Sunday, 10 June 2012

For a friend - Communards

In the late Eighties, record companies released as much formats of a single as they could, to sell more copies which meant higher chart placings. In the case of the Communards' impressive 1988 single 'For a friend', the record company opted for a luxurious three disc 12" single set, featuring live tracks from a concert in Paris.

Entitled 'The Communards storm Paris', the set featured twelve tracks, but weirdly enough the single's original B-side, a live version of 'Victims', featured on all three discs. Still, it's a nice item to have and I have searched for it for a couple of years.

My collection: 12" single no. 637 to 639
Found:, received May 10, 2012
Cost: 10 euro
Tracks disc 1: 'For a friend', 'Victims (live)' / 'Don't leave me this way (live)', 'Heavens above (live)'
Tracks disc 2: 'For a friend (remix)', 'You are my world (live)' / 'So cold the night (live)', 'Victims (live)'
Tracks disc 3: 'For a friend (live)', 'Never can say goodbye (live)' / 'Victims (live)', 'Hold on tight (live)'

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Lake Tahoe / Among angels - Kate Bush

After a very productive 2011, during which Kate Bush released both the album 'Director's cut' and '50 words for snow', Record Store Day 2012 featured an exclusive 10" vinyl release by Kate. (Incidentally, it was her first vinyl single of recent work since 1993's 'Moments of pleasure'.) Featuring two tracks from the latter album, the 10" picture disc was released in a limited edition of just 2000 copies worldwide.

This spells hell for Kate Bush fans, since record shops participating in Record Store Day in the Netherlands are even more rare than trustworthy right-wing politicians. The official Kate Bush website stepped in and offered copies of the 10" a few weeks after Record Store Day. Again: hell, because the website was stormed by fans and I was clicking my fingers numb, frustrated at the slowness of the site. But after 72 minutes, I finally succeeded to buy my copy. Two weeks later, I hold it in my hands. And indeed, it is a beautiful disc. The tracks may be a bit slow for some, but 'Among angels' is among Kate's most moving songs ever.

My collection: 10" single [unnumbered]
Found: website, received May 31, 2012
Cost: 15 pounds
Tracks: 'Lake Tahoe' / 'Among angels'

Friday, 11 May 2012

One step ahead - Nik Kershaw

The end of the Eighties was a strange time. Many idols who were very successful in the mid-Eighties were declared 'yesterday's news' and suddenly didn't the charts anymore. One of them was Nik Kershaw, who had been very successful with his first two albums, but the third and fourth one were not so popular.

'One step ahead' was taken from his fourth album 'The works', which left the album charts even before it entered it. Not that the music was bad: personally I think this single is one of his finest tracks. And the remix included on this 12" single is very impressive indeed.

My collection: 12" single no. 356
Found: Record fair, Rotterdam, circa 2000
Cost: 5 guilders
Tracks: 'One step ahead (Industrial mix)' / 'One step ahead', 'When I grow up'

Friday, 4 May 2012

Julia - Eurythmics

Taken from the soundtrack of the movie '1984', for which Eurythmics provided the soundtrack, 'Julia' was the second single from that album. It couldn't be as successful as the catchy 'Sexcrime (1984)' but personally I find this track much more beautiful.

This 12" single features extended versions of both the A- and B-side of the single. Although 'Julia' is labelled as 'extended', it is actually the album version of the track, and not, like the B-side, a 'real' extended version.

My collection: 12" single no. 153
Found: Plaatboef, Rotterdam, 1992
Cost: 2,5 guilders
Tracks: 'Julia (extended)' / 'Ministry of love (extended)'

Moments of pleasure - Kate Bush

With a still from the movie 'The line, the cross & the curve', EMI Records could have chosen a better picture for the sleeve of this fantastic 12" single. The one they picked was a bit tasteless, especially since 'Moments of pleasure' is such a beautiful, emotional song. The movie retold the fairy tale of the red shoes, featuring a lot of dance scenes because Kate is forced to dance by the shoes she put on.

