Sunday, 30 November 2008

Prisoner - Sue Saad and the Next

Another recent find is this single by Sue Saad and the Next. 'Prisoner' was taken from their only self-titled album and it's the single I bought last week at the Utrecht record fair.

Sue Saad and The Next are Sue Saad (vocals), James Lance (drums), Tony Riparetti (guitar), Billy Anstatt (guitar), and Bobby Manzer (bass). Saad, Lance, and Riparetti wrote all the songs on the band's self-titled debut album and are the original nucleus of the group, having been friends and musical collaborators since junior high school in Santa Barbara, California. Richard Perry produced the band's album with the help of Lance, the whole project taking less than twenty days to complete. Lance had said that the songs on the album 'evoke youthful passion seasoned with wry adult knowledge, as well as a toughminded picture of daily American life and the ways it can be lit up by moments of rock and roll celebration'. For more information about the band, have a look at this webpage.

My collection: 7" single no. 3460
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 22, 2008
Cost: 0,5 euro
Tracks: 'Prisoner' / ' I want him'

Friday, 28 November 2008

Change his ways - Robert Palmer

Robert Palmer is dead. It's strange every time I realise that. He's one of those artists that was just always around. When I was a child, I listened to 'Looking for clues', thinking that it was just a great song from some strange guy. When I was a bit older, I heard 'Riptide' and thought this man was truly sophisticated. Then I heard 'Addicted to love' a few years later and I was slightly put off by the 'straight up and down' rock.

My sister bought the album 'Heavy Nova' and I played it many times. In time, I bought almost every single drawn from that album. The only one that was missing was 'Change his ways' - until recently. I picked up the picture disc 7" last week. For the first time ever, it was a bargain.

My collection: 7" snigle no. 3457
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 22, 2008
Cost: 1,25 euro
Tracks: 'Change his ways' / 'More than ever'

Heaven can wait - Bolland

The Dutch brothers Rob and Ferdi Bolland have released many singles in the Netherlands, but they became more famous for their production work, amongst others with Austrian singer Falco. They became still more famous because of their song 'You're in the army now', which was covered by Status Quo in 1986. The original version was recorded in 1983 for Bolland's album 'The domino theory'.

The 12" single 'Heaven can wait' includes an extended remix of 'You're in the army now', and that was my reason for buying it. I didn't know the track 'Heaven can wait', which is on the A-side, and I have to say the B-side of this 12" single is superior. Or is it just me...?

My collection: 12" single no. 465
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, 2007
Cost: 5 euro
Tracks: 'Heaven can wait (extended version)' / 'You're in the army now (extended version)'
Download: here

Popcorn - The Popcornmakers

Although I was very interested in the track 'Popcorn', I didn't know about all the versions that existed. So when I found this version by the Popcornmakers, I wasn't even aware that this was one of the versions that contributed to the number 1 position in the Dutch Top 40 in 1972, together with those by Anarchic System, Hot Butter and Revolution System.

The B-side was another moog instrumental, 'Toad in the hole', presumably another track named after a delicacy. It all may sound hopelessly dated now, back then it sounded downright futuristic.

My collection: 7" single no. 2209
Found: Record fair, the Netherlands, October 22, 1994
Cost: 3 guilders
Tracks: 'Popcorn' / 'Toad in the hole'
Download: here

Secrets - Fiat Lux

In 1983, there were a few songs that I deemed instant classics. This was one of them. Fiat Lux was the best synthpop band that never made it. 'Secrets' was the best example of their extraordinary talent. Part ballad, part popsong, part classical music, it contained almost everything that I admired.

Fiat Lux formed in Yorkshire (UK) in 1982 with Steve Wright (vocals), Ian Nelson (sax, keyboard) and Dave Crickmore (guitars, keyboards). They never released any albums, however, there are several singles out there, most of which I have. The first one I bought was this 'Secrets', in 1989. Until then, I had to make do with a radio recording.

My collection: 7" single no. 780
Found: All that music, Leiden, March 24, 1989
Cost: 3 guilders
Tracks: 'Secrets' / 'Comfortable life'
Download: here

Too depressed to commit suicide - PeeCees

It's not blatantly obvious, but when you read a song title like 'Too depressed to commit suicide', you have to assume it's not a serious song. When you look at the sleeve and instantly recognise an album cover from The Police, you have to conclude that this is definitely a parody. And not only that: this 'triple A side' also features songs by Jack Michaelson and the HeeBeeGeeBees.

My decision was made pretty fast: I had to buy this single at last week's record fair, if only to satisfy my curiosity. It was released in 1981, at the height of the success of the Police, Michael Jackson and the Bee Gees. It's pretty amazing when you hear the tracks and how similar they sound to the original artists' work. Even more amazing when you find out that one of the three in this group is Angus Deayton. I never knew he had singing ambitions...

