Saturday, 7 December 2019

Djambo Djambo - Peter, Sue & Marc

Peter, Sue and Marc represented Switzerland at the Eurovision Song Contest on four occasions, each time singing in a different language. Their 1976 entry 'Djambo Djambo' was sung in English.

The song received 91 points, placing 4th in a field of 18 competitors. This is quite amazing, as like all their other Eurovision songs, this track is largely forgettable.

My collection: 7" single no. 6191
Found:, received November 14, 2019
Cost: 5 euro
Tracks: 'Djambo Djambo' / 'Moby Dick'

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Take on me - A-ha

So I already owned 'Take on me', 'Take on me', 'Take on me' and 'Take on me' and the 12" singles 'Take on me' and 'Take on me', but still this single was an essential addition, because of the B-side. Somehow the record company managed to locate an 'alternative mix' of the original 1984 version of the song; the stuff that collectors go for.

Also, the single was pressed on light blue vinyl, which for me is another bonus. And so I ended up buying this - slightly reluctantly.

My collection: 7" single no. 6217
Found: Rhino Eurostore, received November 26, 2019
Cost: 10 euro
Tracks: 'Take on me' / 'Take on me (1984 version, alternate mix)'

Passion - Rod Stewart

It's been over ten years since I last bought a Rod Stewart single, the classic pop song 'Baby Jane'. In the mean time Rod has turned his attention to the American Songbook and even a Christmas album.

'Passion' was released in 1980 as the lead single from Rod's album 'Foolish behaviour'. The song reached number five on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number two in Canada. It was also a sizeable hit across Europe. The song describes the people, places, and situations in which passion is found. Passion is described as a powerful but dangerous essential motivator, being so compelling that it is prone to sometimes break outside the boundaries of loving relationships. 'Hear it on the radio' and 'read it in the papers' speaks of the potentially disruptive power of unleashed desire.

My collection: 7" single no. 6216
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 17, 2019
Cost: 0,8 euro
Tracks: 'Passion' / 'Better off dead'

Wherever I lay my hat - Paul Young

'Wherever I lay my hat (that's my home)' is a song written by Marvin Gaye, Barrett Strong and Norman Whitfield, and first recorded by Gaye in 1962. It was the B-side to his 1969 hit 'Too busy thinking 'bout my baby'.Nearly two decades later, Paul Young's version of the song was a UK number 1 single for three weeks in July 1983.

After the Q-Tips disbanded in 1982, Young was signed by Columbia Records as a solo performer. His new backing band The Royal Family included keyboardist Kewley, fretless bass player Pino Palladino, guitarist Steve Bolton, drummer Mark Pinder, and backing singers Maz Roberts and Kim Leslie AKA 'The Fabulous Wealthy Tarts'. His first two singles, 'Iron out the rough spots' and a cover of 'Love of the common people', had no success, but this third single was a hit. It was a start of a very successful career all through the Eighties.

My collection: 7" single no. 6215
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 17, 2019
Cost: 0,8 euro
Tracks: 'Wherever I lay my hat' / 'Broken man'

Love is love - Culture Club

I bought a French copy of the single 'Love is love' by Culture Club ten years ago. I still knew that, so there was no reason to buy this single other than it being the German pressing with a different cover. And, much to my surprise, as it turns out this single also has a different B-side, which is quite a good song too.

There's even more to this single: there is a mistake on the back cover of this single: the B-side is listed as 'The dream', but actually contains the song 'Mistake no. 3'. That song is taken from the band's 1984 album 'Waking up with the house on fire'.

My collection: 7" single no. 6214
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 17, 2019
Cost: 0,8 euro
Tracks: 'Love is love' / 'Mistake no. 3'

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

New Europeans - Ultravox

I don't think I am unique when I list Ultravox's album 'Vienna' among my favourites of all time, but it is, and it has been so since its release. I thought I owned all the singles taken from that album until I saw this one.

In Japan, they relegated the classic track 'Vienna' to the B-side and released 'New Europeans' as the A-side instead. This is interesting as the segue from the album has gone and the track starts 'clean'. These are the kind of details I love. That, and the unique artwork made this single an essential purchase for me.

My collection: 7" single no. 6213
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 17, 2019
Cost: 10 euro
Tracks: 'New Europeans' / 'Vienna'

Confide in me - Kylie Minogue

During some time in the Nineties, Kylie Minogue had a hard time finding success. She was actually praised by 'serious' critics for her songs, but the records didn't sell as well as her earlier material. 'Confide in me' was the first single released after her lengthy collaboration with Stock, Aitken & Waterman. Produced by Brothers in Rhythm the sound was certainly more daring.