Anyway, the 12" single - which was the last 12" single by Kate Bush ever released - features a poster sleeve and one exclusive track which was never officially released on CD: the instrumental version of 'Moments of pleasure'. You can hear the orchestra in its full glory, showing how beautifully crafted these melody lines really are.

Truth be told, I have been feeling a bit sad and this song is the perfect soundtrack for such feelings. It's also one of the most beautiful tracks Kate Bush has ever committed to tape.

My collection: 12" single no. 187
Found: HMV, 1993
Cost: 4 pounds
Tracks: 'Moments of pleasure' / 'Moments of pleasure (instrumental)', 'Home for Christmas'

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Everybody's laughing - Phil Fearon and Galaxy

Some 12" singles only appear in my collection because they're cheap. I don't think I would have ever had this one if I'd had to pay more for it than I did back then. 'Everybody's laughing' is a nice pop song, but nothing spectacular.

Still, this 12" single is quite interesting, because it features an extended mix and two instrumental versions. One features Randy Muller (who?) and the other Tom Browne, who had a hit in the early Eighties with 'Funkin' for Jamaica'.

My collection: 12" single no. 273
Found: Spui Records, Den Haag, 1996
Cost: 2,5 guilders
Tracks: 'Everybody's laughnig (Sangria mix)' / 'Everybody's laughing (Instrumental featuring Tom Browne)', 'Everybody's laughing (Instrumental featuring Randy Muller)'

Master and servant - Depeche Mode

'Master and servant' was Depeche Mode's 11th UK single and the second single from their album 'Some great reward'. The production and mixing process of "Master and Servant" are remembered by Alan Wilder, Daniel Miller, and Gareth Jones, as among the longest that Depeche Mode ever endured. One famous story about the song includes a mixing duration of seven days, and after all the reworking and final mastering of the mix, they realized they left the channel with the snare drum muted during the last chorus.

Despite controversy surrounding the song, it still managed to reach number 9 in the UK singles chart. The "Slavery Whip Mix" was the longest 12" Depeche Mode song at the time, with the outro being turned into a swing version of the refrain. This 12" disc, released in Germany, features a so-called 'marbled' vinyl in grey, white and brown. 

My collection: 12" single no. 34
Found: Free record shop, Den Haag, 1986
Cost: 8 guilders
Tracks:  'Master and servant (Slavery whip mix)' / '(Set me free) Remotivate me (Release mix)', 'Master and servant (voxless)'

Touch dance - Eurythmics

'Touch Dance' is a remix album by the Eurythmics. This mini-album was released by RCA Records in May 1984, six months after the release of the album 'Touch'. It contains dance remixes of four tracks from Eurythmics' Touch album, by John 'Jellybean' Benitez and François Kevorkian, who were noted producers in the New York club scene. Amazingly, it omits all the hits from that album: 'Here comes the rain again', 'Right by your side' and 'Who's that girl'.

Annie Lennox has said in interviews that she disliked the record, as it was too much of a commercial product and was put together by RCA with little involvement from herself and Dave Stewart.

My collection: LP (unnumbered)
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, April 14, 2012
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'The first cut (François Kevorkian mix)', 'Cool blue (Jellybean remix)', 'Paint a rumour (Jellybean remix)', 'Regrets (François Kevorkian mix)' / 'The first cut (instrumental)', 'Cool blue (instrumental)', 'Paint a
rumour (instrumental)'

Change of heart - Altered Images

The last single to be released by Altered Images was 'Change of heart', taken from their third album 'Bite'. Although that album reached the UK album top 20, it sold less than the two previous albums. Following a concert tour, the band decided to break up.

Clare Grogan and Steve Lironi formed Universal Love School, performing live together but never releasing any recordings. Eventually they got married and lived happily ever after!

My collection: 7" single no. 5306
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, April 14, 2012
Cost: 3 euro
Tracks: 'Change of heart' / 'Another lost look'

Johnny Rocco - Marty Wilde

Released in March 1960, 'Johnny Rocco' was the first single by Marty Wilde in a long time to peak outside the UK top 10. He'd just married Joyce Baker (in December 1959) and record company executives must have thought they were right when they said that Marty would lose his appeal to teenagers by his new status as a married man. Marty couldn't care less: love was more important to him than fame and he probably already knew that a child was underway: his daughter Kim was born in November 1960.