My collection: 7" single no. 3462
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 22, 2008
Cost: 1,25 euro
Tracks: 'Too depressed to commit suicide' - The PeeCees / 'Up the wall' - Jack Michaelson, 'Meaningless songs' - HeeBeeGeeBees

Lay all your love on me - Abba

As I wrote before, the first 7" single I ever had will always remain a mystery. Fortunately, this isn't the case with my 12" singles. The very first one I had is still in my collection and is still proudly number one. And I remember how I got it, too.

I was a big fan of Abba. Then, sometime in 1980, they released a single on 12" only. It was a track taken from their album 'Super trouper' and this maxi single didn't even contain a remix. But still, the fact that I didn't have it bugged me. My brother, one day, offered his copy to me - but at full price. Greedy as I was to want to have it, I paid it, too. I was, and still am, the proud owner of a very collectable item - or so I thought.

My collection: 12" single no. 1
Found: My brother's record collection, at home, 1981
Cost: 15 guilders
Tracks: 'Lay all your love on me' / 'On and on and on'

Thursday, 27 November 2008

People are people - Götz Alsmann and the sentimental pounders

Depeche Mode have written many great songs that have stood the test of time. One of them is 'People are people' (1984). Having heard the original countless times, sometimes I get curious how other bands would perform this track.

My curiosity was finally satisfied when I found this single by Götz Alsmann and the sentimental pounders. Contrary to Depeche Mode, this band worked entirely with acoustic instruments to create a very 'cosy' version of the song. It always makes me happy when I hear this version.

My collection: 7" single no. 2820
Found: Record fair, Rotterdam, 1997
Cost: 2 guilders
Tracks: 'People are people' / 'Lonesome Pine'
Download: here

Promises, promises - Naked Eyes

Naked Eyes was an English synthpop band, consisting of childhood friends Pete Byrne (vocals) and Rob Fisher (keyboards). The latter would continue his career in the second half of the eighties as one half of the duo Climie Fisher.

'Promises, promises' was their first self-penned hit in the USA, after their version of Bacharach's standard 'Always something there to remind me'. The extended version of 'Promises, promises' apparently features backing vocals by Madonna, although I never heard them... What's more interesting is that the B-side of the 12 inch features an early version of 'In the name of love', a track they would re-record a year later and have another hit with.

My collection: 12" single no. 107
Found: Disco Market, Den Haag, 1988
Cost: 6 guilders
Tracks: 'Promises, promises (extended version)' / 'Low life', 'In the name of love'
Download: here

Everybody's got to learn sometime - Korgis

It's hard to imagine now, but in the days before the internet, there were ways of getting singles from abroad. One of those ways was Oldies Unlimited, a mail order company based in the UK where one could order 7" and 12" singles. This was in the days before cd's, mind. I used to go to the post office, exchange guilders for pounds and then send letters to the UK containing a few five or ten pound notes and my order form. A week or so later I would get a parcel with records. Every time it felt like Christmas.

However, there were also disappointments. Like this one: I ordered a copy of the Korgis 'Everybody's got to learn sometime', and got a copy in a plain yellow sleeve instead of a photo cover. It's the music that counts, but still... I didn't get what I expected. That's the one thing about mail ordering from abroad via snail mail: you never went back with a complaint, because that was too expensive to begin with.

My collection: 7" single no. 336
Found: Oldies Unlimited, UK, 1985
Cost: 1 pound
Tracks: 'Everybody's got to learn sometime' / 'Dirty postcards'
Download: here

Final love song - PS & the Footnotes

The Dutch band PS & the Footnotes is not so wellknown. Their first single, 'Final love song', never reached the charts in the Netherlands, and other singles went the same way. No wonder, then, that their records were never released on cd. It's a shame, because 'Final love song' is a beautiful track. It makes one wonder whether they recorded more stuff like this.

My collection: 7" single no. 779
Found: All that music, Leiden, 1989
Cost: 3 guilders
Tracks: 'Final love song' / 'Love at second sight'
Download: here

Everybody wants to rule the world - Tears for fears

One of the most successful songs Tears for fears released, was this: 'Everybody wants to rule the world' stormed the charts in 1985 and went top 3 in most countries. The single reached number two in the UK, and this was partly thanks to the attractive double single, released by Mercury records. Not only did it contain a remix of the track, it also offered an interview with Curt and Roland, explaining more about the tracks on their then-current album 'Songs from the big chair'.

Double singles were hard to get outside the UK, but fortunately small quantities were imported. One of those copies ended up at my home after a few moments of desperation: why are these things so darn expensive?

