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Music and MP3: 2000
I've been involved in music for all of my life. I have a great love of rare, alternative "new wave" type of music. Some people call it synthpop. You know, those songs that you have heard in movies and so on, you don't know the artist or the name of the song...but it's such a great song! I grew up listening to radio station CFNY, and dedicated a fair bit of my life to this kind of music.
Read the story of my career as a professional club DJ.
This is the reason why I have put up this page. I've seen other people do similar things, particularly the excellent Blake's Rare Recording of the Week. However, the other pages never seem to post the music that I would have myself selected. Couple this with the fact that I own well in excess of 2,000 records and CD's, much of which is extremely rare and hard to find. It's a real shame that this music ends up sitting on my shelves, not being played. This is my solution.
Once a week on Mondays, I will post a rare track of my choosing in MP3 format. Feel free to email me your suggestions, but please remember that it is my choice. Once the track has been online for four weeks, it will be taken off, permanently.
All tracks are encoded at 160 Kbps or better using the Fraunhofer encoding engine. The majority of the tracks are mastered from vinyl, however it is done through studio-grade equipment, and all editing is done in the digital domain.
December 25, 2000
Come now, being that this is a Synthpop page, could I really feature any other song on Christmas? :)
Released in November of 1984, it debuted in the UK at number one, and made it to number one in the US two weeks later, benefiting starving Ethiopians. Written by Bob Geldof and produced by Midge Ure and Trevor Horn, it sold over fifty million copies.
This is a special 12" mix that has an extended break 3/4 the way through in which the various performers send their spoken messages. It took me years to find this record. :)
An just in case you were wondering, the performers on the track were (in alphabetic order): Bananarama, Bob Geldof, Culture Club, David Bowie, Duran Duran, Eurythmics, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Heaven 17, Human League, Kool and the Gang, Midge Urge, Paul McCartney, Paul Young, Phil Collins, Spandau Ballet, Status Quo, Sting, The Style Council, U2 and Wham!
As far as I know the 12" version was never re-released, but the original version can be found on a Midge Ure/Ultravox compilation. You can purchase the compilation online here!
December 18, 2000
On to our two weeks of Christmas! Week one is a 1981 song that used to be quite difficult to find, but seems to be sprouting up everywhere now, and is featured on Oglio's "The Edge of Christmas" compilation. Interestingly, it wasn't that popular when it first came out, but has survived the years, and is now played fairly often - and still sounds (more or less) current. You can read the lyrics, but you really need to hear the song to get the idea. In 1998 the Spice Girls covered this song, but I think the original is far superior.
December 11, 2000
From the album "Anywhere", our final New Musik track this week is "Churches" (and yes, it was hard just picking three! Can you tell I love New Musik?). This is from the "Anywhere" album, which was at one time released on CD, but has long since been deleted. One can only hope for a re-release.
You can purchase New Musik music online here!
Lastly, I received an email this week from Ray Burmiston of the Passion Puppets. He sent me an update which I have posted here. Enjoy!
December 4, 2000
From the debut track last week to one of the final New Musik tracks ever released this week: From the album of the same name: Warp. This album has not yet been released on CD - our fingers are crossed, however. The first time I played this record, I nearly died, thinking my turntable had suddenly developed a strange disease! Fear not, that weird WARPING sound near the end of the track is supposed to be there. Enjoy this week's portion of the New Musik extravaganza. We have one more week to go of New Musik before we move into Christmas synthpop!
Once again, if you haven't yet checked out my new The Spirit Of Radio site, you really should. Please visit and let me know what you think!
You can purchase New Musik music online here!
November 27, 2000
I've been putting off posting New Musik material for quite some time, simply because it is one of my favorite all-time groups, and I couldn't decide on a single track to post to represent the best of their music. I've given up trying to decide, so for the next few weeks we will be featuring New Musik Music.
New Musik is Tony Mansfield, legendary producer of so many famous bands that I can't remember them all. A partial list includes:
Tony's own band is New Musik. New Musik released three albums in the early 1980's, and has reportedly put material together for a new album to be released any day now - we're all waiting anxiously.
One of the best Tony Mansfield web sites I have come across is Jonas Wårstad's web site in Sweden - lots of information and links.
To begin the New Musik extravaganza, I'm starting with "Straight Lines". New Musik's debut track from 1979. Released as a 7" single in 1979, this version appeared on 1980's album "From A to B".
Lastly, before I leave off this week, I thought I would leave a short promo for another site which I just premiered this past week. The Spirit Of Radio is a tribute site to one of the greatest radio stations in North America, Toronto's CFNY. Through the 1980's, CFNY played and introduced some of the greatest music of the decade, including every single song featured on this page. CFNY shaped my life for many years, I would have been in a very different place in life now if it had not been around. Please visit and let me know what you think!
