song. 'Don't dream it's over' wasn't exactly an obscure track, as is 'Calling you', my latest catch.

The song was written by Bob Telson. Jevetta Steele and Telson himself both recorded versions of the song, and they both appeared on the soundtrack of the movie 'Bagdad Cafe' in 1987. The singing chainsaw Celine Dion also did a version during her live concerts in the 1990's. Less regrettable was this, Paul Young's version. It appeared on his 1990 album 'Other voices' and it was released as the album's fourth single. It stalled at number 57 in the UK singles chart, just before his career was revived by the duet with Zucchero, 'Senza una donna' and his compilation album 'From time to time'.

My collection: 7" single no. 6179
Found: Record fair, Amsterdam, September 21, 2019
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Calling you' / 'Everything must change (live)'

Popmuzik (Hip Hop 1989 Re-mix) - M

This single serves to confuse matters more than they already were... Back in 2009 I bought the 1989 remix of 'Popmuzik', a UK release that was a hit in the UK. A year later I found the Ben Liebrand single edit, released in Europe. That single did not chart.

Enter this UK pressing of a 'Hip Hop 1989 re-mix' - also subtitled 'Ben Liebrand Re-mix'. A different sleeve, but it contains the same remix found on the European release. All I can conclude is that the record company was pretty busy with this track, but in all honesty it's quite confusing. All I know is that this version did not chart - the other one did.

My collection: 7" single no. 6177
Found: Record fair, Amsterdam, September 21, 2019
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Popmuzik (Hip Hop 1989 Re-mix)' / 'Popmuzik (Original 1979 mix)'

The worker - Fischer Z

Of course I already own a copy of Fischer Z's 'The Worker' - I bought it 30 years ago! - but this picture disc was just too beautiful to pass up. It's so beautiful, in fact, that there is even a movie of it on YouTube.

Fischer Z continues to tour and record albums, the most recent being 'Swimming in thunderstorms', released earlier this year. Their earliest work remains the best, in my humble opinion.

My collection: 7" single no. 6176
Found: Record fair, Amsterdam, September 21, 2019
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'The worker' / 'Kitten curry'

No regrets - The Walker Brothers

One of the great classics of the 1970's was the Walker Brothers' 'No regrets', released in November 1975 as their comeback single after seven years. The single reached number 7 in the UK singles chart, making it their fourth and last top 10 hit - and their last UK hit overall.

The single shown here was a re-release of the track in 1991, taken from a compilation album called 'No Regrets - The best of Scott Walker and the Walker Brothers 1965-1976'. While the album reached number 4 in the UK albums chart, this single did not chart at all.

My collection: 7" single no. 6174
Found: Record fair, Amsterdam, September 21, 2019
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'No regrets' (Walker Brothers) / 'Boy child' (Scott Walker)

Sunday, 22 September 2019

Romeo and Juliet - Dire Straits

'Romeo and Juliet' was released as a single from Dire Straits' 1980 album 'Making Movies' in early 1981. The lyrics of the song describe the experience of the two lovers of the title, hinting at a situation that saw the Juliet figure abandon her Romeo after finding fame and moving on from the rough neighborhood where they first encountered each other.

Mark Knopfler, who wrote the song, said that it was inspired by his failed romance with Holly Vincent, lead singer of the short-lived band Holly and The Italians. The song speaks of a Romeo who is still very much in love with his Juliet, but she now treats him like "just another one of [her] deals". Knopfler has both stated and implied that he believes Vincent was using him to boost her career. The song's line "Now you just say, oh Romeo, yeah, you know I used to have a scene with him," refers to an interview with Vincent, where she says "What happened was that I had a scene with Mark Knopfler and it got to the point where he couldn't handle it and we split up." 

The single matched the success of their debut single 'Sultans of Swing' three years earlier, peaking at number 8 in the UK singles chart. However, where the former charted in many other countries, this single did not.

