And so I come to the last soundtrack album for the Deutschland series. All three of these television series has been really good, blending fact and fiction brilliantly. I would highly recommend watching all of them.
This soundtrack is a bit different from the previous two because whoever did the music for series 3, did it differently. Whereas series 1 & 2 used (mostly) contemporary tunes, this series used quite a lot of music from the 21st Century. Some songs were used in more than one show so these two factors made compiling this LP a bit tricker than previous efforts as I only look to use songs from or before the period the show is set. I cannot even be sure that at least one, or more of these songs comes form the early 90s because some of them are very obscure.
As with all of the other soundtracks, I had to start by using ‘Major Tom (Coming Home)’ by Peter Schilling. It is the song used on the opening credits and as I would have K-Tel releasing this record, they would want to make the most of this songs license. This is followed by ‘Alle Vögel Sind Schon Da’ by Botho-Lucas-Chor. Roughly translating to ‘All The Birds Are Already There’, the Botho-Lucas-Chor were one of the most famous German vocal ensembles groups of the 1960s and 70s. We also have a couple of classical pieces on Side A with Max Reger’s ‘Andante in De Major’ and ‘Quando Parli’. I have not been able to find out much about this second piece and this could even have been produced after 1989, but it does fit into the overall sound so I kept it in. In-between this two classical pieces is ‘Sag’ Mir, Wo Du Stehst ‘ by Naiv. I have not been able to find out anything about this band and like ‘Quando Parli’, I have not been able to confirm if this piece was recorded after 1989. We finish off Side A with ‘Lied Die Partei’ which translates as ‘The Party Is Always Right’ and was used but the East German Communist Party (SED) as the official party song.
Side B starts of with the B-52s and ‘Roam’, the other major hit from their ‘Cosmic Thing’ album (the other being ‘Love Shack’). Bert Sommer was the second lead vocalist in The Left Banke, as well as appearing in the musical ‘Hair’ in 1969 along with the original Woodstock Festival where he performed the song ’Jennifer’. We then have an early 60s recording of Mass In B Minor, BMV 232: Kyrie Elesion (Chorus) by the Robert Shaw Orchestra & Chorus. I included the whole of this section because it actually brought the run time of the album up to respectable length for an LP, and also because it would have been a disgrace to edit this down. The album finishes off with ‘I’m Gonna Lose You’ by Simply Red which originally appeared on the soundtrack to the film, ‘Frantic’.
So there we have it, the last of the Deutschland soundtracks. This one was a bit different from the previous three, but it still holds together as a soundtrack. The sleeve for this was adapted from the publicity material posted on line when the series was released.
Major Tom (Coming Home) – Peter Schilling
Alle Vögel Sind Schon Da – Botho Lucas
Andante in D Major – Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra
Sag’ Mir, Wo Du Stehst – Naiv
Quando Parli – Giovanni Battista Bononcini
Lied Die Partei – Ernst Busch
Roam – The B-52’s
Jennifer – Bert Sommer
Mass In B Minor, BMV 232: Kyrie Elesion (Chorus) – Robert Shaw Orchestra And Chorus
I’m Gonna Lose You – Simply Red
This playlist was impossible to recreate using Spotify.
Following on from my earlier John Entwistle post here is another slice of The Who for you. 1968 was a busy time in terms of ideas for The Who that never happened. There was talk of a TV show called ‘Sound & Picture City’, which would involve The Who performing a new song every week, act in some light hearted sketches and introduce a series of musical guests. If you want to get some idea of what these sketches would have been like, watch the ‘Happy Jack’ promo film from 1966 (link below). There was talk of a live album, and two nights were recorded at the Fillmore East, but these would not see the light of day until 2018. Apart from the John Entwistle children’s record, there was talk of a covers EP and/or an LP of whatever was left over in the archives at the time which would go by the name of ‘Who’s For Tennis’.