You can purchase New Musik music online here!
November 20, 2000
This track is one of the most rare tracks that I have featured. It is not currently on any album easily found, and was hard to find back even when it was new. It is produced by something a bit different than is found in the popular music world today: A small partnership between two people intent on producing high-quality and interesting music, without the baggage of large record companies. The result is Dave Stewart and Barbara Gaskin. This is my favorite track of theirs, and, I will admit, it is not a track I own myself - I was sent this track by a friend, which is why it is encoded at only 128 kbps rather than my usual 160 kbps. I decided to overlook this technical fact in order to introduce this wonderful music to the masses, in hopes you go on to discover more of their productions.
Take the time to visit their web site. It is aptly titled: "Pop Music For Grown-Ups". I'd tell you more about Dave and Barbara, but they do it far better on their own site - do have a look!
November 13, 2000
In 1981, The Specials, one of the first real punk bands, decided they had become too much of a commercial commodity, and broke up. Three of the dissidents, Terry Hall, Neville Staples and Lynval Golding formed a new band called The Fun Boy Three. Their very first single is this one. Written about the current leaders (Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan), it was describing how they had no control over the countries they were supposedly leading.
In Canada, this was really the only song from the group that had any airplay at all, and most of that was on CFNY and City-TV. This song was not well known in their native England. Later on, the group released a cover of The Go-Go's "Our Lips Are Sealed", which became a huge hit in England - the Go-Go's version never having become a hit there.
Later on, David Byrne (from the Talking Heads) was involved with the group, producing some of their material.
You can purchase some Fun Boy Three music online here!
November 5, 2000
I have absolutely no information on this group. I've found nothing online anywhere, nothing in any compilations, nothing on the 12" vinyl itself. So from the 12" single cover, this is the information I do have:
This track was released in 1987, recorded and mixed at Dynaton Studios by Alexander (Axel) Henninger, who also happens to own Dynaton Studios. Mr. Henninger also happened to produce and engineer Camouflage's "Voices & Images" album at this studio, which produced the hit "The Great Commandment." He's heavily involved with a band called "Chandeen," of which I've never heard before.
Printed near the bottom of the cover it states:
"We would like to thank all the people at Westside and Future Dance. - Ray & David"
No idea who Ray or David are, as they are not mentioned in the credits or anywhere else.
Ah well. Lack of information aside, let's move on...this week's track was a dance club hit, and even made it on air in some more open-minded markets. It's a very liberal remake of the Sinatra hit of the same name. If you like the track, you can find it on the Hardest Hits 3 compilation.
Addendum, November 4, 2002:
Talla 2XLC, a well-known trance DJ touring today, is from the old school days of the early eighties and has worked as a DJ in Germany, spinning Kraftwerk, YMO and Depeche Mode in Frankfurt. Soon thereafter he became the founding father of the legendary Technoclub @ Dorain Gray (1984), which led to rising popularity in his native Germany.
Talla 2XLC is credited for being one of the pioneers of the global Techno scene - attributed mainly to his unique blend of both Techno & Trance.
While DJing in the 80s, he had many side projects recording with German synthpop bands and one of them, among others was…Microchip League.
Thanks to Jeff Inkster for this info.
October 30, 2000
In 1988 an Australian band called Big Pig emerged, and released an album called "Bonk", upon which was their single hit, "Breakaway." Consisting of seven members, they vanished after releasing this record, and as far as I know, have not been heard from again.
The album version of the song did quite well on top 40 radio (well enough that it was used in an episode of Miami Vice!), however the 12 inch version posted here this week was a relative rarity.
Originally released on A&M, "Bonk" was re-released in 1992 by Mushroom Records, including a couple remixes on the album.
You can buy "Bonk" online here!
October 23, 2000
In 1988, Depeche Mode released a new song called "Situations." It was very much in their typical style - except for one thing: It wasn't Depeche Mode. It was a relatively unknown German band called Cetu Javu. It was very difficult to convince people that they were not listening to Depeche Mode - the musical style was identical, the singer's voice was almost exactly the same.
Nevertheless, Cetu Javu, formed in 1985, continued on after their huge alternative hit "Situations", and the subsequent album "Southern Lands" that contained it, with their most recent release being in 1993 (excepting a 1995 "Best Of" album). According to their web site (hope you can read German), they are still together, and do plan a new release at some unspecified future date.
You can purchase Cetu Javu's "Southern Lands" album online here!
October 16, 2000
Strawberry Switchblade started out in 1981 as a foursome. In 1982 it was pared down to two: Rose McDowall and Jill Bryson, two self-described "scabby witches from Glasgow (Scotland)." The duo debuted in 1983 with "Trees and Flowers", but it wasn't until they released this week's track in October of 1984 that they had their true breakthrough. They broke up in 1986.
