Thursday, 22 January 2015

Voltarei - Dora

Portuguese singer Dora (full name: Dora Maria Reis Dias de Jesus) represented her country twice: in 1986 with 'Não sejas mau para mim' and in 1988 with this song, 'Voltarei'. Like many Portuguese entries at the Eurovision Song Contest, they weren't very successful. The former ended up in 16th place, and the latter finished in 18th place.

The single features both the Portuguese version and the English translation, 'I'll come back'.

My collection: 7" single no. 5682
Found: Discogs.com, received December 9, 2014
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Voltarei' / 'I'll come back'

Songs for Europe - Kenneth McKellar

Scottish singer Kenneth McKellar was born on June 23, 1927 and studied forestry at the University of Aberdeen, then trained at the Royal College of Music as an opera singer. He went on to sing traditional Scottish songs.

In 1965, the BBC selected him to represent the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest. This EP features all five songs that were performed during the national final. The song 'A man without love' was chosen for him to perform at Eurovision. It finished ninth in a field of 18 competitors, which was actually the UK's worst placing for a long time - until 1978. McKellar died of pancreatic cancer on April 9, 2010.

My collection: 7" single no. 5683
Found: Discogs.com, received December 12, 2014
Cost: 2 pounds
Tracks: 'As long as the sun shines', 'Country girl', 'A touch of the Tartan' / 'A man without love', 'Comes the time'

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Sue (Or In a season of crime) - David Bowie

I started this year with an entry about David Bowie, so I thought it would be appropriate to end the year with Bowie as well. He surprised everyone - again - with his latest offering, 'Sue (Or In a season of crime)'. The single was released on 10" vinyl only, so no cd-singles, 7" or 12" at all. The track also appeared on his latest compilation, 'Nothing has changed'. But does the world really need yet another Bowie compilation album? I guess record companies still like to cash in with old stuff.

'Sue' is a weird offering, as it sounds a lot like jazz and it can seem a bit tedious, being such a long track. But repeated listening is rewarding. Bowie keeps changing, even if nothing much has changed.

My collection: 10" single [unnumbered]
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 23, 2014
Cost: 8 euro
Tracks: 'Sue (Or In a season of crime)' / ''Tis a pity she was a whore', 'Sue (Or In a season of crime) (edit)'

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Komm' heut zu mir - Chocolate Menta Mastik

Chocolate, Menta, Mastik ('Chocolate, mint, gum') was an Israeli female musical trio, active in the Seventies, composed of Yardena Arazi, Ruthie Holzman and either Tami Azaria (1972-1973) or Leah Lupatin. The trio performed both in Israel and Internationally, especially after being the 1976 entry to the Eurovision Song Contest in The Hague with 'Emor Shalom'.

Founded in 1948, Israel was a 28-year-old country in 1976, giving the line "I've been alone for almost thirty years" an extra meaning- since it gained independence Israel was isolated in the Middle East, surrounded by hostile Arab countries (Egypt and Jordan signed peace agreements with Israel since then). At the close of voting, it had received 77 points, placing 6th in a field of 18 competitors. This single presents the German and English versions of their song.

My collection: 7" single no. 5680
Found: Discogs.com, received December 9, 2014
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Komm' heut zu mir' / 'Say hello'

Du bist Musik - Blue Danube

Blue Danube was an Austrian band that has represented their country in the 1980 Eurovision Song Contest. Their song 'Du bist musik' ('You are music') was filled with names of famous composers and certain types of music. The band consisted of Marty Brem, Wolfgang 'Marc' Berry, Sylvia Schramm, Rena Mauris and Wolfgang Weiss.

'Du bist Musik' received 64 points, placing 8th in a field of 19 competitors. The group split up after Eurovision, but Marty Brem reappeared solo on the 1981 Eurovision Song Contest, representing Austria with 'Wenn du da bist'.

