Showing posts with label Nik Kershaw. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nik Kershaw. Show all posts

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Elizabeth's eyes - Nik Kershaw

Released in 1989, Nik Kershaw's fourth album 'The Works' wasn't the commercial success it might (or should) have been. Only two singles were taken from the album, of which 'Elizabeth's eyes' was the second. This 12" single features an extended version of the track as well as a dub version.

According to Nik: "The single is a song written from the point of view a guy called Willie Darden, who was America's longest serving death row prisoner. He was on death row for fifteen years and during the last twelve years of his life he corresponded with a lady in Essex called Elisabeth Allen who's a school teacher. The two never met and they sort of developed a relationship over the years, which is very strange 'cause they never actually existed, a lot of it existed in the mind of Darden. I was trying to imagine how he felt - I've read some of the letters which are absolutely unbelievable - they're poetry, they're love letters, they're incredible things." The song's final line of the third verse reads "Tuesday at seven I will find my heaven, and I'll see you there", which is accurate to the time and death of Darden in reality, on Tuesday, 15 March 1988 at 7am.

My collection: 12" single [unnumbered]
Found: unknown
Cost: unknown
Tracks: 'Elisabeth's eyes (extended version)' / 'My friend John', 'Elisabeth's eyes (club dub)'

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Ich will, wenn ich wüsste, dass ich darf - Florian Haidt

Nik Kershaw had a big hit in 1984 with I won't let the sun go down. Such was the success of this single, that other artists were inspired to record their own version. At least, I stumbled upon a cover version from the same year, and a German translation at that.

A certain Florian Haidt released 'Ich will, wenn ich wüsste, dass ich darf' ('I would if I knew that I could') in Germany. The single was pressed on purple marbled vinyl, which added to the attraction - at least, for me. It's a chance to hear a rather unusual version of this classic Eighties song.

My collection: 7" single no. 5835
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, April 17, 2016
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Ich will, wenn ich wüsste, dass ich darf' / 'Express (Instrumental)'

Listen to the song

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'

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Radio Musicola - Nik Kershaw

Nik Kershaw got through his first two albums okay, but when the 'difficult third album' came up, he was out of luck: although his music was still very interesting, it proved 'too difficult' for the record-buying audience. Hence, 'Radio Musicola', as the album was called, never got the attention it deserved.

The title track was one of the tracks to be released as a single and this 12" single features an extended version of it, which is not spectacular, but nice nonetheless.

My collection: 12" single no. 425
Found: Record Exchange, London, 2000
Cost: 1 pound
Tracks: 'Radio Musicola (extended version)' / 'L.A.B.A.T.Y.D.', 'Radio Musicola'

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

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)'

Sunday, 19 June 2011

I won't let the sun go down - Nik Kershaw

'I won't let the sun go down' was Nik Kershaw's debut single, released in 1983. The song was written during the latter part of the Cold War period when nuclear war between the two superpowers of the USSR and USA was still a very real concern, and the lyrics reflect a satirical view of politics and the threat of war with lines such as: 'old men in stripey trousers, rule the world with plastic smiles', and: 'forefinger on the button, is he blue or is he red?'

Originally the single only reached number 47 in the UK charts. However, the follow up single from the same album, 'Wouldn't it be good', reached the top five and on the back of that success 'I won't let the sun go down' was re-released and soared to number 2. It was also subsequently a major hit in several other countries and was responsible for bringing Nik Kershaw to greater public attention.

My collection: 7" single no. 5147
Found: Chelsea Records, Antwerpen, June 9, 2011
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'I won't let the sun go down' / 'Dark glasses'

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Let it be - Ferry Aid

I don't really know why - well it probably was a lack of funds - but I never bought the 12" single of Ferry Aid's 'Let it be' despite being a fan of several artists on this record. 23 years later, I finally managed it and what a pleasant surprise this disc holds...

The remixed version of 'Let it be' starts with the part of Kate Bush, so basically it starts on a high. It's very interesting to hear a different sequence of artists in the 12" mix.

My collection: 12" single no. 545
Found: discogs.com, received May 18, 2010
Cost: 5 euro
Tracks: 'Let it be [12" remix]' / 'Let it be (Mega message mix)'

Monday, 19 April 2010

Let it be - Ferry Aid

On March 6, 1987, the Herald of Free Enterprise - a ferry between Zeebrugge in Belgium and Dover in England - capsized, which killed 193 passengers and crew. The Sun newspaper, which had sold cheap tickets for the ferry on that day, quickly organized a recording of a charity recording. The song 'Let it be' was performed by an impressive array of artists, recorded on March 14, 15 and 16 at PWL studios. The recording was produced by Stock, Aitken & Waterman.

