Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Nights in white satin - Moody Blues

There's not much to write about the Moody Blues' 'Nights in white satin' that hasn't already been written about hundreds or thousands of times. The single reached number 19 in the UK singles chart in 1967, number 2 in the Dutch Top 40 in 1968 and number 2 in the US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in 1972. The single was re-released in the UK that same year, and reached number 9 on that occasion.

But the real surprise on this disc - and we know record collecting is full of surprises - is the B-side. 'Cities' is a bit of a doomy look on cities, where 'rivers are sewers' and 'flowers don't grow'. I never heard this track before buying this single, and so it is a real discovery.

My collection: 7" single no. 5455
Found: unknown
Tracks: 'Nights in white satin' / 'Cities'

Come comedie - Betty Mars

'Comé-comédie' ('Come-Comedy') was the French entry in the Eurovision Song Contest 1972, performed by Betty Mars. The song was performed second on the night. At the close of voting, it had received 81 points, placing 11th in a field of 18 contestants.

The song is a moderately up-tempo number, with Mars singing about the joy which will come when she and her lover say that they love each other. Mars also recorded the song in German, under the title 'Komödiant der Liebe' ('Comedian of love').

My collection:  7" single no. 5613
Found: Chelsea Records, Antwerpen, August 10, 2014
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Comé-comédie' / 'Mon café russe'

(We don't need this) Fascist groove thang - Heaven 17

"(We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thang" is a song written and performed by British synthpop band Heaven 17. It reached number 45 in the UK singles chart in 1981, despite being banned by the BBC. It was also a minor dance hit in the US. The song was written by members Martyn Ware, Ian Craig Marsh and Glenn Gregory and included on their 1981 debut album 'Penthouse and Pavement'

In the lyrics fascism and racism are described in an ironic fashion, using the lexicon of funk music. The lyrics of the song also reference the UK and US political leaders of the time, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and President Ronald Reagan, respectively, and include denunciations of both racism and fascism. The song was banned by the BBC due to concerns by Radio 1's legal department that it libeled President Reagan.

My collection: 7" single no. 5402
Found: unknown
Tracks: '(We don't need this) Fascist groove thang' / 'The decline of the west'

Al da d'Haar... krijde cadeau - De Strangers

The Belgian band 'De Strangers' (introduced in an earlier post here) delivered possibly the strangest single of their lengthy career with this 'Al da d'Haar... krijde cadeau'. It rougly translates into 'You get all that hair as a gift' and it is a cover of the 1983 Eurovision Song Contest winner 'Si la vie est cadeau', performed by Corinne Hermes.

And, as if that year's Belgian entry wasn't already weird enough (the legendary 'Rendez-vous' by Pas de deux), they included a cover entitled 'Parlez-vous' on the B-side. Amazingly, this single did not get into the Belgian chart.

My collection: 7" single no. 5616
Found: Chelsea Records, Antwerpen, August 10, 2014
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Al da d'haar... krijde cadeau' / 'Parlez-vous'

Tug of war - Paul McCartney

'Tug of war' is the title track from Paul McCartney’s 1982 album. Rolling Stone described the song as McCartney's equivalent to John Lennon's 'Imagine'. The song has a clear division between the verses featuring sad lyrics about the struggle to survive, the necessity of conflict (pushing and pulling) and the hopeful refrain, in which McCartney looks for a future where these struggles are no longer necessary.

The lyrics are seen as describing his complex relationship with Lennon, who was killed two years prior. The single reached number 53 in both the UK singles chart and the US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, It failed to chart everywhere else.

My collection: 7" single no. 5437
Found: unknown
Tracks: 'Tug of war' / 'Get it' (duet with Carl Perkins)

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Smells like Nirvana - "Weird Al" Yankovic

Somehow, the music press and media were taking guitar bands from Seattle very seriously at the beginning of the Nineties. The previous obsession with drugs-fuelled dance music was forgotten, everyone suddenly had to listen to screaming bipolar maniacs who'd just come from rehearsal studios without ever seriously studying things like melody or lyrics.

