Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Rocket man - Kate Bush

In 1990, Kate Bush was one of the artists that participated in the project 'Two rooms', in which covers of Elton John songs were recorded. Kate Bush chose 'Rocket man', a song originally released in 1972. According to Kate: 'When I asked to be involved in this project and was given the choice of a track it was like being asked ‘would you like to fulfill a dream? would you like to be Rocket Man?’... yes, I would.'

Mercury Records had the good judgement to release Kate's track as a single, and Kate added another cover on the B-side: a version of 'Candle in the wind', released by Elton John in 1974. A stripped down, almost clunky version that takes a lot of its charm from Kate's beautiful vocals. This 12" single features both the vocal and instrumental version - as did the cd-single of 'Rocket man'.

My collection: 12" single no. 629
Found:, received February 8, 2012
Cost: 5 euro
Tracks: 'Rocket man' / 'Candle in the wind', 'Candle in the wind (instrumental)'

Human racing - Nik Kershaw

February 29 is an extraordinary day and on such a day I think I should post at least one extraordinary record. This one fits the bill: it's one of the earlier 12" singles I bought and one of precious few that features three different songs, all remixed, and all good.

'Human racing', the title track of Nik Kershaw's debut album was remixed to great effect, leaving only drums and vox at the end, but still engaging and soulful. Nik's voice sounds suspiciously like Stevie Wonder's on this track, and it's the kind of soulful song the blind American could have written and recorded himself. The remix of Kershaw's hit single 'Wouldn't it be good', which inexplicably isn't included on expanded double cd re-release of 'Human racing' of last Monday, is weird but wonderful, and the remix of album track 'Faces' is moving and more engaging than the original version. So there you have it: 17 minutes of pure bliss on one piece of vinyl.

My collection: 12" single no. 13
Found: Free Record Shop, Den Haag, 1985
Cost: 7 guilders
Tracks: 'Human racing (special extended mix)' / 'Wouldn't it be good (remix)', 'Faces (remix)'

Respectable - Mel and Kim

'Respectable' was only the second single of the duo Mel & Kim Appleby, but they were quickly becoming a phenomenon. The single reached number 1 in various countries including their native England, and a variety of formats was released to keep the fans buying products.

The 12" single appeared in different sleeves, although it appears that the black & white sleeve (pictured above) was the only one used in the UK - not counting a limited picture disc edition of course. I bought both versions on one day, just last month, realising that I have a lot of Mel & Kim discs already but these were still missing.

Both 12" singles I own feature the same set of remixes, of which the extended version starts in a particularly loud and slightly annoying way. As always with Stock/Aitken/Waterman productions: when you've heard one remix you pretty much have heard them all.

My collection: 12" single no. 622 & 623
Found: Velvet Vinyl Outlet, Leiden, January 27, 2012
Cost: 3 euros each
Tracks: 'Respectable (extended version)' / 'Respectable (7 inch version)', 'Respectable (Extra beats version)'

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Axel F - Harold Faltermeyer

The instrumental track 'Axel F', created entirely with synthesizers by Harold Faltermeyer, featured in the movie 'Beverley Hills Cop' featuring Eddie Murphy and was the theme tune for the character he played, bearing the same name.

This 12" single was a bargain when I found it, years after its release. It features two remixes of the track plus another track from the soundtrack of the movie. It's entertaining stuff, but it's still a soundtrack...

My collection: 12" single no. 630
Found: Plaatboef, 199x
Cost: 2,5 guilders
Tracks: 'Axel F (The M&M mix)' / 'Axel F (extended version)', 'Shoot out'

Monday, 27 February 2012

Stay on these roads - A-ha

A-ha were never very generous with bonus tracks after their first two albums were a hit, but sometimes there were some pleasant surprises. This 12" single of 'Stay on these roads', the first single taken from their third album of the same name, features two tracks unavailable on the album, one of which wasn't released on cd until some time later.

The extended version of 'Stay on these roads' is a treat for its extended musical passages. It was released on cd the next year - but in Japan only. The alternate mix of 'Soft rains of April' is a little different, but not dramatically so. Still, a nice disc.