My collection: 7" single no. 380
Found: Free Record Shop, Den Haag, 1985
Cost: 12,95 guilders
Tracks: 'Everybody wants to rule the world' / 'Pharaohs' - 'Everybody wants to rule the world (Urban mix)' / 'Interview with Curt & Roland'
Download: here

Senses working overtime - XTC

It's not that I'm such a fan of XTC. I did love the song 'Making plans for Nigel' when it was in the charts, but 'Senses working overtime' made less of an impression on me. Still, that was the first XTC record I bought. It was probably because it was the only track in the 'out of charts'-bin that I liked when I visited my usual record shop in 1982. I paid half price for 'out of charts' singles, which made it worthwhile to choose from that selection.

'Senses working overtime' was the last hit for XTC in the Netherlands. They would continue to release singles but they never made a dent in the charts. In the UK they fared only slightly better: most singles didn't make the top 40 anymore, with the exception of 'The disappointed' (1992).

My collection: 7" single no. 141
Found: Wouters, Den Haag, 1982
Cost: 3 guilders
Tracks: 'Senses working overtime' / 'Blame the weather', 'Tissue tigers (the arguers)'
Download: here

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Goodbye - The Sundays

After I'd become interested in Tori Amos and Sarah McLachlan, there was a whole bunch of alternative artists and bands to be discovered. I discovered a whole new bunch of friends and they kept confronting me with new music. And I loved a lot of it. One of these discoveries was The Sundays. I never really liked all of their work, but the single 'Goodbye' was pretty impressive to me. I snapped up the single when I was in London and then never bought anything else from them ever again.

My collection: 7" single no. 1758
Found: HMV London, October 19, 1992
Cost: 2 pounds
Tracks: 'Goodye' / 'Wild horses'
Download: here

Toy soldiers - Martika

Some would call it an obsession. In September 1989, I realised that every time I left my hometown, I bought a record wherever I went. So when I went to Noordwijk for a three day course with my fellow students, I simply had to get myself a record too. On the morning of the last day, I ran out to the centre of town, got into a record store and bought myself the best chart single I could find. It was Martika's 'Toy soldiers'.

It was Martika's debut single, which ended up number one in the USA. The inspiration for the song came from a friend of Martika who was battling a drug addiction at the time. The chorus of the song featured former castmates from 'Kids Incorporated', an American children's TV programme.

My collection: 7" single no. 983
Found: Noordwijk, September 13, 1989
Cost: 6 guilders
Tracks: 'Toy soldiers' / 'Exchange of hearts'
Download: here

Go west - Village people

The Village People were big in the gay scene at the end of the 1970's. They managed to break into the mainstream thanks to their catchy and memorable songs, often inspired by gimmicks. Their best known tracks were 'Y.M.C.A.' and 'In the navy'. However, 'Go west' was also a rather successful song, not least because it was covered in 1992 by the Pet Shop Boys.

I bought the single back in 1979 soon after it came out, but the 12" single is a relatively new acquisition. It features extended mixes of the title track and the B-side. An essential disco track.

My collection: 12" single no. 464
Found: Record exchange, London, 2005
Cost: 2 pounds
Tracks: 'Go west (Disco mix)' / 'Citizens of the world (Disco mix)'

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

She's leaving - OMD

OMD scored a big hit in Europe with 'Maid of Orleans'. It was a number one hit in the Netherlands as well. As beautiful as I thought it was, by the time it had left the charts I was tired of it. How wonderful that the next single was fresh and exciting again: 'She's leaving' was released, and from the first time I heard it I was totally fascinated. There was this cold, emotionless synthesizer, combined with passionate vocals. I loved the musical theme of the song.

When I bought the single, it was a bargain. It hadn't reached the charts and the shop offered it for a discount price within weeks. I was very happy to have this one, and I have played it regularly since - although these days it's obviously become the mp3 I play the most.

My collection: 7" single no. 231
Found: Disco Market, Den Haag, 1982
Cost: 2 guilders
Tracks: 'She's leaving' / 'The romance of the telescope'

Free spirit - Kim Appleby

Kim Appleby released her last solo single 'Free spirit' in 1994. It was after she'd released two solo albums. The song was energetic enough, but didn't achieve the commercial success she must have anticipated.

Despite having followed her career ever since she rose to fame with her sister Mel as the dancepop duo Mel & Kim, I didn't know about this release when I found it in the shops in London that year. At first I bought the cd-single, but then discovered that the 12" single contained two remixes not included on the cd-single. Listening to it now, it still sounds fresh.

My collection: 12" single no. 240
Found: London, 1994
Cost: 2 pounds
Tracks: 'Free spirit [12" mix]', 'Free spirit (Tony King club remix)' / 'Free spirit (Sound of Stockwell dub)', 'Free spirit (Spiritual mix)'
Download: here

Fadeaway - Loz Netto

Loz Netto played with the band Sniff 'n' the Tears until 1981. Then briefly before a tour he had an accident and wasn't able to perform live with them. After a period of recovery, he started to make music again. It led to a solo career, which started off with the single 'Fadeaway'. It was the only single that would give him some chart success: he landed in the Dutch Top 40 in January 1983 and reach no. 25.