It was refreshing, therefore, that 'Weird Al' Yankovic came with his parody on Nirvana's 'Smells like teen spirit'. Entitled 'Smells like Nirvana', it pokes fun at the socalled 'grunge' band from Seattle and their largely atrocious music. The single reached number 35 in the US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, number 48 in Canada, number 38 in Sweden, number 24 in Australia and a rather surprising number 4 in New Zealand!

My collection: 7" single no. 5417
Found: unknown
Tracks: 'Smells like Nirvana' / 'Waffle king'

Always on the run - Lenny Kravitz

'Always on the run' was the first single released from Lenny Kravitz's 1991 album 'Mama said'. by Lenny Kravitz. It features a contribution from former Guns N' Roses guitarist, Slash. Slash had written the music for the song with the original intention of releasing it on a Guns N' Roses studio album but since former drummer Steven Adler had difficulty playing the song, he saved it for this eventual collaboration with Kravitz.

This limited edition 7" single pack features a hand written lyric sheet (well, Lenny's handwriting printed on a piece of paper, that is), a postcard and a European Tour Map. It didn't help sales in the UK: the single only reached number 41 in the singles chart.

My collection: 7" single no. 5434
Found: unknown
Tracks: 'Always on the run' / 'Always on the run (instrumental)'

Just nu! - Tomas Ledin

'Just nu!' ('Right now!') was the Swedish entry in the Eurovision Song Contest 1980, performed by Tomas Ledin. The song talks about a man tired of the monotonous life in the city, in that moment he wants to live his life, he wants to feel the air in his lungs and perhaps to travel to Paris. During the performance at Eurovision, the cable was accidentally plugged out of Tomas Ledin's microphone. He was able to plug it in again, just in time before the start of the second verse.

The song was performed 8th on the night. At the close of voting, it had received 47 points, placing 10th in a field of 19 competitors.

My collection: 7" single no. 5587
Found: KEG Records, Sweden, received August 1, 2014
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Just nu!' / 'Det är säkert värt ett försök'

Is this love - Bob Marley

'Is this love' was originally released by Bob Marley on his 1978 album 'Kaya'. The song became one of the best known Marley songs and the studio version was part of the compilation 'Legend'. It peaked at number 9 in the UK charts upon its release in 1978.

This single was released a year later, featuring the live version taken from the album 'Babylon by bus', recorded in Paris in 1978.

My collection: 7" single no. 5454
Found: unknown
Tracks: 'Is this love [live]' / 'Kinky reggae [live]'

Break on through - The Doors

I got to know The Doors thanks to a TV documentary by Dutch broadcaster Veronica in the mid-Eighties. I missed the band when they were around due to being born in 1970, but the age of 15 is a great time to get in touch with the moody ramblings of Jim Morrison, I guess.

And so I hope that many more youngsters were around in 1991 when the movie 'The Doors', starring Val Kilmer, was released in cinemas worldwide. Oliver Stone directed this movie loosely based on Morrison's life and career, and although I have virtually no recollection of that movie, the music of course stood up firmly. The record company even released this single to coincide with the cinema release. 'Break on through' is nice enough, but one of my favourite Doors-tracks graces the B-side: 'Love street', taken from their most engaging album 'Waiting for the sun'.

My collection: 7" single no. 5387
Found: unknown
Tracks: 'Break on through' / 'Love street'

Come to my aid - Simply Red

'Come to my aid' was released as the second single from their debut album 'Picture book'. Five singles were taken from the album, of which this one was the least successful one, peaking at number 66 in the UK singles chart. It did manage to reach number 11 in Italy and number 24 in New Zealand as well, but in other countries, this single did not chart.

According to Wikipedia, 'Picture book' was included in Robert Dimery's '1001 Albums you must hear before you die'. I wouldn't go quite that far, personally, but the singles from this album are nice enough.

My collection: 7" single no. 5444
Found: unknown
Tracks: 'Come to my aid' / 'Valentine'

Go (before you break my heart) - Gigliola Cinquetti

I'm not exactly thrilled when I buy a damaged 7" single (the pronged center is missing) without a picture sleeve (although this single was not released in a picture sleeve, apparently). However, in this case, the single was very cheap, and so I just decided to order it along with a couple of other discs that were, fortunately, in better shape. Sometimes collecting records is just about the music contained on the disc...

