Wednesday, 15 June 2011
This month, it's the first in a six part look at Madonna's UK singles from 1990 to 2009. There is also a look at Nirvana on Sub Pop, the second half of the Pet Shop Boys 45's Discography, and the mighty Walker Brothers. Click on the relevant tab top right.
"Won't you believe it, it's just my luck"
As I type this, Foo Fighters are in the middle of a tour which will see them play in the less than intimate surroundings of the Milton Keynes Bowl - twice. They’ve certainly come on from the days when I saw them play the Astoria on Charing Cross Road (RIP) and the Empire in Shepherds Bush.
Now, as much as I like them, there is a feeling within the music world - and this household - that they are not quite as good as those Milton Keynes ticket sales suggest. They are certainly nowhere near as good as Dave Grohl’s former band, Nirvana. Had Kurt Cobain not taken his life, then I would have got to see them play at the Brixton Academy some point in April 94 - a big venue, but not a BIG venue - certainly not the Milton Keynes Bowl, twice.
Of course, had things turned out differently, then it might have been Nirvana playing to 120000 people over two nights, but we’ll never know. So now is as good a time as any to look at a band who were, relatively small venue size aside, rather popular - and astonishingly good. One of the bands where you should believe the hype. It’s a shame the idiot metalheads into Guns N Roses discovered them, and the kids who are into My Chemical Romance seem to believe Nirvana invented them (they didn’t), so we shall attempt to un-tarnish their memory with a blog looking this month at the pre-Grohl years. A post-fame blog will appear in due course.
The Debut Releases
Following a name change, a demo tape, and two changes of line up drummer wise, the trio of Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic and Chad Channing made their vinyl debut in the USA in 1988 with "Love Buzz", a cover of a Shocking Blue track. In the run up to it’s release, the band had demoed numerous songs, and had even played at least one lengthy radio session, but all of this material was ignored, and it was also a new Cobain penned track called “Big Cheese” which made it onto the B-side.
The track was issued as part of the Sub Pop Singles Club, the latest in a long line of limited edition releases on the label, and only 1000 copies were pressed on 7", each of them hand numbered. It has never been reissued, but instead has been bootlegged many times - even the so called “un-numbered” edition, sold by some reputable dealers as a re-release, is a counterfeit. The version of “Love Buzz” which was included on this 45 was unique, as it opened with a ’sound collage’, which was absent on all subsequent Nirvana releases upon which “Love Buzz” later appeared.
In 1989, the band’s first LP - “Bleach” - was released. A couple of tracks from an earlier recording session featuring their second drummer, Dale Crover, were included, whilst the sleeve listed Jason Everman as a second guitarist. He did not actually play on the record, but was credited after he helped finance the recording of the record. He did join the band as a touring member the same year but had left by the start of 1990.
In the USA, the album was issued initially on White Vinyl, then on black vinyl with a poster, before being pressed on numerous different colour editions. “Love Buzz” was included on side 1, but not “Big Cheese”. In the UK, “Bleach” was Nirvana’s first ever release in that territory, and was issued on the Tupelo label. Again, first pressings were on White Vinyl, then Green, before standard copies appeared on black vinyl. The LiveNirvana website states that the UK edition too was repressed in a number of different coloured vinyl versions thereafter. “Love Buzz” was omitted from the UK version, with “Big Cheese” taking it’s place.
After Nirvana made it big, “Bleach” was reissued in the UK in 1992. Geffen had the rights to issue it this time, and it was released on CD with the original US track listing, but with two extra tracks - “Big Cheese” and the previously unissued “Downer”. A reissue of the Sub Pop edition also surfaced on import, and I picked up a copy on Pink Vinyl at the same time. The value of this reissue is confusing - I have always assumed that it was never worth much, as it was released “post-Nevermind”, but look at the “Bleach” pressings on the eil.com website, and you will see all of the coloured vinyl editions fetching huge prices, irrelevant of the “date of release”.
In 2002, Warner Special Products issued the album on White Vinyl again, using the 1992 track listing, meaning that “Negative Creep“, originally on side 2 of the Tupelo edition, had to be squeezed onto side 1 to make space on the flip for the bonus tracks. The definitive edition is the 2009 “Deluxe” version, which includes all 13 tracks from the 1992 edition, plus 12 live recordings from a period gig. This version is available not only on CD, but as a double white vinyl pressing.
The Blew EP and Sliver
Although it was technically a single with three B-sides, Nirvana’s first release post-”Bleach” is always referred to as an EP, because it was only available on 12” and CD - and not 7” or Cassette. “Blew” was released to coincide with Nirvana’s 1989 European tour, although it actually appeared in the shops in early 1990, and in the UK only. “Blew” was lifted from “Bleach”, and the second track of the EP was “Love Buzz”, making it’s first appearance on a UK release. Perversely, the two extra tracks were new songs which remained unissued in the US for years - “Been A Son”, although popularised via live and alternate recordings, would not get released Stateside in it’s EP form until the release of the 2002 best of “Nirvana”, whilst “Stain” made it onto 1992’s ’Odds And Sods’ set, “Incesticide”.
