Saturday, 30 August 2014

Spetters - Kayak

Although the name Kayak isn't mentioned on the front of this sleeve, the soundtrack for the Dutch movie 'Spetters' was indeed played by Kayak. They are credited on the back of the sleeve, as is composed Ton Scherpenzeel.

Anyone who has seen the movie 'Spetters' will know that the story centres around a group of young people, with sex, jealousy and motorcross playing a big part - and there's also a recurring appearance of various variations on the theme of homosexuality. It was the controversy surrounding Spetters that caused Verhoeven to leave for Hollywood, where he went on to because a hugely successful director.

The music on this single tends to be overlooked - it wasn't even a hit in the Netherlands even though the movie attracted more than a million viewers in the cinema - but listen to it here and you will find this is actually great even without the movie.

My collection: 7" single no. 5428
Found: unknown
Cost: unknown
Tracks: 'Theme from 'Spetters'' / 'Lost blue of Chartres'

Born free - Vic Reeves

Vic Reeves presented a television show on New Year's Eve 1990, which went on during the turn of the year. Just after midnight, one of his guest stars was Kim Wilde - which will go a long way into explaining why I bought this single.

'Oh! Mr. Songwriter' was a song performed by Kim during the show, and as this single shows, it would have been nice if she'd sung it on this recording as well. Vic Reeves, while a good comedian, doesn't have the best singing voice. Still, this release, featuring a cover of 'Born free', was received very well in 1991 and even reached the top 10 in the UK singles chart.

My collection: 7" single no. 5479
Found: Kringloop Hebbes, Den Haag, July 25, 2014
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Born free' / 'Oh! Mr. Songwriter...'

Contenders - Heaven 17

In a review of Heaven 17's 1986 single 'Contenders', Simon Reynolds for Melody Maker wrote: "This one practically hurls itself off the ropes at you, solid funk brawn but light on its feet, bobbing and weaving, jabbing and pummeling and always on the attack, but, somehow, failing to deliver that hook to floor you completely. The killer blow never comes."

I'm not a fan of music reviews, but this particular one hits the nail on the head: it is a nice enough song but it isn't particularly memorable. Which is surprising, because Heaven 17, up to that point, were able to serve up memorable pop songs each and every time. After their successful first three albums, the fourth album 'Pleasure one' failed to deliver a top 40 smash, and started a run of many non-charting albums.

My collection: 7" single no. 5404
Found: unknown
Cost: unknown
Tracks: 'Contenders' / 'Excerpts from 'Diary of a contender''

Laat me nu gaan - Linda Lepomme

In 1985, actress and singer Linda Lepomme represented Belgium during that year's Eurovision Song Contest with the song 'Laat me nu gaan' ('Let me go now'). She received only 7 points and ended up in last place.

A few months later, Lepomme started working at the musicals division of the Royal Ballet of Flanders, where she was artistic director between 1987 and 2005, until subsidies to musicals were no longer supplied by the government.

My collection: 7" single no. 5605
Found: Chelsea Records, Antwerpen, August 10, 2014
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Laat me nu gaan' / 'Laat me nu gaan (orchestral version)'

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

I'm going slightly mad - Queen

This song seems very appropriate for a night like tonight. Over in London, Kate Bush is premiering her first live show in 35 years. Yes, 'it finally happened'. Meanwhile 'I'm going slightly mad' at the thought that I will have to wait two weeks to see the show myself. Two UK newspaper are running a live blog with details of the show, and the press are sure to go mad with reports tomorrow.

But, back to Queen. They released 'I'm going slightly mad' as the second single from their album 'Innuendo' - the last Queen album to be released while frontman Freddie Mercury was alive. The video showed a pale, thin Mercury who was just months away from his passing. The band went on to release a greatest hits album, a pathetic single without Mercury and of course the lengthy 'Made in heaven' album, using vocals hastily recorded in Mercury's last year alive. There are rumours that a new album using old vocals is being made as we speak. Personally, I prefer music from artists who are still alive... and playing live. Even if the world had to wait 35 years for it.

My collection: 7" single no. 5442
Found: unknown
Cost: unknown
Tracks: 'I'm going slightly mad' / 'The hitman'

Living in a world (turned upside down) - Private Lives

I didn't know until I bought this 12" single that Private Lives released a remixed version of their single 'Living in a world (turned upside down)' within a year of its original release. The new version was produced by Stewart Levine, an American producer who's worked with an impressive line-up of soul-oriented names: The Crusaders, Minnie Riperton, Lionel Richie, Simply Red, B.B. King, Patti Labelle, Oleta Adams, Womack and Womack and many others.

Not that this new version is better than the original: sure, it sounds smooth but the spontaneity of the the original version is gone. Still, you can't go very wrong with great song material like this.

My collection: 7" single no. 5440
Found: unknown
Cost: unknown
Tracks: 'Living in a world (turned upside down)' / 'Breakup'

Monday, 25 August 2014

Six months in a leaky boat - Split Enz

Easily one of the most imaginative titles of the Eighties, 'Six months in a leaky boat' was thought to be a dig at the British invasion on the Falkland Islands. As a result, the song was 'discouraged from airplay' in the UK, also because the phrase 'a leaky boat' was not thought to be appropriate during a naval action in the war.

