Saturday, 28 August 2010
A bit of glamour this month - with blogs looking at three of the best female pop acts to have emerged since the late 70's. First up, is a look at Lily Allen's UK discography, with a brief mention on selected foreign and promo releases.
Next up, is the third part of our four part look at Madonna's UK 1982-1990 singles discography, covering the period 1986 to 1988.
Finally, we look at the discography of pop princesses Girls Aloud, including details of all the singles and DVD's. Click on the relevant tab on the right hand side of this page.
"You Said You Played At Reading, then you chart at 57"
And so, in Lily Allen, we have another act who has apparently gone on “hiatus”. Allen has recently played several ‘final’ gigs, but me being the eternal pessimist, I think it will only be a matter of time before her third album is on it’s way. At least, I hope so. Allen is one of the more intriguing pop stars the UK has produced - her brash lyrics have set her aside from potential contemporaries, and the electro pop stylings of her last LP, “It’s Not Me It’s You”, made that record one of the best of 2009. Allen, it could be argued, has also been instrumental in helping lead the media fascination with female singers in recent years, which whilst at times is the sign of nothing more than lazy journalism, has at least helped give a bit of coverage to these acts who might otherwise have struggled to get on the radio. To commiserate her current retirement status, here’s a quick look at the world of Keith Allen’s daughter - any article about Lily Allen HAS to mention that…
Album Number 1
Allen’s breakthrough has very much been credited to the power of the internet. Although she signed a record deal way back in 2002, little progress was made during her early years in the industry. Her then manager, George Lamb (yes, that one), stuck with her as she stepped away from music, then decided to have another crack, signing to EMI subsidiary Regal. In the fall of 2005, Allen started posting demos on her MySpace page. The buzz surrounding these demos was huge, and Regal issued a limited edition 7” of “LDN”, Allen’s upbeat sounding but rather downbeat lyrically account of life in London, a subject that would inform much of her debut album, “Alright Still”, which was issued in 2006.
The interest in Allen following “LDN”’s release was now significant, especially for an artist so early into her career, and she found herself the recipient of media coverage which, at times, was of a level normally reserved for a more established artist. As a result, when second single “Smile” was sent out to radio, it was A-listed on just about every station going, with the hype surrounding Allen growing by the minute. “Smile” was a huge hit, going to number 1 in the UK - although like “LDN” it sounded bright and sunny, the lyrics were dark and controversial, complete with a video which some claimed was “pro-violence”, featuring as it did scenes of Allen hiring a gang to beat up an ex-boyfriend.
“Alright Still” was released soon after, and was the recipient of excitable reviews. It’s most notable influences were Ska and Reggae, music that Allen had grown up listening to, but infused with a pop sensibility. There were other styles on show upon closer inspection - album closer “Alfie” sampled Sandie Shaw’s “Puppet On A String”, whilst “Littlest Things” was the closest the album got to a ballad, held together with a beautiful piano melody. The b-side of “LDN”, “Knock Em Out”, was included on the album, and I am informed the version of “LDN” that got included was a slightly different mix, although I can‘t tell the difference. I seem to recall hearing that the original mix of “LDN“ included an uncleared sample, which had to be removed for the album, but I can‘t track down anything on the internet that backs this up. “LDN” was then issued as the next single, followed by “Littlest Things” and a double A-side release of “Alfie” and “Shame For You”, the former written about her brother Alfie Allen. Lily’s image at the time of the LP’s release was a fascinating mix of glamour and street - gigs could see her decked out in a ball gown with Adidas trainers, and her unique image made her just as notable a performer, from a visual perspective, as the likes of Alison Goldfrapp or Beth Ditto.
In collectors terms, all of Allen’s 7” singles from the first album were housed in die cut sleeves, as opposed to being issued in full picture sleeves. The original “LDN” featured a small sticker in the top left detailing the track listing, later releases featured big stickers across the top of the sleeve, with “Littlest Things” featuring a B-side not available on the accompanying CD Single release. Each of these releases featured different coloured labels, and the sticker was the same colour as the label. Promo CD releases for “Smile” onwards came in picture sleeves which featured a photo of the 7” label (but with the vinyl catalogue number removed), and all featured exclusive material - “LDN”, “Smile” and “Littlest Things” all featured an instrumental mix of the relevant track, whilst the “Shame For You“/“Alfie“ promo featured the radio edit mix of the latter. Some of the commercial releases of these 45’s were issued on two CD Singles, with different sleeve designs, with the B-sides being a mix of “new” tracks or remixes.
2007 and most of 2008 was spent indulging in non-”Alright Still” work - Lily landed her own TV chat show, “Lily Allen And Friends”, which unlike Charlotte Church’s show, saw Lily avoid actually singing anything on the shows, with musical guests appearing instead to plug their latest product. A single with Mark Ronson, a cover of Kaiser Chiefs’ “Oh My God” was released, after it had originally been recorded for Ronson’s “Version” album - the single came backed with a remix featuring Busta Rhymes, with “clean” and “explicit” mixes of the remix available on either the 10” or CD formats. The video featured a cartoon Allen, but the Kaiser Chiefs made an actual physical cameo appearance as themselves in the clip. Allen has also collaborated on several other singles, appearing with the likes of Common and Professor Green, but whilst she did all the vocals on “Oh My God”, these singles only featured her on parts of the song. However, an often overlooked gem is her duet with Jamie T on “Rawhide”, which appeared on the B-side of his 2007 single “Sheila”.
Album Number 2
At the tail end of 2008, Allen’s first single from album number two was unleashed to TV and Radio. “The Fear” was a remarkable return, showing Allen’s movement away from the Ska influenced Pop of the first record, to a bigger, more electronic sounding style of music. The lyrics were still direct and explicit (“I want loads of clothes, and fuckloads of diamonds”) but the melody seemed “fuller” than anything on “Alright Still”. Early in 2009, “It’s Not Me It’s You” was released to ecstatic reviews, with some critics (rightly) claiming it was a leap forward from the debut LP. Plenty of songs, as well as “The Fear”, were heavily reliant on melody and sound, whereas the debut had been stuffed full of samples on virtually every track - “Everyone’s At It” was a swirl of synths, “Chinese” featured some beautiful vocals on the choruses (the greatest single that never was, as far as this LP goes), and the whole record was hook laden throughout. The image was also now more glamour than street, with Allen wearing wigs at some shows, and rather revealing costumes at others.
The second single, ”Not Fair”, complete with comedy “country and western TV show” video, was a brave choice of single, dealing explicitly with a story of a bad sexual partner - Allen later admitted that having to change the line about “I spent ages giving head” on TV shows made her laugh, her favourite replacement line being “I spent ages kneading bread”! The third single in the UK, “22”, would be the last to gain a major physical release, as the follow up, “Who’d Have Known”, was only ever released as a promo and digital single in the UK, although a video famously co-starring an Elton John lookalike was shot. The couple had had a very public row at the GQ awards the previous year, although the spat seems to have been two friends having a row, as opposed to two enemies hating each other. This was not the first time Allen had “fallen out” with a fellow pop star, her relationship with Girls Aloud’s Cheryl Cole also being famously frosty since day one. “Who’d Have Known” bore a striking similarity to Take That’s “Shine”, and Allen dueted with the band on a “mash up” of the two songs at a BBC Children In Need gig in London at the end of 2009.
