Saturday, 13 December 2014

Det' lige det - Kirsten & Søren

What makes a Eurovision Song Contest cliche? Listen to Kirsten & Søren's 1984 Eurovision song 'Det' lige det' and you hear what Eurovision sounded like for much of the Eighties. There was nothing really remarkable about the song, there were synths everywhere and while trying to sound modern, the song still felt old-fashioned anyway.

At the close of voting, it had received 101 points, placing fourth in a field of 19 competitors. The song is sung from the perspective of a woman waiting for her lover to come to her. She tells him that his presence brightens the day considerably and that he shouldn't be afraid of loving her, as he appears to be. As part of their performance of this song in the Danish national selection, the female half of the duo (Kirsten Siggard), pushed the male half (Søren Bundgaard) into a swimming pool. This act, while unable to be repeated at the Contest itself, earned the song the Danish nickname 'The Swimming Pool Song'.

My collection: 7" single no. 5659
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 23, 2014
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Det' lige det' / 'Nostalgi'

Ce soir-là - François Deguelt

Rare singles come in many gueses, but I always get a weird feeling when I get my hands on a single that was made of 50 years ago. I wasn't even born in 1960, but the Eurovision Song Contest was already celebrating its fifth edition and François Deguelt represented Monaco with the beautiful song 'Ce soir-là', included in this delightful little EP.

'Ce soir-là' is in the chanson style popular in the early years of the Contest. Deguelt describes the first night he spent with his lover and explains to her that he realised then that 'Life would never have attraction for me / Far from you'. It appears from the lyrics, however, that his lover has left him since then, which has resulted in his perpetual waiting for her return in order to relive 'that night'. At the close of voting, this song had received 15 points, placing third in a field of 13 competitors.

Also check out the swinging 'Linda' on this disc - it is very different and very enjoyable.

My collection: 7" single no. 5643
Found: eBay.co.uk, received September 2, 2014
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Ce soir-là', 'Jean' / Linda', 'Sur la piste (plus loin)'

Love is a lonely weekend - Anna Vishy

I don't have any Eurovision singles from Cyprus yet, so getting this single by Anna Vishy was a bit of a milestone. Anna represented Greece in 1980 and 2006, but represented Cyprus in the 1982 Eurovision song Contest with 'Mono i agapi' ('Only love'). At the close of voting, the song was placed fifth in a field of 18 competitors. It has remained Cyprus' best showing in the Contest to date.

The English-language version of the song was entitled 'Love is a lonely weekend' and was released internationally by CBS Records.

My collection: 7" single no. 5666
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 23, 2014
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: "Love is a lonely weekend' / 'I'm gonna be a fool for you'

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Et bonjour à toi l'artiste - Nicole Rieu

'Et bonjour à toi l'artiste' ('And a good day to you, artist') was the French entry in the Eurovision Song Contest 1975, performed by Nicole Rieu. The song was performed third on the night . At the close of voting, it had received 91 points, placing 4th in a field of 19 contestants.

The song is a subtle ballad, with Rieu greeting 'the great artist' and reminding him or her that it is time to get to work painting. The artist is also described as an author, an illusionist and an actor. Rieu recorded the song in no less than six languages; French, English ('Live for love'), German, Spanish ('Dios te guarde buen artista'), Italian ('Buongiorno artista') and Japanese ('Soyokaze no okurimono').

My collection: 7" single no. 5665
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 23, 2014
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Et bonjour à toi l'artiste' / 'La mandarine'

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Vivan bomma - De Strangers

The Belgian band De Strangers have appeared on this blog a few times before, because I bought five of their singles all on one day. This is the last of that series: their 1989 cover version of Riva's 'Rock me baby', the song that won the Eurovision Song Contest that year.

'Vivan bomma' (who knows what that means? I sure don't) was not a hit for the Belgian group, and they never had any chart hits ever since either. They had their last concert on May 14, 2002, followed by a one-off reunion concert in 2006.

My collection: 7" single no. 5619
Found: Chelsea Records, Antwerpen, August 10, 2014
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Vivan bomma' / 'Njoe-biet van Keskeschiet'

Interview - Kate Bush

Being a Kate Bush fanatic has its drawbacks: old singles are hugely expensive and lots of illegal releases are too. Every now and again, you can't resist temptation when a cheap illegal item comes within your grasp, and this is how I got my hands on this picture disc.

