Saturday, 31 January 2009

Take on me - A-ha

After the original release of 'Take on me' in 1984 failed to chart, the record company tried it for the second time - again without success. Then, in 1985, they released the single for the third time, this time with an innovative video to accompany it. It was a success: the song peaked at number on in the USA and the Netherlands, and reached number 2 in the UK. At the MTV Video Music Awards in 1986, the video won six awards.

The single was released with a new sleeve, but there was also a limited edition sleeve with a booklet, featuring several images from the video. I bought the regular single back in 1985, and last year I bought the limited edition - finally.

My collection: 7" single no. 344
Found: LP Top 100, Den Haag, 1985
Cost: 5,5 guilders
Tracks: 'Take on me' / 'Love is reason'

Stay the night - Ghosts

Ghosts were formed as Polanski by Simon Pettigrew, Johnny Harris, Mark Treasure and Robbie Smith in Guildford. Their first single was 'Musical chairs', released in January 2007. The second single 'Stay the night' was the first one to chart, reaching number 25 in the UK singles chart.

'Stay the night' was released on two different 7" vinyl singles: one was pressed on blue vinyl and contained the album version of the track and a B-side track, and this one, which was pressed on purple vinyl and contained a demo version of 'Stay the night' and a version of 'Mind games'.

My collection: 7" single no. 3570
Found: La La Land, Den Haag, January 31, 2009
Cost: 5,5 euro
Tracks: 'Stay the night (demo version)' / 'Mind games (Olympic Session)'
Download: here

Stay (remix) - The Blue Nile

After the original release of 'Stay' and the commercial success abroad of 'Tinseltown in the rain', Linn Records tried it again with a remix version of 'Stay'. The UK audience was still unresponsive: the single didn't chart.

This limited edition double pack featured both singles: 'Stay' in the remix version and 'Tinseltown in the rain', which had been released as a single before. I bought this double pack mostly for the remix of 'Stay', which I didn't have, and as a Blue Nile fanatic, I had to have it all.

My collection: 7" single no. 1747
Found: Sister Ray, London, October 19, 1992
Cost: 6 pounds
Tracks: 'Stay (remix)' / 'Saddle the horses' // 'Tinseltown in the rain [edit]' / 'Heatwave (instrumental)'
Download: here

Nightporter - Japan

Japan released their first album for Virgin Records, 'Gentlemen take polaroids', on November 15, 1980. Only the title track was released as a single, a month earlier. It was only in 1982 that another track from this album appeared as a single, the classic 'Nightporter'. As anyone can hear, the track was influenced by the works of French composer Erik Satie's 'Gymnopédies'.

For the single release, the track was remixed and edited. The B-side was a cover version of Marvin Gaye's 1965 song 'Ain't that peculiar', also taken from 'Gentlemen take polaroids'. The single peaked at number 29 in the UK singles chart.

My collection: 7" single no. 1543
Found: Record fair, Den Haag, October 27, 1991
Cost: 5 guilders
Tracks: 'Nightporter [edit]' / 'Ain't that peculiar'
Download: here

I want your love - Transvision Vamp

It was this video that started me getting interested in Transvision Vamp. At first the singing irritated me, but I kept watching this video. Then something clicked: the music was nice and aggressive and the voice needed some getting used to. In the end, I succumbed and started buying later singles by Transvision Vamp - 'I want your love' was gone from the shops by then. So I had to find it afterwards.

'I want your love' was Transvision Vamp's first top 10 hit in the UK, peaking at number 5 in the summer of 1988. In the Netherlands, it was their only single to reach the Dutch Top 40.

My collection: 7" single no. 2866
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, September 20, 1997
Cost: 3 guilders
Tracks: 'I want your love' / 'Sweet thing', 'Evolution Evie (acoustic)'
Download: here

Say say say - Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson

A year after the release of 'The girl is mine', Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson were at it again, this time with a track for Paul McCartney's album 'Pipes of peace'. Composed and performed by the two, it would be their last collaboration before Michael Jackson acquired ATV music, which owned the publishing rights to the Beatles catalogue.

In 1983, 'Say say say' was one of the most played songs on the radio and after a while it became very boring. It's only now, 25 years later, that I can listen to this track again.

My collection: 7" single no. 3564
Found: La La Land, Den Haag, January 31, 2009
Cost: 1,5 euro
Tracks: 'Say say say' (Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson) / 'Ode to a koala bear' (Paul McCartney)

Block Buster - The Sweet

'Block Buster' was released by the Sweet in 1973. It became the band's only number one hit in the UK, whereas it was their third (and last) in the Netherlands. Although the lyric seems to refer to a person ('Nobody knows where Buster goes / He'll steal your woman out from under your nose'), the song features the sound of air raid sirens, alluding to the blockbuster bombs dropped in World War II.