As this was the era when the band were not short of ideas, but they lacked the application to actually finish them, none of the above projects would see the light of day in the 60s. On other sites that look at records that never saw the light of day, the album most try to reconstruct is ‘Lifehouse’ project. Others look at reproducing the ‘Who’s For Tennis’, an album which would have been a mix of songs rejected for other projects and some newly recorded material that would eventually be either kept in the vaults or be released on singles.
With my version of ‘Who’s For Tennis’, I have gone with one of the other concepts that was put forward in 1968 and that was the covers EP. This may well have been seen as a retrograde step by the band as Townsend had already forged a reputation as a song writer of note. It was also the done thing for serious museo’s to write their own material at this time. Covers were for pop and novelty acts man. This could also be seen as the band being ahead of the curve because both David Bowie (who covered 60s music that had inspired him) and Harry Nillson (with an album of standards) would do just that in the early 70s. Instead of the record being an EP though, I wondered if there was enough material to make an LP. Well, there was but only just. With this in mind, would the band have re-recorded some of the songs that had covered previously, made some new covers or just released songs that they already had in the vault to save time. I went with combination of the last two.
There were two other things I took into consideration is that no covers could be included if they had already appeared on an album before this. The second thing was that any cover from the bands history could be used, except for any recordings made for the BBC and I could not used anything that had been recorded with producer Shel Talmy. Talmy owned the tapes from the first album sessions and there was some bad blood between the producer and the band, especially after the legal dispute had found in his favour. I doubt that Talmy would have released the tapes in 1968, especially as it took until 2002 for these disputes to be settled.
The band did record at least three songs for this project. ‘Young Man Blues’, ‘Summertime Blues’ and ‘Fortune Teller’ are all included here. John Entwistle mentioned that they recorded a version of ‘Road Runner’, but no evidence has been forthcoming of this. The band also recorded “Shakin’ All Over’ for the BBC and they performed it in concert many time in the late 60s and early 70s. However, I could not find any reference to a studio version so this one could not be used. Three songs does not an LP make, so what else do we have from the bands archive. The 70s compilation ‘Odd’s & Sod’s’, which did a really good job of showing that there was more to the band that what fans had heard so far. It is the reissue from the 1990’s which opened up the archive doors a little further to add weight to this project. From it, we have a cover of Eddie Cochran’s ‘My Way’, recorded in 1967, ‘Summertimes Blues’ was another Eddie Cochrane song that would be included on The Who’s ‘Live At Leeds’ but this is the studio take from 1967. Lastly they is a cover of Mose Allison’s ‘Young Man Blues’, which also featured on the Who’s ‘Live At Leeds’ LP.
Then there is the two covers of songs by The Rolling Stones. ‘Under My Thumb’ and ‘The Last Time’ that had been recorded to show support for Mick Jagger and Keith Richards who had been imprisoned on drugs charges. The recording was completed when a time when John Entwistle was on his honeymoon, so Pete Towsnend played the bass on these recordings. By the time the single came out, Jagger and Richards had both been released and the single did not break the Top 40 of the UK singles chart.
‘Bucket T’ was originally recorded by Jan & Dean, and it may well have been Keith Moon’s suggestion to record this as he was a big fan of surf music. This is also the only song from the ‘Ready, Steady, Who EP not included on the John Entwistle children’s record and I didn’t want to double up on the songs used on these Who what if records. If this version of ‘Who’s For Tennis’ had even been considered, then these two tracks could have made the LP.
The Who had also recorded a version of a classical tune for another unrealised project from 1967. That project was an instrumentals EP where the band would showcase their improvisational side but only two tunes were recorded before this project fell by the way side. One was the self composed ‘Sodding About’, but the other was a cover of Grieg’s ‘Hall of the Mountain King’. There was also a studio cut of the Everly Brothers song ‘Man With Money’, and lastly is a version of Bo Diddley’s ‘Here ’Tis’, which dates back to the early days of the band and their sessions for Pete Meeden when they were going by the name The High Numbers.
Even though this was an interesting trawl through The Who’s archive, I feel that if this record was released in 1968, it would have been a good stop gap until they unleashed ‘Tommy’ a year later. 1968 really was a lost year for The Who, but they did have an ace up their sleeves in the form of a deaf, dumb and blind kid who would propel the band into superstardom.