My collection: 7" single no. 5679
Found: Discogs.com, received December 9, 2014
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Du bist Musik' / 'Du bist Musik (instrumental)'

Fångad i en dröm - Björn Skifs

Björn Nils Olof Skifs  was born on April 20, 1947 in Vansbro, Dalarna, Sweden. He formed his first musical group Slam Creepers in 1962. Slam Creepers split in 1969 and Skifs went on to form a new band, Blåblus, in 1972. As Blue Swede, the band had a number 1 hit on Billboard Hot 100 in 1974 with a cover of 'Hooked on a feeling'. Björn Skifs left the band in 1976 to pursue a solo career. He recorded the duet 'Med varann' with Anni-Frid Lyngstad for his 1975 album 'Schiffz'. Skifs appeared as The Arbiter on the original studio album for Chess, released in 1984. Skifs also recorded several demos for the album, including 'One night in Bangkok', later performed by Murray Head.

In 1981 he represented Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest with 'Fångad i en dröm'. This was the second time that Björn Skifs had represented Sweden in the contest, having previously entered the contest for Sweden in 1978 with the song 'Det blir alltid värre framåt natten'. Like in 1978, Skifs was the last performer of the night. At the close of voting, the song ended up in 10th place in  a field of 20 competitors.

My collection: 7" single no. 5678
Found: Discogs.com, received December 9, 2014
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Fångad i en dröm' / 'Stackare, stackare'

Valentino - Cadillac

I don't know why, but the 1986 Spanish entry for the Eurovision Song Contest always stuck out in my memory as one of the best Spanish entries ever. I had a lot of trouble finding a copy of the single ever since I started looking out for it some 20 years ago. Even online, because whenever I found a copy the seller was asking way too much for it.

That's why I was happy to finally spot a copy on Discogs.com last month for a reasonable price, and from a seller who had more interesting Eurovision singles on offer. After all these years, I finally have this single. And how did this song perform in 1986? At the close of the voting had received 51 points, placing 10th in a field of 20 competitors.

My collection: 7" single no. 5677
Found: Discogs.com, recieved December 9, 2014
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Valentino' / 'Tahiti'

Stad i ljus - Tommy Körberg

Bert Gustav Tommy Körberg was born in Norsjö (Sweden) on July 4, 1948. In 1988, he represented Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest with 'Stad i ljus', a beautifully orchestrated ballad.The song finished 12th in a field of 21 competitors.

The single peaked at number 8 at the Swedish singles chart. On the single, the song appears sung in Swedish and in English. In 2013 Körberg tried to reach the Eurovision Song Contest one more time as part of he group Ravaillacz. They ended up in 10th place in the Swedish national final.

My collection: 7" single no. 5676
Found: Discogs.com, received December 12, 2014
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Stad i ljus' / 'Unchained light'

Friday, 26 December 2014

Motorcycle Mama - Harpo

Swedish singer Harpo is best known for his worldwide hit 'Moviestar', which was a hit in 1975. He followed that single up with this one: 'Motorcycle mama', a song with a lyric that mentions various Sixties phenomena, such as Woodstock, Jimi Hendrix, Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band and Ravi Shanker. Still, it only charted in Sweden and Denmark, peaking at number 8 and 9 respectively.

This single is memorable (or should be) because of the B-side, as it gives us a Christmas song, and one that hasn't been played to death. 'Beautiful Christmas' was written by Harpo himself. You won't find it on most of the Christmas compilation albums, so I consider this to be a rather exclusive Christmas experience. Enjoy!

My collection: 7" single no. 5399
Found: unknown
Tracks: 'Motorcycle mama' / 'Beautiful Christmas'

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Last Christmas - Wham!

One of the best known Christmas songs of all time, 'Last Christmas' was originally released in 1984 but re-released almost every year since then. I already wrote about the 1989 re-release on this blog five years ago, but this time I'd like to present to you two re-releases that I bought earlier this year.

The 1985 edition featured 'Blue (live in China)' on the B-side and came in the same sleeve that was used every year since then. My copy, pictured above, was created in the UK and comes in the kind of thick cardboard sleeve that is so uniquely British.

The 1988 edition, pictured below, was made in Holland and inevitably looks cheaper. There is also  an interesting mistake on the back cover, as it promises 'Everything she wants (live in China)', but apparently this is caused by them using the 1985 sleeve and simply replacing the line 'Blue' but leaving the line with 'live in China' intact.