The Sweet was very popular with my brother and sister in the Seventies, and although I never really 'got' that, some of their tracks are pretty nice. I bought this one because of the nice sleeve and the great song.

My collection: 7" single no. 3566
Found: La La Land, Den Haag, January 31, 2009
Cost: 1,5 euro
Tracks: 'Block buster' / 'Need a lot of lovin''
Download: here

Warwick Avenue - Duffy

I'm not wild about the current stream of young women with old hag's voices, like Amy Winehouse, Adele and others. The Welsh singer Duffy could easily be one of them. Fortunately her song 'Warwick Avenue' doesn't get unpleasant like many of her colleagues' tracks.

In this age of digital downloads, 'Warwick Avenue' entered the UK singles chart even before it was released on any physical format. It was finally released two months later as the third single from her debut album 'Rockferry'. I heard the track almost weekly on Kim Wilde's current radio programme Secret Songs on Magic FM (UK), and finally decided to buy the 7" single.

My collection: 7" single no. 3571
Found: La La Land, Den Haag, January 31, 2009
Cost: 5,5 euro
Tracks: 'Warwick Avenue' / 'Loving you'
Download: here

Ai no corrida - Chas Jankel

Chas Jankel was born in Stanmore, North London on April 16, 1952. In the Seventies he became a member of the Blockheads, the band that played with Ian Dury during his commercial peak. In 1980, he pursued a solo career, kicking off with a self-titled album. 'Ai no corrida' reached the Dutch Tipparade in January 1981, but never made it past this tip chart. Quincy Jones recorded a cover version a year later and reached number 14 in the UK singles chart with it. The title of the song is in Japanese (taken from the Japanese title of the 1976 film 'In the realm of the senses') but it sounds like Spanish "Ay no corrida" (which can be translated as 'oh no bullfighting').

According to the label of this 12" single, the extended mix of 'Ai no corrida' lasts for 9 minutes and 10 seconds, but in fact it is almost 90 seconds shorter.

My collection: 12" single no. 485
Found: Plaatboef, Rotterdam, 2000
Cost: 2,5 guilders
Tracks: 'Ai no corrida [extended version]' / 'Lenta Latina'
Download: here

Friday, 30 January 2009

Appetite - Prefab Sprout

After getting hooked on 'When love breaks down', Prefab Sprout had definitely caught my attention. When 'Appetite' was released as the next single, I was in the shop to get it as soon as possible. I wasn't surprised when the single didn't chart in the Netherlands - as Prefab Sprout was a typically English phenomenon - but I am still amazed that this single didn't chart in the UK as well.

'Appetite' was taken from Prefab Sprout's second album 'Steve McQueen', which reach number 21 in the UK album chart.

My collection: 7" single no. 337
Found: LP Top 100, Den Haag, 1985
Cost: 5,5 guilders
Tracks: 'Appetite' / 'Heaven can wait'

Som en vind - Edin-Ådahl

There was something completely naff about the Swedish entry for the 1990 Eurovision Song Contest. Well, maybe it's just me, but a quote like 'Like a wind / blowing within me' seems a bit vulgar. It wasn't Sweden's biggest success in the Contest, because it finished 16th.

Edin-Ådahl consisted of brothers Bertil and Lasse Edin and Simon and Frank Ådahl. Between 1980 and 1994 they recorded eight Swedish and five English albums, some of which were filled with Christian music. Their Swedish albums were pretty successful in Sweden, but the English albums suffered from poor distribution and, according to some, lousy lyrics. What a surprise...

My collection: 7" single no. 3451
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, 2007
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Som en vind' / 'Like a wind'
Download: here

Keep looking - Sade

Sade released the album 'Stronger than pride' in 1988. It was their third album, a hit in many countries around the world. I bought all the singles taken from that album, but I was very surprised when I found this one three years later. 'Keep looking' was never released as a single, and yet here it was...

When I took a closer look, it proved to be a Spanish promotional single. This single featured 'Keep looking' on the A-side, and nothing on the B-side. It was an interesting item, so I made the decision to buy it.

My collection: 7" single no. 1522
Found: Record fair, Den Haag, September 21, 1991
Cost: 6 guilders
Track: 'Keep looking'

It must be love - Madness

When Madness released 'It must be love', I preferred the B-side, 'Mrs. Hutchinson' to the A-side. For some reason the radio stations played that track quite often, too, so the single was treated like a double A-side. 'It must be love' was a cover of the song by Labi Siffre. The tracks were taken from Madness's third album '7', which marked a departure from their original ska sound.