Illegal as hell, this picture disc uses an interview by Martin Buchanan from 1985 on both sides. The interview was broadcast on the old satellite TV channel Music Box - the European answer to MTV - and gives the buyer two black and white pictures of Kate. Interview singles aren't the most interesting discs to play but at least this one looks attractive.

My collection: 7" single no. 5657
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 23, 2014
Cost: 3 euro
Tracks: Interview [1985] (on both sides)

Beatles - Forbes

Being one of the biggest names in pop music, you would wish for the Beatles that if they got a musical tribute, it would be a worthy one. 'Beatles', written by Sven Olov Bagge and Claes Bure, was not that song. It was a calculated move by the Swedish band Forbes to use English phrases, motivated by the fact that the 1977 Eurovision Song Contest took place in the United Kingdom.

The audience cheered at the song, but the juries had another opinion. The song finished last, with only two points from West Germany. At the Swedish singles chart, it peaked at number 3, amazingly.

My collection: 7" single no. 5636
Found: Fun Records, Berlin, received August 29, 2014
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Beatles' / 'Sweet kiss of fire'

A song for Europe - Matt Monro

Sometimes I buy a single and I can't believe my luck. This EP from 1964 (!) in very good condition and a 'Factory sample - not for sale' sticker on the label appeared in my hands during the recent record fair in Utrecht. I think the dealer didn't know what he was selling, because this EP appears online for a tenner or more.

This 'A Song For Europe' EP was released on the occasion of Matt Monro's appearance in the TV programme of the same name, also known as the national final of the Eurovision Song Contest in the UK. The song that was chosen was 'I love the little things' (track 3 on side A), which ended second in a field of 16 competitors in the Contest that year.

My collection: 7" single no. 5656
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 23, 2014
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Choose', 'It's funny how you know', 'I love the little things' / 'I've got the moon on my side', 'Ten out of ten', 'Beautiful, beautiful'

Monday, 8 December 2014

Chanteur de charme - Gerard Lenorman

'Chanteur de charme' ('Crooner') was the French entry in the Eurovision Song Contest 1988, performed by Gérard Lenorman. The song was performed nineteenth on the night. At the close of voting, it had received 64 points, placing 10th in a field of 21 competitors.

As befits the title, the song is a ballad, with Lenorman singing about the subject matter that crooners traditionally sing about. That is to say, he sings about the subject matter itself, rather than singing the type of song usually associated with the style. Indeed, he likens the songs themselves to "these stories of three times nothing, which rhyme badly, which do good" and later adds that "Nothing has ever prevented us from setting to music, those endlessly repeated clichés, romantic feelings" and remarks that his heart "stupidly proposes on the first page of a paper".

My collection: 7" single no. 5648
Found: Discogs.com, received September 11, 2014
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Chanteur de charme' / 'Heureux qui communique'

Stool pigeon - Kid Creole & the Coconuts

Although I already own the original version of Stool Pigeon and this remix version, the double pack pictured here looked like an even more attractive package. Regular readers will know that I'm a sucker for limited edition packages, and especially when they are cheap. Well this one was 'two singles for the price of one', and in the second hand market, even less than that.

However, the second single serves only as proof that Kid Creole and the Coconuts are not necessarily an attractive package as a live act. Perhaps the quality of these recordings are to blame, but I find these two tracks rather clunky. Oh well, you can't win them all.

My collection: 7" single no. 5429
Found: unknown
Tracks: 'Stool pigeon (remixed version)' / 'In the jungle (remixed version)' // 'He's not such a bad guy (after all) (live version)' / 'There but for the grace of god go I (live version)'

Lass die Sonne in dein Herz - Wind

The single Lass die Sonne in dein Herz has appeared on this blog as far back as March 2009, but this copy is quite different from that one. This one is the original German release, probably released right after their triumph in the national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest in 1987. It features the B-side 'Immer dabei' instead of the English version of the A-side song (like on that other copy).

Like I wrote back in 2009, the song was written and composed by longtime Contest contributors for Germany Ralph Siegel and Bernd Meinunger. It is a reggae-oriented track with a lyric full of positive platitudes.