The single went to number 1 in Australia and number 2 in the UK singles chart, but in other territories it wasn't as successful. Two albums later, Kylie would be posing for H&M in lingerie and it would seem that her music career was over. Of course, it wasn't.

This single release was made for jukeboxes only, hence the absence of any cover artwork. Which is a shame, because the cd-single's artwork was rather intriguing.

My collection: 7" single no. 6212
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 17, 2019
Cost: 5 euro
Tracks: 'Confide in me' / 'Confide in me (Truth mix)'

When the night comes - Björn Skifs

Björn Skifs was featured on this blog five years ago when I bought Fångad i en dröm, the song he performed at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1981. It was his second Eurovision performance: in 1978 he took to the Eurovision stage with 'Det blir alltid värre framåt natten'. It was released as a single both in Swedish and in English - and this single features the English version.

Skifs actually intended to cause controversy by singing in English, which could have disqualified him from the contest (since the rules of the contest stipulated that singers should perform in their native languages at the time). Although he decided to perform the song in Swedish he forgot some of the words during the performance, replacing them with gibberish. At the close of voting, it had received 26 points, placing 14th in a field of 20 competitors.

My collection: 7" single no. 6211
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 17, 2019
Cost: 3 euro
Tracks: 'When the nights comes' / 'Don't stop now'

Saturday, 30 November 2019

Empire State Human - Human League

Although the Human League is known as an "Eighties band" by most people, their career actually started in 1978 with Being boiled. Their next single was 'Empire state human', released in 1979. It was the first and only single from their debut album 'Reproduction'. The single did not chart, but fared slightly better when it was re-released in 1980, reaching number 62 in the UK singles chart.

Lyrically, "Empire State Human" is a song about becoming powerful using the analogy of size, with Oakey declaring that he wants to be "tall" a total of 60 times in 3 minutes. Uncut magazine drew a comparison with Oakey's own personal ambition: ""I wanna be tall, tall, tall, as big as a wall, wall, wall". Oakey's Nietzschian pop fantasy reflected his own burgeoning full-on pop ambitions..."

My collection: 7" single no. 6210
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 17, 2019
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Empire state human' / 'Introducing'

Tvoj dječak je tužan - Krunoslav Slabinac

Krunoslav "Kićo" Slabinac was born on March 28, 1944 in Osijek, Yugoslavia (now Croatia). During the 1960s Slabinac was a member of several rock 'n' roll bands. He then went solo and moved to Zagreb.

In 1971 he was selected to represent Yugoslavia at the Eurovision Song Contest with 'Tvoj dječak je tužan' ('Your boy is sad'). The song was not particularly successful, ending in 14th place in a field of 18 competitors. Slabinac's song "Zbog jedne divne žene" was a huge hit in his country, which solidified his status as a singer. However, later on in the decade, legal troubles and time spent abroad set back his career. After his return from the United States, Slabinac focused on folk music.

My collection: 7" single no. 6209
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 17, 2019
Cost: 5 euro
Tracks: 'Tvoj dječak je tužan' / 'I gori nego ja'

Saturday, 23 November 2019

Di dai, di dai dai - MFO

Mazhar Alanson, Fuat Güner and Özkan Uğur represented Turkey at the Eurovision Song Contest back when Turkey was still participating in the annual event. Their first of two attempts at eternal fame on the Eurovision stage took place in 1985 with the song 'Di dai, di dai dai'. The song title is sometimes written with the phrase 'Aşık oldum', which means 'I fell in love'.

The single was released in the Netherlands by Dureco Benelux, although I don't recall this to ever appear in any record shop I visited back then. These days the single has become quite a collectors item, fetching around 40 euros for a decent copy online. Which explains that I was rather pleased to get this for less.

My collection: 7" single no. 6208
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 17, 2019
Cost: 15 euro
Tracks: 'Di dai, di dai dai' / 'Di dai, di dai dai (Aşık oldum) (Turkish version)'

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Eloise - Arvingarna

One of the best ever Swedish contributions to the Eurovision Song Contest in my opinion - and there have been many - is 1993's 'Eloise' by Arvingarna. This Swedish 'dansband' was formed in 1989 by Casper Janebrink, Lars Larsson, Kim Carlsson and Tommy Carlsson. Their name Arvingarna ('The heirs') refers to the fact that their parents were also active in 'dansbands'.Their song finished in seventh place in a field of 25 competitors.

This vinyl single is a bit of a rarity, as the 7" single format was rapidly disappearing all over Europe in 1993. I was rather glad to find this copy, as online it fetches a minimum of 20 euros.