I'd just come into a period where I wanted to buy those singles my sister didn't like. That way, we'd have a bigger record collection, because we wouldn't buy the same singles all the time. She wasn't interested in this single, and so I bought it. It's one of those things you don't regret over time: it's still a great song and not so wellknown 25 years later.

My collection: 7" single no. 182
Found: Studio Echo, Den Haag, 1983
Cost: 5,5 guilders
Tracks: 'Fadeaway' / 'Show me'
Download: here

Send my heart - Adventures

The Adventures were a rock band from Belfast (Ireland). They moved to London to sign with Chrysalis records and release their first records in 1984. Their second single was 'Send my heart'. It reached the lower regions of the UK charts.

I got to know the band via a local radio station which kept playing even the smallest hits from England. The fact that they consistently released double single editions made them very interesting for me. It took a long time for me to notice their 12" singles: only recently did I start buying them, discovering all the extended remixes included on them.

My collection: 12" single no. 437
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, 2004
Cost: 3 euro
Tracks: 'Send my heart (extended re-mix)', 'Send my heart (Band remix)' / 'These children (live)', 'Life during wartime (live)'
Download: here

On Stage EP - Kate Bush

Kate Bush fans don't have an easy life. Unlike fans of U2, Coldplay, Madonna and whatever else is popular these days, they don't get a chance to see her play live... ever! When people complain about the fact that they haven't seen their idol in concert for, oh, two years, I can always say that I've had to wait for my turn since, well, 1979.

That's when this ep was released, a souvenir of a unique tour, the only one that Kate Bush ever did. I was eight when Kate did this, so basically, I never had a chance to see her live. At the time there was some criticism that this ep wasn't live as well: apparently Kate had overdubbed some vocals and edited one of the songs. I denied this vigorously, but had to acknowledge my mistake later. Indeed, Kate had 'worked' on these tracks. It's still a lovely souvenir, though.

My collection: 7" single no. 34
Found: Wouters, Den Haag, 1979
Cost: 6 guilders
Tracks: 'Them heavy people', 'Don't push your foot on the heartbrake' / 'James and the cold gun', 'L'amour looks something like you'

I want candy - Bow wow wow

'I want candy' was originally recorded by the Strangeloves in 1965. The punk band Bowwowwow recorded their cover version of this song in 1982, at the height of their success.

Originally, this was the first single by Bow wow wow I owned, but within weeks of buying it I started to doubt whether I really wanted to have it or not. Making use of this situation, my sister eventually traded the single for another one. Fourteen years later, I bought a new copy of this single in England. It turned out to be a 'special edition', featuring 'I want candy' on the A-side and the Bow wow wow logo etched on the other side of the disc.

My collection: 7" single no. 2778
Found: Record exchange, London, October 31, 1996
Cost: 1 pound
Tracks: 'I want candy'

Hot stuff - Donna Summer

During the great shopping spree of 1979, which I wrote about earlier, this was one of the other finds. This single came in a custom 'Casablance' sleeve, and featured a track by Donna Summer. At the time I knew all about her, thanks to 'funny' songs like 'I feel love' and 'Down deep inside'. Little children always have to laugh about groaning women, at least that's what I think. 'Hot stuff' was a bit more 'serious'. It was a good dance track, but I deemed it a bit 'boring' in the long run. That's why I never played this single much.

My collection: 7" single no. 14
Found: London, July 1979
Cost: 10p
Tracks: 'Hot stuff' / 'Journey to the centre of your heart'

101 - Sheena Easton

In the 1980's, Sheena Easton metamorphosed from an innocent little Scottish starlet into an American vamp. The change happened in 1983, after she'd recorded a rather bizarre duet with country star Kenny Rogers. She collaborated with Prince, recorded the suggestive track 'Strut' and revived her slumping career. She continued to work with Prince, as evidenced in his 1987 track 'U got the look' and this track, '101', which was written by the musical wizard from Minneapolis.

Originally, '101' is a steamy ballad. On the 12" single, it is remixed by David Morales and Prince respectively. It adds some extra energy to the track.

My collection: 12" single no. 430
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, 2003
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: '101 (Def house mix)' / '101 (Uptown mix)'
Download: here (password: DjPaulT)

Milk - Garbage

The band Garbage is specialized in rock tracks with a twist. Their Bond anthem 'The World is not enough' is one example of their greatness, and this track, 'Milk', is another. Aside from their music, Garbage have also been known for their great attraction to unlikely formats. They released 3" cd singles in blister packs long after the 3" format had been abandoned by record companies, and they released 7" singles in thick, attractive sleeves to make their records attractive for collectors.

The 7" single for Milk included a large foldout poster with no image on it, just a red square, and a cardboard outer sleeve with a 3d reflecting image. A beautiful item for those who appreciate special editions...

