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Thread: "New Wave" and the 1980s - one-hit wonders and biggest hits

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    by 15-03-19, 16:02

    I thought this a rather sophisticated production in '88; not necessarily musically but in terms of production, and of course presentation. Oh and probably because Patsy sang a few bits of it in French (mind you I didn't think that the contemporarily-released 'Joe Le Taxi' was particularly stylish and that was all in French!). Obvious PSB influence and while of its time, nothing wrong in that if one has an appetite for airy, light synth-disco. As you say, it was all about her really - I think she thought she was the eighth wonder of the world back then - but still I think the song does stand up reasonably-well, as lots of older PSB hits do, if only because of their quaint 'could-only-happen-in-Britain' style. I preferred them when they took their music and lyrics a little more seriously (well, as much as they ever did), before descending into excess humour and slight self-parody after about 1993.

    I think your point Robbie that it would be easy to envisage Tennant's own vocals on 'I'm Not Scared' is indicative of his vocal style more generally, in that it is usually so high in the register - and let's face it, rather camp - that it can transpose to a female vocal very readily. That's not to say lots of ladies have scored hits with PSB songs, especially recently as they're so 'non-black' in style and so struggle to chime with more culturally-diverse modern audiences, but an obvious example was how well Dusty Springfield's work sat on top of their productions. Also, although penned by Stephen Sondheim not Tennant, Liza Minnelli's 'Losing My Mind' could just as easily have been performed by him. Actually, as much I liked them, it was really the synth-driven danceability and memorable melodies that I was appreciating; the lead vocal was always a little difficult to tolerate en-masse and I can see why Passing_Strang finds that 'small doses' is best on that measure. Yet there's no doubting it worked so uniquely-well against their music that many of us forgave any concerns on that front.

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    by 15-03-19, 16:43

    shame on you!

    https://www.discogs.com/Pet-Shop-Boy...e/master/28151

    1988 Introspective album

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEdcvy-X6JA

    Quote Originally Posted by Robbie View Post
    I love 'I'm Not Scared'. Patsy Kensit looking lovely helped too. Her vocals weren't that good but they seemed to match the production and song to perfection. It's one of my favourite Pet Shop Boys productions and is one that I could well imagine Neil Tennant actually singing (did the PSB's ever record the song?).

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    by 15-03-19, 23:46

    Quote Originally Posted by anpt View Post
    I genuinely didn't know if Neil had sang it! It sounds so much like a Pet Shop Boys song that I had a feeling he must have done so. Good to know he had done so. I think I prefer the more twee version by Eighth Wonder though, it has a better sound to it. The PSB's version sounds more like a demo...

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    by Yesterday, 16:09

    Have to admit, I never saw the appeal of "Joe le Taxi" on any level, moreover I could never understand how it became such a big hit. There were much better French hits at the time, but that and "Voyage" were the only ones that crossed the Channel (unless I'm forgetting something).

    As for Ms Kensit, I'm actually surprised she didn't become a bigger pop star, given how beautiful she looked. You'd think her records would fly off the shelves. But then again, Mandy Smith looked even better but didn't manage even one hit... In the UK, at least.

    Good call on "Losing My Mind", Gambo! That was one of the songs that I thought of including, but strangely it had quite narrow chart count, only about 10 countries - though by the sound of it you'd think it was a smash hit. Still, it's Liza's biggest radio hit in Russia, and that PSB sound certainly helped, it's still being played occasionally, while the video was one of the preferred choices of programmers in the 1990s, for some reason. But then again, Ms Minnelli is quite well-loved by the movie-watching audience here so that may not be as surprising.

    And Mr Tennant actually recorded not only "I'm Not Scared", but "Losing My Mind", too! Though these are the versions I avoid - Robbie's right, they sound like demos (which they actually were). That's what made me a bit uneasy - Tennant sounds much better in lower registers, but prefers to sing in higher ones. Much like Andy Bell from Erasure, by the way! And music, as good as it was (and sometimes is), cannot truly hide or fully offset this wrong artistic decision. More variation is always welcome - but maybe they felt they found a hit-making formula and eventually became trapped by it.