My collection: 7" single no. 6207
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 17, 2019
Cost: 10 euro
Tracks: 'Eloise' / 'De' e' bara jag'

Trans Europe Express - Kraftwerk

Kraftwerk singles are rather hard to find, so every time I manage to buy one for a reasonable price, I am quite pleased. 'Trans Europe Express' was the title track of the German band's sixth album, released in 1977. The album was recorded at Kling Klang Studio in Düsseldorf. Artistic control over the songs was strictly in the hands of members Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider, with Karl Bartos and Wolfgang Flür contributing sequenced electronic percussion. The four of them went to railway bridges to listen to the sounds the train would actually produce. The group found the sound the train made was not danceable and changed it slightly.

The single became their first hit in Sweden, peaking at number 15 in the singles chart over there. In Canada, it was actually the band's last charting single, peaking at number 96 only.

My collection: 7" single no.  6206
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 17, 2019
Cost: 4 euro
Tracks: 'Trans Europe Express' / 'Franz Schubert'

A chacun sa chanson - Line et Willy

Line Van Menen and Claude Boillod called themselves Line et Willy and became famous after winning the Palmarès des Chansons with 'Le vent' and the Rose d'Or d'Antibes with 'Pourquoi pas nous?' in 1966. They had some success with several singles for the AZ label.

In 1968, they represented Monaco at the Eurovision Song Contest with 'A chacun sa chanson'. They finished in seventh place in a field of 17 competitors. This copy of the EP comes with the B-side label on both sides, which I guess makes it a rarity of sorts.

After the separation of the couple, Line began a solo career and performed in concerts until recently. Willy died on December 20, 2018 in the village of Peypin where he resided since the 90s.

My collection: 7" single no. 6205
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 17, 2019
Cost: 5 euro
Tracks: 'A chacun sa chanson', 'De l'automne a l'automne' / 'Demain, il y aura demain', 'Tout l'or du monde'

Maya - Errol Brown

Having been a member of the legendary band Hot Chocolate, Errol Brown went solo in the mid-Eighties, and somehow I can't help but wish he'd been more successful as a solo singer. But to be honest, a single like this just wasn't handled all that well. The gatefold sleeve is quite nice, but the photograph of a caucasian girl seems a little odd when the lyric speaks about 'the reincarnation of an African queen'. The music on the A-side track is typical Eighties fare, but could have been produced with a little more care. And then there is the B-side... 'She's my lady' is the weakest song I ever heard from Errol. I bought this single hoping to hear something great, but to be honest it is a bit of a letdown. You can't win them all, I guess.

My collection: 7" single no. 6204
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 17, 2019
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Maya' / 'She's my lady'

Gold - Spandau Ballet

I only bought 'Gold' in 1994, but evidently I should have waited 25 years longer because only now did I find a copy of the limited edition with a poster bag.

'Gold' was prominently used in 2012 on BBC's 'Olympic Tonight' TV show, when the UK hosted the Olympic Games. It is one of the band's most wellknown songs, despite only reaching number 2 in the UK singles charts back in 1984 when it was originally released. More than 400,000 copies were sold in the UK, which means that the band received an award for it... a gold disc.

My collection: 7" single no. 6203
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 17, 2019
Cost: 3 euro
Tracks: 'Gold' / 'Gold (instrumental)'

Careless whisper - Wham! featuring George Michael

Everybody knows 'Careless whisper' as George Michael's first solo single, and I bought it 35 years ago when it came out. When I saw this Japanese release, credited to Wham! featuring George Michael I thought it was a nice one to add to my collection. 'Careless whisper' was first released on Wham!'s second album 'Make it big', of course, but it became a single credited to George Michael everywhere except in Japan.

Despite its success, George was never fond of the song. He said in 1991 that it 'was not an integral part of my emotional development ... it disappoints me that you can write a lyric very flippantly—and not a particularly good lyric—and it can mean so much to so many people. That's disillusioning for a writer.'

My collection: 7" single no. 6202
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 17, 2019
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Careless whisper' / 'Careless whisper (instrumental)'

Disco Duck - Rick Dees

Rick Dees was working as a DJ on the Memphis AM radio station WMPS when he heard a guy doing a duck voice while he was working out at his local gym. Inspired by this duck voice, Dees wrote 'Disco Duck', and he hired the guy from the gym to do the duck voice on the song. The name of the guy was Kenneth Pruitt. He did a lot to help Dees promote 'Disco Duck'. He went on the TV shows 'Midnight Special' and the 'Merv Griffin show'. He did a promotional walk through Times Square with Dees while wearing a duck costume. A few months after 'Disco Duck' hit number 1 in America, Pruitt sued Dees, claiming that he’d only been paid $188 for all of this. WMPS wouldn’t let Dees play the song; they figured it would violate FCC rules about conflict of interest.
In 1977, 'Disco Duck' even made an appearance in the iconic disco film 'Saturday Night Fever' in a scene in which a group of senior citizens were learning to dance disco.