My collection: 7" single no. 2800
Found: Record fair, Rotterdam, December 14, 1996
Cost: 10 guilders
Tracks: 'Milk (Wicked mix)' / 'Milk (Tricky remix)'

Money - Flying Lizards

'Money' was first recorded by Barret Strong back in 1959. It was covered by the Beatles and then much later in 1979 by the Flying Lizards. They were a British experimental rock group, making their name with this and other postmodern cover versions of songs.

At a very young age I was confronted with this song and I liked it a lot. I was especially impressed with the fact that the song continued on the B-side, with instrumental improvisations.

My collection: 7" single no. 53
Found: Rapsody, Den Haag, 1979
Cost: 3 guilders
Tracks: 'Money' / 'Money B'
Download: here

Sounds like a melody - Alphaville

The German band Alphaville rose to fame with the song 'Big in Japan', a number 2 hit in the Netherlands in May 1984. Three months later, they released 'Sound like a melody', a song that appealed more to my taste, but less to the taste of the general public.
I can't recall how I first heard the 12" version of that song, but most likely it was because my sister bought and played it. I was most impressed: not only had the song become longer, but I felt it had also gained intensity. The instrumental piece at the end of the song was expanded and seemed to come to a point where you almost can't bear it anymore. I bought my copy of the 12" years later.

My collection: 12" single no. 464
Found: unknown
Cost: 10 guilders
Tracks: 'Sounds like a melody [extended]' / 'The Nelson Highrise (Sector One: The Elevator)'
Download: here

Monday, 24 November 2008

Moviestar - Harpo

Jan Harpo Torsten Svensson was born on April 5, 1950 in Stockholm, Sweden. In 1975 he rose to international fame with his song 'Moviestar'. It reached number one in Sweden and Germany, number 2 in Australia and the Netherlands. Although Harpo is still active in the music business to this day, he never repeated this level of success.

One of the backing singers on 'Moviestar' was Frida from that other famous Swedish act, Abba. I am sure that I didn't know this as a kid, even though I was an Abba fan, but the song had an incredible impact on me. I loved the melody, the strange accent in the vocals, and played my sister's copy of the single time and again. I bought my own copy in 1991.

My collection: 7" single no. 1520
Found: Record fair, Amsterdam, September 21, 1991
Cost: 2 guilders
Tracks: 'Moviestar' / ' I don't know why'
Download: here

Make a move on me - Oliva Newton-John

Certainly not the most well known songs by Olivia Newton-John. It was taken from her album 'Physical', after the title track and the second single off the album, 'Landslide', were pretty successful in the UK.

When I bought this single, I'd forgotten about this track as well, but I still recalled it vaguely. The sleeve did the rest, I have to confess. I bought my copy, along with a few dozen other singles, in Walthamstow, London, one of my favourite second hand record haunts on Wood Street. I wonder if that shop still exists...

My collection: 7" single no. 2707
Found: House of Rhythm, London, July 3, 1996
Cost: 30p
Tracks: 'Make a move on me' / 'Strangers touch'

Pressure - Billy Joel

Billy Joel is best known for his soppy ballads ('Honesty', 'Piano man', 'Leningrad') and his emotional anti-war statements ('Goodnight Saigon'). His work has not always been met with favourable criticism. I for one can't stand his 'Uptown girl' and 'River of dreams'. But 'Pressure' is the one song that defines Billy Joel's best work: well written, melodic and aggressive.

Throughout the eighties it was one of my favourite songs, one that I liked more than 'Goodnight Saigon' even. I bought my copy of the single in 1993, during a record fair in the Houtrusthallen in Den Haag. Those have since been torn down - a great loss.

My collection: 7" single no. 1985
Found: Record fair, Den Haag, October 17, 1993
Cost: 2 guilders
Tracks: 'Pressure' / 'Laura'

My love won't let you down - Nathalie

Nathalie was a Belgian girl who had the amazing luck to work with Peter Godwin, a guy who made some great records in his own right in the early eighties. (More about him later on this blog.) 'My love won't let you down' was the english language version of Nathalie's single 'Mon coeur qui craque', which apparently did well in French speaking countries.

I heard the song in 1983 when it roamed the Dutch charts, and it stuck in my mind as a nice pop song. I finally bought a copy of the single pictured here above in 1994. But that wasn't all: shortly before that I'd gotten my hands on the 12" single, with its striking image of the singer on the cover. Fortunately it wasn't just the cover that made an impression.

I really like the things Peter Godwin produced, and am - again - amazed that he didn't achieve a higher level of success. Whatever happened to Nathalie? As far as I know, she didn't release anything but this single. But I could be wrong of course.

