Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Arabesque / Orphans - Coldplay

Released on October 24, 2019, 'Arabesque' and 'Orphans' are two tracks from Coldplay's eighth studio album 'Everyday life', released a month later. The album was divided in a 'sunrise' and 'sunset' part, and the single follows that pattern: 'Arabesque' is taken from the former and 'Orphans' from the latter.

The single wasn't the big hit that it might have been suspected to be: it only peaked at number 27 in the UK singles chart. It is a result, perhaps, of being labelled 'uncool' by many over recent years. Which is odd, because at the beginning of this century Coldplay was deemed to be the best invention since sliced bread. So you see, celebrity is a fleeting thing. Well, at least the band still knows how to make great music.

My collection: 7" single no. 6237
Found: Amazon.co.uk, received January 21, 2020
Cost: 5 pounds
Tracks: 'Arabesque' / 'Orphans'

Infernal machines - The Divine Comedy

Although I am a big Divine Comedy fan, I wasn't entirely convinced by their latest album, 'Office politics'. The idea of creating a themed album did appeal to me, but I haven't yet been able to get through the entire album. It isn't exactly easy listening.

Buying this single was a given, of course. And thankfully it contains two of the better tracks from the album: 'Infernal machines' (with a certain Depeche Mode vibe) and 'You'll never work in this town again', with all its "real instruments".

I have almost all of the Divine Comedy 7" singles, so this was a worthy addition. Now if I could only find the last few that I miss....

My collection: 7" single no. 6236
Found: Amazon.co.uk, received January 21, 2020
Cost: 6 pounds
Tracks: 'Infernal machines' / 'You'll never work in this town again'

Dreamland - Pet Shop Boys

The world would be a better place if there were more magazines like the German Musikexpress, which regularly offers a free 7" single with their monthly issues. After having bought their recent issue featuring the amazing single 'My computer' by Prince and Kate Bush, they managed to improve on that by including a Pet Shop Boys single with their current issue.

'Dreamland' was the first single from their album 'Hotspot', which is released this week. Since then we've had the single 'Burning the heather', which was released on 7" vinyl, but 'Dreamland' wasn't, until now. This exclusive 7" single features a live track on the B-side; a medley of 'Always on my mind' and 'The pop kids'. And it's pressed on blue vinyl, too! Even if you can't read German, you will buy this magazine if you collect Pet Shop Boys singles. Which probably is the point of all this, I guess.

My collection: 7" single no. 6235
Found: Musikexpress (Germany), received January 18, 2020
Cost: 10 euro
Tracks: 'Dreamland' / 'Always on my mind/The pop kids (live)'

J'veux d'la tendresse - Elton John

I don't know if many people know that Elton John recorded a French song. 'J'veux d'la tendresse' was written by Jean-Paul Dréau and released by the female singer Janic Prevost in 1980. While on holiday in St. Tropez, Elton heard the song and asked his lyricist Gary Osborne to write English lyrics to the melody. That song became 'Nobody wins'.

However, Elton also recorded the song with the original French lyrics. I didn't know this myself until it recently popped up during a search in the database of the same dealer that sent me 'Rock and roll crazy'. It's always better to buy more than one single if you're paying for postage anyway, so I did. And I do think this version is better than the English one.

My collection: 7" single no. 6234
Found: Discogs.com, received January 8, 2020
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'J'veux d'la tendresse' / 'Fools in fashion'

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Rock and roll crazy - Zappo

I have been after this single for a long time, primarily because of the sleeve. I already have the two tracks on this single, thanks to the French edition that swapped the two sides. On this sleeve, you can see Marty Wilde - for it is him - wearing a Superman costume, complete with a 'glam rock' helmet... it is a priceless picture.

Both sides of this single were written and produced by Peter Shelley and Marty Wilde, who collaborated a lot during this time. Released in 1973, 'Rock and Roll crazy' wasn't a hit, even though it was a glam rock stomper if ever I heard one.

My collection: 7" single no. 6233
Found: Discogs.com, received January 8, 2020
Cost: 10 euro
Tracks: 'Rock and roll crazy' / 'Right on'

I will follow starlight - Katri Helena

Long before Katri Helena appeared on the Eurovision stage with the immortal 'Tule luo', she represented Finland in 1979 with the song 'Katson sineen taivaan'. She had actually participated in the Finnish national finals in 1969, 1972 and 1978, but this song made an impression and she went on to Israel with this song. 'Katson sineen taivaan' ended up in 14th place in a field of 19 competitors.

This single presents the English version of the song. 'I will follow starlight' was translated by Paul Fagerlund. The sleeve of this single isn't without its flaws - but for a rare single like this I am not complaining.

My collection: 7" single no. 6232
Found: Discogs.com, received January 7, 2020
Tracks: 'I will follow starlight' / 'Spring is around the corner'

Private universe - Crowded House

The second 7" single that came from the USA was a song I didn't already have on vinyl: Crowded House's 'Private universe'. I didn't actually know the song, but it was described as 'gold translucent' vinyl. When you look at the scan, it does seem bright orange, but in real  life it is a lot darker - but still orange to me.