My collection: 12" single no. 116
Found: Record fair, 1991
Cost: 5 guilders
Tracks: 'Stay on these roads (extended remix)' / 'Soft rains of April (original mix)'

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Oh l'amour - Erasure

What a great title for Valentine's day: 'Oh l'amour' by Erasure. If I'm being completely honest, I have to say I didn't buy this 12" single for the title track, but rather for the bonus track on the B-side: a cover of Abba's 'Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!'.

I bought this 12" single some time after the release of Erasure's 'Abba-esque' EP, which featured four other Abba tracks. Later, of course, I found out that the tracks on this 12" single were also released as a cd-single, and I bought that one too.

My collection: 12" single no. 213
Found: Record exchange, London, October 1994
Cost: 2 pounds
Tracks: 'Oh l'amour (remix)' / 'March on down the line', 'Gimme gimme gimme'

Sunday, 12 February 2012

I scare myself - Thomas Dolby

This 12" single features the long version of 'I scare myself', a track taken from Thomas Dolby's 1984 album 'The Flat earth'. This is actually the album version of the track; it was edited on the 7" single. 'I scare myself' was written by American singer/songwriter Dan Hicks and it was the only cover version on the seven track album.

'The Flat earth' was re-released in 2009 with no less than eight bonus tracks, one of which was a live version of 'I scare myself'. It can't match this perfect studio recording which is so beautifully produced.

My collection: 12" single no. 258
Found: Record exchange, London, October 1995
Cost: 50p
Tracks: 'I scare myself (long version)' / 'Puppet theatre', 'Cloudburst at shingle street (edited version)'

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Love and anger - Kate Bush

Kate Bush released the third single from her 1989 album 'The sensual world' in early 1990. Besides the 7" single, a 12" single and cd-single were also released. Both had the same track listing and featured three new tracks, all three taken from the soundtrack of a Comic Strip film called 'GLC: The carnage continues...'.

Most notably, the track 'Ken' describes the British politician Ken Livingstone as 'funky sex machine'.

My collection: 12" single no. 628
Found:, received February 8, 2012
Cost: 2 pounds
Tracks: 'Love and anger' / 'Ken', 'The confrontation', 'One last look around the house before we go...'

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Showing out (Get fresh at the weekend) - Mel & Kim

If you've seen this previous post, you'll think I've written about this 12" single before. While the sleeve is similar, the track listing is different. Also, the country of origin is different: this version was made in Germany, while the previous one was issued in the UK.

The track listing adds one track, i.e. the 'Mortgage mix' of 'Showing out'. Most remixes of 'Showing out' are pretty similar, and this one is just one of them. 'Showing out' was one of the top dance tracks of 1986 and the first of two number one hits in the Netherlands.

My collection: 12" single no. 625
Found: Fun Records, Berlin, received February 1, 2012
Cost: 2,1 euro
Tracks: 'Showing out [extended]' / 'Showing out (The Mortgage mix)', 'System (House mix)'

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Sweetest smile - Black

Black's 'Sweetest smile' was a big comeback for a band that had been out of my sight for three years in the summer of 1987. After a holiday in London, where I bought the 7" single, I requested the 12" single for my birthday and got it.

A remark from my grandfather always stuck with me. When he looked at the sleeve of this disc, he said: 'Now at least that's a goodlooking chap'. I wanted to say, of course, his music was good too, but such a remark would have been wasted on him: he never liked any pop music at all. So this was probably the highest form of praise I would get from him for my record collection. But of course, the four tracks on this disc are sure to please you.

My collection: 12" single no. 56
Found: Den Haag (Birthday present)
Cost: nothing
Tracks: 'Sweetest smile', 'Sixteens' / 'Leave yourself alone', 'Hardly star-crossed lovers'

Change your mind - Sharpe & Numan

Bill Sharpe and Gary Numan recorded many singles together, but it all started with this one-off duet for Bill Sharpe's solo album 'Famous people'. The 7" single made a big impression on me, but the 12" single was in a league of its own.

