Deutschland 83 – Original Soundtracks

Deutschland 83 – Original Soundtrack (German Language Edition)

One of the few bonuses of being in lockdown is that I have actually had the time to catch on TV I have been meaning to watch for what seems like years, as well as discovering shows I have never heard of. One of these is Deutschland 83, set during the final years of the Cold War but with a plot that could turn the situation very hot. The programme follows the adventures of Martin Rauch, and East German border guard who is sent into West Germany as an undercover agent in the role of an aide-du-camp to a West German Major General. They may speak the same language, but East and West Germany are two very different places. Check it out, and the follow up Deutschland 86. They are well worth your time. 

Not only do the programme transport the viewer back into time with the visuals, the person responsible for the music did a fantastic job. Not only do we, the viewer get a smattering of classic 80s pop tracks from English speaking countries, there are also a sprinkling of tracks from German bands from both sides of the Iron Curtain. I thought about putting together a single disc vinyl LP, as this was the dominate format at the time but once I started looking at the songs in the series, I realised there was enough material for the German artists have an album all to themselves. So let’s take a dive into who these artists are.

Peter Schilling – Part of the German New Wave (Neue Deutsche Welle), and one of the most commercially successful. Major Tom (Coming Home) was his first single and after it was a big hit throughout Europe, he re-recorded it in English. This became a top twenty hit in the USA and number one in Canada. Not such a bit hit the UK with it failing to break into the Top 40. The TV Show uses this in English speaking markets as the theme song, but I decided to use the original version which is not heard in the programme as Germany used ‘Blue Money’ by New Order in their opening credits. 

Puhdys – One of the most successful rock bands to come out of East Germany, they have sold over 20 million records. Their style in the early days was compared to Western rock bands but on Sehnsucht, they sound like the 80s has caught up with them. A bit more pop than rock. 

Berluc – Another band from East Germany. This song is perfect for the time the show it was set as it pleads for no bombs of a nuclear variety being dropped so there is no radioactive fallout. It also references the President of the USA at that time, Ronald Reagan who was an actor before he went into politics. 

City – The third East German band on this compilation, the song Am Fenster was voted in 2019 as the best song ever to come out of East Berlin. They were so popular that even during the Cold War, they were selling records in West Germany. 

Nena – The only artist on this compilation I had heard of before I saw the show. I only knew her for ’99 Red Balloons’, of which the German language original is selected here. Both versions deal with the end of the world through warfare, with the cause of all the hostility being the release of balloons into the air which are mistaken for enemy hostility, even though in the German version the balloons are misidentified as a UFO.

Joachim Witt – Another artist associated with the German New Wave, Witt has had commercial success but he has mostly produced music that has been described as challenging as well as making music videos that have been controversial. See the video to the song ‘Gloria’ to see what I mean. 

Ideal – Hailing from West Berlin, Ideal were another German New Wave band. Their self titles debut album was the first independent LP to achieve a Goal Disc in Germany. The band records three studio albums before deciding to call it a day with the release of a live record in 1983. 

Fehlfarben – Their debut album ‘Monarchy & Everyday Life’ is seen as one of the key releases in the German punk movement. Ein Jahr was released as a single and all sorts of early 80s influences are in here, included punk, ska and a bit of disco.  

Ute Freudenberg – Another song considered a classic of East German pop, the title translates as childhood love and describes the love of two teenagers who meet many years later to reminisce on that time. 

Side A

  1. Major Tom (Völlig Losgelöst) – Peter Schilling
  2. Sehnsucht – Puhdys
  3. No Bomb – Berluc
  4. Am Fenster – City

Side B

  1. 99 Luftballons – Nena
  2. Goldener Reiter – Joachim Witt 
  3. Keine Heimat – Ideal
  4. Ein Jahr (Es Geht Voran) – Fehlfarben
  5. Jugendliebe – Ute Freudenberg & Gruppe Elefant

Even though the majority of the artists included on this compilation were from West Germany, I thought it would be more fun to release it through the Amiga label, which was based in the East. The company logo has been added in the bottom right of the sleeve. The covers that Amiga were producing in 1983 were very basic, with a picture of the artist. Being as this is a various artists soundtrack, a picture of the star of the show would be perfect, even though a Walkman (which is what the actor is holding in his hand) would, I suspect, not been an item everyday East Germans would have known about, let alone seen. 

