I lost interest in Eurythmics the further they strayed from their original synth sound into more conventional pop/rock. But they sold a shed-load of records so what does it matter what I think? They were pretty damn good for a while though. This is from a 1983 gig at London club Heaven.
I say this a lot about my old singles but this time I’m pretty sure I am the only one who bought this.
Skat were better known by their previous name The Chefs (and for their lead singer Helen McCookerybook), a short-lived but influential indie band very popular with John Peel. I don’t know why they changed their name to Skat, but they only ever released this one single under that name in 1982 and then split up soon afterwards which probably wasn’t the desired effect.
It’s a fairly straight cover of the Velvet Underground song but it has a nice jangly “indie” sound, a style that The Chefs helped to invent.
Download: Femme Fatale – Skat (mp3)
Orange Juice’s early Postcard records are rightly held in reverence but their later work gets a little overlooked as a result. Personally my favourite album of theirs is Texas Fever and I remember there being a bit of Dylan-going-electric purist snobbery about them signing to a big label and sounding more polished — like they could keep doing that kind of amateurish jangly indie forever. “Polished” is a relative term of course, their records always sounded a bit off-kilter no matter how many new chords and grooves they learned.
One time I saw them live Edwyn Collins jokingly introduced “Rip It Up” as “our one-hit wonder” and their final single “Lean Period” from 1984 wasn’t a hit either like 99% of their others, but it’s a bouncy and catchy number that should have done better even if it maybe isn’t one of their greatest. I still like it a lot though, a typically snarky Collins love song (and maybe even a sly commentary on his own critical reputation) here given a nice dubby remix by Dennis Bovell in this 12″ version which isn’t easily available anywhere far as I can tell.
Download: Lean Period (Extended Version) – Orange Juice (mp3)
BONUS: I posted this before many years ago but this 12″ version is also hard to come by so here it is again. OJ’s second-to-last single and one of the best things they did.
Download: What Presence?! (Extended Version) – Orange Juice (mp3)
The SOS Band were one of the acts (along with Alexander O’Neal) that Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis honed their production chops on before hitting the really big time with Janet Jackson. This was their first hit and you can already hear that signature drum machine sound (a Roland TR-808) which pretty much defined 80s dance music.
An absolute classic record, and extra marks for the guy playing a Keytar. Don’t see enough of those these days.
Not many bands have had a better year than the one Frankie Goes To Hollywood enjoyed in 1984. That year they became the first group since Gerry & the Pacemakers to have their first three singles all get to Number One, and at one point they occupied the top two charts spots — the first time that had been done since another little band from Liverpool called The Beatles. For a brief shining moment they were as big as the Fab Four and as thrillingly scandalous as the Sex Pistols. Even their t-shirts were a phenomenon.
But their story would be more perfect if they’d split up or all died in a car crash at the end of that year, because they had to go and spoil the ride by putting out an album that didn’t live up to the hype (how could it?), and they suddenly seemed like just another ordinary fallible pop group and not the fabulously provocative performance art piece they seemed in 1984. I guess the writing was on the wall when their fourth single was a dreadful flop that only got to number two in the chart. Still, it was great while it lasted.
Download: The World Is My Oyster (12″ mix) – Frankie Goes To Hollywood (mp3)
This was the b-side of the “Power of Love” 12″ single and is a much longer version of the track on their debut album. Besides those first three singles this is my favourite record of theirs.
Bit busy this week so it’s random 12″ single time.
As much as I like Talking Heads’ original I think this version meets it outside after school and gives it’s nerdy white-boy-funk ass a good beating.
And David Byrne must have given it the thumbs-up because he’s playing guitar on it.
Download: Slippery People (Club Mix) – The Staple Singers (mp3)
Now on sale in a variety of styles and colours for the initial low price of $14. My riff on the famous campaign that we all ignored.
Haven’t had anything from the lovely Clare and the boys in a while. This is from their final album Bite where they tried to sound more grown-up and sophisticated with wonderful results. Despite being easily their best album it sold less than the previous two and the band broke up. Such a shame, but I suppose it’s better to go out on a high note.