Two other songs from “It’s Not Me It’s You” were issued as singles - “Fuck You” was released in France, but not in the UK, and utilised the B-side from the UK CD edition of “Not Fair” as the second track on the CD. In 2010, “Back To The Start” was issued as a limited edition 7” as part of National Record Store Day - only a thousand copies were pressed, but unlike other EMI acts who offered up exclusive material for their releases (Bat For Lashes, and Hot Chip, to name but two), the B-side was a previously released song, “Kabul Shit”, which had appeared on the flip of “The Fear” 7” Picture Disc.
Of the three “normal” releases in the UK, all were issued as two track CD singles and 7” picture discs, with the same photo adorning the front of each, although - as is standard - the picture discs were housed in clear sleeves, rather than picture sleeves. The b-sides on each format was different, and even though edited mixes of “The Fear” and “Not Fair” existed, the album mixes of each were used on both formats of each single.
During 2009, “It’s Not Me It’s You” was reissued as a deluxe double disc edition - the CD featured a slab of acoustic versions, remixes and new songs (covers of Britney Spears’ “Womanizer”, a feature of Allen’s live set at the time, and ELO’s “Mr Blue Sky”), with a DVD featuring footage from an early gig of the 2009 tour and several “It’s Not Me” promo videos, including “Fuck You“. The package came in a new sleeve, although the two discs were housed in a normal jewel case tucked inside a slipcase, and the original CD cover sleeve was again used on the front of the inlay inside the jewel case.
As I type this, Allen’s forthcoming “last” gig seems to be a support slot for poor Pink Floyd copycat band Muse, which should see her blow them off stage - will this really be her curtain call? If it is, then we will have lost another proper pop star from our charts.
The Essential Releases
Listed below are selected highlights from Lily’s discography. The CD editions of the albums are detailed, along with all formats of all commercially released singles (including “Oh My God”). I have also listed details of the promo CD’s for the singles from the first album, as these are all interesting items to own, both in terms of their artwork and track listings. Promo CD’s for releases from the second album often featured rare mixes, but used standard artwork. The Discogs link below is worth a view, as it details other promo releases I have decided not to cover here.
LILY ALLEN ALBUM DISCOGRAPHY
Alright Still (CD, Regal 369 4931)
It’s Not Me It’s You (CD, Regal REG 151 CD)
It’s Not Me It’s You Special Edition (CD, Regal 151 CDY)
LILY ALLEN SINGLES DISCOGRAPHY
LDN/Knock Em Out (7”, Regal LILY 001)
Smile (LP Version)/(Gutter Mix) (7”, Regal 7REG 135, die cut sleeve)
Smile (LP Version)/(Gutter Mix) (CD1, Regal REG 135, red picture sleeve)
Smile/Cheryl Tweedy/Absolutely Nothing/Smile (Video) (CD2, Regal REGS 135, blue picture sleeve)
LDN/Nan You’re A Window Shopper (7”, Regal REG 137, die cut sleeve)
LDN/Nan You’re A Window Shopper (CD1, Regal REG 137 CD, blue picture sleeve)
LDN/Naïve/LDN (Warbox Original Dub)/(Video) (CD2, Regal REGS 137, red picture sleeve)
Littlest Things/Everybody’s Changing (7”, Regal REG 140, die cut sleeve)
Littlest Things/U Killed It (CD, Regal CDREG 140)
Shame For You/Alfie (7”, Regal REG 141, die cut sleeve)
Shame For You/Alfie (CD, Regal CDREG 141)
Oh My God (LP Mix)/(The Super Busdown Remix - Clean) +2 (CD, Columbia 88697 113172)
Oh My God (LP Mix)/(The Super Budsown Remix - Dirty) (10”, Columbia 88697 113171)
The Fear/Fag Hag (CD, Regal REG 150 CD)
The Fear/Kabul Shit (7” Picture Disc, Regal REG 150)
Not Fair/The Fear (The Count (aka Herve) and Lily Face The Fear Remix) (CD, Regal REG 153 CD)
Not Fair/Why (7” Picture Disc, Regal REG 153)
Fuck You/The Fear (The Count (aka Herve) and Lily Face The Fear Remix) (French CD, Regal 50999 68501723, original copies come shrinkwrapped)
22/Not Fair (Far Too Loud Electro Radio Edit) (CD, Regal REG 154 CD)
22 (LP Mix)/(The Big Pink Remix) (7” Picture Disc, Regal REG 154)
Back To The Start/Kabul Shit (7”, Regal REG 160)
“ALRIGHT STILL” CD PROMOS
LDN/Knock Em Out (CDR, Parlophone no catalogue number, white p/s with titles in top left)
Smile (LP Version)/(Instrumental) (CD, Regal LILY 002)
LDN (LP Version)/(Instrumental) (CD, Regal CDREGDJ 137)
Littlest Things (LP Version)/(Instrumental) (CD, Regal LILY 003)
Shame For You/Alfie (Radio Edit) (CD, Regal LILY 004)
Lily's official website: http://www.lilyallenmusic.com/lily/
Dicogs Website: http://www.discogs.com/artist/Lily+Allen
Sunday, 1 August 2010
Despite becoming the biggest pop star in the world, the “serious music” crowd still didn’t ‘get’ Madonna at the turn of 1986. She was viewed as a ‘teenybop’ singer, one who did not make proper music. But the tide started to turn later that year, when a more “grown up” Madonna emerged with the “True Blue” album. The sound was more sophisticated, the lyrics were a lot darker, and even the image had changed - she famously appeared, with short cropped hair, on the cover of “Rolling Stone” above the headline “The New Madonna”. Not everybody was fully convinced yet (myself included), but the 1989 release of “Like A Prayer” would eventually be the final piece of the jigsaw.
In this blog, we look at the singles released in the UK from the “True Blue” and “Who’s That Girl” albums, plus a look at the single-that-never-was from the 1987 remix album “You Can Dance”. As ever, all formats are listed, and details of the accompanying CD reissues from Germany in 1995 are shown. None of the German releases came in different sleeves during this period, so all the picture sleeves shown below are from the different UK editions. Starting with this blog, any singles that were only ever issued as promos are also listed, but promo issues of singles that were released commercially in the UK will not be detailed. All releases are on Sire Records, although “white label” SAM promos were so called as they were not “officially“ released on a particular label at all.
Live To Tell
Something of a culture shock post “Like A Virgin” - “Live To Tell” was a slow, mournful, but quite astonishing ballad, which came housed in a picture sleeve showcasing Madonna’s new conservative look. The accompanying video wasn’t a barrel of laughs either. The 7” featured an edited mix on the A-side, with an Instrumental on the flip. The 12” edition added the album track as a bonus. “Live To Tell” was also issued on 12” with a free poster, and was the first such Madonna release to use a different catalogue number for such a pressing (with a “TW” suffix). The poster edition came with a sticker on the front which listed the alternate catalogue number, but the rear of the sleeve, and the actual record labels, still showed the “T” catalogue number instead. All Madonna 12”’s with posters for the next five years would be catalogued in this style. The German CD edition is identical to the UK 12”.