The cover is taken from https://mrspeabodyinvestigates.wordpress.com/2016/02/14/deutschland-83-series-review-my-take-as-a-germanist-and-fan/, but I changed the logo at the top to the one used in the TV show. 

Deutschland 83 – Original Soundtrack (English Language Edition) 

Well, having created a soundtrack to Deutschland 83 with only German recordings on it, I thought it would be interesting to create another playlist made up of English language artists. There was a lot more choice with the material for this compilation and I was tempted to make it a double, but I felt that a single set would have been truer to what would have been released if this had really come out in the year 1983. The album once again starts of with Peter Schilling singing ‘Major Tom (Come Home)’ as it is used on the version the programme I saw. On this occasion, the vocals are in English.

Nothing is too out of the ordinary here, with the majority of songs being quite well know. The only obscurity would have been ‘Berlin’ by Fischer-Z, a group that was the creative project of singer and guitarist John Watts. Two songs from their 1981 album ‘Red Skies Over Paradise’ were used in Deutschland 83. The parent album would also make the top ten in Germany and they were more poplar there, and in the Netherlands than their home country of the UK. I decided to put this in instead of something more well known as these soundtracks always seemed to include a song or two by bands that were not that well known, and also because the song deals with subject matter that relates to the TV series more than the other included here.  

What surprised whilst putting this soundtrack together was how many songs were used in the show there were that were released after 1983. It does annoy me some what when songs are chosen for time specific films and TV programmes and the material they chose comes after that time. It just smacks of laziness, going for the more well known instead of being historically accurate. 

Side A

  1. Major Tom (Coming Home) – Peter Schilling
  2. Sweet Dreams (Are Made of These) (Single Version) – Eurythmics
  3. Maniac (Single Version) – Michael Sembello
  4. She Works Hard For The Money (Single Version) – Donna Summer
  5. Berlin – Fishcer-Z
  6. Break My Stride – Matthew Wilder

Side B

  1. Club Tropicana – Wham!
  2. The Safety Dance (Single Version) – Men Without Hats
  3. Rio (Single Version) – Duran Duran
  4. (Keep Feeling) Fascination – The Human League
  5. Automatic – The Pointer Sister
  6. Steppin’ Out (Single Version) – Joe Jackson

The artwork as taken from https://www.rtbf.be/emission/series-corner/detail_deutschland-83-la-serie-d-espionnage-allemande-qui-nous-plonge-en-pleine-guerre-froide?id=10666835 and I added the logo of K-Tel logo as they were the masters of compilation albums in this period before the ‘Now’ series albums was launched at the end of 1983. Where there was a shorter single version of a song, I have included that version because K-Tel would wanted to have squeezed as many songs onto their compilations as possible.

Billy Bragg & Wilco – Mermaid Avenue (Expanded Edition)

I have tried listening to records by BIlly Bragg and Wilco released without each other, but there was something about them that meant they were never quite made my shopping list. However, I was quite surprised when listening to Bob Geldof on XFM that a song came on which I instantly fell in love with. This was 1998 so I hoped that he would say who the artist was at the end of the record because this was before the internet had really caught on so if I missed it, there was no way I could look it up afterwards to find out who it was. To my (pleasant) surprise, he said that it was Billy Bragg and Wilco. My interest was peaked. 