There are precious few extended remixes that are much, much better than the track they are remixed from, but this is a prime example. With more percussion and some vintage 'stutter' beats, this version of 'Change your mind' has been one of my all-time favourites ever since I first heard it more than 25 years ago.

My collection: 12" single no. 46
Found: Free Record Shop, Den Haag, 1986
Cost: 10 guilders
Tracks: 'Change your mind (extended)' / 'Remix, remake, remodel', 'Fools in a world of fire' (with Linda Taylor)

I've been losing you - A-ha

There's probably some truth to the story that the music you hear during adolescence makes the biggest impression on you. Many of the artists that were around during the Eighties are still here now, making music, and the records they made back then are forever etched in your memory. In some cases, these memories extend to knowing the exact circumstances when you bought certain records.

I can still picture myself in my room playing this 12" by A-ha over and over again. I even used the dub and extended mixes to create new extended remixes. And I know that, when 'This alone is love' appeared on A-ha's next album 'Stay on these roads', I was quite shocked, because the version on this 12" single is far superior. But perhaps that's because I'd heard this version about 200 times by then...

My collection: 12" single no. 52
Found: Free Record Shop, Den Haag, 1987
Cost: 8 guilders
Tracks: 'I've been losing you (extended mix)' / 'I've been losing you (dub)', 'This alone is love'

On the air tonight - Willy Finlayson

I bought the 7" single of 'On the air tonight' not long after its release, but I never even saw the 12" single before I bought this one. It was my first (and last) opportunity, and I took it. The extended version of 'On the air tonight' is not spectacular, but it does add something to the track that isn't there on the 7" version - mostly an extra instrumental part.

Willy Finlayson never had a hit, despite the fact that this particular track is actually quite beautiful.

My collection: 12" single no. 627
Found: unknown, 200X
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'On the air tonight (extended)' / 'After the fall'

Saturday, 4 February 2012

What! - Soft Cell

The extended version of Soft Cell's 'What!' is far superior to the edit of the track on the 7" single. I found that out pretty early on in my life thanks to my sister, who bought this disc at a time when my budget didn't stretch far enough for 12" singles.

The shop Plato, which closed almost two years ago, opened in 1985 and this was my first purchase there. I was very surprised to find this disc there, which after all was three years old back then. Still, I was also happy as I didn't expect to find it at that point in time.

My collection: 12" single no. 18
Found: Plato, Den Haag, 1985
Cost: 15 guilders
Tracks: 'What!' / '...So'

Pale shelter - Tears for fears

You may have read the description of this 12" single of 'Pale shelter'. If you did, you already know part of the story. Here´s the second part of the story. This 12" single was released in 1983, an features a remix of 'Pale shelter'. This remix is actually the version that ended up on Tears for Fears' debut album 'The hurting'. The extended version is very beautiful, with an introverted piano intro.

'Pale shelter' has always been my favourite Tears for Fears song. I remember watching television (Music Box and Sky Channel) for hours just to see this music video. I always assumed the single was a flop because it didn't chart in the Netherlands, but later found out that upon this re-release, the single actually peaked at number 5 in the UK singles chart!

My collection: 12" single no. 290
Found: Record fair, 1996
Cost: unknown
Tracks: 'Pale shelter (extended version)' / 'Pale shelter', 'We are broken'

Every teardrop is a waterfall - Coldplay

When 'Every teardrop is a waterfall' was first released on YouTube, it sparked many negative comments, saying the song was plagiarised from 'Ritmo de la Noche' by The Sacados or from Peter Allen's 'I Go to Rio'. The band eventually credited Peter Allen and Adrienne Anderson's composition upon its official release.

It's not the first time that Coldplay have used samples to write a new song, having used a Kraftwerk motif for their X&Y single 'Talk'. When you play the B-side 'Major minus', you will notice the very U2 sound of that track. No surprise when you know that the band collaborated with producer Brian Eno.

This 7" single comes in a coloured inner sleeve with a white outer sleeve where the name of the band and the title of the song are cut out. The disc itself is pressed on blue vinyl.