So what is this? The English version of Gigliola Cinquetti's 1974 Eurovision entry, 'Si'. Entitled 'Go (before you break my heart)'. This version actually got to number 8 in the UK singles chart, which is a remarkable achievement for any non-winning song from the Contest.

My collection: 7" single no. 5599
Found:, received August 5, 2014
Cost: 40 pence
Tracks: 'Go (before you break my heart)' / 'Si'

Dressed for success - Roxette

'Dressed for success' was released on June 28, 1988 as the third single from the Swedish pop duo Roxette's 1988 album 'Look Sharp!'. Originally, 'Dressed for success' was their first Swedish single to promote that album in 1988. It was re-released after 'The look' had become a worldwide hit.

The recording of the song was marked by a dispute between the band members but this apparently contributed to the strength of Marie's performance. According to her: "I was so mad when I did it. Everything about that session went wrong, we argued about the arrangement, we changed the key, I was dead tired of the song when I went in to do a guide vocal. Did it in one blast and suddenly realized, "hmm... this is it"."

My collection: 7" single no. 5465
Found: unknown
Tracks: 'Dressed for success' / 'The voice'

Monday, 17 November 2014

Pull up to the bumper - Grace Jones

When you talk about limited edition singles, the poster sleeve is another nice giveaway used by record companies to boost sales. Grace Jones is probably the most unlikely poster girl around. The photograph on the cover of this single is replicated as a 21" x 14" poster inside, and although it is a provocative pose, I wouldn't exactly choose this as a decoration on my wall.

The music, fortunately, is for listening, and listening well. Both 'Pull up to the bumper' and 'La vie en rose' have been big hits for Grace Jones in 1981 and 1977 respectively, and this package sought to capitalize on the big success of 'Slave to the rhythm' in 1985. The strategy worked: this single got to number 12, which was the exact same peak position as 'Slave to the rhythm' a few months earlier.

My collection: 7" single no. 5407
Found: unknown
Tracks: 'Pull up to the bumper' / 'La vie en rose'

Laura - Nick Heyward

Although my latest visit to London was a bit of a disappointment with respect to record hunting, I still managed to get hold of one double single. Ahh, the double single... it's a feast to behold. Often these were housed in luxury gatefold sleeves, with extra artwork and, if you were very lucky, even a booklet.

This double single is less lavish: it's a regular sleeve with two discs crammed in, and a rather blunt sticker on the front. Still, the sticker served its purpose, otherwise I would not have noted the remix version of 'Favourite shirts' enclosed in this package - and that's why I bought it. Quite a good deal actually: disc one isn't half bad.

My collection: 7" single no. 5644
Found: Alan's Records, London, September 9, 2014
Cost: 1 pound
Tracks: 'Laura' / 'Over the weekend (part one)' // 'Favourite shirts (remix)' / 'Calling captain autumn (remix)'

The eve of the war - Jeff Wayne

I have quite an interesting Jeff Wayne collection, consisting basically of two singles: 'The eve of the war' and 'Forever autumn'. I am adding yet another one to it with today's entry. This is the Spanish version. As you can see, the song is titled 'La vespera de la guerra', and although a Spanish translation of Jeff Wayne's concept album 'War of the world' exists, this is just the regular English version. And the original version at that, with Chris Thompson doing vocal duties.

As you can see, the picture used here was also used for the 1989 re-release of Forever autumn. The picture was not used on other European versions of Eve of the war, as you can see in this example. This is what makes collecting vinyl so interesting: there are always new surprises around the corner.

My collection: 7" single no. 5413
Found: unknown
Tracks: 'The eve of the war' / 'The red weed'

Naa moette traawe - De Strangers

The Strangers are a Belgian band, hailing from Antwerp. They became famous for singing satirical lyrics on wellknown hits. The band was formed on May 8, 1952 by Gust Torfs, Alex Boeye, Pol Ballansee and John Dewilde. In the early days they would perform in standard Dutch, but they soon moved to performing in Antwerp dialect.

Some of their hits were derived from Eurovision hits, and I recently managed to buy several of those... in Antwerp, of course. The first of these is 1976's 'Naa moette traawe', a version of Eurovision winner Brotherhood of Man's 'Save your kisses for me'. The B-side was their version of that year's runner-up 'Un deux troi' by Catherine Ferry. This single reached number 17 in the Belgian singles chart.