My collection: 7" single no. 2132; 7" single no. 3280; 12" single no. 148
Found: Record Palace, Amsterdam, July 30, 1994; unknown, February 9, 2001; Record Palace, Amsterdam, 199X
Cost: 2 guilders; 2 guilders; 2,5 guilders
7": 'My love won't let you down' / 'My love won't let you down (instrumental)'
12": 'My love won't let you down [extended]' / 'My love won't let you down (instrumental)'
Download: here

Oude Maasweg - Amazing Stroopwafels

A week ago I saw a live performance of the Amazing Stroopwafels. The first song they performed was also their most famous one: 'Oude Maasweg'. It's not a habit on this blog to write about songs in the Dutch language, but for this one I'll gladly make an exception. And it's bilingual anyway: one verse is in Dutch, the other verse is in English. It's worth a listen now that you get a chance.

By their own admission, they have performed live hundreds of times and released dozens of singles, but it never led to huge amounts of success. 'Oude Maasweg' narrowly missed the Dutch Top 40 in January 1982. However, it has become one of the nation's best loved classics.

My collection: 7" single no. 916
Found: Parkpop, Den Haag, June 25, 1989
Cost: 2 guilders
Tracks: 'Oude Maasweg' / 'Kolen uit Polen'
Download: here

Sure know something - Kiss

The records don't show it and my memory can't recall where, but I know I got Kiss's second single from their 'Dynasty' album pretty quickly after I got I was made for lovin' you. 'Sure know something' got to number 3 in the Dutch charts in the autumn of 1979. Amazingly, it didn't reach the UK charts at all, and in France it was released as the B-side to 'Dirty Livin''. It's this French edition that's part of my record collection now. I might have bought it in Paris, because we were on holiday in that city that year. But as I said, there's no way of knowing...

My collection: 7" single no. 29
Found: ?
Cost: ?
Tracks: 'Dirty livin'' / 'Sure know something'

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Mammoth - Kayak

The Dutch rock band Kayak is not so well known outside of the Netherlands, but when you hear a track like this, you have to wonder why. Incorporating a street organ into a rock song is something that doesn't happen too often - and it sounds so well in this track, 'Mammoth'. It was the second song by Kayak to reach the Dutch Top 40, way back in 1973.

When I bought my copy of the single, I'd recently heard it again after a long time. I knew I had to have it and I seized the opportunity when it came up.

My collection: 7" single no. 1391
Found: All that music, Leiden, February 22, 1991
Cost: 3 guilders
Tracks: 'Mammoth' / 'Ballet of the cripple'

Child come away - Kim Wilde

The fourth Kim Wilde single I bought was Kim's sixth. By then, I thought all I was missing still was Kim's single 'Cambodia', but I hadn't been able to find that one. Otherwise, I was satisfied. I bought 'Child come away' pretty soon after it had been released. I loved the colourful cover, although I remember I thought her hair was a bit too big.

'Child come away' was a new track, not included on Kim's second album 'Select'. The B-side, 'Just another guy' was new as well. For the longest time I didn't know it, but the twelve inch version of this single is quite a rarity, because it was not a chart success and so a very limited quantity of it was pressed.

My collection: 7" single no. 163
Found: Studio Echo, Den Haag, 1982
Cost: 5,5 guilders
Tracks: 'Child come away' / 'Just another guy'
Download: here

Versailles - White Soxx

White Soxx was a project by French musicians Frederic Mercier and David Fairstein. As far as I know, the single 'Versailles' was the only thing they released. It was recorded in 1980 for MCA Records, and barely missed the Dutch Top 40 in August 1981. Since 2002, the song appears in the Top 2000 chart of all times, which is compiled by listeners of Dutch Radio 2 at the end of each year.

According to the sleeve of the single, 'Versailles' is a musical interpretation of 'strange events in the grounds of Versailles Palace at the turn of the century'. What these events were, remains as mysterious as the group that made this single...

My collection: 7" single no. 159
Found: Disco Market, Den Haag, 1982
Cost: 2 guilders
Tracks: 'Versailles (edited version)' / 'Versailles (full length version)'

Nature's way - Harmony Ambulance

When bands fall apart, separate members often go on to do other things. Sometimes solo, sometimes in other bands. In the case of All About Eve, singer Julianne Regan got together with Gilbert Gabriel to form Harmony Ambulance. They released one single on the Rough Trade label in April 1993. And then - poof - the duo ceased to exist. (Of course, Julianne would go on to form Mice and then reform with All About Eve - but that's a different story.)

As always, it was next to impossible to find this single in the Netherlands. During a holiday in London in 1994, I went to the Rough Trade shop, hoping to find it. But unfortunately, they didn't. They did, however, offer to send it via mail order. I paid upfront in the shop, and a few weeks later there it was. Two great tracks. It's a mystery why they were never released since.