Here ’Tis (as The High Numbers)
Under My Thumb
In The Hall Of The Mountain King
Man With Money
Young Man Blues
The Last Time
The front cover is taken from the wonderful John Hunt and his website over at https://idesignalbumcovers.tumblr.com. Due to one or more songs not being available, this playlist could not be replicated on Spotify.
The ‘Happy Jack’ promo can be seen via this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52cQeFBU2Kw
With The Who releasing a Super Deluxe Edition of their classic ‘The Who Sell Out’ this month, I thought I would have a delve into their back catalog to come up a couple of What-If albums. As it turns out, they cover the period after the aforementioned album came out.
The late 60s. Where bands who only a few years before would be seen wearing matching suits, they now they would be seen in the best Canary Street caftans and brightly colours outfits. Where music became a lot more experimental and harked back to the writers youth referring to children’s books and the music hall traditional. Well, that’s what happened in the UK anyway. Even The Who, the ultimate R&B Mod band went all floral jackets and freaked out with songs such as ‘Armenia City In The Sky’ and ‘I Can See For Miles’. It was also the era when ideas where thrown out left, right and centre about what a band were going to do and in their manager Kit Lambert, The Who had a man with ideas to burn. It was he that is credited with convincing Pete Townshend to move away from conventional song writing and move into something more mature. Townshend had produced the song ‘A Quick One, While He’s Away’, which had six distinct movements. It would also lead to ‘Tommy’, the album that turned The Who from international hitmakers into a creative force to be reckoned with.
Lambert didn’t just save his ideas fro Townshend though. He also had some ideas for the bands bass player, John Entwistle. Lambert recognised Entwistle’s talent for writing quirky songs that could possibly appeal to children, so what if an album had been released made up of John’s songs for that market. This would not be the first time that a major 60s artist had released an album geared toward children. Donovan had released a double album called ‘A Gift From A Flower To A Garden’ where the second disc was made up of nursery rhyme style songs for younger listeners. However, Entwistle didn’t write songs in that vein, but about nasty old men who kept all their money to themselves and spiders. Supposedly, Entwistle completed fitteen songs for the project before it went the way of many a Who project and disappeared into the mists of time. Some of these songs were released by The Who on the B-Sides of singles as well as as the odd album track. However, what if this album had been put together and released in 1968 as The Who didn’t put out an album themselves that year (even though a hodgepodge of outtakes and singles was mooted called ‘Anyone For Tennis’). What do we have?
Well, the answer to that is not a lot. Not all of those fifteen songs were recorded at the time as far as I can tell, and if they were, they have not seen the light of day. Some of them may well have been used for a late 90s animated show called Van-Pires. Bogeyman from that show could well be a retitling of the song ‘She’s A Witch’, which has also been known as ‘Horrid Olive’. This song has been shown to date form a demo recorded in 1970. There were only eight Entwistle songs to choose from, and they were short songs at that. Even for the 60s, a ten song album of just over 20 minutes would have been a bit short. There, I included two songs, which featured on the ‘Ready Steady Who’ EP. Even though they were covers, they do fit into the theme of the album. These were the theme to the Batman television series and Barbara-Ann, originally recorded by The Regents but this version shares a similar arrangement to the one The Beach Boys had produced. The 60s Batman show was directed towards children and Barbara-Ann has a certain amount of charm about it that it fits in better here than it did on the original Who EP. All of the information contained below relate to UK release dates as well as that territories versions of singles and LPs.
Doctor Doctor – Originally released on the B-Side to the ‘Pictures of Lily’ single (1967). If nothing else, this song sounds like a child going to the Doctors and complaining about all that is wrong with him. The bit a bit making a will though might not be so child like.
Boris The Spider – Originally released on the album ‘A Quick One’ (1966). The first song Entwistle ever wrote and he said it only took six minutes to do so. It was inspired by a night out with Rolling Stone’s bass player Bill Wyman, where they would give animals funny names. Entwistle came up with Boris the Spider and a staple of live Who performances for the next few years was born.
