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'

Monday, 18 November 2019

In the navy - Village People

The song 'In the navy' was basically a promotion for the navy, describing it as an attractive employer. Until the bridge, when the lead singer declares upon hearing 'They want you': 'Who me? But... but... but... I'm afraid of water!'. It was a weird twist in the song that I understood even with my basic knowledge of English when I heard this song when I was nine years old.

I never bought this single despite this piece of youth nostalgia, until I finally spotted this Japanese edition at yesterday's record fair. What a treat!

My collection: 7" single no. 6194
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, Novembber 17, 2019
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'In the navy' / 'Manhattan woman'

YMCA - Village People

The Village People had the biggest hit of their career with 'Y.M.C.A.', a number one hit in the UK and the Netherlands, peaking at number 2 in the USA. Taking the song at face value, its lyrics marvel at the virtues of the Young Men's Christian Association. In the gay culture, from which the group sprang, the song was understood as celebrating the Y.M.C.A.'s reputation as a popular cruising and hookup spot, particularly for the younger gay men to whom it was addressed. As such, this disco classic became a gay anthem, but bizarrely enough also a favourite at wedding parties and school dances.

Producer Henri Belolo recalls that he saw the Y.M.C.A. sign while walking down the street with composer Jacques Morali, who seemed to know the institution fairly well. He told Henri, that this was a place where a lot of people went when they were in town. Then Henri got the idea: 'Why don't we write a song about it?'
My collection: 7" single no. 6193
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 17, 2019
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'YMCA' / 'The women'

To know someone deeply is to know someone softly - Terence Trent d'Arby

I haven't written about Terence Trent d'Arby in ten years, I just found out, and there's a reason for that: I think I have all the singles I want from him. Even 'To know someone deeply is to know someone softly' was already in my colleciton, but I couldn't resist buying this UK edition with a gatefold sleeve, because it is different from that German version: it features two of his previous hits, 'Wishing well' and 'Dance little sister' on the B-side.

Musically, it's nothing new, but a beautifully designed limited edition EP is something I just have to have.

My collection: 7" single no. 6192
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 17, 2019
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'To know someone deeply is to know someone softly' / 'Wishing well', 'Dance little sister'

Thursday, 14 November 2019

På en gammal bänk - Siw Malmkvist

Although the sleeve of this single simply credits the song 'På en gammal bänk' to Siw, the label clears up the mystery: yes, this is Siw Malmkvist, the Swedish singer who was popular both in Sweden and in Germany. In 1969 she participated in the Eurovision Song Contest with 'Primaballerina', but this single proves that she was still interested in the Contest two years later: 'På en gammal bänk' is a Swedish version of 'Un arbre, un banc, une rue', with which Severine won the Contest that year.

What's more, the B-side, 'Ett Rött Äpple' is a Swedish version of 'Pomme pomme pomme', another Eurovision song from that year. No wonder, then, that this single had to end up in my collection. Even if the sleeve isn't in the best of conditions...

My collection: 7" single no. 6190
Found:, received November 12, 2019
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'På en gammal bänk' / '
Ett Rött Äpple'

Uh jeg ville ønske jeg var dig - Birthe Wilke

Birthe Wilke was born on March 19, 1936. When she was in her teens, she won a talent competition at the National Scala Theatre in Copenhagen, sang as soloist with Bruno Henriksen's Orchestra at Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, made her first recording, and was named "Denmark's Doris Day" and recorded 'Que sera sera' in 1956. She participated in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1957 where she sang 'Skibet skal sejle i nat' ('The ship is leaving tonight') with Gustav Winckler. They ranked third of 10 competitors at the end of the voting, and stunned television audiences with a 13-second long kiss at the end of their performance.

Birthe returned to the Contest two years later with the song 'Uh jeg ville ønske jeg var dig' ('Oh - I wish I were you'). This time, she finished in fifth place. In 1961, she won the award for best singer at the first international song festival in the Gdansk shipyard hall, the forerunner of the Sopot festival and Intervision Song Contest. In 1966 she retired from public life, but made a short-lived return in 1973. In addition to her recording successes, she participated in radio, television, advertising and commercial film.

My collection: 7" single no. 6189
Found:, received November 12, 2019
Cost: 4 euro
Tracks: 'Uh jeg ville ønske jeg var dig' / 'Augustin'

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

The busker - Marty Wilde

Released in 1971, 'The busker' is one of the rarer Marty Wilde singles. Marty continued to release singles in the 1970's, even if he didn't manage to reach the singles charts anymore by himself. By contrast, his song 'I'm a tiger' was a hit for Lulu in 1968 and 'Jesamine' was a worldwide hit for the Casuals in 1969.

Written by Parker and Stirling, 'The busker' was the only Marty Wilde single I was still very much after - although obviously I'll continue to hunt for variations and EP's in the near future.

My collection: 7" single no. 6188
Found:, received November 9, 2019
Cost: 10 pounds
Tracks: 'The busker' / 'It's so unreal'
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