Live To Tell (Edit)/(Instrumental) (W8717, 7“)
Live To Tell (LP Version)/(Edit)/(Instrumental) (W8717T, 12“)
Live To Tell (LP Version)/(Edit)/(Instrumental) (W8717TW, 12” with free poster in stickered p/s)
Live To Tell (LP Version)/(Edit)/(Instrumental) (7599-20461-2, German CD Single)
Papa Don't Preach
More seriousness here - a song detailing teenage pregnancy. Not exactly “Lucky Star” is it? “Papa Don’t Preach” was notable in the UK for featuring that rare beast, a proper Madonna B-side, in the form of “Ain’t No Big Deal”. The track dated from the very start of Madonna’s career, and an early version of the track was at one point being considered as Madonna’s debut 45. It was later re-recorded (circa 1984) and appeared on the Sire compilation record “Attack Of The Killer B’s” before making it‘s UK debut here.
The UK editions of “Papa” consisted of a 7”, and 12”’s with or without posters, which featured the extended mix of the A-side as a bonus track. A 12” picture disc was also issued, and as usual, was housed in a clear sleeve. If my memory serves me correctly, some were issued with a clear rim around the edge of the sleeve, others with a black one. Similarly, it’s been claimed that several formats featured the wrong running order on the B-side, with different people noting that different formats were mispressed - I’ve lost track as to which ones were supposedly mispressed. The listings below are based on the actual tracklistings listed on the sleeve/picture disc, rather than the order in which they may (or may not) play. The German CD, again, is identical to the UK 12”.
Papa Don’t Preach/Ain’t No Big Deal (W8636, 7“)
Papa Don’t Preach (Extended Version)/Ain’t No Big Deal/Papa Don’t Preach (W8636 T, 12“)
Papa Don’t Preach (Extended Version)/Ain’t No Big Deal/Papa Don’t Preach (W8636TW, 12” with free poster in stickered p/s)
Papa Don’t Preach (Extended Version)/Ain’t No Big Deal/Papa Don’t Preach (W8636TP, 12“ Picture Disc in clear sleeve)
Papa Don’t Preach (Extended Version)/Ain’t No Big Deal/Papa Don’t Preach (7599-20503-2, German CD Single)
Strangely, the title track of Madonna’s third album has spent much of it’s lifetime “under wraps” - Madonna’s take on 50’s doo-wop was left off the 1990 ‘best of’, “The Immaculate Collection”, and hasn’t been performed live for some 23 years. The UK editions were quite interesting, although after the multi formatting madness of “Papa Don’t Preach”, Sire were a bit more restrained for this release.
The 7” featured a remixed version on the A-side, with the original edited mix of “Holiday” on the flip. The 12” altered these mixes,by including an extended version of “True Blue” on the A-side, and the album version of “Holiday” on the other side. A 12” picture disc was issued, with the same photo as per the black vinyl pressings, and the same tracklisting as the standard 12”. Unsurprsingly, some overseas editions were pressed on - yes - blue vinyl. The German CD single, once more, was identical to the UK 12”.
True Blue (Remix)/Holiday (Edit) (W8550, 7”)
True Blue (The Color Mix)/Holiday (W8550T, 12”)
True Blue (The Color Mix)/Holiday (W8550TP, 12” Picture Disc in clear sleeve)
True Blue (The Color Mix)/Holiday (7599-20564-2, German CD Single)
Open Your Heart
Leading contender for “Greatest Madonna Video Of All Time” (Madonna plays a stripper in the video, what’s not to like?), “Open Your Heart”, like “True Blue”, benefited from a remixed version for the 7” edition. The 7”, again, featured an edited version of a former Madonna hit on the flipside - in this case, “Lucky Star”.
The 12” was noticeably different, featuring both an extended mix and a dub mix of the A-side, with the album version of “Lucky Star” replacing the edit. A 12” picture disc was also issued, which as was so often the case, featured a different picture, using a still from the end of the video - which, in my view, was a much poorer shot than that adorning the black vinyl picture sleeve editions. The German CD single was based around the original German 12”, meaning that “Lucky Star” was replaced by “White Heat” from the “True Blue” album.
Open Your Heart (Remix)/Lucky Star (Edit) (W8480, 7”)
Open Your Heart (Extended Version)/(Dub)/Lucky Star (W8480T, 12”)
Open Your Heart (Extended Version)/(Dub)/Lucky Star (W8480TP, 12” Picture Disc in clear sleeve)
Open Your Heart (Extended Version)/(Dub)/White Heat (7599-20597-2, German CD Single)
La Isla Bonita
Quite impressive - four different mixes of the same song across both the 7” and 12” editions - although whether any of them, apart from the 7” Remix, were particularly exciting is open to question. Do you really need short AND long instrumental mixes in your life? The 7” featured an edited remix on the A-side, with a short instrumental version on the flip. The 12” featured extended mixes in both vocal and instrumental forms. A 12” Picture Disc was issued yet again, with the same tracks as the black vinyl 12”. The German CD Single mirrored the UK 12” exactly.
La Isla Bonita (Remix)/(Instrumental) (W8378, 7”)
La Isla Bonita (Extended Remix)/(Extended Instrumental) (W8378T, 12”)
La Isla Bonita (Extended Remix)/(Extended Instrumental) (W8378TP, 12” Picture Disc in clear sleeve)
La Isla Bonita (Extended Remix)/(Extended Instrumental) (7599-20633-2, German CD Single)
Who's That Girl
“Who’s That Girl” was the name of Madonna’s 1987 comedy movie outing, and spawned an accompanying soundtrack album. The soundtrack is often listed in Madonna discographies for these reasons:
a) it had Madonna’s name on the front
b) it had a huge picture of Madonna on the front
c) it included four new Madonna songs
However, it included more than four non-Madonna songs, so it’s not really a Madonna album at all, but has always been of interest to Madonna followers because one of the songs remains exclusive to the album, whilst the version of “Causing A Commotion” is a unique mix.
“Who’s That Girl” (which also was the name of Madonna’s first world tour) featured some unusual formats. The 7” featured the album mix on the A-side, with “White Heat” on the flip. The bog-standard black vinyl 12” replaced the album mix of “WTG” with an extended version. There was also a very limited 12” picture disc. For some reason, only a small number of these were pressed, which explains why this has always been one of the more hard-to-find Madonna picture discs, even though it is “newer” than the likes of “Borderline” and “Into The Groove” - supply and demand. As for how many were pressed, I have heard quotes ranging from 4500 to 10000.
There was also a 2nd 12”, which added a third track - a “Dub” mix of “WTG”. It came in the same sleeve as the normal 12”, but with some minor sleeve alterations - the main thing being that “White Heat” is listed on the front of the sleeve, unlike the 2-track edition. The German CD features the same tracks as the UK 2-track 12”, rather disappointingly.