'Johnny Rocco' was written by Les Vandyke, who would go on to write many hit singles during the Sixties and early Seventies for Adam Faith, Eden Kane, John Leyton and Clodagh Rodgers.

My collection: 7" single no. 5317
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, April 14, 2012
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Johnny Rocco' / 'My heart and I'

Uninvited guests - Kit Hain

Decca Records supplied a press information sheet within the sleeve of this single, and so we can read the following: 'Kit is honest enough to admit that 'Dancing in the city' kept her going financially, along with a lot of encouragement and moral support from friends in the business. At times she didn't know what to do. She even thought about going back to teaching in an infants school and playing in pubs at night if it came to it. But, what Kit did learn was to be patient and to recognise the right situation when it happened. It did happen last year when she signed to Decca and teamed up with Mike Thorne, who has also produced Wire, The Shirts, Soft Machine and John Cale. The result is Kit's first single "Uninvited guests" on Decca with her first album in the pipe-line for future release.'

The single was released on January 23, 1981 and didn't chart. The album 'Spirits walking out' was released later that year to similar lack of success...

My collection: 7" single no. 5308
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, April 14, 2012
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Uninvited guests' / 'Talk to me'

Everything must change - Paul Young

Paul Young was very successful with his first two albums, 'No parlez' and 'The secret of association'. Sell-out tours and many hit singles followed between 1983 and 1986. This version of 'Everything must change' was a limited edition featuring a free second single. It was a marketing ploy that was very popular at the time.

Released near the end of 1984, it was quite fitting that Paul recorded a Christmas message for his fans to be included on this single. One can wonder whether it was a good idea to put it right in the middle of the instrumental version of 'Everything must change' though.

My collection: 7" single no. 5324
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, April 14, 2012
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Everything must change' / 'Give me my freedom' // 'Everything must change', 'Paul's Christmas message' / 'I close my eyes and count to ten (live)'

Scarlet inside - Clannad

Clannad wrote the music for the soundtrack of the television series 'Robin Hood', broadcast by the BBC in the mid-Eighties and released on the album 'Legend' by the band. This single was the second one to be taken from that album, featuring the previous single 'Robin (The hooded man)' on the B-side, as well as the very successful theme from another television series, 'Harry's game' from 1982.

Those two songs reached number 42 and number 5 respectively in the UK singles chart, but this single sank without a trace.

My collection: 7" single no. 5303
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, April 14, 2012
Cost: 3 euro
Tracks: 'Scarlet inside' / 'Robin (the hooded man)', 'Theme from Harry's game'

Sometimes like butterflies - Dusty Springfield

Between 1971 and 1986, Dusty Springfield had no hits in the American or British charts. That is a long time by any standard. Still, she kept on releasing singles. This single, released in 1985, explains a little about her lack of good fortune. The song is a bit bland and Dusty's voice sounds a little tired - or is that just the production?

Originally recorded in 1981, this single was released in 1985 and coupled with a B-side of that year, written by Jess Bailey, Diane Schnitzer and Dusty herself. The single didn't chart. In 1987, Dusty would return to the spotlights with a little help from the Pet Shop Boys.

My collection: 7" single no. 5300
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, April 14, 2012
Cost: 3 euro
Tracks: 'Sometimes like butterflies' / 'I wanna control you'

Monday, 23 April 2012

A million love songs - Take That

'A million love songs' was the penultimate single from Take That's debut album and was written by lead vocalist Gary Barlow at the age of 15. The single peaked at number 7 in the UK Singles Chart.

The song has also been voted by critics and music fans as the greatest ballad of all time. That seems a bit odd, but considering the numbers 2 and 3 were 'Everything I do' by Bryan Adams and 'Always' by Bon Jovi, you can just about figure out the blandness of the general public. So... greatest ballad of all time? Not really. A nice little song nonetheless.