My collection: 7" single no. 6173
Found: Record fair, Amsterdam, September 21, 2019
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Romeo and Juliet' / 'Solid rock'

Vienna 92 (The classic mix) - Ultravox

Sometimes you find a single and you wonder: what the hell went wrong here? I was already familiar with the fact that Ultravox had released a version of 'Vienna' in the Nineties, and I even heard it once, years ago, but to find the single was a different challenge.

So now that I have it, here are the facts. Ultravox split up in 1988 after the lack of success of their album 'U-vox'. Having not toured after the album, Ure concentrated on his solo career and Chris Cross retired from music altogether and returned to his former career as a psychotherapist. And then, Billy Currie decided to reform Ultravox in 1992, without any of the other original members. This single was their first product. One has to wonder what went on in Billy Currie's mind: 'Oh, let's re-record the biggest hit Ultravox ever had, but with weaker vocals and cheaper instruments'. Or something like that. Its only redeeming quality in the drum beat, which is slightly original when compared to the original (and better) version. Predictably, the single failed to chart.

Undeterred, this version of Ultravox with vocalist Tony Fenelle recorded the album 'Revelation' (which it wasn't) and in 1994 the album 'Ingenuity' (well... no). The band dissolved again in 1996. When the "classic" line-up of Midge Ure, Billy Currie, Warren Cann and Chris Cross reformed in 2012 for the album 'Brilliant', the results were lots better.

My collection: 7" single no. 6172
Found: Record fair, Amsterdam, September 21, 2019
Cost: 4 euro
Tracks: 'Vienna 92 (the classic mix)' / 'Systems of love'

You have been loved - George Michael

Released as the sixth and final single from George Michael's third album 'Older', 'You have been loved' is a remarkably beautiful song. Although he continued to record music for another two decades, nothing comes close to this track.

The song's lyrics are about his lover, Anselmo Feleppa, who died of an AIDS-related illness in 1993. It tells the story of Anselmo's mother, who visits his grave, while passing by the school he attended. The first chorus has Anselmo's mother saying goodbye, telling him 'You have been loved'. The ending chorus has Anselmo dying, telling George, 'You have been loved'. The line, 'If I was weak, forgive me; but I was terrified', refers to the trauma George felt during Anselmo's decline in health. The song also addresses a spiritual struggle: while Anselmo and his mother both say that God is not dead, George counters their comments, challenging God, 'What's the use in pressing palms, if you [God] won't keep such love from harm? It's a cruel world. You've so much to prove'.

The single peaked at number 2 in the UK singles chart, behind Elton John's tribute to the then recently deceased Lady Diana, Candle in the wind 1997

My collection: 7" single no. 6171
Found: Record fair, Amsterdam, September 21, 2019
Cost: 5 euro
Tracks: 'You have been loved' / 'The strangest thing '97'

Older - George Michael

These jukebox singles aren't very pretty to look at, but it never ceases to amaze me that so many of them were made long after vinyl singles had left the shops seemingly forever. 'Older' was the fourth single taken from George Michael's third album of the same name, and this single was produced for the UK jukebox market only.

The B-side is the real attraction of this single - it's a version of the Bonnie Raitt song 'I can't make you love me' and George Michael's interpretation of the track is a beautiful, soulful one. It was a few years before his ill-fated 'Songs of the century' album, on which his cover versions sounded a lot less inspired...

My collection: 7" single no. 6170
Found: Record fair, Amsterdam, September 21, 2019
Cost: 5 euro
Tracks: 'Older' / 'I can't make you love me'

Falling - Alison Moyet

'Falling' was released as the lead single of Alison Moyet's fourth studio album 'Essex'. The album was originally rejected by Columbia, who insisted that it be re-recorded to create a more commercial package. Ian Broudie was hired to produce the re-recorded tracks. This single was released in October 1993, almost half a year before the album's release.

The single stalled at number 42 in the UK singles chart, which prompted more resistance from the record label. The next single, 'Whispering your name', had to be remixed to become an upbeat dance track, for release as the following single in early 1994. That single was not released on 7" vinyl anymore, making this single the last Alison Moyet vinyl single ever.

My collection: 7" single no. 6169
Found: Record fair, Amsterdam, September 21, 2019
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Falling' / 'Ode to boy'
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