The single didn't chart in the Netherlands, but it was one of their biggest hits in the UK, reaching number 4 in the singles chart.

My collection: 7" single no. 868
Found: All that music, Leiden, June 2, 1989
Cost: 2 guilders
Tracks: 'It must be love' / 'Mrs. Hutchinson'
Download: here

Stand above me - OMD

When Paul Humphreys left Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) in 1989, Andy McCluskey retained the name of the band and continued to record and tour as OMD. The first album he recorded was 'Sugar Tax' (1991), and then he followed this up with 'Liberator' (1993). The first single taken from 'Liberator' was 'Stand above me', an upbeat song with a strong hookline.

This promotional 12" single features two ten minute remixes of 'Stand above me'. I didn't play this 12" single a lot, and the reason is those remixes: they are a bit boring, really. The 12 inch mix contains a sample from the next single 'Dream of me', strangely enough, and both remixes are just a random selection of beats and bleeps. Buying tracks you don't know: sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

My collection: 12" single no. 216
Found: Record Exchange, London, 1992
Cost: 3 pounds
Tracks: 'Stand above me (A 10 minute therapy session into hyperlife mix)' / 'Stand above me (7" mix)', 'Stand above me (12" mix)'
Download: here

Suedehead - Morrissey

Steven Patrick Morrissey, known as Morrissey, was born on May 22, 1959. After playing with the punk rock band the Nosebleeds in the late Seventies, he became singer and songwriter in the alternative rock band the Smiths. After that band broke up in 1987, Morrissey embarked on a solo career.

Only six months after the Smiths broke up, Morrissey released his debut solo album 'Viva hate'. 'Suedehead' was the first single drawn from this album, an uptempo, very Smiths-sounding single. It was played endlessly on some radio stations, which is how I eventually got into this song. And when I found it at discount price, of course I bought it.

My collection: 7" single no. 606
Found: Disco Market, Den Haag, May 7, 1988
Cost: 3,5 guilders
Tracks: 'Suedehead' / 'I know very well how I got my name'

Nur geträumt - Nena

I already wrote about 'Just a dream', but this is the original single. 'Nur geträumt' was taken from Nena's self-titled debut album, and it was originally released as their debut single in Germany. It became an instant hit there after the band appeared on the German television show 'Musikladen'. The single reportedly sold 40,000 copies the day after the song appeared on the show and reached number two in the German charts.

In the Netherlands, it was released after '99 Luftballons' had become a number one hit for them. 'Nur geträumt' did almost as well, peaking at number 9 in the Dutch Top 40.
My collection: 7" single no. 3383
Found: Geest, Den Haag, 2003
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Nur getraümt' / 'Ganz oben'
Download: here

Xanadu - Olivia Newton-John and Electric Light Orchestra

'Xanadu' was the theme song from the movie of the same name. The movie starred Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly and was an unofficial remake of the 1947 film 'Down to earth' with Rita Hayworth.

A rare collaboration for Jeff Lynne's Electric Light Orchestra, the single was the band's only UK number 1 single when it peaked there for two weeks in July 1980. The song peaked at number 1 in the Netherlands as well, and at number 8 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

I recently bought a UK copy of this single with a limited edition gatefold sleeve at the record fair in Utrecht (on November 22, 2008), but the original single came into my collection soon after it was released.

My collection: 7" single no. 59
Found: Wouters, Den Haag, 1980
Cost: 3 guilders
Tracks: 'Xanadu' / 'Fool country'

Legendary - Spectral Display

'Legendary' was another single from Spectral Display's second album 'Too much like me'. This single came in a special single mix. The single mix is slightly different from the album version: the beat is stronger and the track sounds a bit brighter. It didn't help the sales, because the single didn't chart in the Netherlands.

My collection: 7" single no. 3307
Found: Disco Market, Den Haag, February 24, 2001
Cost: 1 guilder
Tracks: 'Legendary (Special single mix)' / 'Here with me'
Download: here

Thursday, 29 January 2009

We came to dance - Ultravox

'We came to dance' was the last single taken from Ultravox's sixth album Quartet. It was produced by George Martin and released on April 18, 1983. The song reached number 18 in the UK singles chart, while it didn't chart in the Netherlands.

With its demented synthesizer melody and its emotionally charged vocals, it's a bit weird that the lyrics are slightly naff. Still, I loved the track as a child and seized the opportunity a decade later to buy this single, pressed, like many more Ultravox singles, on clear vinyl.

