Thursday, 5 February 2009

Luxury - New Musik

Why New Musik never achieved commercial success is a mystery to me. 'Luxury' is one of many singles that never reached a chart anywhere. And 'Anywhere' is the title of the album this single was taken from. 'Luxury' was the first of three singles taken from the album. It was backed with a non-album track, 'The office'.

My collection: 7" single no. 2674
Found: London, July 2, 1996
Cost: 1 pound
Tracks: 'Luxury' / 'The office'
Download: here

Real love - Beatles

A year after releasing 'Free as a bird', Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr completed a second unfinished recording by John Lennon. They added new vocal and instrumental tracks to strengthen the original sound from John's cassette. The single was released to promote part two in the three part 'Beatles Anthology' cd set.

The B-side was a live recording of 'Baby's in black'. You can hear the screaming audience, proof that Beatlemania was really as loud and strange as it was often made out to be.

My collection: 7" single no. 2635
Found: April 13, 1996
Cost: 8 guilders
Tracks: 'Real love' / 'Baby's in black (live)'
Download: here

The part of me that needs you most - Exile

The tracks on Exile's 1979 album 'All there is' were recorded with a distinct disco beat. 'The part of me that needs you most' was taken from this album, and according to Wikipedia, the single did particularly well in Europe. Well, parts of Europe then, because it flopped in the UK and the Netherlands.

I'd never even heard this track when I bought the single. And I only bought the single because I enjoyed their previous releases so much. This track, by comparison, is a disappointment. What's interesting about 'Let's do it again', the B-side track, is that it sounds very similar to John Lodge's 'Street cafe', released a year later.

My collection: 7" single no. 3278
Found: Record fair, November 11, 2000
Cost: 1 guilder
Tracks: 'The part of me that needs you most' / 'Let's do it again'
Download: here

Reunited - Peaches and Herb

The original Peaches & Herb consisted of Herb Fame and Francine 'Peaches' Hurd Barker. Herb has been part of the duo ever since its original creation in 1967, but after Francine, several different women have taken on the 'role' of Peaches. Initially the duo wasn't successful, to the point where they both retired from the music scene in 1970. In 1976, Herb decided to return to music and enlisted the help of Van McCoy to find a new 'Peaches'. Linda Greene was found, and thus started the most successful incarnation of the duo.

Their first album together, produced by McCoy, generated no hits, but after switching labels and recording the album '2 hot', they had a massive number 1 hit in America with 'Reunited'. It also reached number 1 in the Netherlands, and it peaked at number 4 in the UK. Unable to repeat the success of 2 Hot with their subsequent albums, Greene and Fame decided to retire their partnership in 1983. Two more incarnations followed, but without big commercial success.

My collection: 7" single no. 12
Found: London, 1979
Cost: 10p
Tracks: 'Reunited' / 'Easy as pie'

Everyday is like Sunday - Morrissey

'Everyday is like Sunday' was the second single taken from Morrissey's debut solo album 'Viva hate'. The previous single, 'Suedehead', reached number 5 in the UK singles chart, and this one did almost just as well, peaking at number 9. In the Netherlands, both singles didn't make the Top 40.

Morrissey has been quoted as saying that there is 'something strangely depressing about a seaside town out-of-season'. Chrissie Hynde from the Pretenders has showered praise on this song, saying 'the lyric to 'Everyday is like Sunday' is, to me, a masterful piece of prose'.

My collection: 7" single no. 801
Found: Disco Market, Den Haag, April 21, 1989
Cost: 2 guilders
Tracks: 'Everyday is like Sunday' / 'Disappointed'

Innocence - Deborah Blando

In 1992, Deborah Blando suddenly appeared on the pop scene with the song 'Innocence'. Born in Italy but raised in Brazil, Blando released her debut album at the age of eleven, entitled 'Giovanna – Alegria da Gente', containing Italian songs. In her teens, Deborah joined the Brazilian theater company Os Menestréis, which has revealed many promising singers in Brazil, and started touring the country acting and singing in their musicals.

In 1989 she met producer David Wolff who, impressed by her musical talent, invited her to record an album in English. In 1991, 'A different story' was released. The first single, 'Boy (Why do you wanna make me blue?)' hit American dance charts and was featured in a worldwide TV ad for Diet Coke. The English version of the ballad 'Innocence', written by Deborah herself when she was 18, was a hit around the world, although in the Netherlands it sunk without a trace. I saw the video on television once. On this occasion Blando was presented as 'the new Madonna'. I was sceptical, but liked the song - and so I bought it.

My collection: 7" single no. 1622
Found: Disco Market, Den Haag, April 18, 1992
Cost: 3,5 guilders
Tracks: 'Innocence (edit)' / 'Innocence (instrumental)'
Download: here

Turn the beat around - Vicki Sue Robinson

'Turn the beat around' is a disco song written by Gerald Jackson and Peter Jackson and made popular by Vicki Sue Robinson in 1976. It appeared on her debut album 'Never gonna let you go', and was released as a single. In the USA, the song went number 10 on the Billboard pop charts. In the Netherlands, it reached number 12 in the Dutch Top 40. The song was covered by Gloria Estefan in 1994.