The song is actually a reference to the time it took pioneers to sail to Australia and New Zealand, as well as a metaphor that refers to lead singer Tim Finn's nervous breakdown. The single reached number 2 in the Australian singles chart, number 7 in New Zealand and Canada and - despite the lack of airplay - number 83 in the UK singles chart.

My collection: 7" single no. 5409
Found: unknown
Cost: unknown
Tracks: 'Six months in a leaky boat' / 'Make sense of it'

Loving feeling - Beloved

The Beloved were having some success as an indie band, when they slimmed down to a duo consisting of Jon Marsh and Steven Waddington. Having experimented with dance sounds already, the two decided to embrace it more and managed to sign a contract with Warner. Their first single for the major label was 'Loving feeling', released in a limited edition poster bag.

The single didn't become a chart hit, but their next single would be 'The sun rising', which did become more popular. In a way, this single is the start of it all, and foreshadowing the things that were ahead.

My collection: 7" single no. 5371
Found: unknown
Cost: unknown
Tracks: 'Loving feeling' / 'Acid love'

Puppet on a string - Big Fair Organ

I couldn't find a release date for this particular single, but my guess it's a release from the Sixties - not too long after Sandie Shaw won the 1967 Eurovision Song Contest with 'Puppet on a string'.

This Big Fair Organ was used for more instrumental covers, as the album 'Dance party', released around the same time, proves: Engelbert Humperdinck's 'Release me', Louis Neefs' 'Ik heb zorgen' and even the 'Green green grass of home' were all given the organ treatment. Both the single and the album were made in Belgium, which would imply that the organ comes from that country as well.

My collection: 7" single no. 5624
Found:, received August 16, 2014
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Puppet on a string' / 'Edelweis'

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Tonight - Boomtown Rats

The Boomtown Rats recorded their sixth album 'In the long grass' in 1983, but it was initially rejected by the band's record company. When it was finally released in May 1984, it failed to chart at all. In the US, where the album was also released, it reached number 188 in the Billboard albums chart.

'Tonight' was the first single from the album, released in February 1984. It appeared in the UK singles chart for one week, at number 73. The B-side was a non-album track, which finally appeared on a 2005 CD release of the album.

My collection: 7" single no. 5374
Found: unknown
Cost: unknown
Tracks: 'Tonight' / 'Precious times'

Celui qui reste et celui qui s'en va - Romuald

Romuald Figuier was born in Saint-Pol-de-Léon (France) on May 5, 1941. He represented Monaco at the Eurovision Song Contest twice: in 1964 and 1974. In 1969, he appeared on stage too, that time representing Luxembourg. This single was released in 1974, and contains his last Eurovision song, 'Celui qui reste et celui qui s'en va'. The song is sung from the perspective of a man whose lover has just ended their relationship. Romuald sings that there is always one half of a relationship who "stays" - that is, the person who does not do the breaking up - and the other half who "goes" - by doing the breaking up. He compares the fates of both people, and sings that while he is not angry with his former lover, he wants her to realise the situation for what it is.

At the close of voting, the song was placed fourth in a field of 17 competitors. Of course, we all know who won the competition that year, don't we?

My collection: 7" single no. 5610
Found: Chelsea Records, Antwerpen, August 10, 2014
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Celui qui reste et celui qui s'en va' / 'Sur la pointe des pieds, sur la pointe du coeur'

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Say hello - Breathe

Breathe blasted into the UK singles charts with their second single 'Hands to heaven' and they were hailed as the year's biggest new promise back in 1989. However, after releasing six singles from their debut album 'All that jazz', only four made it into the charts in the UK, and when they came up with a second album 'Peace of mind' in 1990, nobody seemed to be interested.

'Say hello' was the lead single from that second album, and although it was released in this attractive limited edition package featuring a fold out sleeve and three photographs, not many people took the trouble of actually taking the single home. The result was a measly number 87 in the UK singles chart, After the second and third singles did even worse, the band called it quits.

My collection: 7" single no. 5375
Found: unknown
Cost: unknown
Tracks: 'Say hello' / 'All that jazz'

Kloden drejer - Gry

'Kloden drejer' is a Danish song. The title means 'The planet's spinning'. It was performed on the 1983 Eurovision Song Contest by Gry Johansen. In the end, the song was placed 17th in a field of 20 contestants.

I already had a version of this song when I bought We're like starlight, which is an English version of the song. As you can see, the lyric of that song is as wildly different from this one as the sleeve of that single is from this one.

My collection: 7" single no. 5590
Found: KG Records (Sweden), received August 1, 2014
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Kloden drejer' / 'Den sidste dans'

Tantalise - Jimmy the Hoover

Jimmy The Hoover were a British pop band, who formed in 1982 and comprised Simon Barker (keyboards), Derek Dunbar (vocals), Carla Duplantier (drums), Flinto Chandia (bass) (later replaced by Cris Cole) and Mark Rutherford (guitar). Their manager Malcolm McLaren chose their name and gave them a support slot on a Bow Wow Wow tour.