    Alright, now another one-off, of a truly unexpected variety - dance hit from Israel! Not a country famed for such stuff - but what a hit! Recently re-discovered it and, frankly, cannot get enough, the Middle-Eastern melody underpinned by dance beat sounds so good. Rather modest chart showing in the UK, though, Europe generally responded much more enthusiastically. Unfortunately, not much else on international front, apart from some collaborations, and the singer's life was cut short by AIDS, which now gives a tragic twist to the song.

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    by Yesterday, 16:12

    98. IM NIN'ALU by Ofra Haza

    Written by: Trad.
    Produced by: Bezalel Aloni/Izhar Ashdot
    Country of origin: Israel
    Release date: April 1988

    Australia
    3 October 1988 - #90 - 4 weeks

    Austria
    3-Hitparade: 10 July 1988 - #1 (1) - 12 weeks
    Der Musikmarkt: 15 July 1988 - #2 - 14 weeks

    Belgium
    28 May 1988 - #9 - 6 weeks

    Finland
    19 June 1988 - #1 (1) - 18 weeks

    France
    9 July 1988 - #6 - 19 weeks

    (West) Germany
    20 June 1988 - #1 (8) - 18 weeks

    Greece
    #1

    Ireland
    26 May 1988 - #16 - 2 weeks

    Italy
    TV Sorrisi e Canzoni: 20 November 1988 - #14 - 16 weeks
    Musica e Dischi: 14 January 1989 - #24 - 2 weeks

    The Netherlands
    Nationale Hitparade: 7 May 1988 - #29 - 10 weeks
    De Nederlandse Top 40: 4 June 1988 - #27 - 4 weeks

    Norway
    1 June 1988 - #1 (4) - 13 weeks

    Poland
    25 June 1988 - #7 - 10 weeks

    Portugal
    #1

    Spain
    AFYVE: 30 July 1988 - #1 (2) - 19 weeks
    Superventas: 27 August 1988 - #1 - 16 weeks

    Sweden
    8 June 1988 - #2 - 12 weeks

    Switzerland
    19 June 1988 - #1 (6) - 15 weeks

    UK
    The Network Chart: 16 April 1988 - #11 - 8 weeks
    Music Week: 30 April 1988 - #15 - 8 weeks
    New Musical Express: 30 April 1988 - #13 - 7 weeks
    Melody Maker: 7 May 1988 - #13 - 5 weeks
    Last edited by Passing_Strang; Yesterday at 16:16.

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    by Yesterday, 19:45

    'Im Nin'Alu' by Ofra Haza is another great song and was certainly different from what was charting in the UK in 1988. I can't think of many records that have charted in the UK that were sung in Hebrew. Indeed, it may be the only one.

    Parts of the track were already known in the UK, having appeared on 'Pump Up The Volume' by M/A/R/R/S and the Coldcut remix of the Eric B & Rakim track 'Paid In Full', both hits in late 1987. The M/A/R/R/S single was a number 1 in the UK and the Ofra vocal on the track was actually a sample taken (and distorted in the studio) from the sample that appeared on the white label version of Coldcut's remix of 'Paid In Full'.

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    by Today, 14:44

    * 1983

    Hi - Ofra Haza - Eurovision Song Contest 1983

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqPGYSWnSFg


    * 1984

    Im nin' alu was recorded by OH in 1984 -

    * 70s

    Artist: Igal Bashan (1975) With Ofra Haza on backing vocals on lp I've Got A Little Bird In My Heart. Full title: Im Nin'alu Daltei Nedivim.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEmgCl0wGCg

    “Im Nin'Alu” is a Mizrahi Jewish prayer written by the Yemenite rabbi Shalom Shabazi, in the seventeenth century

    http://www.originals.be/en/originals/10572

    * Samples

    Paid In Full / Pump Up The Volume

    Can't Truss It - Public Enemy

    https://www.whosampled.com/sample/40...-Im-Nin%27Alu/

    2003: Touriya [as In The Name Of Love (Im Nin' alu)]

    Quote Originally Posted by Robbie View Post
    'Im Nin'Alu' by Ofra Haza is another great song and was certainly different from what was charting in the UK in 1988.
    Last edited by anpt; Today at 15:17.

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