Vicki Sue Robinson continued to make records until 1984. After that, she worked as a session singer for artists like Cher, Michael Bolton, Cyndi Lauper and others. She was also the voice behind the Jem animation series in the Eighties.

My collection: 7" single no. 3483
Found: Empire Records, Den Haag, December 11, 2008
Cost: 0,5 euro
Tracks: 'Turn the beat around' / 'Lack of respect'
Download: here

In a minor key - Tim Finn

This is the first double single that I can remember, and it is quite possibly the first double single released on the European continent. After his big success in Europe with 'Fraction too much friction', Tim Finn released the beautiful ballad 'In a minor key' as the second single from his debut solo album 'Escapade'. This double single was widely available in the Netherlands, but it flopped all the same. The interest for Tim Finn has disappeared as quickly as it had come.

My collection: 7" single no. 1213
Found: Record fair, Den Haag, April 22, 1990
Cost: 5 guilders
Tracks: 'In a minor key' / 'Not for nothing' // 'Fraction too much friction (live)' / 'Below the belt (live)'
Download: here

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

I'll fly for you - Spandau Ballet

Yes, I know, I wrote about the 12" single of 'I'll fly for you' in December, but it was exactly that piece which made me realise that I didn't actually have the 7" single. And so I bought it, quite recently. And not just any old 7" single: it's the limited edition, apparently, released in a poster bag. And quite a creepy one: it shows the Spandaus without a shirt on. I wish I hadn't now...

The single version is just as powerful as the extended version, only shorter. It reached number 27 in the Netherlands in the autumn of 1984. In the UK, it went to number 9.

My collection: 7" single no. 3573
Found: eBay, received February 2, 2009
Cost: 3 pounds
Tracks: 'I'll fly for you' / 'To cut a long story short (live)'
Download: here

Ainsi soit je... - Mylene Farmer

'Ainsi soit je...' was the second single taken from Mylene Farmer's 1988 album of the same name. As for all her songs since the 1987 single 'Tristana', Farmer wrote the lyric. Nevertheless, the first words of the couplets 'bulle de chagrin, boule d'incertitude' were written by Marie, a singer unknown to the general public who died not long before. It was a way for Mylene to pay a tribute to her.

I'd started collecting Mylene Farmer singles only months before I went on a holiday to Vienna, Austria. I was greatly surprised to find an old single in a record shop there - but of course I bought it right away.

My collection: 7" single no. 1934
Found: Marik, Vienna, Austria, 1993
Cost: 59 Austrian Schilling
Tracks: 'Ainsi soit je...' / 'Ainsi soit je... (Lamentations)'
Download: here

Without your love - Roger Daltrey

'McVicar' is a British film, released in 1980, starring Roger Daltrey from The Who in the title role of John McVicar, an armed robber turned writer who Scotland Yard publicly announced to be Public Enemy Number One and wanted dead or alive. The soundtrack of the film was performed entirely by Daltrey, and the single 'Without your love' was drawn from the soundtrack album.

Though it was only a minor hit in the UK (peaking at number 55 in the singles chart), it reached number 3 in the Dutch Top 40 and it remains Daltrey's only top three hit in this country.

My collection: 7" single no. 824
Found: Disco Market, Den Haag, May 18, 1989
Cost: 1 guilder
Tracks: 'Without your love' / 'My time is gonna come'

White and black blues - Joelle Ursull

'White and black blues' was composed by Georges Ougier de Moussac, with lyrics by legendary French songwriter Serge Gainsbourg. The song was originally titled 'Black Lolita Blues', however Joelle Ursull, who was chosen to represent France at the 1990 Eurovision Song Contest, declined to perform it with this title. Rewritten as 'White and black blues', the song deals with the need to overcome the prejudices of skin colour.

Eurovision songs were always difficult to get a hold of in record shops. 1990 was actually the first year that several songs were readily available: in a short amount of time I collected the entries of Belgium, France, Spain and even Portugal. Due to a lack of budget, I didn't buy the cd-single of this track - something I do regret, because I'm unable to find it now.

My collection: 7" single no. 1231
Found: Melody Maker, Den Haag, May 11, 1990
Cost: 6 guilders
Tracks: 'White and black blues' / 'White and black blues (instrumental)'
Download: here

Crazy - Icehouse

The Australian band Icehouse found fame with 'Hey little girl' and 'Can't help myself' in the early Eighties. I was very impressed with these early singles, and the later hits 'No promises' and 'Crazy' took some more getting used to after that. 'Crazy' was drawn from their 1987 album 'Man of colours', Icehouse's best selling album worldwide.