Unfortunately, this song exists in only two versions - a very short (2 minutes 45 seconds) album version, and a longer 12" version which is full of clarinet and doesn't have the synth-poppy jump of the album version. I decided that if I was going to feature the track this week, I would have to do something about this.
Therefore, this week's track is actually a remix I did myself. I've pulled bits in from both the 12" version and the album version, added a bit here and there, and pulled things out a bit longer, making the 2:45 version a 4:55 version. Enjoy, and what you think!
You can purchase the first Strawberry Switchblade album online here!
October 9, 2000
Sorry for the late posting this week - this was a long weekend (Thanksgiving!) up here in Canada, and I was away.
First off this week is a small correction. In the July 10 SSQ entry, I had stated that Stacey Q had retired from the music industry and was raising her children in Miami. Her assistant Shawn contacted me this week to let me know that no, she hadn't retired, she doesn't live in Miami, and she does not have any children. Hmmm. Kudos to Shawn for the correction, and a big fat raspberry to the web site that supplied me with that information originally.
This week's track I know very little about. It is a "by request" track, one that I hadn't thought of posting, but is worthwhile, I think. The cover of the single features a couple of young guys who look like they have no idea what they are doing in the music industry. :) They charted in the UK with this track in April 1989, reaching number 4. It did not chart in the US. They made it back onto the UK charts in July with "London Nights" at number 2....and subsequently disappeared from the face of the earth.
"London Nights" never made any sort of impact over here in North America, while "Requiem" made it as a club hit but not much more. It's a happy, bouncy tune, with a fair chorus to it, and a decent beat. Enjoy!
October 2, 2000
Lene Lovich (pronounced Lay-na Luv-itch) was originally born in Detroit, but grew up in England, later working with the likes of Nina Hagen (to whom she has an uncanny resemblance). She had several UK hits in the early 1980's with "Lucky Number," "Say When," "Bird Song," and "New Toy," but failed to make inroads into North America outside of alternative music outlets, and faded when New Wave faded. She did produce one more album in 1990, but it was not well received and she retired from music once again.
This track of hers is one of my favorite 1980's songs - I like the 12" version of this track so much, I couldn't decide whether to use the extended version or the "Version" version. I finally decided to include them both. Enjoy!
You can purchase quite a bit of Lene's music online here!
September 25, 2000
This band emerged from Blackpool, Lancashire (very near to where my wife is from!) in 1978. A 1979 charity concert organized by the group caught the attention of Joy Division's Ian Curtis, and he was sufficiently impressed to finance the recording of several singles, which were released on Factory Records, with whom they subsequently signed.
In the early 80's, their work became more and more chaotic and inaccessible, until 1984 when they decided to produce a more commercial sounding album. This resulted in "From the Hip", from which this single was taken. This is the 12" single version, which became a dance club smash, no doubt due to the brilliant, constant, pounding bass line throughout the song.
The band broke up in 1988, and the inevitable "best of" compilation followed in 1991.
You can purchase Section 25 music, including the "From the Hip" album with quite a few bonus tracks, online here!
Yet another band that I know absolutely nothing about, other than that they were originally from England, and appeared on Stiff Records, which is now owned by ZTT. I show that The Passion Puppets, who released this song in 1983, consisted of two people named Burmiston and Screene, and that this track was produced by Roger Becherian.
And that's all I know!
This track appeared on the Hardest Hits Volume 1 compilation, which itself is a rare and impossible-to-find album.
Update: On December 6, 2000, I received the following email from Ray Burmiston in England, who was one of the members of the Passion Puppets. Thanks so much to Ray for this update.
The Passion Puppets were a five piece from Camden, London. I was the singer, along with Miki Screene (bass/vox), Andy P, Dave Rollins (guitars) and Simon Langford Godfrey (drums).
We released three singles in '83/84 (Like Dust, Voices, Beyond The Pale) and one album (Beyond The Pale), in '84 on Stiff Records. The album was on MCA in the States.
I now take photos of pop stars instead of being one, mainly for record companies and UK based teen mags. I've also just finished an album (Miniworld) with my latest project (Kicking The Moon) - sort of song based dance tunes, more mellow than the Puppets, less anger, more angst.
Thanks for your interest, it's good to know that our stuff is still giving pleasure after so long.
Take care, best wishes
September 11, 2000
Emerging from Sheffield in 1974, Cabaret Voltaire started out as a performance art group, with a bassist Stephen Mallinder, guitarist Richard H. Kirk, and a tape loop manipulator, Chris Watson. It wasn't until 1978 that they first appeared on Manchester label Factory Record's compilation A Factory Sampler. They moved shortly afterwards to Rough Trade, and moved into the electronic world that produced Sensoria - my personal favorite Cabaret Voltaire track. Sensoria was from 1984's album Micro-Phonies, and their 1983 album The Crackdown, with its title track, is also quite excellent. Moving later into the realm of Chicago house music and then into pure dance and electronica, Cabaret Voltaire disbanded in 1994.
