Sunday, November 27, 2005

Lulu - Independence

Lulu (real name Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie) was born in Lennoxtown, just outside of Glasgow on November 3rd, 1948. She's had a career spanning five decades, and it would take forever to go through, so here are some of her highlights:

- Her debut single "Shout" (with The Luvvers) reached #7 in May 1964 when she was just 15!
- She starred in the film "To Sir With Love" and singing the theme tune in 1967 (Making #1 in the US)
- She married Maurice Gibb of The bee Gees in 1969 (and divorced him in 1973)
- She won the Eurovision song contest in 1969 with "Boom Bang A Bang" (albeit sharing it with France, the Netherlands and Spain)
- She sang the theme to the bond movie "The Man With The Golden Gun" in 1974
- She reached #1 with Take That on "Relight My Fire" in 1993
- She was awarded an MBE in 2000
- Released the albums "Together" (a Duets album including tracks with Atomic Kitten, Ronan Keating and Samantha Mumba in 2002, "Back On Track" in 2004, and "A Little Soul In Your Heart" in 2005

The track I have chosen, "Independence" was taken from the album of the same name. It had been her first proper release for over 10 years, and the single peaked at #11 in January 1993. It's still a classic after almost 13 years, and is very representative of the dance music around at that time!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Moonbaby - Kitsch Bitch Cool

Moonbaby is probably better known to you as Miranda Cooper - one of Brian Higgin's talented team at Xenomania working with amongst others, Girls Aloud.

What you may not know is that Miranda herself once had a crack at pop fame. Way back in 1996, she was a backing dancer for Gina G at Eurovision in 1996 with "Ooh...Ahh! Just A Little Bit!" which has gone on to become a Eurovision classic. Miranda even starred in the video.

The following year, Miranda and her friend Chloë, who was Gina's other dancer, landed themselves a record deal with Gina's label, Eternal Records. The girls, called "T-Shirt", released one single, a cover of Hot Chocolate's "You Sexy Thing" complete with girly raps, but the single didn't do any business at all in the UK, but became a hit in the unlikely place of Australia!

After this, Miranda surfaced again as Moonbaby, with a new track called "Here We Go", produced by Brian Higgins. Despite TV appearances, and a PA at Gay Pride in 2000, the track was ultimately never released, until it surfaced on Lene (from Aqua) Nystrom's album "Play With Me" in 2003, and then again on Girls Aloud's "What Will The Neighbours Say?" in 2004, with all versions produced by Xenomania, and Girls Aloud's version of the track being practicallyt the same, except for being in a different key.

"Kitsch Bitch Cool" appeared on the promo for the "Here We GO Single". Other tracks recorded were "Deadlines & Diets & Devious Men" which was also later covered bt Girls Aloud. "Kitsch Bitch Cool" is typical Xenomania in style, and there are shades of the track in a few of the tracks on Girls Aloud's new album "Chemistry".

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Jaki Graham - Step Right Up

80s time! Jaki Graham is from Birmingham and was born in 1956. During the 80s she enjoyed some chart success with her style of typical 80s dance-pop.

Her first single was released in 1984, but it wasn't until 1985 when she had her first chart hit, "Could It Be I'm Falling In Love", a duet with David Grant who had been in a band called Linx, and has since gone on to be a voice coach on both Fame Academy and Pop Idol, along with his wife Carrie Grant. The track made #5 in March 1985.

Jaki then had a further 5 top 20 singles, including another with David Grant called "Mated" (#20 in May 1985), and 4 solo hits, "Round And Round" (#9 in June 1985), "Set Me Free" (#7 in May 1986), "Breaking Away" (#16 in Aug 1986) and "Step Right Up" (#15 in Nov 1986). She also released a number of albums over the years, and continued to release material all through the 80s and into the 90s. Her latest single, a cover of the Stevie Wonder classic "Superstition" was only released last month, and she appeared on the infamous "Hit Me Baby One More Time" earlier this year.

"Step Right Up" was Jaki's last proper hit, and it remains one of my favourites, 19 years later!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Kristine Blond - Love Shy

Kristine Blond hails from Denmark and signed her first record deal at the age of 19, but despite finishing the album, it was never released. She bounced back with a new record deal a few years later, and released her first single, "Love Shy" in the UK in April 1998, and reached #22. The track was originally a pop/R&B number produced by Cutfather & Joe, who have priduced for lots of other artists including Precious and Ace OF Base.

A few years later, the track became an underground smash in the clubs in a remixed garage version, and it eventually led to a re-release of the single, making #28 in January 2000. Kristine's only other chart entry in the UK is "You Make Me Go Ooh", released in May 2002 and making #35, the UK main mix was again a remixed version of the original superior version. However one of the mixes, the Supa' Flyas Mix, was fantastic and was the main mix over in Germany!

Since then, Kristine has continued to release music, having some success in her homeland and also Germany, where an album "All I Ever Wanted" was released in December 2002, featuring her 2 Uk singles (Sadly "Love Shy" in the remixed form), and "A Day Without You", "You Belong To Someone Else" and "Teach Him", which were all released as singles in Germany.

According to her official website (link below), Kristine is in the studio recording her new album, and a few of the tracks can be sampled online.

The version of "Love Shy" which I have posted is the original Cutfather & Joe version. I didn't like any of the remixes, of which more surfaced in 2004! If it ain't broke, don't fix it!