As an aside, the US 12” pressings listed just the same two tracks as the UK edition - all came shrinkwrapped, and unless you happened to open it, you wouldn’t have known that all the US 12”’s actually featured three tracks, as the “Dub” mix was included on all the pressings.
Who’s That Girl/White Heat (W8341, 7”)
Who’s That Girl (Extended Version)/White Heat (W8341T, 12”)
Who’s That Girl (Extended Version)/White Heat (W8341TP, 12” Picture Disc in clear sleeve)
Who’s That Girl (Extended Version)/(Dub)/White Heat (W8341TX, 3-track 12”)
Who’s That Girl (Extended Version)/White Heat (7599-20692-2, German CD Single)
Causing A Commotion
The second single from the “WTG” soundtrack was also issued on a variety of fascinating formats - rather strangely, it seems as though some of these formats weren’t heavily promoted at the time of the single’s release, as several of them have become rather collectible. I recently saw a promo poster for the single issued at the time which proudly boasted “available on 7” and 12” “, when the single was actually issued on no less than five formats.
The 7” featured a remixed version of the A-side, backed with “Jimmy Jimmy“. Initial copies of the 7” came shrinkwrapped with a free Madonna button-badge, and in a stickered sleeve. These editions had, from what I can gather, a different catalogue number on the sticker, but the actual sleeve and record labels had the standard catalogue number printed. The button-badge edition is stupidly rare - I don’t inhabit record fairs every day, but I still never recall seeing one being offered for sale. From what I can gather, most people bought the single, ripped off the shrink wrap, wore the button and played the single. It’s probable that the badges have gone missing over the years, or have been sold individually - similarly, you may well own a “normal” copy of the single, unaware that it was originally a shrinkwrapped edition. I am sure there are some unopened copies still in existence, but presumably are in the hands of private collectors who have no plans to sell them.
The 12” featured two extended mixes of the A-side along with “Jimmy Jimmy” - however, UK single chart rules at the time meant a single would only be eligible for the charts if it had a running time of less than 20 minutes. The playing time of these three songs came to just over 20 minutes, so “Jimmy Jimmy” was edited, fading out 15 seconds early. This mix, I believe, is unavailable in most countries outside of the UK, if any. Instant rarity time! The 12” Picture Disc features the same tracks, with a different (and again, not as impressive) picture to the black vinyl editions. The photo used was the same as the aforementioned promo poster.
The other obscure format was the Cassette. Madonna’s first UK single to be issued on such a format, it featured the same tracks as the 12”, but came in what I can only describe as a “pop art” style sleeve - the basic picture cover was the same, but was reduced in size to form only part of the front cover. It’s fairly different to the 7”/12” editions, and so I have decided to show a scan above.
In the US, chart regulations were not as strict, and so “Causing A Commotion” appeared as a 4 track 12”, including a remix of the track not issued in the UK. This was the beginning, more or less, of a tradition where the UK releases would feature less tracks across the various formats to their US editions - I cannot even begin to tell you just how many remixes remain, to this day, “unavailable in the UK”, for subsequent Madonna 45‘s. The German CD single features the 4 tracks from the US 12” pressing.
Causing A Commotion (Silver Screen Single Mix)/Jimmy Jimmy (W8224, 7”)
Causing A Commotion (Silver Screen Single Mix)/Jimmy Jimmy (W8224F, 7” with free Madonna badge)
Causing A Commotion (Silver Screen Mix)/(Movie House Mix)/Jimmy Jimmy (Fade) (W8224T, 12”)
Causing A Commotion (Silver Screen Mix)/(Movie House Mix)/Jimmy Jimmy (Fade) (W8224TP, 12” Picture Disc in clear sleeve)
Causing A Commotion (Silver Screen Mix)/(Movie House Mix)/Jimmy Jimmy (Fade) (W8224C, Cassette in pop-art style sleeve)
Causing A Commotion (Silver Screen Mix)/(Dub)/(Movie House Mix)/Jimmy Jimmy (7599-20762-2, German CD Single)
The Look Of Love
The third, and final, single from the “WTG” soundtrack - meaning that fans now had no choice but to shell out for the soundtrack LP to own both the album mix of “Causing A Commotion” and the exclusive “Can’t Stop”. “The Look Of Love” was a relative flop in Madonna terms, the first UK single to not hit the top five since the 1984 release of “Borderline”. The various formats offered nothing new in terms of remixes or B-sides, so there was little reason for anybody other than the completists to buy this 45.
For the record, the 7” came backed with “I Know It”, with “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore” appearing on the 12” editions. Initial copies of the black vinyl 12” came with a free poster, whilst there was also a 12” picture disc featuring the same image. In France, the single was issued in a rather lurid red picture sleeve, whilst there was no US release at all. The German CD single, again, is identical to the UK 12”.
The Look Of Love/I Know It (W8115, 7”)
The Look Of Love/Love Don’t Live Here Anymore/I Know It (W8115T, 12”)
The Look Of Love/Love Don’t Live Here Anymore/I Know It (W8115TW, 12” with free poster in stickered p/s)
The Look Of Love/Love Don’t Live Here Anymore/I Know It (W8115TP, 12” Picture Disc in clear sleeve)
The Look Of Love/Love Don’t Live Here Anymore/I Know It (7599-20836-2, German CD Single)
The Single that never was. “Spotlight” was recorded during the album sessions for “True Blue”, but failed to make the final cut. Rather than issue the track as a B-side, it was held over for Madonna’s 1987 remix LP, “You Can Dance”. “You Can Dance”, in some respects, was a dry run for the “Confessions On A Dancefloor” CD, consisting of two long ‘mega mixes’. “Spotlight” originally was a four minute long song, but was extended and remixed for the album. It was joined by six more Madonna “hits” - I use the word “hits” loosely, as several of the songs included were not even issued as singles in the US or the UK. Five of these tracks were also remixed, but “Physical Attraction” would appear in the same mix as it did on the original “Madonna” album - it must have been deemed both long enough and funky enough to not need a 1987 makeover.
The first megamix consisted of four songs, the second the remaining three. The original 1987 remixes were issued on a set of three-promo only 12”’s in the US, but for the album, because the tracks segued from one to the next, either the opening bars or closing bars (or both) of each track would be absent. This has made the original US promos big collectors items over the years.
In addition to this, five of the songs were also remixed as “Dub” versions. Four of these dub mixes were issued on the Cassette edition of the album (two at the end of side 1, the remainder at the end of side 2). For the CD edition, the dub mixes of “Holiday” and “Into The Groove” were joined by a dub mix of “Where’s The Party”, the latter not being available on the Cassette pressing. This made “YCD” the first Madonna LP to really venture down the multi-formatting avenue. The dub mixes all appeared at the end of the CD. The vinyl edition, due to an obvious lack of space, had no dub mixes at all.