You can purchase Cabaret Voltaire music online here!
September 4, 2000
Al Jourgensen (the man behind Ministry) just wishes this song would go away, and as such it does not appear on any compilation. According to him, it was what he was forced to produce very early on (1982) by a record company that wanted a dance hit. I consider it to be one of Ministry's best songs. It's Ministry's later work that I find to be unlistenable noise punctuated by mindless screaming. Of course, that's just my opinion. :)
In any case, this is the very first Ministry single, taken from a promo-only 12". I used to play it in my clubs, and it got some radio airplay as well at CFNY. Enjoy!
On another topic, I received an email this week from Philippe Saisse, ex of Doppelganger. It seems there just might be some more Doppelganger material in the future. You read it here first. :) You can read his email to me here.
You can purchase Ministry music (albeit most of it unlistenable noise) :) online here!
August 27, 2000
Back when I was playing in dance clubs, Ministry's (Everyday is) Halloween was one of the most popular and requested songs. Like most of the popular songs, we DJ's got sick of it being requested, because we got sick of playing the same track over and over. When new remixes such as this one were released, it was like a breath of fresh air - we could satisfy the crowd with a song they loved, give them something new, and avoid playing that same old worn-out track.
Ministry went on to ignore this track, as well as an earlier track of theirs - which will be featured next week - denouncing its synth-based beginnings for a hard-core industrial sound. I still prefer their earlier work, however.
You can purchase Ministry music online here!
Yet another track that I know very little about. I do know that it was released in 1985, and that in 1984 Scary Thieves released another amazingly good track called "Tell Me Girl." I do know that drummer "CP Snare" (an obvious alias) also played for Big Country and a band called "Spizzenergi" before playing with Scary Thieves.
Once again, if you know more about this group or this song, please and I'll update this entry.
Update: The complete story on Scary Thieves is now featured at the June 23, 2003 entry.
August 14, 2000
I know very little about this song or the artist. I do know that Ryan Paris is from Italy, and that Dolce Vita is a perfect example of mid-1980's "Italo Disco", along with Gazebo's I Like Chopin. This song was virtually unknown in North America, although it did chart in the UK and Europe. A very tuneful and melodic song, if you heard it and I Like Chopin one after another, you could almost swear they were by the same artist. I don't even know the proper year this track was released - my 12" vinyl copy of this single has no date on it anywhere, either on the label or in the run-out portion of the vinyl.
Nevertheless, here is this week's track. If you have some information on Ryan Paris that you'd like to share with me, please do so, and I'll update this week's entry.
Update: Dave Rout from Toronto emailed me with this information:
My 12" has no date either...however I know that Dolce Vita was co-written by Paul Mazzolini, who is none other than Gazebo.
That would probably explain the similarities between those tunes :)
I have the Sweet Life LP by Gazebo (1990), and it has a different version of Dolce Vita on it. It also lists Dolce Vita as being written by him and Ryan in 1983.
You can purchase this single online here!
August 7, 2000
Bill Nelson is an extremely prolific musician who has been releasing music since 1971. He was a seminal member of Be Bop Deluxe, and has released a considerable amount of music as a solo artist. He has a total of 65 (!) albums released to date, and continues to produce great music at a prolific rate. His record label, Cocteau Records, released music by artists such as A Flock of Seagulls, Fiat Lux and Be Bop Deluxe.
This track is one of my favorite Bill Nelson songs, along with Acceleration. I hope you enjoy it too.
You can purchase Bill's newer music online here!
You can visit Bill's own site online here.
July 31, 2000
Way back in February when I started this whole thing, the first track I picked was from Toronto artist Lisa Dal Bello, better known as Dalbello. Her 1984 album whomanfoursays (a play on "human forces"), her fourth album, was her first real foray into the top-40 music of the time, and her first real critical success. This is another track from that album, and still remains one of my favorite.
Dalbello has been quite prolific since whomanfoursays, but rather than repeat it here, I will redirect you to her own excellent web site. Enjoy yourself with Dalbello.
You can purchase Dalbello albums online here!
July 24, 2000
Most people have never heard of Hashim. But play just a few seconds of his seminal club classic Al-Naafiysh, and they know it instantly. Al-Naafiysh was the very first release of Cutting Records, a label based in New York City and created in 1983 by Aldo Marin when he was 20. Aldo started DJ'ing at age 12, and at 18 had his own show on New York's WKTU.