My collection: 7" single no. 5294
Found:, Sweden, received February 4, 2012
Cost: 7 euro
Tracks: 'Every teardrop is a waterfall' / 'Major minus'

Friday, 3 February 2012

Sunshine after the rain - Elkie Brooks

Elkie Brooks' breakthrough second album, released in 1977, propelled her into solo stardom in the UK and Europe. Featuring the top ten hits 'Pearl's a singer' and 'Sunshine after the rain', it had a distinct American sound largely due to the work of legendary writers and producers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.

'Sunshine after the rain' was released as the third single from the album and reached number 10 in the UK singles chart in August 1977.

My collection: 7" single no. 5293
Found: Fun Records, Berlin, received February 1, 2012
Cost: 2,7 euro
Tracks: 'Sunshine after the rain' / 'You did something for me'

Philadelphia freedom - Elton John

Elton John released 'Philadelphia freedom' as a single in 1975. Elton, looking to honour his friend, tennis professional Billie Jean King, asked Taupin to write a song called 'Philadelphia Freedom', an homage to her tennis team. Taupin said, 'I can't write a song about tennis', and did not. Taupin maintains that the lyrics bear no relation to tennis, Philly Soul or even flag-waving patriotism. In the U.S. it was a charttopper in April 1975.

The B-side features a live performance of 'I saw her standing there' by Elton John and John Lennon at Madison Square Gardens on November 26, 1974.

My collection: 7" single no. 5292
Found: Fun Records, Berlin, received February 1, 2012
Cost: 2,8 euro
Tracks: 'Philadelphia freedom' / 'I saw her standing there (live)'

Ace of hearts - Chris Rea

'Ace of hearts' was the fourth single taken from Chris Rea's 1984 album 'Wired to the moon'. In the UK, it was the title track of a mini album featuring five tracks. This German single features just two of them: 'Ace of hearts' and 'True love'.

The single did not become a hit in Germany. In the UK, it reached number 79 in 1984, and a reissue reached number 78 a year later.

My collection: 7" single no. 5291
Found: Fun Records, Berlin, received February 1, 2012
Cost: 1,5 euro
Tracks: 'Ace of hearts (special remix)' / 'True love'

Boogie Wonderland - Earth Wind & Fire

I posted my 12" single of Earth Wind & Fire's 'Boogie Wonderland' just two weeks ago, a few days before I ordered this 7" single. I didn't know I didn't have the 7" single, but as I was writing that piece, I found out. It was a pleasure to correct this small omission.

The 7" single is, obviously, shorter than the 12" single. The full length version is 8'30 minutes, whereas the single edit is just 5 minutes. The instrumental version on the B-side is just 50 seconds shorter than its 12" counterpart.

My collection: 7" single no. 5290
Found: Fun Records, Berlin, received February 1, 2012
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Boogie wonderland' / 'Boogie wonderland (instrumental)'

Beach baby - First class

Record producer John Carter was the veteran of the early Sixties beat music, most notably Carter-Lewis and the Southerners, a band Carter formed with fellow producer Ken Lewis. Lewis and Carter formed a vocal harmony band, The Ivy League, that enjoyed three top twenty hits in Britain in 1965. Carter and Gill Shakespeare wrote the song 'Beach Baby' in the summer of 1974 in their home in East Sheen, South West London, far from any beach. Carter immediately enlisted the help of lead singer Tony Burrows and another session singer, Chas Mills, to record the song for Jonathan King's UK Records record label under the name The First Class.

The dense, complex production, layered vocals evoked the Sixties west-coast production style of lead Beach Boy Brian Wilson. At one point the arrangement utilises the horn theme from the last movement of Sibelius' Fifth Symphony. In 1974, at a moment when nostalgia for the Sixties was fashionable (and The Beach Boys sat atop the Billboard Hot 200 album chart with Endless Summer on 5 October 1974), the song became a hit in the UK (where it peaked at number 13), and in the USA, where it peaked at number 4.

