Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Nee voor mij - Daniela Simons

It doesn't happen very often that a Eurovision artist chooses to re-record their song in Dutch. Nicole did it with her 'Ein Bisschen Frieden', and there's a Dutch version of Carola's 'Främling', but aside from a few lesser known releases, that's about it.

Daniela Simons, who represented Switzerland in 1986 with the song 'Pas pour moi', did it with 'Nee voor mij' ('No for me'). Hilariously, she pronounces the word 'man' ('man') as 'maan' ('moon'). Still, she speaks Dutch better than I do French, so I won't make too much a fuss about it. However, the single didn't chart in the Netherlands and I have no info about any other artist attempting to release a Dutch cover of their Eurovision entry after 1986.

My collection: 7" single no. 5625
Found: Marktplaats.nl, received August 28, 2014
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Nee voor mij' / 'Pas pour moi (instrumental)'

Japanese boy - Aneka

Scottish folk singer Mary Sandeman recorded the song 'Japanese boy' in 1981. Realising that the name didn't fit the song, they decided to come up with a name to put to the single. Leafing through the telephone directory, they came upon the name of Aneka. This was then released as a single and Sandeman came up with a Japanese image under which to perform the song. To their surprise, the song became a major hit when it eventually reached No. 1 in August 1981. The song went on to become a hit all over Europe and beyond, although according to Sandeman, it failed to chart in Japan itself because 'they thought it sounded too Chinese.'

The success of the single proved to be a problem however, as Sandeman was left with a dilemma of what to do as a follow-up, now that her image was so firmly associated with one song. She modified her image and kept the Aneka name, but future single releases failed to chart highly in the UK, although she did score two follow-up hits in many countries in Europe. 'Japanese boy' sold almost half a million copies in the UK, making it one of the best-selling singles of 1981, and the second-best seller by a solo female artist (behind Kim Wilde's 'Kids in America').

My collection: 7" single no. 5366
Found: unknown
Cost: unknown
Tracks: 'Japanese boy' / 'Ae fond kiss'

Monday, 1 September 2014

Runner in the night - Ryder

The cheap production, the loud synths... this single has Eighties written all over it, but not the good part of that decade. Released in 1986, Ryder's 'Runner in the night' was the UK entry for the Eurovision Song Contest. The purpose-made pop group led by Maynard Williams were criticised in the media for being a particularly weak and unsuitable entry.

As a result, the song failed to reach the UK top 75 singles chart - the first to do so since 1964. Still, they managed to get 72 points during the Contest, ending up at number 7 in a field of 20 competitors. It was the year Sandra Kim won, after all...

My collection: 7" single no. 5630
Found: Fun Records, Berlin, received August 29, 2014
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Runner in the night' / 'Runner in the night (Ballad)'

What goes around comes around - Lenny Kravitz

In 1991, Kravitz produced the self-titled album 'Vanessa Paradis' for French singer and actress Vanessa Paradis. He played most of the instruments and co-wrote most of the songs on the album. He also released his second album, 'Mama Said', which was his first album to reach the Top 40. The songs on the album were about his ex-wife, actress Lisa Bonet and dedicated to her, documenting his depression over their breakup.

'What Goes Around Comes Around' was released as the album's seventh and final single. It failed to chart in all territories, just like the previous single, 'Stop draggin' around'.

My collection: 7" single no. 5435
Found: unknown
Cost: unknown
Tracks: 'What goes around comes around' / 'When the morning turns to night'

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Love don't prove I'm right - The Babys

Internal conflicts led to rhythm guitarist and keyboard player Michael Corby being removed from the band by Chrysalis on August 28, 1978. The three remaining members of the Babys - John Waite, Wally Stocker, and Tony Brock - completed the album 'Head first' for a January 1979 release.

'Love don't prove I'm right' was a single taken from that album, the one that spawned their signature hit 'Every time I think of you'. The title track was also released as a single, but didn't fare as well and this one, released exclusively in the Netherlands - as far as I could find out - did even worse, as it failed to chart everywhere.