In 1983 they signed to CBS subsidiary Innervision, and the same year they had their only hit, 'Tantalise'. It would be their only hit, reaching number 18 in the UK singles chart in July 1983. The track was produced by Steve Levine, who also produced Culture Club's multi-million selling 'Colour by Numbers' album that same year. A follow-up single "Kill Me Kwik", produced by Anne Dudley of Art of Noise fame, received positive reviews in the music press but failed to chart. The group were subsequently dropped by Innervision. In 1985, another single, "Bandana Street (Use It)", would appear on a new label, MCA Records, but with no further success.

The sleeve of this single is a nightmare for obsessive compulsives: the label has to be placed in a certain way so that it connects with the hole in the sleeve.

My collection: 7" single no. 5453
Found: unknown
Cost: unknown
Tracks: 'Tantalise' / 'Sing sing'

Diggi loo diggi ley - The Herrey's

Sometimes owning a big collection that's still getting bigger leads to interesting statistical facts. Back in 1984, I bought the single Diggi loo diggi ley by the Herrey's. They'd just won the Eurovision Song Contest and I went to my local record store to buy this winner - even though I wasn't convinced this was the best song of the night.

Fast forward 30 years and here we are: I ordered another copy of 'Diggi loo diggi ley', this time from a shop in Sweden, still not convinced this was the best song of the night but excited to have a recording of the original Swedish version of the song. Because that's what this single is: it's the original Swedish release, featuring not only 'Diggi loo diggi ley' in Swedish, but also a different B-side - in English!

My collection: 7" single no. 5591
Found: KG Records, Sweden, received August 1, 2014
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Diggi loo diggi ley' / 'Mirror, mirror upon the wall'

Close to me (remix) - The Cure

The Cure were at their most popular by the end of the Eighties, but what happened after their album 'Disintegration' almost seemed like a deliberate self-destruct mechanism: they released an iffy live album ('Entreat'), then a remix album, and no new music until 1992 - and even that album was quite a departure from the doom and gloom they'd demonstrated until then.

From the remix album came this single, 'Close to me (remix)', in 1990. Let's just say that this remix came from Paul Oakenfold's less inspired periods. On the other hand, the remix of 'Just like heaven' on the B-side is a deconstructed piece of bliss, created by Bryan 'Chuck' New. Who?...

My collection: 7" single no. 5381
Found: unknown
Cost: unknown
Tracks: 'Close to me (Closest mix)' / 'Just like heaven (Dizzy mix)'

Friday, 22 August 2014

Divine - Sebastien Tellier

On March 7, 2008, it was announced by Bruno Berberes, head of EBU delegation in France, that Tellier would represent France in the Eurovision Song Contest 2008. It was held in Belgrade on May 24, 2008. Tellier sang the song 'Divine'. This was the first time in the history of the contest that the nominated French entry was to be performed largely in English, which caused some controversy, leading to Tellier pledging to increase the amount of French in the song prior to the competition itself.

There was no shortage of record releases for this entry: 'Divine' was released on 7", 12" and CD-singles - very unusual for any release in 2008, especially coming from France. This 7" single was pretty expensive back in 2008, but now I managed to snap up a copy for much less. And it's clear vinyl, too!

My collection: 7" single no. 5603
Found: eBay, received August 9, 2014
Cost: 4 euro
Tracks: 'Divine vision' / 'Divine (Kasper Winding remix)'

One way ticket - Eruption

After recording this song for this blog a few days ago, it stuck in my head all day yesterday and today. It proves just how memorable those Frank Farian disco productions were during the second half of the Seventies, and why many of them ended up being such big hits. You just couldn't get them out of your head.

Originally, the song was recorded by Neil Sedaka in 1959. The disco update from 1979 was released by Eruption for their second album 'Leave a light'. It became a number 1 in Austria and Switzerland, and reached top 10 throughout Europe.

My collection: 7" single no. 5476
Found: Kringloop Hebbes, Den Haag, July 25, 2014
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'One way ticket' / 'Left me in the rain'

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Pet'r oil - Ajda Pekkan

There aren't many 7" singles of Turkish entries of the Eurovision Song Contest, and the ones I have are always made in other countries. This single of the 1980 entry, for instance, comes from France. The B-side also contains a French-language version of the song, probably to make it more interesting for the local record-buying audience.

Ayse Ajda Pekkan was born on February 12, 1946 and has become one of the most successful female Turkish artists of all time, selling over 42 million records worldwide during a career that spans five decades. She started in 1962 and is still making records now. Her appearance in Eurovision in 1980 was perhaps not her finest moment: it caused a temporary break from music, a move to the USA, and when she moved back to Turkey she released two failed albums before becoming successful again in the mid-Eighties. 'Pet'r oil' was placed 15th in a field of 19 contestants.

My collection: 7" single no. 5588
Found: KG Records, Sweden, received August 1, 2014
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Pet'r oil' / 'Le roi du petrole'

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