Anyway: I love coloured vinyl and Crowded House are known for their sophisticated pop songs. 'Private universe' was taken from their 1993 album 'Together alone', featuring the hit single 'Distant sun'. In Australia, 'Private universe' reached number 46 in the singles chart.

My collection: 7" single no. 6231
Found: Discogs.com, received January 7, 2020
Cost: $3
Tracks: 'Private universe' / 'Black and white boy'

Perfect day - Duran Duran

I originally bought Duran Duran's version of 'Perfect day' in 1995, when it was released. That was the UK edition, complete with a 'scratch 'n' sniff' sleeve. This American pressing comes with a different B-side: 'Success', also taken from the covers album 'Thank you', released that same year.

I wouldn't even have this single if it weren't for the fact that I was ordering a rare CD from the USA and decided to order two 7" singles along with it. As long as you're paying for postage you might as well get a few extra items in, right?

My collection: 7" single no. 6230
Found: Discogs.com, received January 7, 2020
Cost: $3
Tracks: 'Perfect day' / 'Success'

Nao sejas mau para mim - Dora

Back in 1986, Portugal was represented at the Eurovision Song Contest by Dora Maria Reis Dias de Jesus, who was born in Lisbon on May 20, 1966. Singing 'Nao sejas mau para mim', she won the national final in Portugal and went on to Bergen in Norway to end up in 14th place in a field of
competitors.

After this, she returned to Eurovision one more time with Voltarei. In the 1990's she went to live in Brazil, but returned in 2001. Some appearances in television programmes followed, and an appearance in the Portuguese edition in Playboy magazine in 2013. Apparently she started working at McDonald's in 2014, having had enough of the world of media and entertainment.

My collection: 7" single no. 6229
Found: Discogs.com, received January 4, 2020
Cost: 5 euro
Tracks: 'Nao sejas mau para mim' / 'He's hurtin' me'

Sunday, 29 December 2019

I could easily fall in love with you - Cliff Richard

Cliff Richard released 'I could easily fall in love with you' in 1964. The song reached silver status in the UK, where it reached number 6 in the singles chart. It did even better in the Netherlands, where it peaked at number 4 in the Dutch Top 40.

I don't have a lot of Cliff Richard singles, but this song has a certain evergreen status and I instantly remembered it when I saw this single in the shop. The fact that the disc and sleeve were in such a great condition after all these years made me buy the single on the spot.

My collection: 7" single no. 6227
Found: 33|45 Records, Den Haag, December 28, 2019
Cost: 3 euro
Tracks: 'I could easily fall in love with you' / 'I'm in love with you'

Puppet on a string - Teddy Mertens

During the 1960's, Teddy Mertens released a string of singles with trumpet-based instrumentals. Among them was a cover of 'Non ho l'eta', the winning song of the 1964 Eurovision Song Contest, and this one: 'Puppet on a string', which was the winning song in 1967. The B-side of the single is 'Il doit faire beau lá bas', the French entry of that year's Eurovision Song Contest.

Teddy Mertens also released a few albums with "his orchestra", but faded back into anonymity at the end of the decade. 

My collection: 7" single no. 6226
Found: 33|45 Records, Den Haag, December 28, 2019
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Puppet on a string' / 'Il doit faire beau lá bas'

Saturday, 28 December 2019

Songfestival Londen 1960 - Festival Orchestra

The 1960 Eurovision Song Festival took place in London, with artists from thirteen different European countries. Thirty million viewers watched France win this time with the song 'Tom Pillibi'.

This EP features four songs from the contest: 'Wat een geluk', 'Romantica', 'Tom Pillibi' and 'Looking high high high', the entries from the Netherlands, Italy, France and the UK respectively. The songs were performed by uncredited vocalists with the Festival Orchestra conducted by Harry S. Owens. The single turns up regularly when you hunt for Eurovision singles, but never at a decent price. Until today, that is.

My collection: 7" single no. 6225
Found: 33|45 Records, Den Haag, December 28, 2019
Cost: 3 euro
Tracks: 'Wat een geluk', 'Romantica' / 'Tom Pillibi', 'Looking high high high'

Thursday, 26 December 2019

I wish it could be Christmas every day - Wizzard

A few years ago I went to a Christmas gig by Kim Wilde, and she played a version of 'I wish it could be Christmas every day'. The original song was released in 1973 by Wizzard - around the time I started watching Toppop on a weekly basis as a wee three year old kid. I didn't really know this song very well, but it did sound vaguely familiar.

When I started looking for the single I quickly found out it was issued in a gatefold sleeve - and it was pretty hard to find. I was therefore delighted to find this single finally in April this year. Not really the season for a Christmas single, but when something is on your list for a few years, you can't miss the opportunity.