My collection: 7" single no. 5615
Found: Chelsea Records, Antwerp, August 10, 2014
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Naa moette traawe' / 'Een twee drij'

Keep it comin' love - KC and the Sunshine Band

'Keep it comin' love' is the quintessential disco song, recorded in 1977 by KC and the Sunshine Band. It appeared on their 1977 album 'Part 3'. The song, like its predecessor 'That's the way (I like it)', became widely successful due to its sexual double entendres.

The single peaked at number 2 on the US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart and reached number 1 in Canada.It was also a top 10 hit in most of Europe, but amazingly only got to number 31 in the UK singles chart.

My collection: 7" single no. 5426
Found: unknown
Tracks: 'Keep it comin' love' / 'Baby I love you'

Stool pigeon - Kid Creole and the Coconuts

I featured Stool Pigeon five years ago on this very blog, but the version featured here actually predates that one. That one was a remix of this one. What's more, this single also features another hit, 'I'm a wonderful thing, baby'. The former reached number 7 in the UK singles chart, whereas the latter got to number 4.

This copy was actually in very bad shape when I got it, with dirty stains on the vinyl. Cleaned it up with some dishwashing liquid, and the result is a pretty clean piece of vinyl.

My collection: 7" single no. 5473
Found: unknown
Tracks: 'Stool pigeon' / 'I'm a wonderful thing baby'

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Sing children sing - Lesley Duncan

'Sing children sing' was originally released in 1971 as on Lesley Duncan's album of the same name. The song was re-recorded in 1979 by Lesley Duncan with Pete Townsend, Phil Lynott, Madelaine Bell, Joe Brown, Vicky Brown, Paddy Bush and Kate Bush as a charity single, with all proceeds going towards the United Nations' International Year Of The Child, helping children in need.

I recently bought this single, realising that although my collection of Kate Bush singles is becoming rather complete, this guest spot was still missing - although I do have a recording of this track on a CD somewhere. Time to get it, and so now I have it.

My collection: 7" single no. 5651
Found:, received October 18, 2014
Cost: 4 pounds
Tracks: 'Sing children sing' / 'Rainbow games'

Words of friendship - Britt Synnøve

'Venners nærhet' was the Norwegian entry in the Eurovision Song Contest 1989, performed in Norwegian by Britt Synnøve Johansen. The song is a ballad, with Synnøve singing about the power that friendship can have, even when the rest of the world is against the friends in question. The song was performed eighth on the night, and ended up 17th in a field of 22 competitors at the close of voting.

This single, released in Germany, puts the English version, 'Words of friendship' on the A-side, and the original Norwegian version on the B-side.

My collection: 7" single no. 5637
Found: Fun Records, Berlin, received August 29, 2014
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Words of friendship' / 'Venners nærhet'

The ballad of Go Go Brown - Heaven 17

This 1988 single by Heaven 17 is, frankly, puzzling. Having established themselves as synth pioneers and having been quite successful with their electronic sound, this single, the first from their 1988 album 'Teddy Bear, Duke & Psycho', featured - gasp - guitars and a very American influenced sound. Also, no promotional video was created for the single. A performance of the track was shown on the British TV show Get Fresh, along with a performance of the following single 'Train of Love In Motion'.

Probably trying to broaden their musical horizons, this effort was not rewarded by the record-buying public: the single stranded on number 91 in the UK singles chart and failed to chart everywhere else.

My collection: 7" single no. 5405
Found: unknown
Tracks: 'The ballad of Go Go Brown' / 'I set you free'

Touch me - The Doors

'Touch Me' is a song by The Doors from their album 'The Soft Parade'. Written by Robby Krieger, it is notable for its extensive usage of brass and string instruments (including a solo by featured saxophonist Curtis Amy). Ray Manzarak played harpsichord and organ on the song. The song also borrowed the guitar riff from the 1967 Four Season's 'C'mon Maryann' and used it on keyboards.

The single was released as a single in December 1968 and reached number 3 on the US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. The single also did well elsewhere, peaking at number 1 in Canada. It is by far the most melodic and beautiful single by the Doors... but that's my opinion of course. I'm very glad to have found a reasonable copy for a reasonable price.