Hashim was a budding musician from the nearby projects who would go visit Aldo with a small Casio keyboard and play songs that were out at the time. One day, they were fooling around at Aldo's house and did a mix with a lot of the melodies from a lot of different songs put together. Aldo told him, "Man, let's make a record! I'll get the gear, I'll buy the keyboard, buy a mixing board," and Al-Naafiysh was born. The record is still selling today, seventeen years later.
Cutting Records went on to produce many freestyle and dance acts, especially in the late eighties. Many of the records I played in my clubs and still own today, such as Sa-Fire, Nitro Deluxe, Corina, 2 In a Room, and more.
You can purchase Hashim music online here!
It was 1984, SSQ's Playback album had been released, and SSQ was about to transform into Stacey Q. Jon Saint James, the musical genius behind SSQ, decided to release a track of his own, under his own name. This brilliant song was that track. This is a fairly rare song, one of the only compilations it has appeared on is "Hardest Hits Volume 1", which itself has become extremely rare. Enjoy!
July 10, 2000
A little less rare than some of the material we have featured on this page, SSQ's Jet Town is nonetheless pure synthpop at its best. SSQ was essentially Stacey Swain and Jon St. James (you'll see more from Jon next week!) In 1983, their debut (and only) album, Playback was released. It contained four tremendous synthpop hits:
With St. James' landmark instrumentation and Stacey's perfect, pure vocals, SSQ became a huge underground hit in clubs and on alternative radio stations worldwide.
Most people think SSQ simply disappeared after Playback was released - but they are wrong! In 1986, Stacey Swain was reborn as "Stacey Q", and became a huge top-40 hit worldwide with the release of Better than Heaven, containing the worldwide smash "Two of Hearts." Two more "Stacey Q" albums followed, the second one being co-produced by St. James and Civilles/Cole, better known as C&C Music Factory.
Stacey released an album "Boomerang" in 1997 and is working on her next album now. Thanks to her assistant Shawn for this information!
You can purchase Stacey Q albums online here!
July 3, 2000
The Associates, while not well-known in North America, were very popular in their native Scotland. The Associates, originally known by the name "Mental Torture," was started by Alan Rankine. At the age of 18, Alan used to play guitar in band from Edinburg named Caspian that was looking for a singer. Billy MacKenzie was playing in a band named Stan and Deliver at the time. Alan had heard about Billy's extraordinary vocal talent and went to see him live. Caspian auditioned Billy and signed him even before their managers had the time to send "vocalist wanted" ads to the music papers. Billy won the audition sessions with an acapella version of the female solo vocal of Pink Floyd's "The great gig in the sky."
Billy had an absolutely superb vocal range, as well as an innate talent for writing brilliant songs. The Associates flourished and produced several songs which became huge hits across England, Europe, and in alternative venues in North America. Unfortunately, despite having just signed a new record deal, Billy decided in January of 1997 that he could not continue living, and took his own life.
Martyn Ware of Heaven 17 produced several Associates tracks, and told me this shortly after returning from his funeral: "He was only one of two geniuses I've ever been lucky enough to work with (Green is the other). I'm still devastated."
June 26, 2000
Another Canadian group is our feature this week: Rational Youth was made up of Tracey Howe and Bill Vorn, Tracey having been a former member of Men Without Hats. Idolizing Kraftwerk, the two Montreal-based musicians decided to create a group of their own to produce electronic music, and Rational Youth was born in the summer of 1981. After they released the single "Coboloid Race c/w I Want To See The Light", they released the album "Cold War Night Life" in 1982, which quickly became a classic synthpop standard. On the album was this track, "Saturdays in Silesia" which quickly became a hit in clubs and on radio stations across Canada, particularly CFNY. This is the 12" single version from the YUL vinyl.
Rational Youth continued on in one form or another, with a hiatus of quite a few years. Reformed in 1999, they released a fantastic new album, "To the Goddess Electricity" - their first album in fourteen years!
Rational Youth has their own web site, with lots of details on their history, music, and future. Quite a few of their songs can also be downloaded from their MP3.com page. Lastly, you can purchase their new album, "To the Goddess Electricity" online here.
June 19, 2000
Moral Support was a Canadian group formed when Sandro Durante met closet musician and avid keyboard synthesist Richard Cranford in 1982. After experimenting and jamming together, they really liked what they were coming up with, and decided to get serious about putting an act together. Richard was brilliant with electronics, modifying all of his keyboards and effects devices and controlling everything by computer. When they went to the studio to record, nobody could understand Richard's setup, so they ended up producing themselves. "Strange Day for Dancing" was nominated for a 1984 CASBY "Single of the Year" award, and was also released as a video. Moral Support called it quits shortly afterwards in 1986.