The four dub mixes from the Cassette edition (“Spotlight”, “Holiday”, “Over And Over”, “Into The Groove”) were issued on a promo 12” in the UK. It seems unlikely a proper single release was ever planned, and “Spotlight” purely appeared as track 1 because it was the first dub mix at the end of side 1 of the Cassette,. The release seemed to be aimed purely at the club market. “Spotlight” did actually appear as an A-side in Japan, when an edited version of the song was released on 7” and CD in 1988. Edited versions of all seven songs were created for a US promo CD issued before the album was released, known as the “Single Edits” CD, on the basis that if any of the tracks were to be issued as singles, these were the mixes that should be used. The edit of “Where’s The Party” appeared on the B-side of “Spotlight” in Japan, but apart from "Physical Attraction" (the CD included the original US 7" edit), the other mixes from the promo remain commercially unreleased.
Given that Spotlight was not actually released as a single in the UK, Germany, or hardly anywhere else, there is no 1995 CD Single edition.
Spotlight (Dub)/Holiday (Dub)/Over And Over (Dub)/Into The Groove (Dub) (SAM412, 12” Promo in die cut sleeve)
As ever, listed below are selected rarities from the period from overseas. The list is a bit smaller than that for 1984-1986, as it seems by now, most Madonna 45’s were appearing in the same covers in each country. I have not listed any black vinyl singles that were not issued in full picture covers where a picture sleeve version from elsewhere exists, but quite a few do exist in several countries.
SELECTED RARITIES 1986 - 1988
Causing A Commotion (Silver Screen Mix)/(Dub)/(Movie House Mix)/Jimmy Jimmy (9 20762-4, US Cassette Single in unique “titles” longbox p/s)
Holiday (Extended Remix)/(Dub)/Over And Over (Extended Remix)/(Dub) (PRO-A-2907, US Promo Only 12")
Into The Groove (Extended Remix)/(Dub)/Everybody (Extended Remix) (PRO-A-2906, US Promo Only 12")
La Isla Bonita/La Isla Bonita (819, Spanish Promo 7” in unique p/s)
La Isla Bonita (Remix)/(Instrumental) (P-2237, Japanese 7” in unique p/s)
La Isla Bonita Super Club Mix (WPCP 3440, Japanese CD Mini Album, includes Extended Remix of "La Isla Bonita", plus "Gambler" & "Crazy For You")
La Isla Bonita (Remix)/Open Your Heart (7-21941, US "Back To Back" 7" in die cut sleeve)
Live To Tell (Edit)/(LP Version) (PRO-A-2470, US Promo 12" in unique p/s)
Live To Tell (LP Version)/(Instrumental) (P-2106, Japanese 7", initial copies on white vinyl)
The Look Of Love/I Know It (918 115-7, French 7" in red p/s)
Papa Don’t Preach/Papa Don’t Preach (1.025, 45/33 rpm Brazilian Promo 7” in unique p/s)
Papa Don't Preach (LP Version)/(Edit) (PRO-A-2517, US Promo 12" in unique p/s)
Papa Don’t Preach (Edit)/Think Of Me (P-2130, Japanese 7” in same sleeve as “True Blue” album cover)
Papa Don't Preach (Edit)/(Extended Version)/Pretender/Papa Don't Preach (Video) (9 25681-2, US Only CD Video, some copies of this format also pressed in UK but for US release)
Papa Don't Preach/Everybody (3.58 Edit) (7-21986, US "Back To Back" 7" in die cut sleeve)
Spotlight (Single Edit)/Where's The Party (Single Edit) (10SW-21, Japanese 3" CD in "snap-pack")
Spotlight (Fade)/(Fade) (920, Spanish Promo 7” in unique p/s)
Super Club Mix (WPCP 3439, Japanese CD Mini-Album, includes Color Mix of "True Blue")
True Blue (Remix)/Ain't No Big Deal (9 28591-7, US Blue Vinyl 7")
True Blue (The Color Mix)/(Instrumental)/Ain't No Big Deal/True Blue (Remix) (9 20533 0, US 12")
True Blue/True Blue (1.035, 33/45 rpm Brazilian Promo 12” in unique p/s)
True Blue (Remix)/Ain’t No Big Deal (P-2159, Japanese 7” in similar sleeve to “True Blue” album cover)
Where's The Party/Love Don't Live Here Anymore (WB 77-561,Phillippines 7" in die cut sleeve)
Where's The Party (Extended Remix)/(Dub)/Spotlight (Extended Remix)/(Dub) (PRO-A-2905, US Promo Only 12")
Who's That Girl/Causing A Commotion (Silver Screen Single Mix) (9 21940-4, US "Backtrax" Cassette Single)
You Can Dance (PRO-CD-2892, US Promo Only CD Mini Album)
The photo at the top of the article is from Madonna's 1986 "Life" magazine shoot, and this and many more pictures can be found at the Madonna Shots website (which, possibly, is now no longer being updated), link below. In three blogs time, we shall look at the final set of releases that were subsequently reissued in Germany in 1995 - from "Like A Prayer" through to "Vogue".
Madonna Shots: http://www.madonnashots.com/
In order to stop this blog looking like it was written by somebody from “Mojo” or “Uncut”, I decided it was time we looked at a ‘modern’ group - in other words, one whose debut release was on CD, not vinyl. The trouble with ‘modern’ groups, is that their discographies can often be fairly simple. Most indie bands, for example, will issue every single on three formats, with different B-sides on each. So, you simply buy everything you see with their name on, buy the “limited edition” version of their next LP, and repeat ad infinitum. It’s a similar story with Girls Aloud, the leading lights in the world of “Future-Pop“. There are some interesting odds and sods in their back catalogue though, and as the best act to emerge from the heartbreakingly bad world of the reality-TV-pop-show format, and quite possibly the greatest girlband of all time, it’s only fair we look at their complete discography - especially as there are never ending rumours that the band may have actually split up for good.
Girls Aloud have issued five “proper” studio albums so far, along with a pair of rather obscure albums released only via the now semi defunct Woolworths chain (they still have a website, pick and mix fans!). They have also released one “Greatest Hits” album, and in the case of most of these, all have either been reissued at some stage, or have been released in a limited edition format. Both of the Woolworths albums, being unavailable anywhere else, are probably amongst the rarest of the lot.
The band’s debut, “Sound Of The Underground”, was issued in the summer of 2003, but following the release of (what was originally) a stand-alone single in the form of “Jump” - recorded for the “Love Actually” soundtrack, but not actually featured in the film - the album was reissued in a new sleeve with “Jump” and several other new songs included. However, some tracks from the original pressing were removed in order to make way for the new material - the CD-Rom section was also changed for the reissue. After the release of 2004’s “What Will The Neighbours Say” (which also included “Jump”, rather strangely), the band’s next album appeared in 2005 in the form of the critically acclaimed “Chemistry”. The album was released in the run up to Christmas, and a limited edition version of the album was released with a free “Christmas Mini Album” - a second CD consisting of four seasonal cover versions, and four new Girls Aloud Xmas tunes. This edition of the album came in a different sleeve to the regular edition, but the photo of the regular edition was included in the fold out inlay, so you could re-fold the inlay to show the normal cover if you so wished.
The band’s 2006 “best-of”, “The Sound Of Girls Aloud”, was also issued in regular and limited editions, each in differently coloured sleeves. The limited edition version included - again - an eight track mini album consisting of alternate mixes, rare B-sides and previously unissued songs. This release was the first commercial GA record to include the “uncensored” version of “No Good Advice”, previously only available on promo. As had now become par for the course with greatest hits albums, three new songs were included on CD1, two of which were also issued as singles in their own right. These new songs were on both the regular and limited versions.