My collection: 7" single no. 2187
Found: London, September 28, 1994
Cost: 2 pounds
Tracks: 'We came to dance' / 'Overlook'
Download: Album 'Quartet', including both tracks

The Piano - Michael Nyman

The movie 'The piano' was released in 1994. I saw it in the cinema a year after it was released. One of the attractions in the movie was the beautiful soundtrack. One of my main sayings is: 'it's still a soundtrack', meaning that it doesn't really connect with me when the visual images are missing. But Michael Nyman's main theme for 'The piano' is a pleasant exception.

'The heart aske pleasure first' is a beautiful theme, even without the movie to accompany the music. It sounds like classical music, and in a way, of course, it is. Even if it was composed in the Nineties.

My collection: 7" single no. 2329
Found: Concerto, Amsterdam, June 3, 1995
Cost: 2 guilders
Tracks: 'The heart asks pleasure first / The promise (edit)' / 'Big my secret', 'All imperfect things'

Hard to say I'm sorry - Chicago

'Hard to Say I'm Sorry', a hit for Chicago in 1982, was written by band member Peter Cetera and producer David Foster. The song hit Number 1 for two weeks on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. 'Hard to Say I'm Sorry' segued into a second song titled 'Get Away', which was closer to the older horn-driven Chicago sound of the Seventies.

Deviating from Chicago's practice of having mostly band members playing on their albums, 'Hard to say I'm sorry' featured several session musicians. The song featured three members of the American rock band Toto: Steve Lukather on guitar, David Paich and Steve Porcaro on synthesizers. The song's vocals were performed by Cetera and new member Bill Champlin.

My collection: 7" single no. 156
Found: Studio Echo, Den Haag, 1982
Cost: 5,5 guilders
Tracks: 'Hard to say I'm sorry/Get away' / 'Sonny

Intimate strangers - T'pau

T'pau debuted in 1987 with their single 'Heart and soul'. Originally, it didn't sell much in the UK, so the second single was soon released: 'Intimate strangers'. This second single also failed to reach the UK singles chart. 'Intimate strangers' is the same track that would appear on T'pau's debut album 'Bridge of spies' (1987) as 'Sex talk'.

Meanwhile, 'Heart and soul' became a number 4 hit in the USA, so it was re-released in the UK and T'pau finally made the singles chart then. 'Intimate strangers' sunk without a trace, it's one of the rarest singles in T'pau's catalogue.

My collection: 7" single no. 3155
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 27, 1999
Cost: 10 guilders
Tracks: 'Intimate strangers' / 'No sense of pride'
Download: here

Jolene - Strawberry Switchblade

'Jolene' tells the tale of a housewife confronting a beautiful seductress who she believes is trying to steal away her husband. Originally performed by Dolly Parton, the song became her second solo number one single on the country charts after being released as a single in late 1973. It was released as a single in the UK the following year, where it reached number seven in the UK singles chart.

Strawberry Switchblade covered this song and released it as their fourth single. It reached number 53 in the UK singles chart in the autumn of 1985.

My collection: 7" single no. 2773
Found: Beanos, East Croydon, London, October 31, 1996
Cost: 2 pounds
Tracks: 'Jolene' / 'Being cold'
Download: here

Living next door to Alice - Smokie

'Living next door to Alice' was released as a single by Smokie in 1976. It gave them a number one hit in the Netherlands in early 1977, and it reached number 5 in the UK singles chart. The song is about a young man's long-standing crush on Alice, the girl next door and neighbour of 24 years, which is left unrequited after she moves away. The protagonist had seen a limousine parked at Alice's home and begins to reflect on childhood memories and his friendship with Alice, and becomes heartbroken as he sees Alice get inside the limousine. As he watches the car drive out of sight, the protagonist is sad about Alice leaving without explanation and that he did not use any opportunity to express his feelings for her.

In 1995, the song famously spawned a parody version by the Dutch band Gompie, in which some bystanders scream 'Alice, who the fuck is Alice' during the chorus. Thereby crushing any depth of feeling in the original song.

My collection: 7" single no. 15
Found: London, 1979
Cost: 10p
Tracks: 'Living next door to Alice' / 'Run to you'
Download: Album 'The best of Smokie', including both tracks (part 1 / part 2)

Hounds of love - Futureheads

'Hounds of love' was originally released by Kate Bush in 1985. The song is about being afraid to fall in love (in the song this feeling is compared to being chased by a pack of hounds).

The Futureheads made a cover version of this song and released it in February 2005. It became their biggest hit to date, reaching number 8 in the UK singles chart. Besides two different cd-singles, the track was also released on 7" vinyl.

My collection: 7" single no. 3409
Found: HMV, London, 2005
Cost: 2 pounds
Tracks: 'Hounds of love' / 'Man made (A mistake)'
Download: here

Don't look back - Fine Young Cannibals

'Don't look back' was the third single taken from Fine Young Cannibals' second album 'The raw & the cooked'. It sold less well than 'Good thing', peaking at number 34 in the UK singles chart. It fared even worse in the Netherlands, because it didn't chart at all.