I could of course have written two entries, but I'm sure this is more efficient. After all, we all have some Christmas duties to perform these days...

My collection: 7" single no. 5668 & no. 5471
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 23, 2014 & Kringloop Hebbes, Den Haag, July 25, 2014
Cost: 1 euro each
Tracks: 'Last Christmas' / 'Blue (live in China') & 'Last Christmas' / 'Everything she wants'

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Say wonderful things - Ronnie Carroll

Ronnie Carroll returned in the Eurovision Song Contest the year after he appeared with 'Ring-a-ding girl'. 'Say wonderful things' was the song he competed with in 1963, and just like in 1962 he finished fourth. The single was considerably more successful in the UK singles chart, peaking at number 6.

The most popular version of the song in the United States was recorded by Patti Page, as the title song of her first album for Columbia Records. Page's record peaked only at number 81 on the Billboard Hot 100 but was more successful in Australia, continental Europe and in Asian territories such as Hong Kong and Japan.

My collection: 7" single no. 5675
Found: Discogs.com, received December 2, 2014
Cost: 1 pound
Tracks: 'Say wonderful things' / 'Please tell me your name'

Ring-a-ding girl - Ronnie Carroll

Ronnie Carroll was born as Ronald Cleghorn on August 18, 1934 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He scored his first hit in 1956 with 'Walk hand in hand'. Having taken part in the 1960 UK Eurovision selection contest with the song 'Girl with a curl', he returned to win the selection and be Britain's entry in the Eurovision Song Contest 1962.

The song 'Ring-a-ding girl' received 10 points, placing 4th in the field of 16 competitors. The single reached number 46 in the UK singles chart.

My collection: 7" single no. 5674
Found: Discogs.com, received December 2, 2014
Cost: 1 pound
Tracks: 'Ring-a-ding girl' / 'The girls in their summer dresses'

Damned if I do - Alan Parsons Project

'Damned if I do' is a single taken from the Alan Parsons Project's 1979 album 'Eve'. The focus of the songs on this album is on the strengths and characteristics of women, and the problems they face in the world of men.

The lead vocal on this single is performed by Lenny Zakatek. He was born just prior to Karachi becoming part of Pakistan and moved to London at the age of thirteen. The single was successful in the USA and Canada, where it peaked at number 27 and number 16, respectively, but it failed to chart in Europe.

My collection: 7" single no. 5673
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 23, 2014
Cost: 0,5 euro
Tracks: 'Damned if I do' / 'You lie down with dogs'

Catch me if you can - Hot Eyes

Hot Eyes was the name adopted for international acts by the Danish singing duo known in their home country as Kirsten and Søren. It was formed by Kirsten Siggard (born 7 September 1954 in Slagelse) and Søren Bundgaard (born 4 March 1956 in Glostrup). In 1984 they participated in the Eurovision Song Contest as Kirsten and Søren with Det' lige det, but in 1985 they participated as Hot Eyes with 'Sku' du' spørg' fra no'en?' ('What business is it of yours?'). At the close of voting, this song had received 41 points, placing 11th in a field of 19 competitors. The duo would return to the Contest in 1988 with the song 'Ka' du se, hva' jeg sa'?', again as Kirsten & Søren.

One single by Hot Eyes then. I found this copy at a cheap German dealer's stall at the record fair in Utrecht, much to my surprise. It features the English version of their 1985 Eurovision song, with the original Danish version on the B-side.

My collection: 7" single no. 5669
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 23, 2014
Cost: 0,5 euro
Tracks: 'Catch me if you can' / 'Sku' du spoerg' fra no'en'

Io così non ci sto - Mariella Farré

Mariella Farré (born 1963 in Thurgau as Gabriella Filomeno) is a Swiss singer of Italian descent, best known for her participation in the Eurovision Song Contests of 1983 and 1985. Farré's first attempt at Eurovision came in 1981 when, as a newcomer, she entered the Swiss selection heat, only for her song "Una cosa meravigliosa" to finish sixth and last. She was to have more luck in 1983 with 'Io così non ci sto' ('I don't like it this way'), which won the selection and went forward to the Eurovision Song Contest, where it finished in a disappointing 15th place of the 20 entries.