My collection: 7" single no. 2207
Found: Rough Trade shop, London & mail order, 1994
Cost: 3 pounds
Tracks: 'Nature's way' / 'All this and heaven'
Download: here

Young girl - Sue Saad and the Next

In 1980 there were some female fronted bands around. Blondie, obviously, started the trends, but later bands like the Pretenders would take their example and build on it. A short-lived band like Sue Saad and the Next was another example. They released one album in 1980. Their first single from that album was 'Young girl'. It reached the Dutch chart in April 1980 and stayed in there for six week, reaching no. 20.

It was a great example of new wave rock, which impressed me as a young radio listener. I simply had to buy this single, and I did so as soon as I could. I never regretted it. I also remember losing this single: for two years I didn't know where this record had gone. Until one day, the room I had in my parents's house was remodelled and I found it behind a radiator of the central heating. Miraculously enough, it hadn't even bent.

My collection: 7" single no. 46
Found: Wouters, Den Haag, 1980
Cost: 6 guilders
Tracks: 'Young girl' / 'Cold night rain'

Ma Baker - Boney M

If you've never seen this sleeve before, you're not hallucinating: it's one I made myself. All I've had since the beginning is the 7" record, and when I got a little older I made a sleeve out of white paper and put a few photos, taken from a magazine, on it. Well, it's the music that counts after all.

Boney M was founded by Frank Farian, the German music producer who rose to fame with band who mimed to studio-recorded vocals. In the eighties he would bring together Milli Vanilli, but in the seventies it was all about Boney M. They had a string of hits in Europe with their upbeat disco, sometimes touching on weird subjects like Rasputin, El Lute and, in this case, Ma Baker. It was their second of four number one hits in the Netherlands.

My collection: 7" single no. 8
Found: unknown
Cost: unknown
Tracks: 'Ma Baker' / 'Still I'm sad'

Nasty girl - Vanity 6

Thanks to my record collection, I know a thing or two about revisionism. I think I was pretty quick to buy 'Nasty girl' by Vanity 6. It was a chart hit in November 1982, when I was only twelve years old. Pretty strange, when you think about it, that I would buy this saucy song, but on the other hand I was pretty naive and when Vanity sang 'I want seven inches or more' I thought she was talking about records.

When I found out the real meaning I threw the record out of my collection. In the end, it ended up in my brother's record collection. Many years later, in 2002, I came across the single again, and bought it. Despite all of its sexiness (or maybe because of it!) it's a great song.

My collection: 7" single no. 3362
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, 2002
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Nasty girl' / 'Drive me wild'

Tragedy and mystery - China Crisis

Another one of yesterday's finds is this twelve inch record. I've been listening more to China Crisis recently and I started to become curious about their extended remixes. They have never been compiled, and still there are quite a few around. My collection already contains a couple of those twelve inches, but this one I didn't have yet. I was very pleased to see that this version is longer than the single version, because it's such a beautiful song.

'Tragedy & mystery' was released in May 1983 and performed poorly in the charts: where Christian had gone to no. 12 in the UK earlier in the year, this one didn't come any higher than no. 46. There were enough formats around: there was a 7" single, a 7" picture disc and this 12" single, so the record company had done enough to promote the song. I'll never understand why such beautiful songs don't connect to bigger audiences...

My collection: 12" single no. 453
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 22, 2008
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Tragedy & mystery [extended]' / 'A golden handshake for every daughter'
Download: here

Forever and ever - Slik

Slik were formed as the Glasgow band Salvation in 1970. After several personnel changes they changed their name to Slik in 1974. One of the members of the band was Midge Ure, who would achieve great successes when he joined the band Ultravox in the late Seventies. His first success, however, came when Slik released the single 'Forever and ever'. It was a number one hit in the UK in February 1976. Shortly after that, it made number 2 in the Netherlands.

I bought my copy yesterday at the 30th edition of the international record fair in Utrecht. It's not a single I've been searching for for years, but I wanted to have it nonetheless.

My collection: 7" single no. 3458
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 22, 2008
Cost: 0,5 euro
Tracks: 'Forever and ever' / 'Again my love'
Download: here

Friday, 21 November 2008

Every inch a lady - Kai Olsson

Okay, I admit it. There is one reason, and one reason only, why I bought this single. I didn't know Kai Olsson, I'd never heard the song, but when I saw this sleeve I simply thought I had to have it. It's a beautiful photograph, slightly arty, and it goes on on the other side of the sleeve. It's sexy but tasteful.

As for the song, well, it turned out to be a very good buy. Kai Olsson had listened to Abba very well, it's got the trademark piano sound, the background vocals, the simple but effective melody... It was a great find. All thanks to the sleeve.

My collection: 7" single no. 2379
Found: Record Exchange, London, July 1, 1995
Cost: 50p
Tracks: 'Every inch a lady' / 'Over the rainbow'
Download: here

The winner takes it all - Abba

My sister and I were both Abba fans. We also had a record collection each. As she's older than me, her collection was bigger than mine for a long time. I was always jealous. One holiday I had an opportunity to beat my sister to the punch. On the last day, when she said she had spent all her money, I spotted a new single by Abba. And I still had some money left. If my parents would give me the equivalent of 1 euro, I would actually have this single!