In 2007, the band issued “Tangled Up”, with a “fan-only” edition being issued via various online outlets. This featured photographs of all five band members on the front - the “normal” edition was a slightly dull sleeve with just the band name and album title on the cover. This was also the point at which the first Woolworths album appeared - “Mixed Up” was a one track 40 minute long megamix of eight GA hits. Suffice to say, this megamix is unavailable on any other release by the group.
Studio album five was 2008’s “Out Of Control”. It was reissued barely a month later as a double disc edition, which despite being housed in a DVD sized case, was actually a 2-CD set. The second disc was a thirty minute interview with the band, with snippets of unreleased demos included therein, and was housed in a different picture sleeve. At the same time, Woolworths released “Girls Alive”, an eight track (yet again) album featuring live material, some of it previously unreleased.
Sound Of The Underground (Enhanced CD, Polydor 9865315)
Sound Of The Underground (Enhanced CD, reissue, different versions of “Some Kind Of Miracle” and “Life Got Cold”, whilst “Jump”, “You Freak Me Out” & “Girls On Film” replace “Don’t Want You Back”, “Love Bomb” and “Everything You Ever Wanted”, Polydor 9865961)
What Will The Neighbours Say (CD, Polydor 9868948)
Chemistry (2 x CD, Polydor 9875462, also available as single CD in different sleeve)
The Sound Of Girls Aloud (2 x CD, Fascination FASC 010, also available as single CD in white p/s)
Tangled Up (CD, Fascination 1750580, also available in “Band Portraits” p/s)
Mixed Up (CD, Fascination 06025 1753391, sold via Woolworths stores and website only)
Out Of Control (CD, Fascination 1790073, later reissued in new sleeve with bonus disc)
Girls Alive (CD, Fascination 0-06025-1790107-0, sold via Woolworths stores and website only)
With each album, the approach by the band’s label to how their singles were presented to the public has altered slightly each time. With the death of the single now upon us thanks to iTunes, latter releases have been restricted to one format per release (although there have been mail order only 7” singles each time). Earlier releases, however, were on two and sometimes three formats.
The first single, “Sound Of The Underground”, was issued on two CD’s, each with different B-sides and housed in different sleeves. The follow up, “No Good Advice”, was released on CD and DVD, the only GA single to be issued on the short lived DVD-Single format. Both formats were housed in different picture covers. The first single to be issued on Cassette was the follow up, “Life Got Cold”, which was also issued on two CD’s - there were exclusive tracks on all three formats, but the picture sleeve of the Cassette and CD1 formats were the same. “Jump” was also issued on two CD’s and a Cassette, with different sleeves for each - again, exclusive songs/mixes appeared on all three editions.
For singles from “What Will The Neighbours Say”, Cassette singles were out (“Jump” would therefore be the last GA single to be issued on that format), and the four singles from the album would all be issued on two CD’s, with different sleeve designs for CD1 and CD2 each time. On the second CD, the enhanced section of the single included not only the video for the A-side, but also a “karaoke” version (basically, the video but with an instrumental mix used instead) and a downloadable Girls Aloud game! It might just be my hearing, but the sound quality of the karaoke videos seemed rather poor, as if it had been remixed into mono - then muffled up a bit more. “Love Machine” and “Wake Me Up” were also issued as 7” picture discs, housed in clear see through sleeves, with exclusive remixes on the B-side, whilst “Wake Me Up” also included a new B-side, “Loving Is Easy”, a very punk rock move.
It was a similar story for the four “Chemistry” singles, all issued on two CD’s with videos, karaoke videos and games on CD2 for each release. There was only one vinyl issue - “Long Hot Summer”, the first single to be released from the album, was issued on 12” with exclusive remixes, and was housed in the same sleeve as the accompanying CD2. This was the first, and last, GA single to be commercially issued on this format. The two singles released in connection with “The Sound Of...”, “Something Kinda Ooooh” and “I Think We’re Alone Now” were issued on two CD’s, with the relevant video on CD2 (no games this time), but there were no vinyl releases at all for either single. “Something Kinda Ooooh” was the last Girls Aloud release to feature a karaoke video as well on the second CD.
The only true stand-alone Girls Aloud single was their 2007 collaboration with fellow Girl-band titans, Sugababes, on a cover of “Walk This Way”. It was the only GA single to be issued on one format only - CD - and featured just the original version and a remix as far as the audio part of the disc was concerned. The CD also included the video, and a “behind the scenes” clip.
With 2007’s “Tangled Up”, the formats became more simplified. All three singles from the album were issued on two CD’s only, with CD1 being the standard 2-track edition, and CD2 featuring three or four tracks plus the video. Only “Can’t Speak French” was issued as a five track CD2. As was the case with the “Chemistry” and “The Sound Of…” singles, the sleeve designs for the CD’s were different on CD1 to the pictures used on CD2 - some radically different, some not.
By the time of 2008’s “Out Of Control”, the impending death of the 45 led to the band issuing all three singles from the album on one format only - a 2-track CD single, without video. All three singles were edited/remixed for single release, with both “The Promise” and “Untouchable” featuring non-album B-sides as well. “The Loving Kind” came backed with a “Stars on 45” style megamix, called “Girls On 45 Volume 2”. However, all three singles were issued as mail order only 7” picture discs via the band’s website - the singles were housed in clear sleeves, and used the same photo as per the CD editions. “The Promise” came backed with a live recording of “Man Overboard” lifted from a recent DVD, and “Untouchable” included a remix of “Love Is The Key”. “The Loving Kind” featured a never before released B-side called “Memory Of You”, making it (for a while) easily the most obscure and rarest Girls Aloud tune to be officially released. However, by the end of 2009, the track had made it’s CD debut courtesy of the band’s Singles Box Set. More of that next.