My collection: 7" single no. 5289
Found: Fun Records, Berlin, received February 1, 2012
Cost: 1,6 euro
Tracks: 'Beach baby' / 'Surfer queen'

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Free spirit - Kim Appleby

The 12" single I bought back in 1994 features four remixes of Kim Appleby's 'Free spirit', but this promotional double 12" set, which I found last month on a website, features five. Indeed, that's one extra and so I guess you could say I bought this set for one track only.

Now if 'Free spirit' was recorded by Madonna or Britney Spears these days it would probably be a hit, because it's a piece of inspired high energy pop, but Kim Appleby's star had faded in 1994, when this disc came out, and so it disappeared quietly. What a shame.

My collection: 12" single no. 624
Found: Fun Records, Berlin, received February 1, 2012
Cost: 3 euro
Tracks: 'Free spirit (Mixed by Mobius Loop)' / 'Free spirit (Club mix - remix by Tony King' // 'Free spirit (Sound of Stockwell dub)' / 'Free spirit (Spiritual mix)', 'Free spirit (Diesel & Ether Defacto mix)'

Don't you love me anymore - Joe Cocker

I don't have any Joe Cocker tracks, except this one. I already had the 12" single, which I bought two decades ago, but I decided I had to have the 7" single as well. So when the opportunity presented itself last month, I ordered it.

Much to my surprise, this German pressing comes in a rather boring sleeve, whereas the UK version (at least, the 12" single I have was made in the UK) is much prettier with an actual photograph on the front cover. The song remains a true classic with Joe's devastated voice used to full effect.

My collection: 7" single no. 5288
Found: Fun Records, Berlin, received February 1, 2012
Cost: 1,5 euro
Tracks: 'Don't you love me anymore' / 'Tell me there is a way'

Send me a lover - Taylor Dayne

'Send me a lover' was written by Rick Hahn and George Thatcher, and released on September 6, 1993 as the second single from Taylor Dayne's album 'Soul dancing'. It peaked at number 50 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. In Europe, the single didn't become a hit. Perhaps that's why it didn't appear on 7" vinyl in Europe. This single was made in the USA and didn't come in a picture sleeve.

Unfortunately, the song was later covered by Celine Dion, who butchered the song beyond recognition with her grating voice. This version by Taylor Dayne remains the only one you can hear without bleeding ears.

My collection: 7" single no. 5287
Found: Fun Records, Berlin, received February 2, 2012
Cost: 1,2 euro
Tracks: 'Send me a lover' / 'Someone like you'

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Hiroshima - Wishful thinking

David Morgan wrote 'Hiroshima' and recorded it with the band Wishful Thinking in 1969. The single wasn't a hit, but when it was re-released in Germany in 1978, it reached number 8 there. The single stayed in the charts for months.

In 1990 the German singer Sandra recorded a cover version of this song for her fourth solo album 'Paintings in yellow'. That version was eventually released as a single as well, becoming one of her biggest hits in Central Europe.

My collection: 7" single no. 5286
Found: Fun Records, Berlin, received February 1, 2012
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Hiroshima' / 'She belongs to the night'

We're all alone - Rita Coolidge

The first time I heard this song was a few months ago in a radio show presented by Kim Wilde called 'Secret Songs' on Magic 105.4 FM. Some singles can go by unnoticed for decades, but in the end I still catch them.

The song was written by Boz Scaggs, who recorded it on his 1976 album 'Silk degrees'. The Rita Coolidge version appeared on her album 'Anytime...Anywhere' released the next year. Coolidge recalled: 'When I was with A&M Records, it was like a family. I would visit Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss, and it was a very open, communicative group of people. One day I was in Jerry Moss' office and he said that the Boz Scaggs album 'Silk Degrees' was in a million homes and there was a song on it that was perfect for a woman to sing. He said, 'It's called "We're All Alone" and as he's not doing it as a single, I think you ought to record it.'" Quite right too, as it reached number 6 in the UK singles chart.

My collection: 7" single no. 5285
Found: Fun Records, Berlin, received February 1, 2012
Cost: 1,5 euro
Tracks: 'We're all alone' / '(Your love has lifted me) Higher and higher'

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