Like 'Good thing' and 'She drives me crazy', a limited edition of the single was released housed in a tin can. This time, the single was pressed on yellow vinyl.

My collection: 7" single no. 985
Found: Ter Meulen, Rotterdam, 1987
Cost: 6 guilders
Tracks: 'Don't look back' / 'You never know'

The lady don't mind - Talking heads

'The lady don't mind' was the last single released by the Talking Heads before their hugely successful 'Road to nowhere'. In the summer of 1985, this single reached number 13 in the Dutch Top 40, whereas it didn't chart in the UK.

'Little creatures', the album where this single was drawn from, was released in 1985 as well. It was Talking Heads' sixth album. 'The lady don't mind' was the only track on the album written and composed by the entire band.

My collection: 7" single no. 313
Found: LP Top 100, Den Haag, 1985
Cost: 5,5 guilders
Tracks: 'The lady don't mind' / 'Give me back my name'
Download: Album 'Little creatures', including both tracks

En dag - Tommy Nilsson

Tommy Nilsson was born on March 11, 1960. He became lead singer of the Swedish heavy metal band Horizont in the late Seventies. He started a solo career in 1981, when he was signed to a French record company by producer Yves Accary. His single 'No way no how' sold one million copies, his debut album over 200,000 copies. After his debut album contained disco tracks and ballads, the next album was full of rock songs, composed by Nilsson and Alex Contanstinos. After two years of travelling between France and the United States, Nilsson decided to go back to Sweden. He first joined another metal band, Easy Action, who released two albums. The group eventually split up and Nilsson went solo again.

He represented Sweden in the 1989 Eurovision Song Contest, the one that was won by Yugoslavia with one of the worst winning songs ever: 'Rock me' by Riva. Nilsson was placed fourth.

My collection: 7" single no. 2967
Found: Bea Records, February 21, 1998
Cost: 10 guilders
Tracks: 'En dag' / 'Someday'
Download: here

Baby I don't care - Transvision Vamp

'Baby I don't care' was taken from Transvision Vamp's second album 'Velveteen' and was released in 1989. The song is their most well-known song, peaking at number 3 in both the UK and Australia. The guitar riff in this song is based on The Sonics' version of 'Louie Louie', with Wendy James's scream modelled on their lead singer Gerry Roslie's.

My collection: 7" single no. 965
Found: Melody Maker, Den Haag, August 12, 1989
Cost: 6 guilders
Tracks: 'Baby I don't care' / 'Time for change', 'Strings of my heart'
Download: here

Riptide - Robert Palmer

'Riptide' was a single taken from Robert Palmer's 1986 album of the same name. The single just missed the Dutch Top 40, and didn't chart in the UK. It was only months before Palmer had a big hit with his next single, 'Addicted to love'.

This double single actually contained the previous hit single 'Johnny and Mary' as the second disc, which was another reason for me to buy this item. That single reached number 21 in the Dutch Top 40 in 1980, whereas it peaked at number 44 in the UK singles chart.

My collection: 7" single no. 3159
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, 2002
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Riptide' / 'Back in my arms' // 'Johnny and Mary' / 'No, not much' (live on 'The Tube'), 'Trick bag (live on 'The Tube')'
Download: here

It's hard to be tender - Carly Simon

In the Eighties, Carly Simon contributed songs to many film and television scores. 'It's hard to be tender' was contributed to the soundtrack of the 1986 TV miniseries 'Sins', starring Joan Collins. She played a woman who survived the Nazi horror in France, then became a French model/fashion designer who goes through all sorts of soapish trials and tribulations. The series was based on Judith Gould's novel of the same name.

The B-side features an instrumental track which includes some vague melodic references to the A-side track.

My collection: 7" single no. 1090
Found: Free Record Shop, Den Haag, November 4, 1989
Cost: 6 guilders
Tracks: 'It's hard to be tender' (Carly Simon) / 'Face to face with the mirror' (Francis Lai)
Download: here

Uncertain smile - The The

The album version of 'Uncertain smile', which appeared on The The's first album for CBS Records, 'Soul mining' (1983), was released two years after the original single 'Uncertain smile'. The album version featured a lengthy piano solo, whereas the single version from 1982 featured saxophone and flute solos. The piano solo was played by Jools Holland, who revealed in his 2007 biography that they were in fact two separate solos joined together.

This version even made the Dutch Top 40, peaking at no. 31. Interestingly enough, this release didn't chart in the UK.