June 12, 2000
This 1985 song was another one that was extremely popular in the clubs, got limited airplay on alternative radio stations, and was completely unknown anywhere else. Doppelganger, as far as I know, released only one 12" single, which is this one. Doppelganger was made up of:
Randy Fredrix (guitars, vocals). Randy was the lead guitarist in Mayday, a short-lived conventional rock group, releasing a self-titled album in 1981 and another album, "Revenge," in 1982. The first album had two new-wavish tracks on it, both being sung by Randy.
Philippe Saisse (keyboards, programming, vocals). Now an accomplished and established jazz musician, Philippe is a classically trained keyboardist, who started his career as a session musician. Having played on recordings by David Bowie, Rolling Stones, Chaka Khan (he appears on her seminal "I Feel For You"), Chic, B-52's, Nile Rodgers and Tina Turner (among many others), he began producing as well.
John "Tokes" Potoker (SSL, faders, tapes, special effects). Now a world-famous producer with a huge list of accomplishments, John produced this single and received performance credit as well.
Update: On August 30, 2000, I received this email from Philippe Saisse:
Thought you might like to hear that I rekindled my friendship with my old "Doppelganger" partner, Randy Fredrix. He now lives in upstate New York and has sent me some new material. A "Doppelganger" reunion you might ask?...
June 5, 2000
Ian Loveday was the man behind EON, and he started putting out "techno" music in 1985 with a primitive setup including a basic drum machine, non-MIDI keyboard and a reel-to-reel tape deck with which he used to create loops, lacking a sampler. An electronics fanatic, Loveday continually added to his home studio, putting out his first EON record in 1986.
In 1990, he put out "Spice," which became an instant worldwide club hit. It was one of those songs that nobody knew the name of, but that everyone knew. Sampling from the film "Dune," the quote "He who controls the spice, controls the universe!" echoes repeatedly throughout the track.
Two unique features showed up on the 12" single of Spice. The first is something I have only encountered on a few other records, out of the thousands I have heard and played. At the end of the track, in the record's lead-out (the part near the middle of the record after the song is over, where the needle moves quickly to the middle, then stays in the single track, going "click....click...click..." until someone turns it off), instead of silence like virtually every other record, the sound continues, so that technically, the song will run forever. I left several revolutions of this at the end of this MP3 so that you can hear the result.
The second unique feature occurs on quite a few more records. In the lead-out section of the record, where the grooves are a good quarter inch apart, is blank vinyl. Normally, you will see hand-written catalog numbers in this area. In some records, more often in 12" singles than in albums, sometimes the artists write quotes, names, or whatever strikes their fancy. On this record is written the quote:
"He who controls the spice, controls the music business!"
You can purchase EON albums online here!
May 29, 2000
In 1982, Martin Page, Brian Fairweather, Trevor Thornton and Chris Richardson formed Q-Feel, moved from England to the United States, and released their self-titled album. The album had the huge hit, "Dancing In Heaven" on it. However, it was not a top-40 hit, at least not in North America. Everybody knew the song, it was a dance club favorite, it was featured in many movies - but nobody knew who the group was! Something that always bothered me about the song is during one of the synthesizer solos, which were obviously played by hand, you can clearly hear the player hit a wrong key. The first time I heard the mistake was years after the first time I heard the song. Unfortunately, ever since I heard the error, I now hear it every time I listen to the song. :)
Martin Page, Q-Feel's founder, was a professional soccer player in the UK, and gave it up to move to the US and found Q-Feel. After Q-Feel's huge initial hit, they faded from sight quickly, and disappeared. Martin, however, continued his musical career writing hit songs for other artists, such as Heart's "These Dreams", Starship's "We Built This City" and Go West's "King of Wishful Thinking."
Q-Feel is a distant memory. But we will always have Dancing In Heaven.
May 22, 2000
Many people have heard of Soft Cell. Unfortunately, they have only heard of one song - "Tainted Love". The voice behind Soft Cell, the very talented Marc Almond has had (and continues to have) an extremely prolific and productive career, followed closely by rabidly loyal fans. Marc is one of the most productive musicians today, and the sheer volume of amazing, quality music he has put out will overwhelm even the most interested fans.
This track is an earlier track, back from the Soft Cell days (he now releases all his music under his own name). This 12" version was released in originally in 1982 as the follow-up to "Tainted Love", and a remixed version was re-released in 1991. The lush melodies and weaving of clarinet against the synthesized background was, and still is, revolutionary for this type of music.
Marc Almond's site can be viewed here.
May 15, 2000
Up until now, I have tried to post older, somewhat obscure tracks, things that I loved but that were not widely known, in hope that I would be able to expand the musical horizons of the various people who happen across this page. I'm going to deviate slightly from that routine for this week. This week's track is from one of my all-time favorite bands, Underworld (you will see them mentioned lower down this page in Freur's "Doot Doot" entry on April 10). In some circles, and particularly in most of Europe, Underworld is a very well-known band, producing many albums and more notably, being one of the few dance-music type acts that can pull off an amazing live show. However, in most of North America, and certainly in conventional top-40 circles, Underworld is completely unknown.
