Monday, 20 May 2019

Heaven help me - Deon Estus (with additional vocals by George Michael)

Deon Estus was born in Detroit on July 4, 1956. As a teenager he joined the band Brainstorm and recorded two albums with them. During the early Eighties he moved to Europe, living in Belgium and Ireland before settling in London. Not long after that he was invited to join Wham! - he is featured prominently in the music videos for 'I'm your man' and 'The Edge of heaven'.

No wonder, then, that George Michael appeared on this track, recorded for Estus' solo album 'Spell'. The sleeve shown here is from the American edition of the single. Curiously enough, a European sleeve which I saw in the same record store last Saturday does not mention George Michael on the front sleeve at all. No wonder, then, that the single only reached number 41 in the UK, whereas it reached number 5 in the US Billboard Hot 100.

My collection: 7" single no. 6072
Found: Velvet Vinyl Outlet, Leiden, May 18, 2019
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Heaven help me' / 'It's a party'

New song - Howard Jones

The recent release of a super deluxe edition of Howard Jones' debut album 'Human's Lib' included a rare track. It made me aware of a Portuguese single of 'New song', Howard's debut release, that apparently contained a different version of the song. Did I mention that I am a collector? Somehow I felt motivated to get a copy of this single, and sure enough, a Portuguese dealer offered a copy online.

I ordered this single along with a few others from this dealer, and I wasn't disappointed: the 7" single from Portugal did indeed contain a version of 'New song' that I'd never heard before. How this ended up on the single is still unclear, but it's nice to have a copy.

My collection: 7" single no. 6015
Found: Discogs.com, received March 13, 2019
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'New song' / 'Change the man'

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Piove (Ciao ciao bambina) - Domenico Modugno

While we're in a winning Eurovision mood, it's good to revisit some old goodies - and since I've bought a few good ones yesterday, I can really present to you a rare gem. Domenico Modugno represented Italy a few times in the very first decade of the Contest. In 1959 he sang the song 'Piove (Ciao ciao bambina)'. I bought a copy of this single four years ago.

Yesterday in Leiden I was in a shop that had a few coloured vinyl singles stuck to a window. Blasphemy of course, but what can you do... I spied with my little eye and saw this copy of 'Piove'... on clear vinyl! I was shocked, but didn't hesitate: I ripped it off the window, stuck it in a white sleevee and took it home.

My collection: 7" single no. 6071
Found: Velvet Vinyl Outlet, Leiden, May 18, 2019
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Piove (Ciao ciao bambina)' / 'Ventu d'estati'

Popcorn - MH Band

Here is another version of 'Popcorn', the legendary Gershon Kingsley composition. Well... not exactly another version, because I already owned a copy of the M&H Band's version of 'Popcorn', but this is a different edition.

But this single is still of interest, because the sleeve is different and the B-side features a track called 'Popcorn House', created by Mark Haliday, but incorporating a piece of the melody of 'Popcorn'. And this makes it all very worthwhile.

My collection: 7" single no. 6069
Found: Velvet Vinyl Outlet, Leiden, May 18, 2019
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Popcorn (radio version)' / 'Popcorn house'

Save your kisses for me - Bobby Vinton

There was excitement here when the Netherlands finally won the Eurovision Song Contest yesterday, for the first time since 1975. It was the first time that I experienced this and I guess it is a historic moment in time. While celebrating this amazing result, we also have to spare a thought for those who were less lucky. Across the North Sea, Eurovision fans weren't quite as happy. The UK ended up in last place, with - it has to be said - a song that was unable to touch anyone's heart.

Things were quite different in 1976: 'Save your kisses for me' was a hit before the Contest even took place and copies of the Brotherhood Of Man single were pressed in such high amounts that they pop up in every thrift shop on a regular basis still. This single, on the other hand, is rare: it wasn't even listed on the excellent Discogs.com website! It is a German pressing of the Bobby Vinton cover of that song. And if, like me, you've heard the original too often, you will like this version a lot, because it is lush and polished.

My collection: 7" single no. 6068
Found: Velvet Vinyl Outlet, Leiden, May 18, 2019
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Save your kisses for me' / 'Love shine'

Friday, 17 May 2019

Love city groove - Love city groove

With the acquisition of this 7" single I can truly say that I now own every UK entry for the Eurovision Song Contest that was ever released on this format. The very first one, 'All' by Patricia Bredin, was never released on vinyl, and after 1999's 'Say it again' by Precious, no further UK entries were ever released on 7" anymore - regrettably so.