It took me many years to finally buy this single. 15 years to be exact. It's one of those singles you come across regularly and you always think, 'nah, later'. So 'later' finally happened in 2003.

My collection: 7" single no. 3393
Found: Geest, Den Haag, 2003
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Crazy', 'Completely gone'

Bring me closer - Altered Images

During the Here and Now Tour 2002 I saw Altered Images, or rather Clare Grogan, live in concert and immediately liked the songs she was performing. So I went to the nearest record shop in London and found 'I could be happy' and this single. I didn't know this song - she hadn't performed it - but the sleeve looked interesting enough and so I decided to buy it anyway.

It's one of those instances where you are a little too impulsive. 'Bring me closer' is a rather directionless song, and really doesn't end up anywhere. The same goes for the B-side. Clare Grogan's typical voice sounds a bit weird in these tracks. So not one of my most prized possessions this single. But it is a nice sleeve.

My collection: 7" single no. 3369
Found: Record Exchange, London, December 2002
Cost: 1 pound
Tracks: 'Bring me closer' / 'Surprise me'
Download: here

Uncertain smile - The The

After 'Uncertain smile' single version 1 and version 2, I quickly realised that I should also buy the 12" single. It would probably feature an extended version of this wonderful track. There was always the chance, of course, that it would simply contain the album track which is lengthy enough as it is, but it was a risk I was willing to take.

As it turned out, I was lucky: the 12" single features an extended version which goes on for more than nine minutes. It is based on the original version (single version 1) and then goes on for several minutes where the single fades out. Needless to say, I was very glad when I found this disc.

My collection: 12" single no. 122
Found: Record fair, 1991
Cost: 15 guilders
Tracks: 'Uncertain smile [extended version]' / 'Soul mining (Definitive Version)'
Download: here

4 films - Het Goede Doel

Het Goede Doel (The Good Cause) released their single '4 films' in 1987. It was a new track on the live album that was released after their tour across the Netherlands after the release of their third studio album 'Mooi en onverslijtbaar' (1986). It didn't become a hit and has since become a very rare track. A version sung by Ramses Shaffy was released on the album 'Iedereen is anders' (1988), but this original version wasn't released on cd for a long time.

The B-side is a live version of the track 'Atoombom' ('Atom bomb'), also taken from the live album mentioned above.

My collection: 7" single no. 3538
Found: Empire Records, January 9, 2009
Cost: 0,5 euro
Tracks: '4 films' / 'Atoombom (live)'
Download: here

Don't go breaking my heart - Elton John and Kiki Dee

Elton John and Kiki Dee recorded and released the duet 'Don't go breaking my heart' in 1976. Like many of Elton John's singles from the Seventies, it was never included on any of his original albums (though it was recorded during the same sessions that produced 'Blue Moves'). The single was Elton John's first number 1 single in the UK. It was his sixth number one in the USA. In the Netherlands, it was just kept off the top spot by 'Kiss and say goodbye' (Manhattans) and 'Dancing queen' (Abba).

The song’s video is apparently one of the cheapest music videos ever produced. The director was found while filming a Rod Stewart television special. He was pulled aside, located an unused soundstage, hastily dressed it to give the appearance of a recording studio, set up three cameras and had the two singers pretend to record their vocals. Shot in a single take while being told to ‘improvise’, Elton John and Kiki Dee often missed their cues. Elton John’s attempt to lead Dee in a very haphazard dance sequence caught his companion off guard.

My collection: 7" single no. 3534
Found: Empire Records, January 9, 2009
Cost: 0,5 euro
Tracks: 'Don't go breaking my heart' / 'The snow queen'
Download: Album 'Stay with me - The Rocket Years' (Kiki Dee), including both tracks (part 1 / part 2)

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Hallelujah - Milk and Honey

'Hallelujah' was the winning song of the 1979 Eurovision Song Contest, performed in Hebrew by Milk & Honey, representing Israel. The group was created especially for the contest after the song's original performers, the band Hakol Over Habibi, declined the opportunity to sing the song. The song is a slow-building ballad, with the group praising God for the world and all the good things in it. This is, to date, the most religiously-themed song to win the Contest.

In the Netherlands, the single reached number 8 in the Dutch Top 40, and in many European countries, the song became a standard. It is even recognized by many North Americans who might never even have heard of Eurovision.

My collection: 7" single no. 3391
Found: Geest, Den Haag, 2003
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Hallelujah' / 'Lady sun'
Download: here

Self control - Laura Branigan

'Self control' is one of those songs I heard a lot in 1984, so much that I got entirely sick of it. Radio stations kept playing it and whenever I watched television the video would appear at some point. It got so boring! But ultimately it is a great song, and two decades later I can finally hear it again.