My collection: 7" single no. 5392
Found: unknown
Tracks: 'Touch me' / 'Wild child'

Rebel Yell - Billy Idol

I have posted some duplicates on this blog since it started, and this is another one. I already owned the gatefold sleeve version of Rebel Yell when I came across this one. That one was the 1985 re-release, this one is the original 1984 release. I bought it mainly for the beautiful sleeve which is glossy and in mint condition.

Billy Idol's output in the first half of the Eighties is nothing short of legendary, since he and his guitarist Steve Stevens churned out catchy tunes almost non-stop.

My collection: 7" single no. 5451
Found: unknown
Tracks: 'Rebel yell' / 'Crank call'

Tom Tom Tom - Marion

'Tom Tom Tom' was the Finnish entry in the Eurovision Song Contest 1973, performed in English (the first occasion that Finland had not performed entirely in Finnish) by Marion Rung. This was Rung's second Eurovision entry, in 1962 she had made her debut in the Contest as a 16 year old with 'Tipi-tii', which finished in 7th position.

'Tom Tom Tom' was performed first on the night and reached 6th place in a field of 17 contestants. This would be Finland's most successful Contest appearance until 2006, when heavy metal band Lordi won with 'Hard Rock Hallelujah'.

My collection: 7" single no. 5641
Found:, received September 2, 2014
Cost: 2 pounds
Tracks: 'Tom tom tom' / 'My son John'

Is it love - Mr. Mister

'Is it love' was released as the third single from Mr Mister's 1985 album 'Welcome to the Real World'. The song hit number 8 on the US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart and number 32 in the Dutch Top 40, but only got to number 87 in the UK singles chart.

When you compare this single to its predecessors 'Broken wings' and 'Kyrie', you can hear it's a more pedestrian pop/rock effort. Nice song, nonetheless.

My collection: 7" single no. 5456
Found: unknown
Tracks: 'Is it love' / '32'

They all run after the carving knife (See how they run) - New Musik

Although They all run after the carving knife has already been featured on this blog once before, it returns here because of this rare alternative version. The tracks are identical, but this sleeve seems to be rather rare. It isn't even listed on! Both versions share the same catalogue number and disc, it is just the front sleeve that is totally different.

I wrote before that all I am looking for now is a copy of the band's final single 'Warp', but if more alternative sleeves come up, I may have to expand my New Musik collection even further.

My collection: 7" single no. 5457
Found: unknown
Tracks: 'They all run after the carving knife' / 'This world of Walter'

Je suis l'Enfant-soleil - Anne Marie David

I already wrote about Anne Marie David's 1973 winning Eurovision song Tu te reconnaitras (and the German version Du bist da and the English version Wonderful dream) on this blog, but there's more to this lady. She represented Luxembourg in 1973, but returned to Eurovision in 1979, representing her native France with the song 'Je suis l'Enfant-soleil'.

Anne Marie David did not win this time around, but finished in third place behind Hallelujah and Su canción. She recorded the song in German and Italian as well. Whether those versions will appear on this blog in future, time will tell...

My collection: 7" single no. 5600
Found:, received August 5, 2014
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Je suis l'Enfant-soleil' / 'Just like loving you'

God's great banana skin - Chris Rea

Chris Rea released a stream of singles during his career that weren't always successful in the charts. Many of his single releases did not chart at all or scraped into the lower reaches - under the top 40 that is.

'God's great banana skin' the title track of his 1993 album, was reasonably successful, as it reached number 31 in the UK singles chart. It repeats that old mantra: 'Don't you ever think no-one's better than you'. It's a thought many people I know should get into their heads.

My collection: 7" single no. 5462
Found: unknown
Tracks: 'God's great banana skin' / 'I saw you coming'

Breaking us in two - Joe Jackson

'Night and day' was Joe Jackson's fifth album and, in my humble opinion, his best. It contained the great hit singles Real Men and Steppin' out as well as the rather monumental A slow song, but also this 'should have been a bigger hit single' 'Breaking us in two'.

It reached number 59 in the UK singles chart and a rather good number 18 in the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, but did not chart in Europe, which was rather surprising as it was the kind of music that usually did rather well in European charts. A demo version of this track was released in 2003 on a 'Deluxe edition' of the album 'Night and day'.