Going a local record shop (these existed in 1998) and buying the CD (this wasn’t released on vinyl in the UK at that time), I gave it a spin and fell in love with it. The limited sleeves notes in the accompanying booklet told me that all of the lyrics had been written by left wing songwriter Woody Guthrie. In the years since his death, his daughter Nora had been running an archive of her father’s work which included over a thousand sets of lyrics that Guthrie had not recorded himself. Nora had an idea of having a number of contemporary artists record these songs to these lyrics and had asked Billy Bragg to come on board after he had taken part in a Woodie Guthrie tribute concert. Braggs reputation as a left wing activist may also have helped Nora make this decision. Guthrie did not write music and apart from some vague notation, there was little in the way of clues as to what these songs should sound like. The reason these songs were left in this state was down to the fact that Guthrie was suffering from Huntington’s disease, which causes the sufferer to lack co-ordination. That and an injury to his arm in the mid 50’s meant he could no longer play his guitar. Guthrie continued to write lyrics until he was unable to hold a pencil. The songs Guthrie was writing ranged from politics, his fantasy’s about actress Ingrid Bergman, nonsense songs for children and reflections on his own childhood.  

Bragg did not gather together a cast of contemporary musicians to help work on this project apart from American band Wilco, who were given their own set of lyrics to work on. Natalie Merchant also came on board to provide vocals on a couple of the songs. It was mentioned at the time that there was enough material in the can for another album and in 2000, a second volume was released. It was easy to tell that the A-grade material was used on Volume 1, but this was still a good album. It was when the second collection came out that I put together a compilation taking what I considered to be the best tunes from both of these volume into one extended edition. In 2012, a compilation was released that contained Volumes 1 & 2, along with a third disc of additional outtakes. I did not feel that any of these songs were strong enough to make appearance on this collection, which I had been playing off and on since 2000.  

Billy Bragg and Wilco would not be the only artists to make an album using unused Woody Guthrie lyrics. The Klezmatics would release two albums in 2006, Jonatha Brooke in 2008 and Jay Farrar, Will Johnson, Anders Parker with Jim James in 2012. This has also lead to other artists such Sandy Denny having their own archives of unreleased lyrics set to music by modern musicians and released as albums. 

The cover is the same as the one used for Volume 1. It did not feel the need anything added to it. The entire collection is available to listen to via Spotify. Enjoy. 

  1. I Was Born
  2. Walt Whitman’s Niece
  3. California Stars
  4. Way Over Yonder In A Minor Key
  5. Birds & Ships
  6. Hoodoo Voodoo
  7. Ingrid Bergman
  8. Secret Of The Sea
  9. I Guess I Planted
  10. At My Window Sad & Lonely
  11. Hesitating Beauty
  12. Another Man’s Done Gone
  13. Hot Rod Hotel
  14. Eisler On The Go
  15. My Flying Saucer
  16. All You Fascists
  17. Joe Dimaggio Done It Again
  18. Feed Of Man
  19. Stetson Kennedy
  20. Remember The Mountain Bed
  21. Black Wind Blowing
  22. Blood Of The Lamb
  23. One By One
  24. The Unwelcome Guest

The Lost Beatles Albums Vol.4 – Everyday Chemistry (1974)

So, here we are with my fourth and final part of my Beatles alternative history.

After much argument, John Lennon decides that he will not record the three covers demanded of Morris Levy in the ‘Come Together’ settlement on a Beatles album, but that he will release them on a solo record instead. 

With his private life in turmoil and the ever-present threat of deportation hanging over him, he decides to stay in America and record the new album in Los Angeles with Phil Spector producing. The sessions drag on for months, descending into an alcohol fuelled mess, and only end when Spector is hospitalised after being involved in a car crash. Unknown to Lennon, Spector had been taking the master tapes home at the end of every day, leaving noting for the session musicians to work on in his absence and, with Spector out of action for the foreseeable future, Lennon abandons the sessions.

Taking some of the same players with him, John decides to accept an offer from his drinking buddy Harry Nilsson to produce his album Pussy Cats. Again the sessions end in drunken debauchery, but at least this time RCA, Nilsson’s label, are prepared to release it, reasoning that having Lennon’s name and picture splashed all over the cover might help boost sales. Taking the album back to New York for mixing, Lennon also starts work on some new material. 

Ringo Starr has spent the early part of the year getting drunk with Lennon and Nilsson whilst Harrison stayed at home writing material and furthering is devotion to Hare Krishna. After the success of the ‘Live & Let Die’ single, McCartney has been recording his own material with the view of releasing a solo album called Wings. However, before he goes through with this, he reads reports of Lennon’s riotous behaviour and feels that getting back in the studio with the other Beatles will curb his excessive behaviour. 