Laura Branigan recorded the song in 1984 for her album of the same name. The song was originally recorded and sung that same year with the same English lyrics by Italian singer Raf, who wrote the song together with Giancarlo Bigazzi and Steve Piccolo.

Branigan died at her home on Long Island, New York, on August 26, 2004. Her death was attributed to a previously undiagnosed brain aneurysm. She had been experiencing headaches for a few weeks before her death but did not seek medical attention. Not so much self control, then.

My collection: 7" single no. 3480
Found: Empire Records, Den Haag, December 11, 2008
Cost: 0,5 euro
Tracks: 'Self control' / 'Silent partners'

Black on black - Dalbello

In 1994 I bought a promotional cd-single of Heart's 'Black on black'. It turned out to be a cover version of a song originally performed by Dalbello. Heart's version rocked a lot, so naturally I became rather curious about the original song.

Lisa Dalbello released her fifth studio album 'She' in 1987. It included her biggest hits, 'Tango' and 'Black on black'. Even though it is described as a rock album, I have to say that her version of 'Black on black' sounds rather mechanic.

My collection: 7" single no. 3118
Found: June 27, 1999
Cost: 5 guilders
Tracks: 'Black on black' / 'Baby doll'
Download: here

Videotheque - Dollar

'Videotheque' was released in 1982 and, like many of their singles, it was produced by Trevor Horn. Lots of echo effects and synthesizers once again disguise the limited vocal abilities of the two.

I have special memories attached to this track. During the 2002 Here And Now Tour, Dollar was one of the performing acts, and during their set 'Videotheque' was one of the dodgy highlights. Together with my friend, with whom I saw many of these concerts, we laughed a lot about the lyric of this song. I bought the single some time later, even if I was questioning if I would ever play it again.

My collection: 7" single no. 3434
Found: Esbjerg, Denmark, June 17, 2006
Cost: 10 Danish crowns
Tracks: 'Videotheque' / 'Living a life of dreams'
Download: here

With you I'm born again - Billy Preston and Syreeta

The beautiful balled 'With you I'm born again' was performed by Billy Preston and Syreeta Wright in 1980. The song appeared on Billy Preston's 1980 album 'Late at night'. The B-side of this single features a beautiful instrumental version, played on the piano by the gifted Billy Preston.

Syreeta Wright died on July 6, 2004 of congestive heart failure, a side effect of chemotherapy and radiation treatments she was receiving to combat breast and bone cancers. She was 57 years old. Billy Preston died on June 6, 2006 as a result of kidney failure and other complications, after having been in a coma for almost eight months. He was 59 years old.

My collection: 7" single no. 1368
Found: January 3, 1991
Cost: 1 guilder
Tracks: 'With you I'm born again' / 'With you I'm born again (instrumental)'
Download: here

Help is on its way - Little river band

Little River Band was an Australian rock band consisting of Glenn Shorrock, Graeham Goble, Beeb Birtles, Ric Formosa, Roger McLachlan and Derek Pellicci. 'Help is on its way' was one of only three of their singles that made the Dutch Top 40, peaking at number 20 (the other two peaked at number 13). It was taken from their third album 'Diamantina Cocktail', released in 1977. The band has released over twenty albums between 1975 and now, and still perform live in the USA - around 100 shows every year.

My collection: 7" single no. 2606
Found: Plaatboef, Rotterdam, January 27, 1996
Cost: 1 guilder
Tracks: 'Help is on its way' / 'Changed and different', 'L.A. in the sunshine'

I'm not the man I used to be - Fine Young Cannibals

The fourth single from the Fine Young Cannibals' second album 'The raw and the cooked' was 'I'm not the man I used to be'. It reached number 20 in the UK singles chart before the end of 1989.

Just like 'Don't look back', 'Good thing' and 'She drives me crazy', a limited edition of the single was released housed in a tin can. This time, the single was pressed on white vinyl. There's also a limited edition of 'I'm not satisfied', but I'm still manically searching for that one.

My collection: 7" single no. 2785
Found: London, November 1996
Cost: 2 pounds
Tracks: 'I'm not the man I used to be' / 'Motherless child'
Download: here

Live at the Astoria - All About Eve

Some things are forever lost in time. Like for instance the shop where I bought this bootleg e.p. of All About Eve. All I remember was they had expensive Kate Bush singles on the wall, and that I bought this e.p. there. And I think it was near a busy motorway, somewhere in London. Well, not much to go on, and so I never saw that shop again.

This bootleg e.p. is something extraordinary: it's an audience recording of All About Eve's performance at the Astoria. The sleeve gives no further information, so it could have been their concert there on February 28, 1987, November 14, 1987. March 4, 1988, March 5, 1988 or March 27, 1988. Well, that narrows it down...