This single is a good example of how expensive online dealers can be: while this single was offered on Discogs.com for €3.50 by some Dutch dealer, I picked it up for a fraction of that price at the recent record fair in Utrecht. But then, Dutch online vendors are not generally known for their generosity.

My collection: 7" single no. 5664
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 23, 2014
Cost: 0,5 euro
Tracks: 'Io così non ci sto' / 'Soli'

Feuer - Ireen Sheer

Ireen Sheer was born on February 25, 1949 in Basildon, Essex, England. She has competed in several Eurovision Song Contests over the past four decades. She married another musician, Gavin du Porter, in 1976.

'Feuer' ('Fire') was the German entry in the 1978 Eurovision Song Contest. This was Sheer's second Eurovision entry, in 1974 she had represented Luxembourg with Bye Bye I Love You, then singing in French. The song was performed thirteenth on the night. At the close of voting, it had received 84 points, placing 6th in a field of 20 competitors.

My collection: 7" single no. 5663
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 23, 2014
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Feuer' / 'Oh, mon amour'

Bombollini - Chris Rea

Released as the first single from Chris Rea's 1984 album 'Wired to the moon', 'Bombollini' was a bit of an eccentric choice. Clocking in at 6 minutes and 10 seconds, the track bares some resemblance to his later hit single Nothing to fear (1991).

Almost unsurprisingly, 'Bombollini' didn't become a hit, just like the other two singles from the album. Still, this single is worth a spin or two, because it shows the craftmanship of Chris Rea like no other single from that point in time in his career. Great melody lines and skillful guitar solos, that's the way we like it.

My collection: 7" single no. 5655
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 23, 2014
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Bombollini' / 'True love'

Monday, 22 December 2014

Diese Welt - Katja Ebstein

'Diese Welt' ('This world') was the German entry in the 1971 Eurovision Song Contest, performed in German by Katja Ebstein. This was Ebstein's second consecutive Eurovision entry; she had represented Germany at the 1970 contest with 'Wunder gibt es immer wieder', which finished 3rd in a field of 12 competitors.

At the close of voting, this song had received 100 points, placing 3rd in a field of 18 competitors. The song deals with the wonder of the world, with Ebstein singing that it 'is a gift which life gave us' and reminding her listeners that what becomes of it is up to its inhabitants. Ebstein also recorded the song in English (as 'River run, river flow'), French ('Une autre rivière') and Spanish ('Este mundo').

My collection: 7" single no. 5639
Found: Fun Records, Berlin, received August 29, 2014
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Diese Welt' / 'Alle Menschen auf der Erde'

Arlette Zola was born as Arlette Jaquet in the city of Fribourg on 29 April 1949. She started her singing career in the Sixties, releasiung more than twenty albums between then and now. In 1982 she represented Switzerland during the Eurovision Song Contest with the song 'Amour on t'aime'.

The song was performed as 7th on the night. At the close of the voting, it had received 97 points and placed 3rd in a field of 18 competitors.

My collection: 7" single no. 5635
Found: Fun Records, Berlin, received August 29, 2014
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Amour on t'aime' / 'Tant que tu existeras'

Chansons pour ceux qui s'aiment - Jürgen Marcus

Jürgen Marcus was born as Jürgen Beumer on 6 June 1948 in Herne, Germany. The schlager singer was most successful during the Seventies, when he had 14 chart hits in Germany. He is also known for his participation on behalf of Luxembourg in the 1976 Eurovision Song Contest.

'Chansons pour ceux qui s'aiment' ('Songs for those who love each other') was performed fifth on the night. At the close of voting, it had received 17 points, placing 14th in a field of 18 competitors. By the later Seventies, Marcus' recording success had declined and he parted ways with his record company in 1979. Following a last minor hit in 1981, plans and collaborations came to nothing and Marcus largely dropped from sight. His first album for over 20 years ('Ich glaub an die Welt') was released in 2004, followed by a Christmas collection in 2006. Another album of new material ('Für immer'), his last to date, came out in 2008.