'I wish it could be Christmas every day' reached number 4 in the UK singles chart when it was released. It has had no less than 15 re-entries since then, in 1981, 1984 and then from 2007 until this year - every year in December of course. However, since the original tapes were lost all the re-entries were based on a re-recording made in 1981.

My collection: 7" single no. 6033
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, April 13, 2019
Cost: 5 euro
Tracks: 'I wish it could be Christmas every day' / 'Rob Roy's nightmare'

Mary's boy child (remix) - Boney M

The legacy of Boney M was tarnished somewhat when Frank Farian continued to churn out singles after Bobby Farrell left the group. Less successful singles eventually forced him to stop - but in 1988 he came back with a vengeance when the compilation 'Greatest Hits of all times remix '88' was released. The original line-up reformed and several singles were released: new remixes of old hits.

'Mary's boy child' was released in time for Christmas in 1988, in a remix version created by mix-master Pete Hammond - an obvious attempt to use the name and fame of the Stock, Aitken & Waterman team, who were continually in the charts with their acts. The single did not chart. Tensions ran high between the members, and Liz Mitchell left in the spring of 1989 to be replaced by Madeleine Davis.

My collection: 7" single no. 6175
Found: Record fair, Amsterdam, September 21, 2019
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Mary's boy child (remix)' / 'Megamix (edited version)'

Monday, 23 December 2019

Mary's boy child (Oh my Lord) / Dancing in the streets - Boney M

'Mary's boy child' is a Christmas song, originally written by Jester Hairston. The song was written when Hairston was sharing a room with a friend. The friend asked him to write a song for a birthday party. Hairston wrote the song with a calypso rhythm because the people at the party would be mainly West Indians. The song's original title was "He Pone and Chocolate Tea", pone being a type of corn bread. It was never recorded in this form. Some time later Walter Schumann, at the time conducting Schumann's Hollywood Choir, asked Hairston to write a new Christmas song for his choir. Hairston remembered the calypso rhythm from his old song and wrote new lyrics for it.

Harry Belafonte heard the song being performed by the choir and sought permission to record it. It was recorded in 1956 for his album 'An Evening with Belafonte'. It was also released as a single. It reached number 1 on the UK Singles Chart in November 1957, and has since sold over 1.19 million copies there.

When Boney M recorded 'Mary's boy child' in 1978, they coupled it with a new song, 'Oh my Lord', written by Frank Farian and Fred Jay. This version also reached number 1 in the UK, and topped the chart for four weeks. When Hairston - who was 78 years old at the time - found out how well the Boney M version had done, he said: "God bless my soul. That's tremendous for an old fogey like me".

After Christmas, Hansa Record flipped the single and released it with 'Dancing in the streets' as the A-side. As you can see from the pictures here, the sleeve was different. On the labels the 'A' and 'B' were indeed changed. The tracks, however, remained the same.

I was lucky enough to find three versions of this single in the same store: the Dutch pressing with the black and white sleeve and two versions of the German pressing. This Boney M single remains one of the best selling Christmas singles of all time.

My collection: 7" single no. 6073
Found: Velvet Vinyl Outlet, Leiden, May 18, 2019
Cost: 3x1 euro
Tracks: 'Mary's boy child (Oh my Lord)' / 'Dancing in the streets'

Elton John's Christmas EP - Elton John

Now that Christmas is approaching, it's finally time to post a few Christmas singles I acquired this year. And here's a good one: back in 1990, Elton John released the compilation album 'The very best of Elton John', featuring a good portion of his hits spread over two CD's.

Elton John's Christmas EP cleverly brought together two Christmas-themed songs along with two other songs that were less Christmassy but very enjoyable nonetheless. Packaged in a gatefold sleeve which on the inside marketed the compilation album and left open the space for the label on which you could write a dedication ("To:.... From:..." on both sides).

My collection: 7" single no. 6178
Found: Record fair, Amsterdam, September 21, 2019
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Step into Christmas', 'Cold as Christmas (In the middle of the year)' / 'Easier to walk away', 'I swear I heard the night talking'

Saturday, 21 December 2019

Last Christmas - Wham!

The Christmas season is never complete without the Wham! track 'Last Christmas'. Especially this year, when the movie of the same name is in the cinemas everywhere. The record company decided to capitalize on the success and re-release the video in remastered form - it was recorded on film back in 1984, making it possible to release a 4K version now. Never has it looked any better than this.

The same goes for the 7" vinyl single, released this month. Pressed on white vinyl, it comes in a reproduction of the original gatefold sleeve. So, despite already owning Last Christmas, Last Christmas, Last Christmas and Everything she wants / Last Christmas, I had to have this one of course.

My collection: 7" single no. 6222
Found: Amazon.co.uk, received December 17, 2019
Cost: 8 pounds
Tracks: 'Last Christmas' / 'Everything she wants'

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