My collection: 7" single no. 1069
Found: London, October 19, 1989
Cost: 5 pounds
Tracks: 'Every angel', 'Candy tree' / 'In the clouds', 'Flowers in our hair' (all tracks live at the Astoria, London)
Download: here

Monday, 2 February 2009

Quiet life - Japan

'Quiet life' was Japan's first big chart hit, peaking at number 19 in the autumn of 1981. The album of the same name saw the band change from glam rockers to futuristic synthpop performers. They were rewarded with an ever greater following.

I didn't get to know Japan until they had disbanded. First I heard 'Nightporter', then 'Adolescent sex', and then this synthpop track. And all this after I'd heard David Sylvian's early solo work. Even when you follow pop music from an early age, you get to miss something every once in a while.

My collection: 7" single no. 2883
Found: House of Rhythm, London, October 28, 1997
Cost: 1 pound
Tracks: 'Quiet life' / 'A foreign place'

Feel like change - Black

I wonder how much this single is worth. It's obviously not a commercially sold item, and not quite a white label. However it does list the release date of this single (April 22, 1991) and it is a custom A&M label.

Well anyway, 'Feel like change' was the first single from Black's self-titled album from 1991. It would be the last album for A&M, as after this main member Colin Vearncombe went independent and never dealt with big corporate record companies again. Oh, I wish I had Colin Vearncombe's voice, I would love hearing myself all day.

My collection: 7" single no. 3461
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 22, 2008
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Feel like change' / 'Nice'

Thought you were on my side - Cock Robin

'Thought you were on my side' was the second chart hit for Cock Robin in the Netherlands. After the number one hit 'The promise you made', this single reached number 5 in the Dutch Top 40. The single was also successful in Germany and France, but flopped in the UK and America.

Having bought the 12" single of 'The promise you made' I was already convinced that the extended versions of Cock Robin tracks were very interesting, so I had no doubts that I should have this record as well. I did wait it out, though, because 12" singles became cheaper once they left the chart. It was well worth the wait.

My collection: 12" single no. 32
Found: Free Record Shop, Den Haag, 1986
Cost: 7,95 guilders
Tracks: 'Thought you were on my side (extended remix)' / 'Thought you were on my side', 'Peace on earth'
Download: here

Equinoxe - Jean Michel Jarre

'Equinoxe' was the second album released by Jean Michel Jarre, released in 1978. The album reflects a day in the life of a human being, from morning to night. The release of the album was followed by a concert on the Place de la Concorde, Paris on July 14, 1979. The concert attracted one million people, becoming Jarre's first entry in the Guinness Book of Records for the largest crowd for an outdoor concert.

The single 'Equinoxe (part 5)' peaked at number 45 in the UK singles chart, and reached number 13 in the Dutch Top 40. The B-side of this single features an autograph of Jean Michel Jarre in the runout groove, as made by him on the master plate.

My collection: 7" single no. 2917
Found: London, November 1, 1997
Cost: 1 pound
Tracks: 'Equinoxe (part 5)' / 'Equinoxe (part 1)'
Download: here

Ghosts - Ghosts

I already wrote about the Ghosts' single 'Stay the night'. 'The world is outside', their next single, peaked at number 35 in the UK singles chart. 'Ghosts' was released a few months after that, but achieved no chart placing in the UK. Still, this is an interesting single, if only for the remix of 'The world is outside'. While this remix misses the sparkle of the original track, it does keep certain elements of the song intact and makes it interesting to listen to. 'The world is outside' was one of my favourite tracks of 2008 (although it was released a year earlier, but how was I to know...) and so I was glad to get this single. And it's pressed on white vinyl, too!

My collection: 7" single no. 3574
Found: eBay, received February 2, 2009
Cost: 3 pounds
Tracks: 'Ghosts' / 'The world is outside (Stellasound remix)'
Download: here

The Fear - Lily Allen

When you read the long, long entry on Lily Allen in Wikipedia, you would think this girl has spent decades in the entertainment business. But in fact she's only released one album, with her second one underway right now. 'The fear' is the first single drawn from this second album, and it was released last month on cd-single and this picture disc 7" single.

Lily Allen was born on May 2, 1985 as the daughter of British actor/musician Keith Allen and film producer Alison Owen. While the songs on her debut album were mostly about former boyfriends and short-lived love affairs, the new album supposedly contains some more adult oriented lyrics. 'The fear' is a good example: it reflects on fame and what it can do to a young woman like Lily.

My collection: 7" single no. 3578
Found: digitalstores.co.uk website, received February 2, 2009
Cost: 3 pounds
Tracks: 'The fear' / 'Kabul shit'
Download: here

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Let's all chant - Michael Zager Band

A fabulous disco track from 1978. 'Let's all chant' by the Michael Zager Band reached number 4 in the Dutch Top 40 and number 8 in the UK singles chart. Michael Zager was born on January 3, 1943 in Passaic, New Jersey. He was a member of Ten Wheel Drive from 1968 to 1973, and then went on to record a couple of album as the Michael Zager Band. 'Let's all chant' remains his best known song, and was even re-released in 2000 in a remixed version.