Sound Of The Underground/Stay Another Day/Sound Of The Underground (Brian Higgins Remix) (CD1, with insert, Polydor 0658272)
Sound Of The Underground/Stay Another Day (Instrumental)/Interview (CD2, diff p/s, Polydor 0658202)
No Good Advice/On A Round/No Good Advice (Dreadzone Vocal Mix)/(Video) (CD, Polydor 9800051)
No Good Advice (Audio)/(Photogallery)/Sound Of The Underground (Video)/No Good Advice (Behind The Scenes - Video) (DVD, diff p/s, Polydor 9800052)
Life Got Cold/Girls On Film/No Good Advice (Doublefunk Clean Vocal Mix)/Life Got Cold (Video) (CD1, Polydor 9810656)
Life Got Cold (LP Mix)/(Radio Edit)/(29 Palms Remix Edit)/(Stella Browne Edit) (CD2, diff p/s with free poster, Polydor 9810657)
Life Got Cold (Stella Brown Original Mix)/(Radio Edit)/Lights Music Camera Action (Cassette, plays same both sides, same p/s as CD1, Polydor 9810658)
Jump/Girls Allowed/Grease (CD1, Polydor 9814103)
Jump/Love Bomb/Jump (Almighty Vocal Mix) (CD2, diff p/s, Polydor 9814104)
Jump/Girls Allowed (Almighty Vocal Mix) (Cassette, plays same both sides, unique p/s, Polydor 9814105)
The Show/Jump (Flip & Fill Remix) (CD1, Polydor 9867041)
The Show (LP Version)/(Gravitas Club Remix)/The After Show (Interview)/The Show (Video)/(Karaoke Video)/(Game) (CD2, diff p/s, Polydor 9867040)
Love Machine (Album Version)/(Tony Lamezma Mix) (Numbered 7” Picture Disc in clear sleeve, Polydor 9867985)
Love Machine/The Show (Flip & Fill Remix) (CD1, Polydor 9867983)
Love Machine (Album Version)/(Gravitas “Disco” Mix)/Androgynous Girls/Love Machine (Video)/(Karaoke Video)/(Game) (CD2, diff p/s with insert, Polydor 9867984)
I’ll Stand By You/Real Life (CD1, Polydor 9869129)
I’ll Stand By You (LP Mix)/(Tony Lamezma’s Club Romp)/What Will The Neighbours Say Album Medley/I’ll Stand By You (Video)/(Karaoke Video)/(Game) (CD2, diff p/s with insert, Polydor 9869130)
Wake Me Up/I’ll Stand By You (Gravitas Vocal Dub Mix Edit) (CD1, Polydor 9870425)
Wake Me Up (LP Version)/(Tony Lamezma’s Love Affair)/History/Wake Me Up (Video)/(Karaoke Video)/(Game) (CD2, diff p/s with poster, Polydor 9870426)
Wake Me Up/Loving Is Easy/Wake Me Up (Gravitas Club Mix) (Numbered 7” Picture Disc in clear sleeve, Polydor 9870427)
Long Hot Summer/Love Machine (Live at the Hammersmith Apollo) (CD1, Polydor 9873410)
Long Hot Summer (Album Mix)/(Benitez Beats)/Real Life (Live at the Hammersmith Apollo)/Long Hot Summer (Video)/(Karaoke Video)/(Game) (CD2, diff p/s with inserts, Polydor 9873589)
Long Hot Summer (LP Version)/(Tony Lamezma Rides Again)/Jump (Almighty Remix) (12”, in same p/s as CD2, Polydor 9874045)
Biology/The Show (Tony Lamezma Club Mix) (CD1, Polydor 9875296)
Biology/Nobody But You/Biology (Tony Lamezma Remix)/(Video)/(Karaoke Video)/(Game) (CD2, diff p/s, Polydor 9875297)
See The Day/It’s Magic (CD1, Polydor 9875964)
See The Day/I Don’t Really Hate You/See The Day (Soundhouse Masterblaster Mix)/Chemistry Album Medley/See The Day (Video)/(Karaoke Video)/(Game) (CD2, diff p/s, Polydor 9875965)
Whole Lotta History (Ash Howes Mix)/Crazy Fool (CD1, Polydor 9877402)
Whole Lotta History (Ash Howes Mix)/(Whole Lotta Lamezma Mix)/Teenage Dirtbag (Live)/Whole Lotta History (Video)/(Karaoke Video)/(Game) (CD2, diff p/s, Polydor 9877403)
Something Kinda Ooooh/The Crazy Life (CD1, Fascination 1709880)
Something Kinda Ooooh (LP Mix)/(Tony Lamezma Mix)/Models (Single Edit)/Girls Aloud Megamix by Jewels & Stone/Something Kinda Ooooh (Video)/(Karaoke Video) (CD2, diff p/s + postcards, Fascination FASC 006)
I Think We’re Alone Now (Single Mix)/Why Do It? (CD1, Fascination 1714586)
I Think We’re Alone Now (Single Mix)/(Uniting Nations Remix)/(Tony Lamezma Baubletastic Remix)/Jingle Bell Rock/I Think We’re Alone Now (Video) (CD2, diff p/s, Fascination 1714587)
Walk This Way (Single Mix)/(Yoad Mix)/(Video)/(Behind The Scenes Footage - Video) (CD, Fascination 172 433-1)
Sexy! No No No…/Something Kinda Ooooh (Live at the Bournemouth International Centre) (CD1, Fascination 1744931)
Sexy! No No No… (Album Version)/(Tony Lamezma’s “Yes Yes Yes” Mix)/Dog Without A Bone/Sexy! No No No… (Video) (CD2, diff p/s, Fascination 1744981)
Call The Shots/Rehab (Live in the BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge) (CD1, Fascination 1749896)
Call The Shots (Album Version)/(Xenomania Club Mix)/Blow Your Cover/Call The Shots (Video) (CD2, diff p/s, Fascination 1753047)
Can’t Speak French (Radio Edit)/Hoxton Heroes (CD1, Fascination 1762720)
Can’t Speak French (Radio Edit)/Je Ne Parle Pas Francais/Can’t Speak French (Passions Remix)/With Every Heartbeat (BBC Radio 1 Jo Whiley Show 23.11.2007)/Can’t Speak French (Video) (CD2, diff p/s, Fascination 1764167)
The Promise (Edit)/She (CD, Fascination 1788035)
The Promise (Edit)/Girl Overboard (Live at the London O2) (Numbered 7” Picture Disc in clear sleeve, Fascination 1788935)
The Loving Kind (Radio Mix)/Girls On 45 Volume 2 (CD, Fascination 1794885)
The Loving Kind (Radio Mix)/Memory Of You (Numbered 7” Picture Disc in clear sleeve, Fascination 1794887)
Untouchable (Radio Mix)/It’s Your Dynamite (CD, Fascination 2704479)
Untouchable (Radio Mix)/Love Is The Key (Thriller Jill Mix) (Numbered 7” Picture Disc in clear sleeve, Fascination 2704480)
The Box Set
Having issued some 21 singles since their inception, the idea of a Girls Aloud singles box set makes sense. It was issued at the end of 2009 - which, at the time of writing, was also the last point at which the group had issued a single. So, if they were to never return, the box would be a complete history of the band on 45.
Although it was referred to as the “Singles Box Set”, the box was officially known as “The Singles Collection”. It was available only through the band’s website, and featured each of the band’s 21 singles in their own individual sleeves. The artwork used was based around the CD1 format for each single (or, obviously, the standard CD format if there was no second CD available). The only difference between the sleeves was that for the box, each single featured a thin coloured border around each sleeve. The lead tracks on each disc were the songs that had been made available on the original CD/CD1 single, with the extra tracks from the other formats appearing thereafter. Several previously cassette or vinyl only recordings thus made their debut on CD with this set.
But that wasn’t all - where the original single had been issued on DVD, or there had been a CD-Rom element on the CD, the material from these releases were added, where appropriate, in an enhanced section on each CD. Furthermore, where there were promo only remixes, or related items issued as downloads via sites such as iTunes, these were also included - meaning the amount of material debuting on CD commercially was quite substantial. In some instances, there were so many bonus tracks, the running times of some of the discs were a good hour long! There was a 22nd disc - a “Rarities” disc featuring (yet again) eight songs, a mix of previously unreleased alternate takes and obscure items from the back catalogue, such as “On My Way To Satisfaction” from the “St Trinians” soundtrack album. Quite simply, the amount of material on this box was astonishing, and it was widely regarded as being one of the best singles box sets to have ever been released.