My collection: 7" single no.  5604
Found: Chelsea Records, Antwerpen, August 10, 2014
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Lass die Sonne in dein Herz' / 'Immer dabei'

Penthouse and pavement - Heaven 17

The title track of Heaven 17's debut album 'Penthouse and pavement' was released as the band's fourth single in 1981. The band never played the songs live until more recent years. Martyn Ware commented about this in 2010: "We absolutely resisted touring. We decided not to tour at all, or perform. Because Ian and I were members of The Human League, as you know, we spent two and a half years touring everywhere in Europe and Britain. And in those days - can you imagine this now? - the record company were paying quite a lot for tour support to get on big tours. So we toured twice with Siouxsie & The Banshees and with Pere Ubu, Iggy Pop, Stranglers, blah, blah, blah. And whilst it got us loads of coverage in NME and various style magazines, we weren't actually selling that many albums. (...) By coincidence it was just the start of MTV when we started BEF, and we thought that was an ideal mechanism for us to service a lot of markets simultaneously, spending the same amount of money we would have spent on tour support but instead spending it on videos, which is what we did."

My collection: 7" single no. 5450
Found: unknown
Tracks: 'Penthouse and pavement' / 'Penthouse and pavement (instrumental)'

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - The Beatles

Classic albums come in many shapes and colours, but among them, The Beatles' 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' is especially loved by pop music historians. The album was full of experimentations that were quite innovative in their time.

This single was apparently released in 1987, probably in conjunction with the CD release of the album. (Back then, record companies still released singles to promote products, remember?) The A-side is a double whammy of the title track and 'With a little help from my friends', while the B-side presents arguably the best track from the album.

My collection: 7" single no. 5370
Found: unknown
Tracks: 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band/With a little help from my friends' / 'A day in the life'

Swiss lady - Pepe Lienhard Band

In 1977, Switzerland was represented in the Eurovision Song Contest by the Pepe Lienhard Band. It remains the only Swiss entry to have ever reached number 1 in the official Swiss singles chart. It has to be said, the song has aged well, and the B-side of this single isn't half bad either. Another remarkable fact: this single was actually made in Sweden.

The song is about a man from the mountains who plays the alphorn and considers this instrument his "Swiss Lady". The song was performed twelfth on the night. At the close of voting, it had received 71 points, placing 6th in a field of 18 competitors.

My collection: 7" single no. 5662
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 23, 2014
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Swiss lady' / 'Shiny red balloon'

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Libera - Mia Martini

Long before Mia Martini participated in the Eurovision Song Contest with the beautifully depressing 'Rapsodia' (1992), she appeared in 1977 with 'Libera'. At the time, she was arguably Italy's most successful and celebrated female artist, having had a number of hits since 1971. At the close of voting, 'Libera' had received 33 points, placing it 13th in a field of 18 competitors.

Martini recorded five versions of the song; the original ballad version, the disco version, the Spanish 'Libre', the French 'Libre comme une femme' and the English 'Freedom is today', the latter three all with the up-tempo arrangement.

My collection: 7" single no. 5627
Found: Fun Records, Berlin, received August 29, 2014
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Libera' / 'Sognare è vita'

Hello I love you / Love her madly - The Doors

The 'oldies single' was an attractive way to get old songs into your singles collection, back in the Seventies and Eighties. Warner Bros. had an attractive series of such singles, one of which you can see here. The sleeve was always the same: a small photo in the middle and a large logo above, inside a 'jukebox style' sleeve design.

This single presents the 1968 hit single 'Hello I love you' and the 1971 hit single 'Love her madly', both by The Doors. Of course, both these songs are picked rather randomly, although obviously both have been big hits for the band.

My collection: 7" single no. 5390
Found: unknown
Tracks: 'Hello I love you' / 'Love her madly'

Hello summertime - Bobby Goldsboro

The singles Honey and Summer (The first time) were reason enough to become curious about Bobby Goldsboro's further output, but his singles are pretty hard to find. When I came across this one, I simply thought it was a good way to hear more from the man.

'Hello summertime' lacks the melancholy atmosphere of the two titles mentioned above, but does offer a rather upbeat melody and carefree lyrics instead. The B-side is even better, because on there, the melancholy feeling is back... just slightly.