Michael Zager went on to produce and compose music for many artists, such as Gladys Knight, Deniece Williams, Luther Vandross and Whitney Houston.

My collection: 7" single no. 2291
Found: Record fair, Den Haag, May 13, 1995
Cost: 1 guilder
Tracks: 'Let's all chant' / 'Love express'
Download: here

Are 'friends' electric? - Tubeway Army

One of the most famous hits from the Eighties is actually a song from the Seventies: 'Are 'friends' electric?' was released in 1979. Tubeway Army consisted of many different musicians, but the main members were Gary Webb (a.k.a. Gary Numan) and Paul Gardiner. 'Are 'friends' electric?' became their first hit after appearances in 'Whistle Test' and 'Top of the pops'. The single climbed steadily to stay at number one in the UK charts for 4 weeks. After this hit, Tubeway Army disbanded and Gary Numan went on solo.

These days, the track is a regular on Eighties compilation cd's. They were obviously ahead of their time...

My collection: 7" single no. 1216
Found: Record fair, Den Haag, April 22, 1990
Cost: 2 guilders
Tracks: 'Are 'friends' electric?' / 'We are so fragile'

Eat it - Weird Al Yankovic

In a world where Michael Jackson was just about the most famous person alive, it was no wonder that other people tried to make some money out of his work. Or try to parody him. Weird Al Yankovic shot to worldwide fame when he made a parody of Michael Jackson's video for 'Beat it', and a song to match. Entitled 'Eat it', the video was a shot-for-shot parody.

In America, the single made number 12 of the Billboard Hot 100, while it made number 36 in the UK singles chart. The single didn't chart in the Netherlands, but the video was on TV quite regularly.

My collection: 7" single no. 1917
Found: Record fair, Leiden, May 22, 1993
Cost: 5 guilders
Tracks: 'Eat it' / 'That boy could dance'

Blue emotion - Fiat Lux

Fiat Lux followed up their single 'Secrets' with the up-tempo track 'Blue emotion'. Some sounds on this track reminded me very much of Ultravox, and if someone had told me it was their new single, I probably would have believed it. My sister played this single a lot when I was younger, so when I came across this single years later, I still knew I wanted to have it.

I was really surprised, then, to find out I'd bought a copy on coloured vinyl. 'Blue emotion' was released on - wait for it - blue vinyl. How imaginative.

My collection: 7" single no. 2369
Found: House of Rhythm, London, July 1, 1995
Cost: 1 pound
Tracks: 'Blue emotion' / 'Sleepless nightmare'
Download: here

Kiss me - Indecent Obsession

Indecent Obsession formed in 1987 in Brisbane, Australia. David Dixon, Andrew Coyne, Michael Szumowski and Daryl Sims hit the Australian chart in 1989 with their single 'Say goodbye'. follow-up single 'Tell Me Something' peaked at number 17 two months later, but would be the band's last Australian Top 20 single.

Their second album 'Indio' spawned the single 'Kiss me', which became an international hit. It was number one in South Africa for an amazing 27 weeks. By comparison, they had a modest hit with this in the Netherlands, where it peaked at number 21 in the summer of 1992. In the UK, where I bought this limited poster bag edition of the single, it didn't chart at all.

My collection: 7" single no. 1773
Found: Kensington Market, London, October 21, 1992
Cost: 2 pounds
Tracks: 'Kiss me' / 'Mystery'
Download: here

Een beetje vrede - Nicole

The winner of the 1982 Eurovision Song Contest, Nicole, recorded her winning song 'Ein Bisschen Frieden' in six languages. One of them was the Dutch version, 'Een beetje vrede'. The thing that struck me back then was that this young German girl spoke (sang) better Dutch than my aunt in her fourties, who was born in Germany but spent two decades in the Netherlands, did.

Not only the A-side, but also the B-side, 'Thank you, merci, danke' was recorded in Dutch. It all helped Nicole reach the first place in the Dutch Top 40.

My collection: 7" single no. 3477
Found: Geest, Den Haag, 2003
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Een beetje vrede' / 'Thank you, merci, danke'
Download: here

Wunderbar - Tenpole Tudor

Eddie Tudor-Pole formed the British punk band Tenpole Tudor in 1974 with Bob Kingston, Dick Crippen and Gary Long. In 1980, they signed a recording contract with Stiff Records and released their debut single 'Three bells in a row' in 1980. A year later, their debut album 'Eddie, Old Bob, Dick and Gary' was released. This album spawned two hit singles, 'Sword of a thousand men' and 'Wunderbar'. The latter was the only single to have some success abroad: it reached number 4 in the Dutch Top 40.