The main reason I am posting an Underworld track this week is because one of the members, Darren Emerson, decided this past week to leave the group to have more time to dedicate to his growing family - a noble and understandable reason, but one that leaves legion Underworld fans in the lurch, wondering what will become of the group.
This week's track is a studio version of "Jumbo." I have many bootleg copies of live Underworld performances, including some recorded from German radio stations (the band is huge in Germany), but the problem is that each one of the improvisationally rich live tracks can be up to ten minutes long, making the resultant MP3 files prohibitively large. I have therefore picked the studio version of "Jumbo" as a representative Underworld track. If you like it, I highly recommend you go out and purchase some of their albums. You won't be disappointed.
You can purchase Underworld albums online here!
May 8, 2000
The Parachute Club was a group of Toronto musicians who got together and released "Rise Up," their first single, in 1983. This single won a Juno award for Single of the Year, and deservedly so. The follow-up album, "At the Feet of the Moon" caused them to win the Juno for Group of the Year along with U-Knows for Album of the Year, Group of the Year and Female Vocalist of the Year (for the lead singer, Lorraine Segato). The band split up in 1989 after a hugely successful trip through the 80's, generating multiple top-10 singles in Canada, as well as critical recognition as one of the most talented and outspoken groups. This single is the album version of their very first single, the one that started it all.
You can read more about Parachute Club here.
You can purchase Parachute Club albums online here!
May 1, 2000
The third and final week of the Heaven 17 series, this is the last track that I myself remixed from the Bigger Than America album. Once again, if you care to, of them.
You can purchase Heaven 17 albums, including Bigger Than America, online here!
April 24, 2000
Week two of the Heaven 17 series, this is the second track I myself remixed from the Bigger Than America album. Once again, if you care to, of them.
You can purchase Heaven 17 albums, including Bigger Than America, online here!
April 17, 2000
Say "Heaven 17" to anybody in Europe or England, and the first thing they say is "Temptation!" This famous track was a huge hit throughout Europe, appearing in many films, and was a perennial dance club favorite.
Say "Heaven 17" to just about anybody in North America, and they say, "Heaven who?"
One of the greatest groups that North American musical culture completely ignored in the 1980's, Heaven 17 was one of the most talented and prolific producers of music during that decade, and remain today one of my all-time favorite bands. I have an entire section on this web site dedicated to the band.
Those of us who did know Heaven 17 in North America, were far more familiar with their alternative hit "Let Me Go" than with the Euro-smash "Temptation."
In 1996, Heaven 17 reformed after a long hiatus and produced the critically lauded album "Bigger Than America". This excellent album is in my opinion, the best thing Heaven 17 have ever released.
What you're about to hear today, and for the next three weeks, are three tracks from this album that I personally remixed in 1996 when the album first came out. These remixed tracks have never been heard anywhere, so this is a bit of an exclusive. If you care to, of them.
You can purchase Heaven 17 albums, including Bigger Than America, online here!
April 10, 2000
Long before Prince thought of the idea, Wales band Freur decided its name was to be an unpronounceable glyph. The idea was to use the glyph to remain remote and distant, as an artistic statement and publicity gimmick. Faced with pressure from their record company, the band changed their name to the seemingly unpronounceable "Freur." Despite the versions you may hear used by various radio announcers, the band themselves says that the correct pronunciation sounds like "Frur" (rhymes with "Burr").
Doot Doot was initially produced as an album demo in 1982, and a deal was struck upon its strength. Alas, the remainder of the 1983 album (also named "Doot Doot") was not of the same quality, and quite uneven in its style. This is the 12" version of Doot Doot, released shortly before the album, and remaining to this day one of my favorite songs. A second album, "Get Us Out of Here" was a failure, and the band called it quits in 1987. In 1988 however, the group got together and created Underworld, which still exists today, and is one of the premier electronic dance groups in the world, especially when they play live (which not many do). Rick Smith and Karl Hyde are the only two remaining Freur members in Underworld.
You can purchase Freur albums online here!
You can purchase Underworld albums online here!
April 3, 2000
This song is the stuff of legends, especially in Canada. One of the rarest and most-requested songs played on Toronto station CFNY, it was so rare that a used copy of the 12" single of this song regularly sold on the street for over $200 in the mid 1980's. The 12" single quite often disappeared from the control room of CFNY for a few days at a time, and I must admit to being guilty of perpetrating this once or twice myself. While insanely popular in the Toronto area, the song was virtually unknown outside of the city.
The British group Endgames formed in 1982, with the only notable member being former Simple Minds drummer Brian McGee, who later went on to join Propaganda. "First Last for Everything" was released in 1982, and Endgames' first and only album, the mediocre "Building Beauty," was released in 1983.