My collection: 7" single no. 5367
Found: Disco Market, Den Haag
Cost: 1 guilder
Tracks: 'Love don't prove I'm right' / 'I was one'

Judy min vän - Tommy Körberg

'Judy, min vän' ('Judy, my friend') was the Swedish entry in the Eurovision Song Contest 1969, performed by Tommy Körberg. The song was composed by Englishman Roger Wallis, living in Sweden since the early Sixties, originally with English lyrics and entitled 'Dear Mrs. Jones'. Lyricist Britt Lindeborg subsequently translated and re-wrote the Swedish lyrics specifically for the Swedish pre-selections, and then changed the title to 'Judy, min vän'.

Both versions of the song were released as singles in Sweden. 'Judy, min vän' was performed ninth on the night. By the close of voting, it had received 8 points, placing it in shared 9th place in a field of 16 competitors. After four countries won the Contest in 1969, Sweden - as all the other Scandinavian countries - withdrew from the 1970 contest, in protest of the voting system.

My collection: 7" single no. 5584
Found: KEG Records, Sweden, received August 1, 2014
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Judy min vän' / 'Din tid är förbi'

Do you wanna funk - Patrick Cowley and Sylvester

Although my English wasn't as good as it is these days, even when this single was released I had a sneaking suspicion that the title was supposed to have a 'c' where the last 'n' was included. Somehow it seemed appropriate, because all I knew about clubbing at the time was that it seemed to involve drinking and... well... that other thing.

The dance song was recorded by American recording artist Sylvester. It was produced by Patrick Cowley, who incidentally died the same year. 'Do you wanna funk' was mostly successful in Europe, especially Switzerland, Netherlands, Norway (where it became a top 10 hit) and even in the United Kingdom where it made the top 40. It also made the Top 30 in Australia.

My collection: 7" single no. 5380
Found: unknown
Cost: unknown
Tracks: 'Do you wanna funk' / 'Do you wanna funk (instrumental)'

Strawberry Fields forever - Beatles

Although I would love to own the box set of Beatles singles with the green sleeves, it is quite impossible to get for a reasonable price. These re-releases from the Eighties, however, pop up for a more reasonable price every now and again. And so I settled with this re-release of 'Penny Lane' and 'Strawberry fields forever', simply because they're two of the best tracks recorded by the fab four IMHO.

This single came with a piece of paper informing the buyer that the albums 'Rubber soul', 'Help' and 'Revolver' were soon to be released on compact disc. It wouldn't be the last time these albums were released on the format: since then, there have been remasters, box sets and what not. Still, no-one seems to have caught on to the idea that Beatles tracks are not the most attractive in their current state. A stereo remix wouldn't be too bad an idea in an age where music is usually listened to with in-ears.

My collection: 7" single no. 5369
Found: unknown
Cost: unknown
Tracks: 'Strawberry Fields forever' / 'Penny Lane'

Running with the night - Lionel Richie

The dodgy lyrics of the man's later work may make you forget just how good his songs were at the height of his popularity. A song like 'Dancing on the ceiling' can't hold a candle to a great pop track like this one, 'Running with the night'.

It was the second single from his multi-platinum album 'Can't slow down'. The electric guitar solo was played by Steve Lukather, best known as a member of the rock band Toto. Lukather sat down in the studio and the engineer played the basic tracks of the song, for him to hear for the first time, so he could plan his part. As the music played, he jammed along on his instrument. At the conclusion of tune, he said to the engineer, "okay, I'm ready for a take." The producer replied, "That was a take." Singer Richard Marx added backing vocals on the track as a session singer; he had also lent his vocals to Richie's 'All Night Long (All Night)' and 'You Are'.

My collection: 7" single no. 5474
Found: Kringloop Hebbes, Den Haag, July 25, 2014
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Running with the night' / 'Serves you right'

Magnificent obsession - Fehlfarben

Fehlfarben is a German post-punk band from Düsseldorf, Germany. The band name is from a German printing term referring to erroneous colors in prints: singer Peter Hein was in this line of work at Xerox while in the band. Its founding members were Peter Hein (vocals), Thomas Schwebel (guitar), Michael Kemner (bass), Frank Fenstermacher (saxophone), Markus Oehlen and Uwe Bauer (drums).

'Magnificent obsession' was released as a single in 1983, but didn't register in any charts I know. Still, the single was picked up by radio stations, which is how I found out about it at the time. I also forgot about the song for a long time, until I finally got this single a few years ago.

My collection: 7" single no. 5394
Found: unknown
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Magnificent obsession' / 'Das Buschgespenst'

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: Marktplaats.nl, 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'

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