'Love City Groove', a track by the band of the same name, is in my opinion the worst entry ever sent to Eurovision. The chorus is rather grating, especially when you have to listen to it repeatedly, and rapping is always a huge turnoff. It is especially frustrating when you think that year's national final included a song written by Eric Stewart and Graham Gouldman, an Ian Curnow/Phil Harding production and the excellent 'I'm just your puppet on a... (string!)' by London Beat. They did manage to reach tenth place in a field of 23 competitors. It makes you wonder what the juries were thinking.

My collection: 7" single no. 6067
Found: Discogs.com, received May 17, 2019
Cost: 5 pounds
Tracks: 'Love City Groove (Reason's Euromix Rap)' / 'Love City Groove (7" mix)'

Giorgio - Lys Assia

A day before another edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, let's go back in time - way back, in fact. Lys Assia was the Contest's first winner, back in 1956 and she reappeared on that stage two times: in 1957 and 1958. While I haven't found a single of her 1957 entry yet, I did find another copy of her 1958. Yes, I already owned a single of 'Giorgio', but the one I found recently comes with a picture sleeve and two more tracks. Obviously I had to have this one.

My collection: 7" single no. 6061
Found: Record fair, Den Haag
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Giorgio', 'Du gabst mir ein paar Blumen' / 'Louella', 'Die Sterne von Venezia'

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Twenty foreplay - Janet Jackson

'Twenty foreplay' was the second single release from the compilation album 'Design of a decade' that was released by A&M Records after she'd left the label in favour of Virgin Records. Confusingly, the album was released after Janet's first album for Virgin, the sexy album 'Janet.'

The compilation album featured two new tracks that were both released as a single: 'Runaway' being the first. This vinyl single is pretty rare because it was released for jukeboxes only. No commercial 7" single for this track was ever released. In those days, vinyl was on the decline and CD's were on the rise. 'Twenty foreplay' reached number 22 in the UK singles chart and only reached top 10 in South Africa.

My collection: 7" single no. 6065
Found: Discogs.com, received May 10, 2019
Cost: 2 pounds
Tracks: 'Twenty foreplay (Slow Jam International edit)' / 'Alright (CJ radio)'

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Fire of love (Pali się)- Tulia

It should come as no surprise that I will be watching the first final of the Eurovision Song Contest tonight, and before I do, I will post this entry on my blog because it is so appropriate. Poland will be represented by Tulia. Joanna Sinkiewicz, Dominika Siepka, Patrycja Nowicka and Tulia Biczak formed Tulia in 2017 and immediately caught the attention of their country by posting a cover version of Depeche Mode's 'Enjoy the silence' on YouTube.

I was pleased to find out that their Eurovision entry was released on 7" vinyl recently, and I ordered it straight away. Upon receiving the disc I found out that it was signed by all four, and the disc is actually on coloured 'splatter' vinyl! It may be one of the most beautiful Eurovision singles I own.

My collection: 7" single no. 6063
Found: eBay, received May 7, 2019
Cost: 10 euro
Tracks: 'Fire of love (Pali się)' / 'Pali się'

Sunday, 12 May 2019

I giorni dell'arcobaleno - Nicola di Bari

I don't know if anyone has ever wondered if there is a connection between The Doors and the Eurovision Song Contest, but if you have been wondering about this, wonder no more, because this single offers the solution to that particular riddle. Italian singer Nicola di Bari offers not only his 1972 Eurovision entry on this EP, but also cover versions of 'La Bamba' (the Richie Valens song) and 'Light my fire' (The Doors track).

Nicola di Bari was born as Michele Scommegna on September 29, 1940. His first commercial success followed in 1964 when he recorded the song 'Amore ritorna a casa'. Since then he was a regular competitor at the San Remo festival, winning in 1971 and 1972. 'I giorni dell'arcobaleno' ('The days of the rainbow') went on to the Eurovision Song Contest in 1972 and reached sixth place in a field of 18 competitors.The EP was given to me as a gift during a visit at a fellow Eurovision fan recently. Music connecting people.

My collection: 7" single no. 6063
Found: Den Haag, May 8, 2019
Tracks: 'I giorni dell'arcobaleno', 'La bamba' / 'Era di primavera', 'Dammi fuoco'

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Love's theme - Love Unlimited

The female vocal trio Love Unlimited, consisting of Glodean James, Linda James and Diane Taylor, were most famous for providing backing vocals for American singer Barry White. However, they also found success with their own recordings.

'It may be winter outside (but in my heart it's spring)' was written by Barry White and Paul Politi and became a minor hit for Love Unlimited, reaching number 83 in the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 11 in the UK singles chart. This Belgian contains that song but also the instrumental A-side 'Love's theme', a top 10 hit in the Netherlands in 1974. Younger listeners will remember this melody from OMD's single 'Dream of me'.

My collection: 7" single no. 6060
Found: Record fair, Den Haag, May 4, 2019
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Love's theme' / 'It may be winter outside'
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