My collection: 7" single no. 5423
Found: unknown
Tracks: 'Breaking us in two' / 'El Blanco'

The vermillion pencil - The Nits

The Nits have become very famous for their arty pop songs, especially in the Nineties after 'In the Dutch mountains' had become a hit in various countries. Since then, their songs became ever more peculiar.

Compared to their later output, 1983's 'The Vermillion pencil' is a relatively straightforward pop song. The single was taken from their fifth album 'Omsk', which had already given them a hit single in the shape of 'Nescio'. This single, however, did not chart.

My collection: 7" single no.5458
Found: unknown
Tracks: 'The Vermillion pencil' / 'Clean shirt in Paris'

Rock the Casbah - The Clash

'Rock the Casbah' was released by the Clash in 1982 as the third single from their fifth album, 'Combat Rock'. The song is a fictional story of a ban on rock music by the king being defied by the population, who proceed to "rock the casbah." The King orders jet fighters to bomb any people in violation of the ban. The pilots ignored the orders, and instead played rock music on their cockpit radios. It was inspired by ban on Western music in Iran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The song reached number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the US. It is the band's highest charting single worldwide, and their biggest hit in the Netherlands until a re-release of 'Should I stay or should I go' in 1991 was propelled into the top 10 thanks to a successful ad campaign using that song.

My collection: 7" single no. 5378
Found: unknown
Tracks: 'Rock the casbah' / 'Long time jerk'

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Parlez-vous Français? - Baccara

Right, so this is where things start to become a little confusing. The Spanish duo Baccara competed in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1978, representing Luxembourg, with a song called 'Parlez-vous Français?', which appears here in the English version. Confusingly, the title is still 'Parlez-vous Français?', although most of the lyric is in English - although it has to be said that the Spanish girls do not necessarily pronounce everything correctly.

During the contest they ended up in seventh place, partly thanks to full marks from Italy, Portugal and Spain. The song was a commercial success in most of Europe. Baccara competed for another appearance in Eurovision in 2004, when they appeared in the Swedish national finals. However, they lost out to local star Lena Philipsson.

My collection: 7" single no. 5638
Found: Fun Records, Berlin, received August 29, 2014
Cost: 1,5 euro
Tracks: 'Parlez-vous Français?' [english version] / 'You and me'

Behind a painted smile - Isley Brothers

'Behind a painted smile' is a song written by Ivy Jo Hunter and Beatrice Verdi.

It was recorded in 1967 by The Isley Brothers appearing on their album 'Soul on the rocks' and released as a single that reached number five in the UK singles chart and number 26 in the Dutch Top 40.

Dutch singer Mathilde Santing released a cover version of the song in 1982.

My collection: 7" single no. 5422
Found: unknown
Tracks: 'Behind a painted smile' / 'One too many heartaches'

You can count on me - Luv Bug

Luv Bug formed in late 1982 and consisted of sister and brothers June (lead vocals), Hugh (bass) and Max (guitar) Cunningham along with Ricky Meyler (vocals and keyboards) and Majella Grant (drums). They became successful as a live act throughout Ireland and released their first single 'Red Light Spells Danger' in 1984. The song was a cover of the Billy Ocean track and was followed up by a string of their own compositions, many of which became hits on the Irish Charts.

In 1986, they represented Ireland during the Eurovision Song Contest with 'You can count on me'. They ended up in fourth place. The group continued successfully, releasing their first album a year later. In 1988 they signed a recording deal with Virgin Records in the UK with two single releases under a different name, Heart of Ice. By the end of the decade the group had toured Europe and had completed some recording work in Los Angeles. Luv Bug still continue today as a four-piece, performing live mainly in Ireland. Their set list is made up of cover versions, with none of their own songs included.

My collection: 7" single no. 5633
Found: Fun Records, Berlin, received August 29, 2014
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'You can count on me' / 'You can't have it'

I love the nightlife (Disco 'round) - Alicia Bridges

The original single of Alicia Bridges' I love the nightlife was featured on this blog a few months ago, but I also own a copy of a remix of this track. It was released in 1994, after having been used in the movie 'The adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the desert'. The music video that accompanied this release featured Hugo Weaving, star of the movie.