My collection: 7" single no. 5301
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, April 14, 2012
Cost: 3 euro
Tracks: 'A million love songs' / 'A million love songs (Lovers mix)'

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Son of a preacher man - Dusty Springfield

'Son of a Preacher Man' was recorded by Dusty Springfield in September 1968 as a track on her legendary album 'Dusty in Memphis'. Written by John Hurley and Ronnie Wilkins, the song was originally offered to Aretha Franklin, but she turned it down. Only after she'd heard Springfield's version she recorded the song herself. By that time, however, Springfield's version had already become a hit; thus, Franklin's version, included on her 1970 album, 'This girl's in love with you', ended up as a B-side of the single 'Call me' only.

Although the album 'Dusty in Memphis' was released in stereo, the singles off the album were remixed and released in mono. This single reached number 10 in the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and number 9 in the UK singles chart. I bought a sleeveless version in 2011 and a year later I found one with a picture sleeve. Sometimes one has to have a better copy of a single.

My collection: 7" single no. 5042 / no. 5319
Found: Kringloop, Haarlem, March 11, 2011 / Record fair, Utrecht, April 14, 2012
Cost: 0,25 euro / 1 euro
Tracks: 'Son of a preacher man' / 'Just a little lovin' (Early in the mornin')'

Sister moon - Transvision Vamp

'Sister Moon' was Transvision Vamp's fifth single release and the final single to be taken from their debut album Pop Art. It was a minor hit on the UK singles chart in 1988, peaking at number 41. Like most of their singles it featured two tracks on the B-side.

The album 'Pop Art' peaked at number 4 in the UK albums chart and became the 25th highest selling album of 1989 in Australia, peaking at number thirteen.

My collection: 7" single no. 5307
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, April 14, 2012
Cost: 3 euro
Tracks: 'Sister moon' / 'Oh yeah', 'Walk on by'

I wanna be loved by you - Marty Wilde

'I wanna be loved by you' was written by Herbert Stothart and Harry Ruby with lyrics by Bert Kalmar for the 1928 musical 'Good boy'. First performed by Helen Kane, the song became best known in a version by Marilyn Monroe in Billy Wilder's classic movie 'Some like it hot'.

It was a bit of a surprise when I found this single by Marty Wilde, because I didn't know he'd recorded a version too. It was released in the summer of 1960 but didn't reach the UK singles chart. And of course I should have known about this track because I actually have it on the lengthy 3 cd compilation, 'The full Marty'. D'oh!

My collection: 7" single no. 5318
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, April 14, 2012
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'I wanna be loved by you' / 'Angry'

Hide and seek - Five Star

'Hide and Seek' was Five Star's second single and would later be included on their 1985 debut album 'Luxury of life'. The single was written by Gary Bell (who co-wrote their later hit 'System addict'), and Anne Dudley, one of the UK's top female songwriters and composers. The single wasn't a hit, only charting at number 113. The song was later covered by New Edition in 1984 as part of their self-titled album.

The video to the single featured a colourful setting with an early Five Star logo as a backdrop, with the floor resembling the American stars and stripes flag, and a very simple dance routine.

My collection: 7" single no. 5315
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, April 14, 2012
Cost: 3 euro
Tracks: 'Hide and seek' / 'I'm gonna make this a night you will never forget'

Music Hall EP - The Muppets

After their top 10 hit with 'Halfway down the stairs' in the summer of 1977, the Muppets followed that single up with an EP featuring four songs. It was another hit for the Jim Henson creations, peaking at number 19 in the UK singles chart in December 1977.

The single displays much of the charm the old television series had, although obviously the songs were a bit more important on this disc than all the slapstick and visual jokes the audiences enjoyed on television. Still, the back of the sleeve displays this message from Miss Piggy: 'To my adoring fans, Thank you for making me the superstar I was destined to become.' Quite.

My collection: 7" single no. 5312
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, April 14, 2012
Cost: 3 euro
Tracks: 'Don't dilly dally on the way', 'Waiting at the church' / 'The boy in the gallery', 'Wotcher knocked 'em in the Old Kent Road'

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