Harrison and Starr agree to come on board. Though their relationship is still a little strained, they feel that they owe a duty to Lennon, as without him, there would not be a band in the first place; the trio also accept that Ringo’s recent reckless behaviour will be curtailed once he has a new project to concentrate on. 

The sessions take place at Abbey Road and under the guidance of George Martin, brought in from his own AIR studios in the Bahamas. McCartney brings the songs he had earmarked for his solo album to the sessions, and both Harrison and Lennon bring in enough material for another double album. Starr also offers up a couple of tunes for consideration, and the sessions pass by smoothly. 

There is a feeling within the band that this record will be it for a while. They have been making records together for twelve years and there is a generally feeling that they need a break. The sessions are a happy time for everyone involved, but Harrison is especially happy that, even though are calls from the fans to do so, The Beatles will not be going on the road to promote this. 

After sessions from the album wrap, Lennon goes back to the states. He had already made up his mind to accept an invitation to join his friend Elton John on stage at his concert in Madison Square Garden, and is looking forward to jamming a few old tunes without the pressure of having to be a Beatle. Backstage he reconnects with Yoko Ono and the pair decide to work on repairing their marriage. Shortly afterwards comes the news that his five-year struggle with the immigration department is at an end, and he can finally settle in the country as a US citizen. Still aware of the fact that he needs to record an album of rock n roll songs to meet the demands of the court case over ‘Come Together’, he tells the rest of the band that he intends to work with session musicians in America on this and release it as a solo album. 

Shortly afterwards, Ono finds out she is pregnant. It’s a difficult pregnancy, but on Lennon’s 35th birthday she gives birth to a son, Sean Taro Ono Lennon. After much discussion at home about who will look after the business and who will raise the child, Lennon contacts the other Beatles to say he will be taking the next five years off to help raise their newborn son. He does not want to be an absentee father like his was for his first son, Julian. McCartney, one again adrift without his fellow Beatles, goes home to his farm in Scotland with his family and soon recommences work on his aborted solo album. George Harrison splits from his wife Pattie; shortly afterwards he meets Olivia Arias who, at the end of 1977, will fall pregnant with Harrison’s first child, Dhani. Ringo also splits with his wife, Maureen, and flies back to LA where he once again attempts to drink the town dry with friends including Nilsson and Keith Moon. All three wait patiently for Lennon to pick up the phone and tell them that he’s ready to be a Beatle again.

Side A

  1. Venus & Mars – Venus & Mars
  2. Rock Show – Venus & Mars
  3. Love In Song – Venus & Mars
  4. Dark Horse (Early Take) – Dark Horse (2014 Edition)
  5. Oo-Wee – Goodnight Vienna
  6. Let’s Love – Venus & Mars (2014 Edition)
  7. Simply Shady – Dark Horse

Side B

  1. You – Extra Texture
  2. Move Over Mrs. L – Single B-Side
  3. Soily (From One Hand Clapping) – Venus & Mars (2014 Edition)
  4. Back Off Boogaloo – Single A-Side
  5. Steel & Glass – Walls & Bridges
  6. This Guitar (Can’t Keep From Crying) – Extra Texture

Side C

  1. #9 Dream – Walls & Bridges
  2. Bless You – Walls & Bridges
  3. Scared – Walls & Bridges
  4. The Lord Loves The One (That Loves The Lord) – Living In The Material World
  5. Call Me Back Again – Venus & Mars

Side D

  1. Mind Games – Mind Games
  2. Letting Go – Venus & Mars
  3. The Light That Has Lighted The World – Living In The Material World
  4. Treat Her Gently (Lonely Old People) – Venus & Mars
  5. Nobody Loves You (When You’re Down & Out) – Walls & Bridges
  6. That Is All – Living In The Material World
  7. A Bit More Of You – Extra Texture

Singles

  1. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night – Walls & Bridges
  2. Old Dirt Road – Walls & Bridges
  1. Junior’s Farm – Single A-Side
  2. Grey Cloudy Lies – Extra Texture
  1. Listen To What The Man Said – Venus & Mars
  2. The Answer’s At The End – Extra Texture