Contributing artists were, in order of appearance: Paul McCartney, Boy George, Sara Dallin, Keren Woodward, Nick Kamen, Paul King, Mark King, Taffy, Andy Bell, Pepsi & Shirley, Mel & Kim, Jaki Graham, Mark Knopfler (guitar solo), Gary Moore (guitar solo), Kim Wilde, Nik Kershaw, Edwin Starr, Ben Volpeliere-Pierrot, Ruby Turner and Kate Bush. The closing choruses of the song feature an ensemble choir featuring many of the above performers as well other recording artists, including Bonnie Tyler, Errol Brown, Hazel O'Connor, The Nolans, Rick Astley, Jim Diamond, Doctor and the Medics, Alvin Stardust, Steve Strange, Mandy Smith, Su Pollard, Maxi Priest and members of Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Go West, The Alarm and Bucks Fizz.

The single made number 1 in the UK singles chart and also topped the charts in Switzerland and Norway. In the Dutch Top 40, Ferry Aid reached number 3.

My collection: 7" single no. 575
Found: Free Record Shop, Den Haag, 1987
Cost: 4 guilders
Tracks: 'Let it be' / 'Let it be (Gospel Jam mix)'

Monday, 7 December 2009

Elisabeth's eyes - Nik Kershaw

'Elisabeth's eyes' was the second and last single to be released from Nik Kershaw's fourth album 'The works'. Unlike the previous single, this one failed to reach the UK singles chart.

After this, Kershaw devoted himself to writing songs for other artists - the most successful track being 'The one and only' which launched Chesney Hawkes' career in 1991, peaking at number 1 in the UK - and only returned with an album called '15 minutes' in 1999, ten years after the release of this single.

My collection: 7" single no. 2718
Found: July 20, 1996
Cost: 1 guilder
Tracks: 'Elisabeth's eyes' / 'My friend John'

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

One step ahead - Nik Kershaw

'The works' was Nik Kershaw's fourth album, released in 1989. Although it was intended to be his big comeback after two years away from the music scene, the album did not have the amount of success which was hoped for.

The first single from the album was 'One step ahead', a decent pop song with a slight retro sound when compared to its contemporaries. The single reached number 55 in the UK singles chart during a one week chart run.

My collection: 7" single no. 2143
Found: Utrecht, August 2, 1994
Cost: 1 guilder
Tracks: 'One step ahead' / 'When I grow up'

Friday, 23 October 2009

James Cagney - Nik Kershaw

'James Cagney', a song named after the actor of the same name, was taken from Nik Kershaw's 1986 album 'Radio Musicola', and released as a single in Germany only in early 1987. The single did not chart.

I bought the single a year later, although I didn't know the song. I was pleasantly surprised when I got home and played it. It would take me more than 20 years to find the 12" single with an extended mix of this great track.

My collection: 7" single no. 681
Found: Disco Market, Den Haag, November 12, 1988
Cost: 1 guilder
Tracks: 'James Cagney' / 'Radio Musicola'

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Nobody knows - Nik Kershaw

'Nobody knows' is another single from Nik Kershaw's 1985 album 'Radio Musicola'. The lyric of the song deals with tabloid journalists, paparazzi and the public's right to know intimate details of celebrities' lives.

The single did not chart in the UK, but reached number 73 in Australia and number 2 in Japan.

My collection: 7" single no. 3077
Found: Beanos, East Croydon, London, May 10, 1999
Cost: 1 pound
Tracks: 'Nobody knows' / 'One of our fruit machines is missing'

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Radio Musicola - Nik Kershaw

'Radio Musicola' is the title track from Nik Kershaw's third album. Both the album and the single were released in 1986 by MCA Records. The album deals with subjects of integrity, media skepticism (particularly towards tabloid journalism), privacy, insecurity and mass produced run-of-the-mill pop.

All this intelligence was probably too much for the audience to handle: the single only reached number 43 in the UK singles chart.

My collection: 7" single no. 3065
Found: House of Rhythm, London, May 9, 1999
Cost: 60p
Tracks: 'Radio Musicola' / 'L.A.B.A.T.Y.D.'

Saturday, 12 September 2009

When a heart beats - Nik Kershaw

'When a heart beats' was the eighth hit single for Nik Kershaw. It was the third single taken from his 1984 album 'The riddle', and at the time of its release I really thought it was a bit of a tuneless affair. It was only later, when I realised I had nearly every single by Kershaw, that I bought this one. Now, twentyfour years later, I think it's a nice pop song, albeit a little unfocused.