The original track was a disco classic, and these remixes are less memorable. Typical Nineties fare, I would say, as many remixes from that decade have unfortunately turned out to be rather forgettable.

My collection: 7" single no. 5469
Found: HMV, London
Cost: 2 pounds
Tracks: 'I love the nightlife (Real Rapino 7" mix)' / 'I love the nightlife (Phillip Damien 7" mix)'

The show must go on - Queen

'The show must go on' was released as the third single from Queen's 1991 album 'Innuendo'. It was written mainly by Brian May. It chronicles the effort of Freddie Mercury continuing to perform despite approaching the end of his life; he was dying from complications due to AIDS, although his illness had not yet been made public in spite of ongoing media speculation claiming that he was seriously ill. Mercury was so ill, and could barely walk, when the band recorded the song in 1990, that May had concerns as to whether he was physically capable of singing it. Recalling Mercury's performance, May states; "he went in and killed it, completely lacerated that vocal".

It was released as a single in the United Kingdom on 14 October 1991 in promotion for the Greatest Hits II album, just six weeks before Mercury died. Following Mercury's death on 24 November 1991, the song re-entered the British charts and spent as many weeks in the top 75 (five) as it did upon its original release, initially reaching a peak of 16. By now, it is truly obvious that 'the show must go on', as Queen have just released another greatest hits album featuring a few 'new' tracks, recorded before Mercury's death, including a duet with another dead legend, Michael Jackson.

My collection:  7" single no. 5443
Found: unknown
Tracks: 'The show must go on' / 'Keep yourself alive'

Sing sang song - Les Humphries Singers

'Sing Sang Song' was the German entry in the Eurovision Song Contest 1976, performed in German by the Les Humphries Singers. The Les Humphries Singers had had a series of hits Continental Europe and Scandinavia in the early Seventies, most notably 'Mexico' (1972) and 'Mama Loo' (1973). The group's usual line-ups consisted of 20 performers and up from all over the world. For their performance in Eurovision they were however reduced to six singers; two female and four male.

Their Eurovision song was composed by Eurovision veteran Ralph Siegel, who had made his debut in the 1974 Contest when he wrote Ireen Sheer's 'Bye Bye I Love You', representing Luxembourg, this was however his first entry for his native Germany. The song received 12 points, placing 15th in a field of 18 competitors. In late 1976 the group disbanded.

My collection: 7" single no. 5640
Found:  Fun Records, Berlin, received August 29, 2014
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Sing sang song' / 'Slow down'

Islands in the stream - Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton

A duet between two country singers, Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers serves as the very definition of 'uncool' these days. But still, in some quarters, both these people are still revered as legends. Dolly Parton rocked Glastonbury earlier this year, and Kenny Rogers is still regularly touring the USA and Canada to sold out theatres. Apparently, he's also the owner of his own chain of chicken-based restaurants called Kenny Rogers Roasters (in California and, rather amazingly, Asia).

'Islands in the stream' was written by the Bee Gees, and reached number 1 in the USA, Canada and Australia. Rogers and Parton went on to record a Christmas album together, and had an additional hit with their 1985 duet 'Real Love'.

My collection: 7" single no. 5463
Found: unknown
Tracks: 'Islands in the stream' / 'Midsummer nights'

Softly whispering I love you - Paul Young

Paul Young released his fourth solo album 'Other Voices' in 1990. The album peaked at number 4 in the UK albums chart, selling over 100,000 copies. The first single from the album was 'Softly whispering I love you', written by Roger Greenaway and Roger Cook in 1967. The song was originally recorded by the duo under the name of David and Jonathan. It was covered in 1971 by the Congregation and in 1972 by Johnny Farnham and Allison Durbin.

Paul Young's version was a hit in the UK, Ireland and the Netherlands, peaking at number 21, 16 and 44 respectively.

My collection: 7" single no. 5420
Found: unknown
Tracks: 'Softly whispering I love you' / 'Leaving home'

A bit of U2 - Kiss AMC

Released in 1989, 'A bit of U2' is the debut single by Kiss AMC, featuring a sample of U2's 'New Year's Day'. This single was quite controversial because the title actually mentioned U2, something the band wasn't too happy about. Later copies would cut the word from the title, naming it 'A bit of...' instead. This is why I wanted to buy this copy, because it is a rarity in a way. And you know how much I like rarities.