My collection: 7" single no. 346
Found: Disco Market, Den Haag, 1985
Cost: 2 guilders
Tracks: 'Uncertain smile' / 'Three orange kisses from Kazan'
Download: here

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Katoozazaï - Nadieh

Nadieh was born on September 7, 1958 as Karin Meis. In September 1979 she married Iranian science and Bahai teacher Zia Reyhani. She started her music career as Karin Reyhani singing in the BB Band and De Dupe. In 1986 she records the solo single 'Windforce 11', which will be her only chart success, reaching number 23 in the Dutch Top 40. 'Katoozazaï' is the first single from her 1988 album 'Company of fools'. It is a melodic piece of work, which earns her a CD Award. Nadieh passed away on April 5, 1996 as a result of cancer.

My collection: 7" single no. 2598
Found: Grammofoonwinkel, Utrecht, December 30, 1995
Cost: 1 guilder
Tracks: 'Katoozazaï' / 'The sound of melting ice'
Download: here

Bring your daughter to the slaughter - Iron Maiden

'Bring your daughter to the slaughter' is the second single from Iron Maiden's 1990 album 'No prayer for the dying'. The song was originally recorded and released by Bruce Dickinson on the soundtrack album for the movie 'A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child'. When Dickinson rejoined his band after a two year hiatus, they recorded a new version of the track, which eventually became a number one hit for them in the UK. It would also be their only number one hit in that country.

The single was released in a special edition with one side containing autographs of the band members etched in the disc, with the other side containing both the 'A-side' and 'B-side' track.

My collection: 7" single no. 1381
Found: Melody Maker, Den Haag, February 13, 1991
Cost: 6,5 guilders
Tracks: 'Bring your daughter to the slaughter', 'I'm a mover' / Etched side

Chenko (Tenka-io) - Red Box

'Chenko (tenka-io)' was the fifth single to be taken from Red Box's debut album 'The circle and the square'. An early version of the track had already appeared on an independent label (see also this entry), so the album version of 'Chenko' was remixed.

For the longest time, I believed this single did not exist. I'd seen the video on television some time after Red Box had some commercial success with 'For America', but when I bought the album in the second half of the Eighties, the song 'Chenko' was different from the video version I'd seen. It was a relief when I finally did find this single.

My collection: 7" single no. 3184
Found: Esprit Mailorder, UK, 1999
Cost: 4 pounds
Tracks: 'Chenko (tenka-io) (remix)' / 'Speeches'
Download: here

P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) - Michael Jackson

'P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)' was the sixth single to be taken from Michael Jackson's legendary album 'Thriller'. The song was originally written by Jackson and Greg Phillinganes and was a mid-tempo soul jam. Quincy Jones wanted the song to be more upbeat, so he re-wrote it. This version ultimately appeared on the album.

When Michael Jackson was accused of child molestation in the Nineties, I always wondered about this particular track. Why, exactly, did he sing about a Pretty Young Thing? All the accusations were wrong, I think, but this track is a bit suspicious nonetheless....
My collection: 7" single no. 3533
Found: Empire Records, Den Haag, January 9, 2009
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)' / 'Working day and night'
Download: here

Scream down at me - China Crisis

China Crisis released 'Scream down at me' before their debut album 'Difficult shapes & Passive rhythms' in 1982. Both the A and the B-side wouldn't appear on that album, probably as a result of its lack of chart success. Also, the tracks were very different from the sophisticated sounds that were included on the debut album: the drums were more prominent and the singing was less subtle as well.

I didn't know this track when I bought the single; I simply bought it because I was curious. I do admit that this single is not as beautiful as their later work would be.

My collection: 7" single no. 3173
Found: Record Exchange, London, January 18, 2000
Cost: 50p
Tracks: 'Scream down at me' / 'Cucumber garden'
Download: here

Don't say you leave this summer - Albert West

Albert Westelaken was born on September 2, 1949 in Den Bosch, Netherlands. In the early Seventies he was lead singer of the Shuffles, until he left the band in 1973 to pursue a solo career. His third solo single, 'Ginny come lately', a cover of a song by Brian Hyland, became a big hit not only in the Netherlands but in all of Europe. It gave his career the boost it needed to become as successful as it would stay throughout the Seventies.

'Don't say you leave this summer' was recorded and released in 1981. It was taken from his album 'A piece of me', which was produced by Martin Duiser. The female vocals were provided by another wellknown Dutch singer: Anita Meyer. The single reached number 26 in the Dutch Top 40.