One of the most requested songs on CFNY, the song was a bootleg favorite until 1994, when SPG finally released "Hardest Hits 5" which contained the 12" single version of "First Last for Everything" as its first track. With that CD, the rarest song in the Toronto area suddenly became available to everyone.
The version I have posted here is a completely different mix that I have never heard anywhere else. I found it as a 12" single buried in a bin in a used record store in Washington DC about five years ago. I was blown away to find that the mix was one I had never heard before, and I've never heard it anywhere else since. The B side contained a dub remix that I again have never heard before, and have posted here as a special bonus.
So here it is, for all you rarity fanatics, a (mostly) never before heard version of "First Last for Everything", by the classic one-hit-wonders Endgames. Enjoy!
March 27, 2000
Trans-X is essentially Pascal Languirand, from Montreal, Canada. In 1983, Trans-X released a catchy little dance tune called "Vivre sur Video". Later that year, they released an English version, with the accurately translated name "Living on Video", a song that immediately became a huge worldwide smash hit.
At about the same time, they released another song, "Message on the Radio." While lacking the hard-hitting dance beat of "Living on Video", this track is fun with a happy, catchy synth hook. It was a minor hit in parts of Canada and the US, and even gained some top-40 play in some areas. Trivia: The radio station mentioned in this song, "CFUO", is the campus station of the University of Ottawa, the university that Pascal attended.
Trans-X has released a new album, and you can find more about it here at Pascal's site.
You can purchase Trans-X albums online here!
March 20, 2000
Divine, a flamboyant transvestite character played by Harris Glenn Milstead, was a B-Movie actor turned disco singer. He started his film career in 1966, and continued in film (mostly John Waters pieces - most notably "Hairspray") up until his death in 1988. In 1979, he released his first musical tracks, two forgettable pieces called "Born to be Cheap" and "The Name Game". Both of these singles were released on the then-unknown Wax Trax record label, later the home of KMFDM, Ministry, Front 242 and other industrial bands.
Divine released his first real disco single when he teamed up with the famous Bobby Orlando (Bobby O), who also pioneered the Pet Shop Boys with "West End Girls" among many other more forgettable acts. This single was Native Love, and it was an instant club smash. I consider Native Love to be one of the most important beginnings of synthpop. In the 1980's, most club-going people had heard Native Love, but had no idea who did it, or what it was called. Divine later released some other smash club hits, particularly "You Think You're a Man" and "Walk Like a Man".
Many versions and remixes of Native Love are in existence, the one offered here is the original 12" vinyl version.
You can read more about Divine on these sites.
You can purchase Divine albums online here!
March 13, 2000
Spoons are one of Canada's most successful acts of the 1980's. Hailing from Burlington Ontario, Spoons were always one of my all-time favorite bands, and darlings of the Canadian radio industry. They played my high school, many moons ago! After a string of hits in Canada and elsewhere, Spoons "temporarily" put things on hold for ten years or so. They do reform and play live now and again, and there is talk of a new album as well.
This single, "Symmetry" is my all-time favorite Spoons track. Unfortunately, the only place it ever appeared was on the B-side of the "Nova Heart" 12-inch single, one of only two 12-inch singles that Spoons released. I had hoped that it would turn up on the recent CD compilation Collectible Spoons, but no luck. It is classic early Spoons, with a TR-808 drum track that sounds amazing when turned up really loud, dazzling keyboards, and just brilliant bass playing, thanks to the gorgeous and talented Sandy Horne. Can you tell I love this band?
You can read more about Spoons at this unofficial site.
You can purchase Spoons albums online here!
March 6, 2000
Strange Advance was originally created by Vancouver residents Darryl Kromm, Drew Arnott and Paul Iverson. Their first album, also named "Worlds Away" (the single has an apostrophe in "World's" - the album does not) was released in 1983, spawning some hits in Canada and Germany and earning the trio a "Most Promising Group" Juno nomination. In 1984, after moving to Toronto, Kromm and Arnott fired Iverson and recorded their follow-up album "2WO", released in 1985, which produced their biggest ever hit, "We Run." Their third and last album, 1987's "The Distance Between" produced a minor hit in "Love Becomes Electric" before the group disbanded.
February 28, 2000
This Southern California band was signed to Factory Records (the label which produced Joy Division, and later - and most importantly - New Order) to produce this single before dropping the label and going to Caroline one year later to produce their debut album.
February 21, 2000
Lisa Dalbello is originally from Toronto Ontario, and was championed by CFNY when she released her first album, "whomanfoursays", from which this track is taken. It received moderate airplay on Canadian top-40 radio, but was a hit on alternative radio.
You can purchase Dalbello albums online here!
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