Kiss AMC consisted of sisters Anne and Marie Copeland. They took a chance on using the sample but still got permission from the band to use it. Further singles by the duo were unsuccessful. Which really isn't much of a surprise if you listen to the B-side of this single.

My collection: 7" single no. 5432
Found: Music Exchange, London
Tracks: 'A bit of U2' / 'The raw side'

Ring Ring - Abba

'Ring Ring' was originally a 1973 single by ABBA, which gave the group their big break in several European countries (although the rest of Europe, North America and Australia would be introduced to ABBA the following year). It was originally written in Swedish by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, along with their manager Stig Anderson, and the translation into English lyrics was helped by Neil Sedaka and Phil Cody.

This German single was actually released in 1974, after ABBA had won the Eurovision Song Contest with 'Waterloo'. It couples 'Ring Ring' with another previous single hit, 'Honey Honey'.

My collection: 7" single no. 5365
Found: unknown
Tracks: 'Ring Ring' / 'Honey Honey'

Albatross - Fleetwood Mac

Listening to this old single by Fleetwood Mac, you realise the band has got quite a history. You wouldn't recognise this as a Fleetwood Mac single if you grew up in the Eighties or later. There is a reason, of course, for this metamorphosis: in the Sixties, the band's blues rock guitarist and founder member Peter Green was a major member of the band, until he left in 1970, being diagnosed with schizophrenia and spending time in psychiatric hospitals.

The composition and its arrangement suggest a relaxing sea setting, with cymbals imitating the sound of waves (Mick Fleetwood played his drum kit using timpani mallets to give a muted sound) and a dreamy solo from Green's guitar. It is often assumed that Green used his Les Paul but he said it was his Fender Stratocaster, as there is subtle use of the vibrato bar. The single, released in November 1968, went no. 1 in the UK singles chart and no. 2 in the Netherlands.The B-side, 'Need your love so bad', released as a single in its own right four months earlier, was similarly successful, reaching no. 31 and no. 4 respectively.

My collection: 7" single no. 5395
Found: unknown
Tracks: 'Albatross' / 'Need your love so bad'

Friday, 14 November 2014

Happy - Michael Jackson

No, this is not the big - and sometimes very irritating - hit single by Pharrell Williams, but a song recorded in 1973 by Michael Jackson for the movie 'Lady sings the blues' (although it doesn't actually appear in that movie). According to Smokey Robinson, who wrote 'Happy', the song was inspired by the film's melody, which was originally composed by Michel Legrand. He explained, "I was looking at the movie one day, and I was listening to that melody, and I thought it was just such a beautiful melody, until I wanted to write some words for that melody, which I did, and I went and I sang them for Berry Gordy, and he was really upset because I didn't write them before he finished the movie so they could've been in the movie." Jackson continued to perform the track in concert as late as 1977, citing it as one of his favorite songs.

Record companies are always eager to cash in on success, and so Motown re-released this track in 1983 when Jackson hit it big with the many hit singles from his album 'Thriller'. 'Happy' appeared as a regular single, a limited edition in a poster sleeve and this, a picture disc.

My collection: 7" single no. 5645
Found: Alan's Records, London, September 9, 2014
Cost: 3,5 pounds
Tracks: 'Happy' / 'We're almost there'

I close my eyes and count to ten - Dusty Springfield

'I close my eyes and count to ten' was written by Clive Westlake. Recorded June 1, 1968 at Chappel Studios in London, Dusty Springfield's version was released that August to reach number 4 in the UK singles chart, where it ranks as one of Springfield's biggest hits: only 'I just don't know what to do with myself" (number 3) and 'You don't have to say you love me' (number 1) fared better.

It is quite rare to find such a good copy of one of Springfield's singles, so when I did, I jumped at the chance. It is one of very few 'early' Dusty Springfield singles in my collection. Well, there's always the CD box set 'Dusty', of course.

My collection: 7" single no. 5410
Found: unknown
Tracks: 'I close my eyes and count to ten' / 'No stranger am I'

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