My collection: 7" single no. 3385
Found: Geest, Den Haag, 2003
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Wunderbar' / 'Tenpole 45'

Sloppy heart - Frazier Chorus

Frazier Chorus released the single 'Sloppy heart' twice: their debut single in 1987 on 4AD records, and as their fourth single on Virgin Records in 1989. This is the latter. It features an edited version of the track on their debut album 'Sue'. The single reached number 73 in the UK singles chart.

The real treat of this single is the B-side: a cover of the Sex Pistols' 'Anarchy in the UK'. You would think that song doesn't lend itself to a ballad version, until you hear this.

My collection: 7" single no. 2524
Found: Beanos, East Croydon, London, November 1, 1995
Cost: 2 pounds
Tracks: 'Sloppy heart' / 'Anarchy in the UK'
Download: here

Come home Billy Bird - The Divine Comedy

In 2004, The Divine Comedy released their eighth studio album, 'Absent friends'. The first single, 'Come home Billy Bird' featured ex-Kenickie vocalist Lauren Laverne. Released on 7" vinyl, the B-side track was 'All things', which was not released on the cd-single and remains unreleased on cd to this day.

'Come home Billy Bird' was only the second 7" vinyl single I bought in 2004 (the first one being 'Waterloo'), on a total of only five. To date it is still the year in which I bought the lowest number of 7" singles since 1977.

My collection: 7" single no. 3405
Found: hmv.co.uk website, 2004
Cost: 2 pounds
Tracks: 'Come home Billy Bird' / 'All things'
Download: here

Living on video ('85 re-mix) - Trans X

After I'd bought 'Living on video' shortly after it was released, Trans X disappeared from the scene. The duo consisting of Pascal Languirand and Cerstin Strecker, hailing from Canada, did release some more singles, but they failed to chart outside of Canada. In 1985, Trans X released a 1985 re-mix of 'Living on video', which reached number 9 in the UK singles chart. Incidentally, the original version didn't chart in that country. In the Netherlands, the original version reached number 12 in the summer of 1983, but this remix version didn't chart. And so I only found out about this single more than a decade later.

My collection: 7" single no. 2896
Found: Beanos, East Croydon, London, October 29, 1997
Cost: 1 pound
Tracks: 'Living on video ('85 re-mix)' / 'Digital world'
Download: here

If I say yes - Five Star

'If I say yes' was the fourth single taken from Five Star's 1986 album 'Silk and steel'. The single reached number 15 in the UK singles chart, but didn't chart in the Netherlands.

The 12" single features remixes of 'If I say yes' (by Phil Harding) and the previous single 'Can't wait another minute' (by John Morales and Sergio Munzibair (a.k.a. M&M)). The instrumental B-side 'Let me down easy' completes this set.

My collection: 12" single no. 345
Found: Plaatboef, Rotterdam, 1998
Cost: 2,5 guilders
Tracks: 'If I say yes (extended mix)' / 'Let me down easy', 'Can't wait another minute (M&M New York remix)'
Download: here

Oh, ich will betteln, ich will stehlen - The New Seekers

The New Seekers were founded in 1969 by Keith Potger after the Seekers split up. The idea was that the new group would appeal to the same market as the previous one. He recuited Laurie Heath, Chris Barrington, Marty Kristian and the sisters Eve and Sally Graham.

In 1972, the New Seekers were chosen to represent the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest. They performed the song 'Beg, steal or borrow'. which was chosen out of six songs. They went on to finish in second place at the Eurovision final in Edinburgh. The song reached number 2 in the UK singles chart and number 3 in the Netherlands. In Germany, a German version of the song was released, entitled 'Oh, ich will betteln, ich will stehlen'. I found this single and bought it for its curiosity value.

My collection: 7" single no. 3475
Found: Empire Records, Den Haag, December 11, 2008
Cost: 0,5 euro
Tracks: 'Oh, ich will betteln, ich will stehlen' / 'Move me Lord'
Download: here

Turn my back on you - Sade

This remix of 'Turn my back on you' was the fourth and last single drawn from Sade's third album 'Stronger than pride'. At the time, I felt it was the worst track on the album and I was very surprised to find that it was released as a single. I also remember the video, which was a busy, hyperactive affair. While I appreciate the track better now, twenty years later, the years have not been kind to the video: I still can't stand to see it.

The cd-single of this track was released as a small, 3" cd. I didn't buy it at the time, which I really regret now, because it is nowhere to be found. So contact me if you have one and want to get rid of it. :)

My collection: 7" single no. 800
Found: Disco Market, Den Haag, April 21, 1989
Cost: 3,5 guilders
Tracks: 'Turn my back on you (remix)' / 'Keep looking'

Dirty Diana - Michael Jackson

'Dirty Diana' was the fifth single taken from Michael Jackson's 1987 album 'Bad'. Like the four previous singles, it reached number 1 in the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, whereas it reached number 4 in the UK and number 2 in the Netherlands.