In completing this, the last of these alternative history albums, it just goes to show how much good material the individual members had and were able to produce up until these come to an end in 1974. I do acknowledge that I was pushing it bit to say that they would have been able to produce four double LPs in five years because they did it once in 1968 and all that did was to highlight the cracks beginning to appear within the band. To produce that amount of material would have taken far too much time in the studio for them to work together. A safer bet would have been to produce a set of single albums that would sacrificing so many good songs and these albums work well to my ears. To have enough material to make a number of singles and one EP was an added bonus. There were also top notch songs that were not used, such as Happy Xmas (War is Over)’ and ‘Live and Let Die’. Anyway, this was a bit of indulgence on my part and it was great fun putting it together, especially with the research. 

I know there will be those who go that would have not happened, or that song would not have been written then but this was an alternative history project. Therefore, why not go with what sounds good and put in some speculation about what might have been? I also acknowledge that this last entry is a lot shorter in terms of story, but by this point, the speculation had diverged too far from the reality for it to continue much further. Even though others have completed this project have included an album from 1980, I have decided against that. The Beatles were meant to be getting back together in the real world around that time anyway until Lennon’s untimely death. This, therefore, seems like the perfect place to stop. 

Even though this would work as a CD (like the other play lists on the site already), this has been presented as though it was a double album with associated singles placed at the end. For the record, Sides A, B & C are CD 1 and Side D and singles are CD 2. The image for this cover comes from http://beatles7081.blogspot.com/

I would like to thank friend of the Squire and all-round Beatles fanatic Darryl Bullock for his help in putting this together. Enjoy. 

Episode 100 – Goodbye

Back in late 2012, I was listening to a number of music related podcasts and fancied putting a show together of my own. The first thing was the name. Well, The Squire was a nom de plume I had used for a number of years before hand so that was easy. The origin of the name though is something for another time and place.  The tag line of ‘the podcast that brings you the wonderful, the obscure and the just plain bizarre’ came to me rather quickly as well. What took the longest time was trying to work out what the hell would the first show contain. I eventually settled on the idea that it would contain records from the Squire Archive that were just before the time in which The Beatles became the musical behemoth they were to become. I also remember those early podcasts stating that this would be an irregular podcast because I felt that I would neither have the time or the subject matter to complete a new episode a month. Well, that went out of the window pretty quickly and there has been a new episode every month since November of 2012. 

Well, that was then and this is now. So after 99 episodes, I have decided to make the 100th the last of the initial run. It seems a good place to finish. I have rediscovered some records in the archive I forgot I had, bought in new ones to complete shows and interviewed some wonderful guests.  I must thank them for giving up their time to talk to me. I must also thank the people behind the scenes who have help in one way or another to bring this show to life. For the theme of this show, I will be using songs that say goodbye in one way or another as this seems like a fitting way to say farewell, adios, adieu and most probably the most fitting would be arrivederci. 

  • Hello, Goodbye – Sparrow
  • Bye Bye Love – The Everly Brothers. 
  • Goodbye – Mary Hopkins
  • Go & Say Goodbye – Buffalo Springfield
  • Goodbye Forever – The Association
  • I Said Goodbye To Me/One – Harry Nilsson
  • It’s Us Who Say Goodbye – We All Together
  • Goodbye – John George
  • Rhymes of Goodbye – Scott Walker
  • Goodbye – Rusty Harness
  • Goody Goodbye – Sandy Salisbury
  • Goodbye – Andwella’s Dream
  • Farewell – Fleetwood Mac
  • Last Farewell – Kula Shaker
  • Farewell – The Yardbirds
  • Farewell My Friend – Dennis Wilson
  • Farewell, Farewell – Fairport Convention
  • I Gotta Go Now – The Kinks
  • The End – Greenfield and Cook
  • Departure and Farewell – Hem
  • Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone – The Haden Triplets
  • The End – Sibylie Baier
  • Goodbye-ee – Peter Cooke and Dudley Moore
  • Last Song – Traffic Sound