Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Party - In My Dreams

The Party were a US group who had some success in the 90s in their homeland. Formed from The Mickey Mouse Club TV show - (the show which Britney and Christina came from) - the 5 members released 4 albums in the early 90s. Dee Dee Magno, Tiffani Hale, Chase Hampton, Albert Fields and Damon Pampolina brought their own brand of pop to kids all over the USA. They were pretty famous, and were on the cover of many a teen mag at the time. Oddly enough they only had one top 40 hit, but plenty of minor hits, including "That's Why", "I Found Love", and "Summer Vacation"

Their biggest hit "In My Dreams" was a cover version of an old rock hit by Dokken - but with lead vocals sung by Dee Dee, the track became a pop number which did fairly well over in the US. The track was even touted for release in the UK, but never materialised. The group split in 1994 and since then the members have been very quiet. Dee Dee has appeared in numerous versions of Miss Saigon, and very little has been heard of the others!

I remember hearing this track on Atlantic 252 (remember that?) many years ago and could not find the song anywhere until I stumbled across the first The Party album in a record store, and bought it on impulse. Imagine my surprise when I took it home and played "In My Dreams"!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Birgitte Einarsen - Saturday

Since it's Eurovision season again, when all the competing countries are busy choosing their song to represent them in Athens on May 18th, I thought I would get you all in the mood by choosing one my favourite songs of the season so far.

To those of you whol follow Eurovision, Birgitte Einarsen may be a name familiar to you. Born in Larvik, Norway, Birgitte starred in musicals all around Norway until she got her break in the 2003 Melodi Grand Prix, the competition for choosing Norway's entry in the Eurovision. Singing a pop-ditty "Good Evening Europe", a song about Eurovision itself, the song did well to come third overall.

Birgitte entered MGP (as it's known for short) again this year with the disco-stomper "Saturday" written by a Swedish/British team. She competed in the third semi-final and made it through to the second chance round where she duly won her place in the final proper for a second time. Alas it wasn't to be Birgitte's night, and she finished outside the Top 4 and therefore did not make the Superfinal, which was eventually won by the only Norwegian language song in the whole competition, Christine Gulbrandsen's "Alvedansen". Still "Saturday is an excellent song with that all important key change, and would have probably won some other country's national final. I hope you enjoy the track, and I plan to post more Eurovision songs as the season continues...

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Kate Ryan - The Promise You Made

To celebrate the fact that Kate Ryan is the Belgian entry for Eurovision with her fabulous slice of pop "Je T'adore" - I'm posting one of her previous hits.

Belgian born Kate (Real name Katrien Verbeeck) first appeared on the pop scene in 2002, with her dance cover of French chanteuse Mylene Farmer's hit "Désenchantée", which was a massive hit in the Belelux countrues, France and Spain. This was swiftly followed by "Mon Coeur Resiste Encore / Scream For More" and "Libertine", the latter of which was also another Farmer cover. Her debut album "Different" was released to much success and contained a mixture of French and English songs, most of them in her trademark Europop style.

In 2004, Kate was back with her second album "Stronger" and scored hits with "Only If I" and "The Promise You Made" - which was also recored in French as "La Promesse". "The Promise You Made" was a cover of an old 80s hit by German pop group Cock Robin and is my favourite Kate song (apart from Je T'adore of course!) Kate will compete in the semi-final for Belgium on May 18th, let's hope she does well!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Celine Dion - (If There Was) Any Other Way

Celine Dion is one of the worlds biggest selling female artists - and everyone knows her so I'm not going to talk about her career in detail. What a lot of people may not know about is Celine's early English language material, recorded in the early 1990s before her breakthrough hit "The Power Of Love" in 1993. "Unison" was released in 1990, and "Celine Dion" in 1991, and both were successful in her native Canada and the US, to some extent.

The decision to record music in English after many years of French language albums was definitely down to the fact that Celine won Eurovision in 1988 with "Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi" which became a hit all over Europe, including places where she'd never released music before.

Neither of her first two albums were big successes in the UK, and apart from "Beauty And The Beast", all the singles released from the albums stalled in the lower half of the Top 75 but they did help establish Celine.

"(If There Was) Any Other Way" was Celine's debut English language single, and was a minor hit in North America. "Unison" is one of my favourite Celine albums, and this track is representative of the type of pop music that was around then. Who would ever think that back then Celine would turn out to be as massive as she became?