My collection: 7" single no. 835
Found: Disco Market, Den Haag, May 20, 1989
Cost: 1 guilder
Tracks: 'Don't say you leave this summer' / 'Hey Paula'
Download: here

Oliver's Army - Elvis Costello

Elvis Costello wrote 'Oliver's Army' at a time when unemployment in the UK reached the three million mark. Former workers were made dependent on state support and charity to survive. It reminded Elvis of the main character in Charles Dickens' story 'Oliver Twist'. The cheery summertime sound of the song contrasts with a bitter, melancholy lyric on comtemporary life - the chorus line saying 'And I would rather be anywhere else than here today.' During the recording of the album 'Armed forces', 'Oliver's Army' was nearly dropped, but was eventually kept after keyboardist Steve Nieve created a piano part for the song that was reminiscent of 'Dancing Queen' by Abba.

It became Elvis Costello's biggest hit ever, reaching number 2 in the UK singles chart in the summer of 1979.

My collection: 7" single no. 2296
Found: Music Machine Mailorder, Hoorn, May 18, 1995
Cost: 4 guilders
Tracks: 'Oliver's Army' / 'My funny Valentine'

Heaven sent - INXS

INXS's 1992 album 'Welcome to wherever you are' was a conscious change in direction for the band. Creating a rawer sound and including sitars and an orchestra they wanted to set themselves apart from the straight rock sounds of grunge bands that became popular at the time. The first single was 'Heaven sent', which became only a minor hit for the band.

At the time I'd fallen in love with a girl who was really into this band and I also spent a lot of time in libraries with her. Although we never really spoke, I found out that she was actually into INXS. So much coincidence... It was meant to be that I would buy this single and then the album. The music became some sort of consolation for the fact that nothing ever really happened.

My collection: 7" single no. 1697
Found: Melody Maker, Den Haag, August 15, 1992
Cost: 6,5 guilders
Tracks: 'Heaven sent' / 'It ain't easy'
Download: here

Hold me now - Johnny Logan

In 1987, Johnny Logan participated in the Eurovision Song Contest for the third time. He'd won the 1980 edition with 'What's another year' and wrote 'Terminal 3' for Linda Martin in 1984, which came third in the competition. He tried it again himself with 'Hold me now', a melodramatic ballad that, to the surprise of many, won the contest that year.

Personally, I felt, just like the first time, Logan was an unjust winner. There were many better songs in the competition, like the sunny summer song 'Laß die Sonne in dein Herz' by Wind (Germany) or the commercially successful 'Gente di mare' by Umberto Tozzi & Raf (Italy). In the end, I had to admit that if I wanted to have a complete collection of Eurovision winners, I would have to buy this single as well.

And if you really want to see something humiliating, you can watch these McDonald's advertisements starring Johnny Logan: here, here and here.

My collection: 7" single no. 3375
Found: Geest, Den Haag, 2003
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Hold me now' / 'Living a lie'
Download: Album 'Hold me now', including both tracks

Tell that girl to shut up - Transvision Vamp

'Tell that girl to shut up' was originally released in 1980 by Holly and the Italians, a short-lived American pop punk band. It was covered by Transvision Vamp in 1988, and released as their second single. Transvision Vamp was founded in 1988 by Nick Christian Sayer, Wendy James, Dave Parsons and Anthony Doughty. James, lead singer and frontwoman of the group, attracted media attention with her sexually-charged and rebellious image.

My collection: 7" single no. 798
Found: Disco Market, Den Haag, April 15, 1989
Cost: 3,5 guilders
Tracks: 'Tell that girl to shut up' / 'God save the royalties'
Download: here

Alice, I want you just for me - Full Force

As a certified hater of hiphop, it is a mystery how some singles do end up in my collection. This is one of those mysteries. Full Force is an American group of hiphop performers and producers from Brooklyn, New York. Members are the brothers Brian, Paul Anthony and Lucien George, plus their cousins Junior Clark, Curt Bedeau and Gerry Charles.

'Alice, I want you just for me' was taken from their 1985 debut album 'Full Force', and reached number 9 in the UK and number 7 in the Netherlands. There's just a hint of melody in the vocals and the rhythm is strong and quite interesting, which may be why I still bought it. Now, two decades later, the track sounds hopelessly dated though.

My collection: 7" single no. 2364
Found: London, July 1, 1995
Cost: 50p
Tracks: 'Alice, I want you just for me' / 'Alice, I want you just for me (Ecrof's Favourite mix)'
Download: here

Trick of the night - Bananarama

There are basically two versions of Bananarama's 1986 single 'Trick of the night': one is produced by Steve Jolley and Tony Swain, the other is produced by Stock, Aitken and Waterman. Personally I always preferred the former, whereas the latter signalled a change in direction for the group: in 1987 they would release their next album, fully produced by the trio that was responsible for Kylie Minogue, Mel & Kim and Rick Astley's phenomenal success in that year.

