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'

Saturday, 21 September 2019

Downtown - Lloyd Cole

It is very possible that Lloyd Cole is one of Britain's best songwriters, but he is also largely ignored. His first four solo albums made the album top 40 in the UK, but after that (from 2000 onwards) they didn't make a dent anymore, except in Sweden where two of his albums made the top 20.

'Downtown' comes from his first solo outing, and was released as its third single. It didn't chart, despite its catchy hook. I bought that solo album some time ago and when I saw this single I decided to pick it up. I think Lloyd Cole needs more recognition.

My collection: 7" single no. 6168
Found: Record fair, Amsterdam, September 21, 2019
Cost: 0,5 euro
Tracks: 'Downtown' / 'A long way down (live)'

Miss me blind - Culture Club

'Miss me blind' was released as the third single from Culture Club's album 'Colour by numbers'in the USA, peaking at number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in spring 1984. This gave the band its sixth consecutive top 10 hit, as well as its final top 10 hit there to date.

This single is the French pressing. For some reason, the single was not released in the UK, but it reached number 28 in France and number 32 in Italy - which says something about the popularity of this track in this part of the world. It is a nice single, though, and I was glad to add this to my collection.

My collection: 7" single no. 6167
Found: Record fair, Amsterdam, September 21, 2019
Cost: 0,5 euro
Tracks: 'Miss me blind' / 'Colour by numbers'

Hit me with your rhythm stick '91 (The Flying remix) - Ian Dury & the Blockheads

Usually I know what I am buying, but I like to experiment a little from time to time as well. In the case of this single, I'd never heard this remix of the classic 'Hit me with your rhythm stick'. I already owned the Paul Hardcastle version from 1984, but I'd never heard of this 1991 version until I found it online recently. I decided to buy this single.

It is an interesting enough remix, but I think it's a shame that it omits one of the best sax solos ever. Fortunately, the original version can be found on the B-side, so the record-buying public at the time still had a chance to hear it.

My collection: 7" single no. 6166
Found: Discogs.com, received September 20, 2019
Cost: 2 pounds
Tracks: 'Hit me with your rhythm stick '91 (The Flying remix)' / 'Hit me with your rhythm stick (original version)'

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

My computer - Prince feat. Kate Bush

In November 1996, Prince released 'Emancipation', a massive three disc set of 36 songs. The single 'Betcha by golly wow', a cover of the Stylistics song, was the album's only big hit, but there were a few more interesting tracks on the album.

One of them was 'My computer', a song that was a collaboration with Kate Bush. Its lyrics examined the burgeoning online dating scene and its implications on how romantic relationships can develop in the internet age. What's interesting is that Kate can hardly be heard on this track. Some reports say that she sings backing vocals from 0'29 onwards, but who can tell? Still, this single, released with the October 2019 issue of the German magazine Musikexpress, belongs in my collection.

My collection: 7" single no. 6164
Found: Musikexpress (Germany), received September 18, 2019
Cost: 10 euro
Tracks: 'My computer' / 'Shhh (x-cerpt)'

Se a vida é - Pet Shop Boys

When the Pet Shop Boys released 'Bilingual' in 1996, there were suspicions that their holidays in Spanish speaking countries had gotten the best of them. There were quite a few Spanish expressions on the album, most visibly on the song 'Se a vida é', which was released as the album's second single. It reached number 8 in the UK singles chart.

On the B-side of this jukebox-only 7" single there's the single mix of the previous single, 'Before'. Released on April 22, 1996 it reached number 7 in the UK singles chart.

My collection: 7" single no. 6163
Found: Discogs.com, received September 17, 2109
Cost: 5 pounds
Tracks: 'Se a vida é' / 'Before (single mix)'

Paninaro '95 - Pet Shop Boys

For a long time, I believed the Pet Shop Boys didn't release a vinyl single in the 1990's after Liberation, but it turns out I was wrong. A recent discovery on Discogs was the release of a handful 7" singles from that era, although they were only produced for the apparently lively jukebox circuit.

'Paninaro '95' was released to promote the B-side compilation 'Alternative'. It was a re-recording of a song that originally appeared on the B-side of the single Suburbia. The new recording included a rap in the middle of the song, newly written by Chris Lowe; it laments the loss of the "lover" referred to in the pre-existing lyrics. The written lyrics in the final are also changed to "were" rather than "are" in referring to the lost love.

My collection: 7" single no. 6162
Found: Discogs.com, received September 17, 2019
Cost: 5 pounds
Tracks: 'Paninaro '95' / 'In the night'

Saturday, 14 September 2019

West end girls '86 - Pet Shop Boys

The Pet Shop Boys became famous with their 1985 single 'West end girls', but the song was actually recorded before the version that made them famous. That version was produced by Bobby Orlando, and released in 1984. And of course I have that single, I bought it back in 1986.

But this single is a different beast: while the Pet Shop Boys were riding high in the charts with their first handful of singles and their debut album, ZYX Records decided to release a 'remix' of the original version of 'West end girls'. The track was remixed by Tess at Hurricane Studio Munich, and that probably tells you all you need to know. It's the sound of a record company trying to make money off a product that probably shouldn't have been made at all. Although I have to say that I do like this version.... actually.

My collection: 7" single no. 6161
Found: Ebay.com, received September 13, 2019
Cost: 3 euro
Tracks: 'West end girls (remix '86)' / 'Theme for the Pet Shop Boys'
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