Someone’s Coming – Originally released as the B-Side to the ‘I Can See For Miles’ single (1967). Not really a children’s song as it deals with a man who wants to see his girlfriend but her parents ban her from seeing him. They only time they get to meet is when she takes her dog for a walk.
In The City – Originally released as the B-Side to the “I’m A Boy’ single (1966). A co-write with Who drummer, Keith Moon and shows Moon’s love of The Beach Boys as it mentions surfing, but I am not sure how much surfing anyone could have done in a British City.
Batman – Originally released on the EP ‘Ready Steady Who’ (1966). Written by Neal Hefti and was the opening theme to the popular TV Show that ran from 1966 to 1968.
I’ve Been Away – Originally released as the B-Side to the single ‘Happy Jack’ (1966). A revenge story from man who has spent time in prison after being found guilty of a crime his brother had committed.
Whiskey Man – Originally released on the album ‘A Quick One’ (1966). The story of a man and his imaginary drinking buddy, who only ever seems to be there when the protagonist drinks. You might think that a song about a man who drinks too much and is put in a padded cell would be inappropriate for a children’s album, but this was the 60s. Kids programmes such as Doctor Who would show characters smoking and in Camberwick Green, Windy Miller is unable to do his job after having drunk himself to sleep on very strong cider.
Silas Stingy – Originally released on the album ‘The Who Sell Out’ (1967). A perfect fit for this album as it tells the story of a man who is so tight with his money that children take the piss out of him for it. He is also so worried about it being stolen that he buys so much stuff to protect his cash that he bankrupts himself.
Dr. Jekyll & Mr Hyde – Originally released as the B-Side to the single ‘Call Me Lightning’ (1968). Written about the problems Keith Moon was having with drink and how he was one person when sober and another when drunk. This is the slightly longer UK version of the song.
Barbara Ann – Originally released on the EP ‘Ready Steady Who’ (1966).
Would this album have come out in the 60’s? Not a chance. It would have involved Entwistle not having any of his songs performed on any Who record up to 1968, the year in which Kit Lambert put forward the idea of a children album in the first place and having the foresight to have enough material to fit a solo LP, when that sort of thing was rare in that period. As an album, it fits together nicely and I was quite surprised that all of the songs were available on Spotify.
Boris The Spider
In The City
I’ve Been Away
Dr. Jekyll & Mr Hyde
The LPs sleeve has been taken from the back cover of his 1972 solo album Whistle Rhymes which fits perfectly with the theme of the LP. A picture of the man himself from the late 1960s is now where the sun was. A Track Records logo and text were added.
After compiling Volume 2 earlier, this month, I found that I had enough songs to complete another set. Like Volume 2, this kicks off with a cover of “Gotta Get Up’. After that, there is a mix of songs Nilsson wrote but didn’t always record a version of himself. These include songs from before he signed his contract with RCA such as ‘A Travellin’ Man’ and ‘Paradise’ as wells many recorded afterwards. There is the other side of the single that Kenny Everett released (with the first being included on Vol.2) as well as more performances by The Turtles and Jimmy Cross. George Tipton, Nilsson’s arranger on his early records makes another appearance but there is also room for a novelty recording such as the version of ‘Without Her’ by Telly Savalas. The disc finishes with a special bonus in that it contains the song ‘Little More Rain’ from the ‘New Nilsson Songs’ demo album. As of now, no one has been able to find out who the singer is.
Once again, unlike Ace Record, I do not have access to the original tapes so some of these have been taken from vinyl transfers, so please excuse the pops etc. The sleeve is similar in style to the Ace Records volume. The differences being that I could not match the original font and there are no dates under the title. I decided that that was unnecessary as this was meant to highlight Nilsson songs throughout the years. Its not really the covers you are here for though, but the music. Well, that is top notch. Enjoy!