My collection: 7" single no. 5634
Found: Fun Records, Berlin, received August 29, 2014
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Chansons pour ceux qui s'aiment' / 'Kinder die auf Regen warten'

When - Red Vincent Hurley

'Red' Vincent Hurley was born on September 11, 1949. He's one of Ireland's most enduring popular singers whose career has spanned several decades from the Seventies to the present day. He is principally known as a solo artist, although he has performed with various bands and pop groups, most notably, 'The Nevada', with whom he enjoyed his first series of number one records at the beginning of his career.


He represented Ireland in the 1976 Eurovision Song Contest with the song 'When'. The song was performed seventh on the night. At the close of voting, it had received 54 points, placing 10th in a field of 18 competitors.

My collection: 7" single no. 5629
Found: Fun Records, Berlin, received August 29, 2014
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'When' / 'Just a little love'

Come what may - Vicky Leandros

Vicky Leandros competed in the 1972 Eurovision Song Contest for Luxembourg with Apres toi. The single was a big hit in Europe, and even managed to chart in the UK. This was helped by the fact that Leandros recorded an English version of her song, entitled 'Come what may'. It appears on this single, along with another English-language track on the B-side.

She turned out to be quite the language wizard, as she also recorded the song in Italian ('Dopo te'), German ('Dann kamst du'), Spanish ('Y despues'), Greek ('Mono esi') and Japanese ('Omoide ni ikiru'). I'm still looking for those singles, though...

My collection: 7" single no. 5598
Found: Discogs.com, received August 5, 2014
Cost: 2 pounds
Tracks: 'Come what may' / 'Takes a little time'

Satellite - Ted

'Satellit' ('Satellite') was the Swedish entry in the Eurovision Song Contest 1979, performed in Swedish by Ted Gärdestad. Gärdestad's first four albums were produced by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus of ABBA, featured backing vocals by Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, and were released on the Polar Music label.

This song, which was arranged and produced by guitarist Janne Schaffer, features a guitar and bass riff influenced by Toto's 1978 hit 'Hold the Line', and four of the band members - Jeff Porcaro, Steve Porcaro, David Hungate and Steve Lukather - were in fact among the musicians playing on Gärdestad's preceding album Blue Virgin Isles, recorded in Los Angeles, and released in late 1978. The English-language version of the track, 'Satellite', was included on subsequent editions of the album, which was issued in both Europe, Australasia and Japan. The song was performed as entry number fifteen on the night. At the close of voting, it had received 8 points, placing it 17th in a field of 19 competitors, making it Sweden's second lowest placing in the contest at that point in time. Despite this, the Swedish version of the song was a Top 10 hit on the singles chart.

My collection: 7" single no. 5561
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 23, 2014
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Satellite' / 'Blue virgin isles'

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Det' lige det - Kirsten & Søren

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

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

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

Ce soir-là - François Deguelt

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

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

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

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

Love is a lonely weekend - Anna Vishy

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

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

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

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Et bonjour à toi l'artiste - Nicole Rieu

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

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

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

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Vivan bomma - De Strangers

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

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

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

Interview - Kate Bush

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

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

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

Beatles - Forbes

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

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

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

A song for Europe - Matt Monro

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

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

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

Monday, 8 December 2014

Chanteur de charme - Gerard Lenorman

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

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

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

Stool pigeon - Kid Creole & the Coconuts

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

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

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

Lass die Sonne in dein Herz - Wind

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

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

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

Penthouse and pavement - Heaven 17

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

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

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

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

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

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

Swiss lady - Pepe Lienhard Band

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

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

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

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Libera - Mia Martini

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

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

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

Hello I love you / Love her madly - The Doors

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

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

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

Hello summertime - Bobby Goldsboro

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

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

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

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

I want tomorrow - Enya

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

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

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

Play to win - Heaven 17

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

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

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

Dreaming of me - Depeche Mode

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

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

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

Radio-activity - Kraftwerk

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

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

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

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