Jackson hired Billy Idol's former guitarist Steve Stevens to back him on the track. There were rumours that the lyric (and title) of the song referred to Diana, Princess of Wales or Diana Ross, but in a recent interview with Quincy Jones, he revealed that the song was actually about groupies. When Jackson performed live in London at Wembley Stadium in the presence of Lady Diana, he cut the song from the set. Ironically, she then confessed that it was one of her personal favourites.

My collection: 7" single no. 3504
Found: Record mania, Amsterdam, December 27, 2008
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Dirty Diana' / 'Dirty Diana (instrumental)'
Download: here

Fantastic day - Haircut One Hundred

I didn't know the song 'Fantastic day' when Nick Heyward appeared as one of the artists during the 2001 Here and Now tour. He played this track and it was a real live favourite. The compilation cd I bought during this tour only contained a live version, so it was great to hear the studio version when I finally found the single.

Haircut One Hundred was formed in 1980 by Nick Heyward, Les Nemes, Tim Jenkins and Rob Stroud. Jenkins left the band before they were signed to a record company, followed later by Stroud. They were replaced with Graham Jones and Blair Cunningham. With this lineup they achieved their biggest commercial successes with this single, 'Boy meets girl' (1981) and 'Love plus one' (1982).

My collection: 7" single no. 3567
Found: La La Land, Den Haag, January 31, 2009
Cost: 1,5 euro
Tracks: 'Fantastic day' / 'Ski club'
Download: here

The jam was moving - Debbie Harry

'The Jam Was Moving' was the second and final single from Debbie Harry's debut solo album, 'Koo Koo'. After Debbie's debut solo single, 'Backfired' failed to become the big hit everyone expected, there was no video and little promotion for this single. Unsurprisingly, this second single flopped. In 1988 Debbie Harry and Chris Stein themselves remixed 'The Jam Was Moving' for inclusion on the Blondie/Debbie Harry remix compilation 'Once More into the Bleach'.

I bought this single because I was curious about the track. It is a nice track but I can see why it didn't appeal to the general public: it's a bit of a boring, repetitive song.

My collection: 7" single no. 3565
Found: La La Land, Den Haag, January 31, 2009
Cost: 1,5 euro
Tracks: 'The jam was moving [7" remix]' / 'Chrome'
Download: here

Revolution baby - Transvision Vamp

'Revolution baby' was the last single by Transvision Vamp I ever bought. It was a gamble: whereas I knew the three others before I bought them, I hadn't heard this one at all. It is a far less memorable song, which is why I stopped buying their singles.

Still, it was a hit, reaching number 30 in the UK in the summer of 1988. The band went on to release the hit album 'Pop Art' in October. It stayed on the album chart for 32 weeks, peaking at number 4.

My collection: 7" single no. 2906
Found: Record Exchange, London, October 31, 1997
Cost: 1 pound
Tracks: 'Revolutoin baby' / 'Honey honey', 'Long lonely weekend'
Download: here

You should be dancing - Bee Gees

'You should be dancing' was released by the Bee Gees in 1976. It became a US number one hit, whereas it reached number 5 in the UK and number 17 in the Netherlands. It was this song that first launched the Bee Gees into disco stardom, although rock-oriented drums and guitars can be heard in the background.

'You Should Be Dancing' is known today as the first charttopper in which Barry Gibb uses his now-trademark falsetto. The song was prominently featured in the movie Saturday Night Fever and appears on its soundtrack album.

My collection: 7" single no. 3563
Found: La La Land, Den Haag, January 31, 2009
Cost: 1,5 euro
Tracks: 'You should be dancing' / 'Subway'

Soul Cha Cha - Van McCoy

Van McCoy was born on January 6, 1940. McCoy moved to Philadelphia just before he was twenty, where he formed his own label Rockin' Records, and released his first single Hey Mr. DJ in 1959. This single gained the attention of Scepter Records owner Florence Greenberg, who hired McCoy as a staff writer and A&R Representative. As a writer there, McCoy wrote many hits for Gladys Knight & The Pips, Chris Bartley and Jackie Wilson, amongst others. He also put together the hit-making duo of Peaches & Herb, arranging and co-producing their first hit, 'Let's Fall In Love'.

In the second half of the Seventies he made a series of solo albums. His biggest single success was 'The Hustle' (1975), but in 1977 he had two hits in the UK with 'Soul Cha Cha' and 'The Shuffle'. These two tracks are both mainly instrumental, although the former contains vocals by a certain Zulema. In the Netherlands, only 'Soul Cha Cha' became a hit, reaching number 7 in the spring of 1977, but 'The Shuffle' was included on the B-side and became a popular radio tune for Radio Veronica.

Van McCoy died from a heart attack in Englewood, New Jersey on July 6, 1979.

My collection: 7" single no. 3474
Found: Empire Records, Den Haag, December 11, 2008
Cost: 0,5 euro
Tracks: 'Soul Cha Cha' / 'The Shuffle'
Download: here
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