Gotta Get Up – Marty Finkel
Everybody Philly – The Citations
Maybe – Labi Siffre
1941 – Joel Grey
It’s Been So Long – Kenny Everett
Me & My Arrow – Davy Jones
Wailing Of The Willow – Liza Minnelli
Remember (Christmas) – Johnny Mathis
Countin’ – Mike Clifford
Don’t Leave Me – Robert John
I Guess The Lord Must be In New York City – The New Yorkers
Chicken Track – Jimmie Cross
The Story Of Rock ’n’ Roll – The Turtles
The Puppy Song – David Cassidy
Open Your Window – George Tipton
One – Chris Clark
All My Life – The Walkmen (feat. Allesanora Mario)
Back in 2017, Ace Records released a wonderful collection dedicated to Harry Nilsson, the songwriter, not the performer. The collection was a curious mix of the well known (The Monkees), the family member (his daughter Annie Nilsson) and the down right obscure (Jimmie Cross). The album sleeve said that all of the songs came from 1965-1972, and then opened with a song recorded in 2013. Oh well. That is a it of nit picking on my part, but Ace Records did a really good job with this compilation as it made some of the pre fame singles that I had only ever heard on scratchy vinyl transfer, available in crystal clear sound for what could have been the first time.
As Nilsson has had his songs covered by a myriad of artists that were not covered by this compilation, I thought I would see if there was enough material to make a volume 2. What I found is there was indeed enough for not only a second volume, but a third as well. I decided to try and follow the template of the original compilation as close as I can, starting the disc with a cover of the song ‘Gotta Get Up’. This is not one of Nilsson’s most covered songs but luckily there were two additional covers I could use. Both discs contain 24 songs and once again, they feature a mix of well known artists as well as the obscure. These include Hugo Montenegros’s rather bizarre cover of ‘Me & My Arrow’; a song from The Walkman, who decided to cover the entire ‘Pussy Cats’ album and are a couple of novelty covers from The Muppets and British DJ Kenny Everett (which in this occasions, he plays quite straight).
Unlike Ace Record, I do not have access to the original tapes so some of these have been taken from vinyl transfers, so please excuse the pops etc. The sleeve is similar in style to the Ace Records volume. The differences being that I could not match the original font and there are no dates under the title. I decided that that was unnecessary as this was meant to highlight Nilsson songs throughout the years. Its not really the covers you are here for though, but the music. Well, that is top notch. Enjoy!
Gotta Get Up – Davy Jones & Mickey Dolenz
Rainmaker – Bobbie Gentry
All For The Beatles (Stand Up & Holler) – The Originals
The Battle Of The Bands – The Turtles
Daddy’s Song – The Casuals
Baby, It’s Over – Debbie Burton
Wailing Of The Willow – Astrid Gilberto
Me & My Arrow – Hugo Montenegro
Super-Dupa Man – Jimmie Cross
Nobody Cares About The Railroads Anymore – George Tipton
Sister Sue – The Soul Men
So Proud Of You – Vivian Roberts
I’d Do It All Again – Dore Alpert
Readin’ Ridin’ & Racin’ – The Super Stocks
Open Your Window – Ella Fitzgerald
Don’t Leave Me – Griffin
One – Three Dog Night
Coconut – The Muppets
Without Her – Kenny Everett
Maybe – Barbra Streisand
Chicago – The Citations
Headlines – The Sunday Funnies
Paradise – The Ronettes
I Guess The Lord Must Be In New York City – Sagittarius
I thought that as Deutschland 89, last series of this rather fine German TV programme was finally airing in the UK from 5th March 2021, I would revisit the second series to produce a soundtrack for it. Unlike the soundtracks to Deutschland 83, there will only be one and it will be a mix of both German and English speaking artists. I also felt that this album, if it had been released in 1986, would have come out once agin on the K-Tel label, so their logo is included in the top left of the sleeve.