The single reached number 27 on the UK singles chart, but did not chart in the Netherlands.

My collection: 7" single no. 2449
Found: Record fair, September 2, 1995
Cost: 1 guilder
Tracks: 'When a heart beats' / 'Wild horses'

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Don Quixote - Nik Kershaw

Nik Kershaw didn't waste any time to move away from the squeaky clean pop he was making on his debut album. His second album 'The riddle' was full of quirky tunes, and 'Don Quixote' was an example of that.

It was still pop, but much harder to swallow for the teenage audience he'd attracted. While this single still reached number 10 in the UK singles chart and number 9 in Ireland, in other countries the single failed to reach the top 20 - or even chart at all. After this, commercial success mostly eluded Nik, but artistic satisfaction must have been way bigger.

My collection: 7" single no. 2304
Found: May 27, 1995
Cost: 1 guilder
Tracks: 'Don Quixote' / 'Don't lie'

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Wide boy - Nik Kershaw

Wide boy is a British term for a man who lives by his wits, wheeling and dealing. It is also the title of Nik Kershaw's 1985 hit single, taken from his second album 'The riddle'. The single reached number 9 in the UK singles chart, but did not chart in the Netherlands.

This limited edition of the single comes in a gatefold sleeve with a 12 page booklet full of photographs of Nik.

My collection: 7" single no. 2780
Found: House of Rhythm, London, November 1, 1996
Cost: 1 pound
Tracks: 'Wide boy' / 'So quiet'

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

The riddle - Nik Kershaw

'Near a tree by a river there's a hole in the ground / Where an old man of Aran goes around and around / and his mind is a beacon in the veil of the night / For a strange kind of fashion there's a wrong and a right'. What does it mean? These lyrics caused so much confusion that the record company MCA decided to run a competition to work out the meaning. However, according to Nik Kershaw himself, the lyic had no meaning at all: '[it was] nonsense, rubbish, bollocks, the confused ramblings of an 80s popstar'.

Despite all this, it gave Kershaw a considerable hit. It reached number 3 in the UK singles chart in December 1984, his biggest hit up to that point. In the Netherlands, the single reached a more modest number 19.

My collection: 7" single no. 2767
Found: Record Exchange, London, October 29, 1996
Cost: 40p
Tracks: 'The riddle' / 'Progress'

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Human racing - Nik Kershaw

'Human racing' was the fifth and final single from Nik Kershaw's debut album of the same name. Kershaw suddenly showcased a certain Stevie Wonderesque quality in his voice while singing this song. While initially this song bored me - probably because of the music video accompanying it - it has grown into my alltime favourite Nik Kershaw tracks.

The single became a hit in the UK only, peaking at number 19 in the UK singles chart. To this day I don't know why this didn't appeal to international audiences.

I bought a double single edition of this a decade ago, featuring a second single with two live tracks. The gatefold sleeve showed a rather funny playing board based on Kershaw's songs. On August 5, I found a picture disc of this single (pictured below) for 50p at Revival Records.

My collection: 7" single no. 3056
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, May 8, 1999
Cost: 5 guilders
Tracks: 'Human racing' / 'Faces (remix)' // 'Cloak and dagger (live)' / 'Drum talk (live)'

Monday, 3 August 2009

Dancing girls - Nik Kershaw

'Dancing girls' was released as the third single from Nik Kershaw's debut album 'Human racing' (1984). The track was remixed for the single release. Also notable was the entertaining and funny music video, using the theme of the song very well.

The single peaked at number 13 in the UK singles chart, number 14 in Ireland and number 21 in Germany.

My collection: 7" single no. 2510
Found: Record Exchange, October 30, 1995
Cost: 80p
Tracks: 'Dancing girls' / 'She cries'

Saturday, 1 August 2009

James Cagney - Nik Kershaw

Nik Kershaw's 1986 album 'Radio Musicola' was released to critical acclaim, but it wasn't a big success in commercial terms. It seemed Kershaw had outgrown his audience with the more mature work displayed on the album.

The single 'James Cagney' was released on the European mainland only. The 'extended version' on the 12" single is in fact the album version, which is about 2 minutes longer than the edit that appeared on the 7" single. A remix of 'Radio Musicola' is tacked on on the B-side for good measure.

My collection: 12" single no. 504
Found: Plaatboef, Rotterdam, July 24, 2009
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'James Cagney (extended)' / 'Radio Musicola (remix)'

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