Monday, October 7, 2013

"Medley" by Stars on 45

#1 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
One-Hit Wonder Alert!
Song#:  0565
Date:  04/11/1981
Debut:  76
Peak:  1 (1 week)
Weeks:  21
Genre:  Pop, Dance



Pop Bits:  Dutch publishing exec Willem van Kooten happened to hear a bootleg disco mash-up of pop songs including one his company owned the rights to (and obviously didn't approve for use). Since it was in clubs already, instead of pursuing a legal issue, van Kooten did the opposite and decided to make his own legal version of the bootleg for release. He enlisted Jaap Eggermont of the group Golden Earring and Stars on 45 was born. They hired sound-alikes to recreate snippets of songs and then edited them together with an occasional original riff to separate some sections. The main 12" version ended up being 9+ minutes and then a shorter 4 minute single version was created. The single quickly hit #1 on the Dutch charts and then broke in the UK where it reached #2. The US got on board and it interrupted the 9-week #1 run of "Bette Davis Eyes" for a week. There would be follow-ups, but none would reach the US Top 40, basically making it known as a one-hit wonder.

(Note: as of this posting I'm loosening my definition of a one-hit wonder. My original definition is a Top 10 song by an artist who never hit the full chart again. However, it seems the more general definition is an artist who had one very recognizable hit, but failed to follow it up with anything significant.  This song hitting #1 and subsequent follow-ups not charting well or forgotten seems to make this a one-hit wonder. I'll define in the post whether it is a "real" technical one hit wonder or a generally assumed one.)

ReduxReview:  Okay, I admit it. I loved this when it came out and I still find it pretty fun. In fact, in some ways I appreciate it more now because there was no easy-editing digital technology back then and everything had to be manually manipulated to get this to all fall together - including recording and imitating each snippet separately. Quite fascinating. And really, this one has gotten lost along the way. I never hear it anywhere and no one references it. Too bad because it was well-done and fun, despite it being a giant block of cheez whiz.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  In the US, there were legalities that required all songs performed on a medley be listed. Therefore, both on the single and the listing on the chart, all songs were listed for the title. With a total of 41 letters, it became the longest titled single to reach #1 on the chart. It's official title was:  "Medley: Intro Venus/Sugar, Sugar/No Reply/I'll Be Back/Drive My Car/Do You Want to Know a Secret/We Can Work It Out/I Should Have Known Better/Nowhere Man/You're Going to Lose That Girl/Stars on 45."

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1 comment:

  1. Stars On 45 did have one more entry in the Top 40 billed as "Stars On". It was "Stars On 45 III - A Tribute To Stevie Wonder". A medley of Stevie songs which went to #28 in 1981.

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