My collection: 7" single no. 5398
Found: unknown
Tracks: 'Hello summertime' / 'And then there was Gina'

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

I want tomorrow - Enya

Long before Enya died and her subsequent albums were created by producers in a studio, reusing her vocals time and again, she recorded a self-titled debut album. The album was used as the soundtrack to the BBC documentary series 'The Celts'. The album includes only a portion of the music Enya composed for the documentary series.

Hard to believe, but this single taken from the album sounds rather original. It actually sounds like Enya sang the words herself instead of being pieced together from previously sung vocals. However, the single did not chart. Her next single, 'Orinoco flow' would become a worldwide hit and would later turn out to be the first version of all her subsequent singles.

My collection: 7" single no. 5670
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 23, 2014
Cost: 0,5 euro
Tracks: 'I want tomorrow' / 'The Celts'

Play to win - Heaven 17

I have added quite a few Heaven 17 singles recently, including the double whammy of 'Play to win' and 'Penthouse and Pavement' that was released in the Netherlands.

What you find here is the original UK version, featuring 'Play to win' and the instrumental (dub) version 'Play' on the B-side. That B-side is a treat for those who like this quirky electronic track, because it gives you the opportunity to check out all the intricate instrumentation behind a rather flippant and funky track.

My collection: 7" single no. 5400
Found: Record Exchange, London
Cost: 10p
Tracks: 'Play to win' / 'Play'

Dreaming of me - Depeche Mode

Attentive readers of this blog will have seen many entries about Depeche Mode, but one thing was still missing: the band's debut single. I never got round to buying a copy, didn't even know it was missing from my collection in fact. However, I have finally rectified this shortcoming.

Released on February 20, 1981, 'Dreaming of me' only reached number 57 in the UK singles chart and was subsequently not included on the band's debut album 'Speak and spell'. Exactly 30 years after 'Dreaming of me' was first released in the UK, a fan action tried to push the track back into the charts by way of (legal) online downloads. The action failed except in Germany, where the track entered the singles charts for the very first time at number 45 giving the band its 47th chart entry.

My collection: 7" single no. 5667
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 23, 2014
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Dreaming of me' / 'Ice machine'

Radio-activity - Kraftwerk

Kraftwerk are pioneers of techno pop, and have been responsible for some of the most astonishing records of the Seventies. It's remarkable that they were able to produce music that sounds timeless even now, mostly thanks to the technology that has become mainstream now, but was quite difficult and expensive back then.

The hyphenated title of the album 'Radio-activity' (1976) displays Kraftwerk's typical deadpan humour, being a pun on the twin themes of the songs, half being about radioactivity and the other half about activity on the radio. More word plays are evident in the track listing: "Radio Stars", which as a title could refer to pop stars, but upon listening is revealed to be about quasars and pulsars. The title track was issued as a single and reached number 7 in France and number 31 in Italy - but failed to chart everywhere else.

My collection: 7" single no. 5433
Found: unknown
Tracks: 'Radio-activity' / 'Antenna'

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Près de ma rivière - Robert Cogoi

Robert Cogoi was born as Mirko Kogoj on October 25, 1939 in Châtelet to Yugoslav parents. In 1961 he picked up a contract with Philips Records, and the following year, won first prize at the Grand Prix International des Variétés at the Casino in Ostend with the song 'Si un jour', which went on to sell 100,000 copies in France, earning Cogoi a gold disc.

In 1964, he represented belgium with 'Près de ma rivière' ('Near my river'). At the close of voting, it had received 2 points, placing 10th in a field of 16 competitors. Cogoi also recorded the song in English, German and Italian language versions, entitled, respectively, 'My River of Memories', 'Weit, da wo der Strom beginnt' and 'Sulla mia riviera'. The English version, however, was not released until nearly 30 years after the Contest.

Cogoi continued releasing albums and singles, with modest success, until the late 1960s. In 1976 he appeared in the Belgian movie 'Les arpents dorés'. After many years out of the public eye, Cogoi made a guest appearance, along with several other former Eurovision participants, at the Belgian Eurovision national final in 2005.