The lyric of the song is about someone who has gone to seek his fortune in the big city and ended up a rentboy. The 12" single featured a remix version of both versions of the song, plus the B-side track 'Set on you', which has all the trademarks of a Stock/Aitken/Waterman remix written all over it.

My collection: 12" single no. 354
Found: Record fair, Rotterdam, 1999
Cost: 2 guilders
Tracks: 'Trick of the night (Number One remix)' / 'Trick of the night (Tricky mix)', 'Set on you'
Download: here

Eye of heaven - Esther Tuely

Taken from Esther Tuely's self-titled debut solo album, 'Eye of heaven' was her second single. It didn't reach the Dutch Top 40, just like the third single, 'Silence in my heart', which wasn't released on vinyl anymore - only on a one track cd-single.

Esther Tuely was awarded a Golden Harp - a Dutch music prize - in 1991, meant to encourage her to go on with making music. It didn't have the desired effect: she would not release a second album at all.

My collection: 7" single no. 2213
Found: Grammofoonwinkel, Utrecht, November 14, 1994
Cost: 1 guilder
Tracks: 'Eye of heaven (radio edit)' / 'Eye of heaven (remix)'
Download: here

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Popcorn - M and H band

Mark Haliday is the French musician who is the sole member of the M&H Band. He released a very 'Italo Disco' version of the familiar instrumental track 'Popcorn' in 1987. As far as I know, this version didn't chart in any country, but it did find its way to collectors of covers of Gershon Kingsley's 1968 composition.

The B-side of this single features an original instrumental composition by Mark Haliday himself.

My collection: 7" single no. 3345
Found: Record fair, Amsterdam, 2001
Cost: 2 guilders
Tracks: 'Popcorn' / 'Ordinopaso'
Download: here

Nothing - Frazier Chorus

When the pop landscape changed in 1990, Frazier Chorus adapted their music to conform to the newly set standard. Their single 'Nothing', taken from their second album 'Ray', was remixed by Paul Oakenfold and had a firm dance beat, just like bands like The Beloved. It didn't mean that they suddenly got a lot more commercial appeal: the single stalled at number 51, just like previous single releases.

At the time that I bought 'Nothing', I only knew the previously bought single 'Dream kitchen'. I was really surprised at their new sound, but at the same time I liked this track so much that I started to become very interested in this band.

My collection: 7" single no. 1324
Found: Virgin Megastore, London, October 16, 1990
Cost: 2 pounds
Tracks: 'Nothing' / 'Little piece of hell'
Download: here

Born to be alive - Patrick Hernandez

Patrick Hernandez will always be remembered for this one song. 'Born to be alive' was written by him in 1973, but it took six years to get it released. When it was finally released, it was a worldwide hit. It sold 25 million copies around the world and went gold in over fifty countries. Even thirty years later, Hernandez is still performing the show in television shows and concerts. His performances never last longer than the one song.

There is one more fact associated with this song: a certain Louise Ciccone (a.k.a. Madonna) was employed to dance behind Hernandez in 1979, while he was singing his song. She was discovered during auditions in New York and went with Patrick to France. She didn't stay in his company for too long. She was brought in contact with several producers, so she could go her own way. Says Hernandez: 'She didn't want to sing at the time. She was only interested in dancing and acting'.

My collection: 7" single no. 11
Found: London, 1979
Cost: 10p
Tracks: 'Born to be alive' / 'I give you rendez-vous'
Download: here

Time after time - Beloved

Not to be confused with the Cyndi Lauper song of the same name, 'Time after time' was released in 1990 by the Beloved. It was the fourth and last single to be drawn from their debut album 'Happiness', and also the least successful, as it was the first to fall outside the UK singles chart. Even this limited edition flip pack with a picture disc inside didn't help matters.

Still, it is a cheerful mid-tempo song, and I was very happy to find this limited edition almost a year after its release, because it was such a beautiful package.

My collection: 7" single no. 1279
Found: Record Exchange, London, October 1991
Cost: 1 pound
Tracks: 'Time after time' / 'Time after time (Through the round window)'
Download: here

All time high - Rita Coolidge

Written by John Barry and Tim Rice, 'All time high' is the theme song for the 1983 James Bond movie 'Octopussy'. Reaching number 75 in the UK singles chart, it is the least successful Bond theme song of all times. This may partly be explained by the lack of an obvious link between the song title and the movie title. Coolidge was reported to have disliked the song ever since its release. Because it was written so quickly, she felt it wasn't a finished work.

The single features an extended instrumental version on the B-side.

My collection: 7" single no. 3378
Found: Geest, Den Haag, 2003
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'All time high' / 'All time high (extended instrumental version)'
Download: here
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