This Japanese single is an interesting curio, since it features a drawing of Donald Duck on the sleeve. You can't help but wonder if Disney knew about this.

My collection: 7" single no. 6201
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 17, 2019
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Disco duck' / 'Disco duck (instrumental)'

Go west - Village People

Continuing on the theme of Japanese singles of songs that I already own, this is another copy of the single 'Go west', a single I've had for fourty years already. But I thought after buying 'YMCA' and 'In the navy', it would be good to complete the hattrick of great singles by the Village People in Japanese form. After all, these sleeves are as colourful as the band.

Most people are more familiar with the version by the Pet Shop Boys, but this is the original version of the song, recorded by the American band that featured a cop, a cowboy, an indian, a GI/Sailor, a leather man and a construction worker.

My collection: 7" single no. 6200
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 17, 2019
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Go west' / 'Citizens of the world'

Bette Davis eyes - Kim Carnes

Back in 2004, I bought a copy of 'Bette Davis eyes', a great hit from 1981. And more recently, I bought an Italian promo featuring Kate Bush's 'Sat in your lap' and 'Bette Davis eyes' by Kim Carnes. Two copies on vinyl would be enough for most people - but I just couldn't resist this Japanese version of the single.

In recent years, Carnes has written songs such as 'It's a mighty hand' with Greg Barnhill on a 2006 film, 'Chances: The Women of Magdalene', 'Enough' with Dana Cooper on his 2010 album, 'The Conjurer', for which she also provided backing vocals. Carnes also co-wrote 'Live to tell' with Jamie Appleby, Marv Green and Alyssa Reid on Reid's 2011 album, 'The Game'.

My collection: 7" single no. 6199
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 17, 2019
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Bette Davis eyes' / 'Miss you tonite'

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Rasputin - Boney M

I've had a copy of Boney M's 'Rasputin' for ten years already, so I guess that means that this single is superfluous in my collection - but with a totally different sleeve, this Japanese single is a great addition to my collection.

Two other Japanese singles on offer by the same dealer, 'Hooray! Hooray! It's a holiday' and 'Gotta go home', had sleeves that were similar to their German counterparts, so I left them there.

My collection: 7" single no. 6198
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 17, 2019
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Rasputin' / 'Never change lovers in the middle of the night'

Make love whenever you can - Arabesque

The German trio Arabesque was very successful in the far east, and this Japanese single just underlines that fact. Their advice for the Japanese record buyers was a sound one: 'Make love whenever you can'. This song was taken from the trio's fourth album, but only released as a single in Japan.

I bought this single from a seller who had many Japanese singles on offer for the measly sum of 2 euros (Usually these great singles fetch a minimum sum of two digits). There were quite a few Arabesque singles on offer, but I decided against buying them all. I still am unsure whether I regret that - most of Arabesque's songs are quite forgettable after all.

My collection: 7" single no. 6197
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 17, 2019
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Make love whenever you can' / 'I don't wanna have breakfast with you'

Genghis Khan - Genghis Khan

So, I have the single 'Dschinghis Khan' by the German band Dschinghis Khan, and I have the English version of the song, 'Genghis Khan', also by Dschinghis Khan. But this German release, both the band and the song are called Genghis Khan - but it is the German version of the song playing on the record, i.e. 'Dschinghis Khan'.

I love the fact that this Eurovision song in German was released in Japan, a country where German is probably as exotic a language as Korean is over here. It's a great addition to my ever growing Eurovision collection.

My collection: 7" single no. 6196
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 17, 2019
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Genghis Khan' [i.e. 'Dschinghis Khan'] / 'Desert land'

Hungry eyes - Sheena Easton

While most of the world released Sheena Easton's 'Strut' as a single, in Japan the A- and B-sides were flipped, and so 'Hungry eyes' became the Japanese single release. Quite why they did this I don't know, but perhaps the Japanese felt that the lyrics of 'Strut' were a bit too explicit.

Interestingly, there are two versions of this Japanese release: this is actually a reissue. A single with a different sleeve was released in Japan a few months earlier. I think this is the prettier of the two.

My collection: 7" single no. 6195
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 17, 2019
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Hungry eyes' / 'Strut'
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