My collection: 7" single no. 5652
Found: Marktplaats.nl, November 5, 2014
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Pres de ma riviere' / 'Quand le jour se leve'

Only the light - Rikki

'Only the light', written and composed by Richard Peebles, was the United Kingdom's entry at the 1987 Eurovision Song Contest, performed by Peebles himself, who was credited as Rikki. Rikki won the right to perform at Brussels by winning the UK national final, A Song for Europe, where he was the first singer to perform.

At the end of judging that evening, 'Only the light' finished on 13th place. It was a huge disappointment to the United Kingdom as it was the lowest placement any of the country's entries had received up to that time. Like the previous year, a rock song was in the offering, with an unclear theme (it is never explained what "the light" is, what kind of metaphor it is, why "the light" is after him or why he is avoiding it). In the UK singles chart, the single rose no further than to number 96.

My collection: 7" single no. 5632
Found: Fun Records, Berlin, received August 29, 2014
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Only the light' / 'You came into my life'

Ti scrivo - Luca Barbarossa

Luca Barbarossa is an Italian singer/songwriter who was born on April 15, 1961. He has released 12 albums since 1981, appearing at the prestigious San Remo festival numerous times. In 1988, he was chosen by Italian broadcaster RAI as the representative for Italy at the Eurovision Song Contest, performing the song 'Ti Scrivo'.

The song is a ballad, in which Barbarossa apologises to the recipient of a letter he is writing for using this method of communication. This recipient appears to be a former lover, as he sings that 'Without a good reason / I just scream out your name / It makes me feel alive' and makes mention of deep feelings which needed to be communicated. At the close of voting, the song had received 52 points, placing 12th in a field of 21 competitors.

My collection: 7" single no. 5631
Found: Fun Records, Berlin, received August 29, 2014
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Ti scrivo' / 'Da grande'

Hé hé m'sieurs dames - Profil

The band Profil was put together especially for the 1980 Eurovision Song Contest to represent France with the song 'Hé Hé M'sieurs dames' ('Hey hey, Ladies and Gentlemen'). The band members were: Martine Havet, Martine Bauer, Francis Rignault, Jean-Claude Corbel and Jean-Pierre Izbinski. Their song was performed sixteenth on the night. At the close of voting, it had received 45 points, placing 11th in a field of 19 competitors.

This single is one of only three I still needed to complete my collection of singles from the 1980 Eurovision Song Contest. It will be a real feast when I find the last one, 'Huilumies', the song  that represented Finland.

My collection: 7" single no. 5647
Found: Discogs.com, received September 11, 2014
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Hé hé m'sieurs dames' / 'Jour de chance'

Morgen - Ronnie Tober

In 1968, the Netherlands were represented in the Eurovision Song Contest by Ronnie Tober. He sang the song 'Morgen', a ballad in which the singer expresses his desire for "tomorrow" to arrive as soon as possible, enabling him and his wife, who is far away, to be reunited. This is slightly ironic, since Ronnie Tober later turned out to be gayer than Christmas.

The song was performed second on the night. At the close of voting, it had received 1 point, placing 16th (equal last) in a field of 17 competitors. Of course, the next year, the Netherlands would be one of four winners of the Contest, when it was organised in Spain.

My collection: 7" single no. 5594
Found: Marktplaats.nl, August 1, 2014
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Morgen' / 'Die ouwe pianola'

Angelique - Dario Campeotto

Dario Campeotto was born on February 1, 1939 in Frederiksberg, Copenhagen to Italian parents, Emma and Ernesto Campeotto. He started performing at the age of ten, but his breakthrough was a victory in the Dansk Melodi Grand Prix in 1961 with the song 'Angelique', which went on to finish fifth in the Eurovision Song Contest. The song is a love ballad directed towards one Angelique, with Campeotto singing about the various things he would do for her if he had the skill - such as writing poetry if he were William Shakespeare or playing the violin if he were Yehudi Menuhin.

Following Angelique, Dario Campeotto released a number of records, starred in theatrical play, operettes, revues, and movies. He has been married twice and once lived in Italy with his former wife, actress Ghita Nørby, but returned to Denmark where he is currently continuing his career.

My collection: 7" single no. 5660
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 23, 2014
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Angelique' / 'Du er min kaerlighed'

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