It was my sister who talked me out of it. I might not like this song, I'd never heard it, and how was I to know it would be any good? We were both Abba fans, as I said, but it kindof made sense. And so the single stayed in Vienna. A week later, my sister bought the single at home. And I had to wait for months to get mine after it left the charts for half price... The single was 'The winner takes it all', one of my all time favourite Abba tracks. There's some irony in that.

My collection: 7" single no. 67
Found: Wouters, Den Haag, 1980
Cost: 3 guilders
Tracks: 'The winner takes it all' / 'Elaine'

I am the beat - The look

When The Look released 'I am the beat', I think my sister bought the single. Hearing it from her repeatedly, I got fascinated by this single. It did something that nowadays couldn't be done on a compact disc: at the end of the A-side the groove kept repeating the last few seconds. The song would only end if you took the needle from the record (which some players did automatically anyway).

I always confused The Look with The Jam. Which means I never really knew who performed this song when I was young. In 1995 I finally bought this single myself.

My collection: 7" single no. 2443
Found: Record fair, August 26, 1995
Cost: 1 guilder
Tracks: 'I am the beat' / 'You do these things to me'
Download: here

I owe you nothing - Bros

For a year or two, Bros was the hottest pop band in the UK. Their popularity was indescribable. Young girls were spending fortunes on Bros records and memorabilia. Their music was catchy, lead singer Matt Goss had a voice that resembled Michael Jackson sometimes. 'I owe you nothing' was the most energetic song of their only successful album, 'Push'.

As was customary in those days, the single 'I owe you nothing' was released in a multitude of formats. There were three different sleeves for the 7" single (each featuring a different band member) and there were various 12" singles with different remixes on them. From those, the 'Over 18 mix' was the most interesting. Shep Pettibone, Ric Wake, Nicky Graham, Gary Crowley and Steve Shin collaborated to create a remix of the track that lasted for 18 minutes and 1 second. It's worth a spin - if you have the time. The B-side groove of this 12" looked very interesting, but the sound included, as the title suggested, 'Nothing'.

My collection: 12" single no. 405
Found: Beanos, East Croydon (UK), May 1999
Cost: 1 pound
Tracks: 'I owe you nothing (Over 18 mix)' / 'Nothing'
Download: here

I was made for lovin' you - Kiss

When I was asked what presents I wanted to have for my ninth birthday, I immediately replied that I would like some chart singles. They were too expensive for me to buy on my weekly allowance, but there were always titles that I desired. My wish was granted, and so I got Kiss for my birthday.

'I was made for lovin' you' was the nation's number one single at that time, and I was very proud that I had it. As a child you could believe that your purchase - even if someone else bought it for you - really mattered. The fact that the pressing came from France made my happiness even greater. Not that I understood the significance of different pressings, but France seemed like an exotic, far away country. The single itself, of course, is a classic.

My collection: 7" single no. 28
Found: Birthday present, August 31, 1979
Cost: nothing!
Tracks: 'I was made for lovin' you' / 'Hard times'
Download: Album 'Dynasty', including both tracks

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Change of heart - Cyndi Lauper

I dare say that this is one of the best 12" singles in my collection. Cyndi Lauper's 'Change of heart' is a very energetic, bouncy song, and the remixes of the track on this record are adding to that vibe.

When I bought this record, I was scouring a row of 12" singles in a temporary shop in a building that was about to be knocked down in the centre of Den Haag. For some reason they stocked loads of English 12" singles and they were all made available for ridiculously low prices. The sleeve of this record was a big plus towards buying it, proving that good photography is essential if you want to sell records.

My collection: 12" single no. 76
Found: Haags Modehuis temporary store, Den Haag, 1989
Cost: 3 guilders
Tracks: 'Change of heart (extended version)', 'Heart beats' / 'Change of heart (instrumental remix)', 'What a thrill'

Echo beach - Toyah

'Echo beach' was originally recorded by the Canadian band Martha & the Muffins in 1980. I liked that song a lot, and so it's no surprise that I would also be interested in cover versions. Toyah's version of the song was released in 1987, but I didn't find out about it until more than a decade later. That's when I found this 12" single.

It was an interesting find, because even though I like the song and Toyah's delivery of it isn't bad, it doesn't have quite the same magnetic quality the original had. The 'Surf mix' of the track is longer but doesn't add much to the song either. I would have to say that I haven't quite made up my mind on this one. But judge for yourself...

My collection: 12" single no. 387
Found: Record fair, Amsterdam, 1999
Cost: 3 guilders
Tracks: 'Echo Beach (Surf mix)' / 'Echo Beach (7" mix)', 'Plenty'
Download: here
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