There has been some controversy surrounding the set. Originally pegged at a £50-ish price tag, the box didn’t sell, so in early 2010, it was re-promoted at a knock down £35 price tag with an extra disc - a CD-Rom featuring all of the nine karaoke videos from the set housed on one disc. Despite the fact these were already available on the relevant CD’s elsewhere in the box, Universal came in for some criticism over this move.
In terms of music, this means that by buying this boxset, you would no longer need to buy any Girls Aloud single previously released. In terms of artwork, the list of singles that are still worth getting for their different picture sleeves are:
Sound Of The Underground - CD2
No Good Advice - DVD
Life Got Cold - CD2
Jump - CD2 & Cassette
The Show - CD2
Love Machine - CD2 & 7” Picture Disc
I’ll Stand By You - CD2
Wake Me Up - CD2 & 7” Picture Disc
Long Hot Summer - 12” or CD2
Biology - CD2
See The Day - CD2
Whole Lotta History - CD2
Something Kind Ooooh - CD2
I Think We’re Alone Now - CD2
Sexy! No No No… - CD2
Call The Shots - CD2
Can’t Speak French - CD2
The Promise - 7” Picture Disc
The Loving Kind - 7” Picture Disc
Untouchable - 7” Picture Disc
Girls On DVD
Given that Girls Aloud are, how shall we say, “photogenic”, it’s fair to say the DVD format suits them perfectly. The good thing about the band’s videos, is that they have all been made available across a variety of releases - something you can’t say about fellow pop goddesses like Madonna.
The band’s first DVD, “Girls On Film”, was issued at the end of the promo campaign for “What Will The Neighbours Say”. Taking it’s name from one of the band’s B-sides (itself a Duran Duran cover), the main body of the DVD included the promo clips for all of the band’s videos that had been released at the time, from “Sound Of The Underground” to “Wake Me Up”. The video for “Jump” differed to that originally sent to TV stations - the original included clips from the “Love Actually” movie, but these were removed from the version on “Girls On Film”. The rest of the DVD was padded out with numerous TV show performances, with a fairly sizeable running time.
Thereafter, Girls Aloud started to perform live, and most future DVD’s were taken from recent concert tours. The bonus features on these DVD’s included any “new” promo clips not previously available on DVD. “What Will The Neighbours Say Live” followed soon after, and included the “Long Hot Summer” clip as a bonus track. At the same time that “The Sound Of…” was released, a DVD entitled “Greatest Hits Live”, which was actually taped on the “Chemistry” tour ,was released (a specific “Greatest Hits” tour followed soon after), and this featured the clips for “Biology”, “See The Day” and “Whole Lotta History” as extra tracks.
The band’s next release was the rather dubious “Style” DVD, which wasn’t really a music DVD at all, but instead featured each member of the band doing a feature about shoes, make up, jeans, etc. To placate the male members of the band’s fanbase, the DVD also included all of the band’s 16 promo clips released up till that point. The “new” videos were for the singles from “Something Kinda Ooooh” through to “Sexy! No No No”, whilst the original “Love Actually” version of “Jump” was included on this release instead of the "Girls On Film" version. “Tangled Up: Live From The O2” was the band’s next DVD, which featured the clips for “Sexy! No No No”, “Call The Shots” and “Can’t Speak French” as extra tracks. The latter, featuring the girls trussed up in stockings and suspenders, remains - of course - one of the ten greatest pop videos ever made…
Another DVD filmed at the O2 (a bit Londoncentric, Girls), “Out Of Control Live From The O2 2009”, was issued during 2009, featuring the clips for “The Promise”, “The Loving Kind” and “Untouchable”. Mail order only editions featured that strange extra - a bonus CD featuring many (but not all) of the songs from the DVD, something which I fail to understand would be of interest to anyone. Why you would want to just hear Kimberley sing, as opposed to look at her as well at the same time, is a mystery! (PS. Don't tell the wife I said that).
Girls On Film (DVD, Polydor 987 2141, includes free poster insert)
What Will The Neighbours Say Live (DVD, Polydor 987 5155)
Greatest Hits Live (DVD, Polydor 170779-2)
Style (DVD, Fascination 1751479)
Tangled Up Live From The O2 (DVD, Fascination 1782737)
Out Of Control Live From The O2 2009 (DVD, Fascination 2715380)
In addition to all of the above, there are several other releases of note. The band’s version of “Theme From St Trinians” remains available only on the “St Trinians” soundtrack - the CD can be picked up quite cheaply, and has a nice shot of the band from the movie inside the booklet (they made a cameo appearance at the end, effectively playing themselves). The band have also contributed exclusive covers to the likes of “Greasemania” and “Discomania”. A studio version of “Teenage Dirtbag” is also on the “Radio 1 Established 1967” CD, whilst the “Popjustice 100% Solid Pop Music” collection includes a pair of GA tunes as part of a continuous non-stop mix. On DVD, there are a handful of other “non-music” DVD’s, such as “Off The Record”, which is worth getting anyway as it goes ‘behind the scenes’ as the band engage in much promo-activity, and does feature excerpts of GA music throughout the disc.
Once the band had established themselves, various members of the group started to indulge in a variety of solo projects. All of the members, except Nadine, were involved in the "Passions Of Girls Aloud" project, which saw Sarah, Kimberley, Nicola and Cheryl indulge in each of their own life time ambitions, each of which was shown on TV. Cheryl's was to appear as a dancer in a hip hop video, and she appeared in the Will.I.Am video for "Heartbreaker" - also adding backing vocals to the track. Solo work (both music and non-music based) has occupied all of the group since then - with Sarah doing some modelling and acting, Kimberley carving out a second career as a TV presenter, and Nicola being involved in the fashion industry.
Whilst both Sarah and Nadine have dabbled with solo work (Nadine's first solo song however, remains unissued at moment), at the time of writing, the only band member to have issued a solo LP is Cheryl Cole, whose “3 Words” album is an excellent release, and her solo releases are shown below.
Fight For This Love/Didn’t I (CD, Fascination 2721778)
3 Words (CD Album, Fascination 2724424, limited number issued via HMV included free 2010 calendar insert, also issued as deluxe mail order only box set)
3 Words/Boys (CD, Fascination 2729724)
Parachute (Radio Mix)/Just Let Me Go (CD, Fascination 2734193)
Given that Girls Aloud remain the most exciting pop band post-Madonna, it seems a shame that we may have seen their final album already. As I type this, a second Cheryl Cole (or Tweedy) album is being planned, but not another Girls Aloud record. Let's hope the famous five do reconvene to fight off the evils of Westlife and Take That!
Images of the "Singles Collection" boxset: http://www.discogs.com/viewimages?release=1843434
Official website: http://www.girlsaloud.co.uk/
Wikipedia entry, with pictures of all the albums and singles: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Girls_Aloud