With the previous compilation for Deutschland 83, I felt that the record label would have wanted to have squeezed on as many songs as they could so went for the shorter version where available. That includes the single versions for the Level 42 and Evelyn Thomas songs. That was also the reason for concluding the 1985 version of Howard Jones’ ‘No-One Is To Blame’, regardless if this was the version used in the show or not. Record companies have not always been the best at releasing the correct versions of songs in tie in compilations. As the song ‘Major Tom (Coming Home)’ by Peter Schilling was once again used as the theme tune in the UK, it would also be the opening song to this collection. However, I selected another Schilling track which is included on the flip side of the LP.
Other than Peter Schilling, the two other German speaking artists are a pre ‘Rock Me Amadeus’ Falco and Klaus Nomi. The Falco song, ‘Der Kommissar’ is seen as an influential German language rap song which was later a bigger hit for the British band, After The Fire. Klaus Nomi on the other hand was a one off. With a counter tenor vocal range which meant he had the vocal range equivalent to a female contralto of mezzo-soprano, this is the one obscure artist per compilation. Nomi is known for appearing on Saturday Night Live with David Bowie in 1979 as well as being one of the first people connected to the arts to die from AIDS. I cannot give his back story justice here, but if you are interested to find out more, the internet is your friend. The man was a true one off and his back catalogue is also well worth checking out.
Being as this is 1986 and all that, I felt that the record label would be interested in appealing to the CD buyer. This was the year of ‘Brothers In Arms’, the first CD album to not only sell a million copies but to outsell its vinyl equivalent. One way of appealing to the CD buyer was to offer them something not available on another format. With ‘Brothers In Arms’ there wasn’t any bonus tracks on the CD version of the album, but the songs were longer. They had to be edited to fit onto a single LP. Queen on the 1986 CD edition of ‘A Kind Of Magic’ put three exclusive mixes of songs at the end of the disc. With this soundtrack album, I have added two additional songs in the shape of ‘Such A Shame’ by Talk Talk, and ‘I Want You’ by Elvis Costello & The Attractions. These songs are both quite long and would have been a doubt for the LP, unless edited. Enjoy.
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.
Major Tom (Völlig Losgelöst) – Peter Schilling
Sehnsucht – Puhdys
No Bomb – Berluc
Am Fenster – City
99 Luftballons – Nena
Goldener Reiter – Joachim Witt
Keine Heimat – Ideal
Ein Jahr (Es Geht Voran) – Fehlfarben
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.
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.
Major Tom (Coming Home) – Peter Schilling
Sweet Dreams (Are Made of These) (Single Version) – Eurythmics
Maniac (Single Version) – Michael Sembello
She Works Hard For The Money (Single Version) – Donna Summer
Berlin – Fishcer-Z
Break My Stride – Matthew Wilder
Club Tropicana – Wham!
The Safety Dance (Single Version) – Men Without Hats
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.
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.
Venus & Mars – Venus & Mars
Rock Show – Venus & Mars
Love In Song – Venus & Mars
Dark Horse (Early Take) – Dark Horse (2014 Edition)
Oo-Wee – Goodnight Vienna
Let’s Love – Venus & Mars (2014 Edition)
Simply Shady – Dark Horse
You – Extra Texture
Move Over Mrs. L – Single B-Side
Soily (From One Hand Clapping) – Venus & Mars (2014 Edition)
Back Off Boogaloo – Single A-Side
Steel & Glass – Walls & Bridges
This Guitar (Can’t Keep From Crying) – Extra Texture
#9 Dream – Walls & Bridges
Bless You – Walls & Bridges
Scared – Walls & Bridges
The Lord Loves The One (That Loves The Lord) – Living In The Material World
Call Me Back Again – Venus & Mars
Mind Games – Mind Games
Letting Go – Venus & Mars
The Light That Has Lighted The World – Living In The Material World
Treat Her Gently (Lonely Old People) – Venus & Mars
Nobody Loves You (When You’re Down & Out) – Walls & Bridges
That Is All – Living In The Material World
A Bit More Of You – Extra Texture
Whatever Gets You Thru The Night – Walls & Bridges
Old Dirt Road – Walls & Bridges
Junior’s Farm – Single A-Side
Grey Cloudy Lies – Extra Texture
Listen To What The Man Said – Venus & Mars
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.