The EP was pressed in relatively small numbers, possibly as few as 3000 copies across both formats, and once more has been counterfeited. I picked up a 12” copy in about 1993 in a record shop in Nottingham (I think) which I am told is a genuine release (the bootlegs were all apparently on coloured vinyl) but I am slightly confused as to why my UK only release has a sticker on the back for what looks like a foreign record store!
During 1990, Nirvana were on the verge of signing to a major, but were contracted by Sub Pop to release three singles. “Sliver” was the second of these, backed with an older unreleased track called “Dive”. Once more, the original mix of the A-side was different to all subsequently released versions, with an “outro” featuring a recording of Novoselic on the phone.
The US edition was housed in a fold over sleeve, pressed on blue vinyl. Second and later pressings changed colours, and came in standard sleeves. The single has remained on catalogue for years, which explains why I was able to get a pink vinyl one in about 93. Because these reissues were generated on a continuous basis after the blue vinyl original, they therefore all include the phone outro.
The single was issued in the UK as well, by Tupelo. The seven-inch came on green vinyl, whilst a black vinyl 12” surfaced with an extra track, a live recording of “About A Girl”. A CD edition was also made, adding a second live B-side, this time of “Spank Thru”, a track which had the honour of being part of Nirvana’s first demo tape in 1985. A studio version of the track had appeared on a compilation album called “Sub Pop 200” which was technically a US only release, thus making the live take of “Spank Thru” the first time the song had been available on a “proper” UK release.
Both “Sliver” and “Dive” were included on “Incesticide”, and the band filmed a video for “Sliver” to coincide. Tupelo reissued the single in the UK, in an obvious cash-in move, with the 12” now coming on blue vinyl. The CD was also reissued - it is worth pointing out that the CD version used the back cover of the vinyl edition (a shot of the band on stage) as it’s front cover instead. Both live tracks, meanwhile, appear on the deluxe edition of “Bleach”, in slightly remixed form.
Final Releases And Other Rarities
Whilst “Sliver” would be the final UK release before the “Nevermind” and “Teen Spirit” records, the band issued two more 45’s in the states. They released a split single on Sub Pop with Fluid, a live version of a cover of “Molly’s Lips”. The first copies appeared on green vinyl, later ones on black, but both are limited, and are thus both worth a small fortune. Although “Molly’s Lips” would again become quite a well known song via live recordings and a different take issued on “Incesticide”, the 45 version would not get a release on CD until being included on the “Deluxe” version of “Bleach”.
The band’s next single was on the Communion label, and was another split single - this time with The Melvins. Both bands covered Velvet Underground songs, with the cover mimicking the cover of the Velvet’s second album, “White Light White Heat”. Nirvana’s cover was of “Here She Comes Now”, and was included on 2004’s rarities box set “With The Lights Out”.
Nirvana had a habit of recording other tracks that were then tossed away on Various Artists releases. After “Spank Thru” had appeared on the “Sub Pop 200” set, they contributed a new track (“Mexican Seafood") to a US Split 7” called “Teriyaki Asthma Vol 1” in 1989. The track later turned up on “Incesticide”. A cover of Kiss’ “Do You Love Me” was released on a Kiss tribute album, “Hard To Believe”, the following year.
“Incesticide” also included a song called “Beeswax”, which had been taped in 1988 but not released until 1991’s “Kill Rock Stars” compilation. Meanwhile, a pre-”Nevermind” recording of “In Bloom” was made available in the courtesy of a promo video on a Sub Pop compilation VHS (strange to say the least) - this clip is available on the DVD on the “With The Lights Out” release.
Listed below are two discographies - a (vaguely) US and (more or less) UK/European one, primarily as it shows how Nirvana’s recordings were surfacing in different places at different times. Once on Geffen, things would get a bit more “streamlined”. I have merged LP and 45 releases together in release/re-release date order, but it hopefully looks OK. Split singles are also included for completeness, as are compilations which contain still-exclusive Nirvana material.
US SUB POP ERA DISCOGRAPHY
Love Buzz (Unedited)/Big Cheese (7”, Sub Pop SP 23)
Sub Pop 2000 (CD, Sub Pop SP 25, various vinyl editions also exist including a 7” box set, includes “Spank Thru”)
Bleach (LP, Sub Pop SP 34, numerous colours available)
Teriyaki Asthma Volume 1 EP (Split 4 track 7”, C/Z Records CZ009, includes “Mexican Seafood”)
Hard To Believe (Various Artists CD, C/Z Records 08628-9024-2, includes “Do You Love Me”)
Sliver (Unedited)/Dive (7”, Sub Pop SP 73, numerous colours available)
Molly’s Lips (Live) +1 (Split 7”, Sub Pop SP 97, Green or Black vinyl, different variations of the green one exist)
Here She Comes Now +1 (Split 7”, Communion COMM 23)
UK/EUROPE SUB POP ERA DISCOGRAPHY
Bleach (LP, Tupelo TUPLP 06, numerous colours available, different track listing to US version)
Blew/Love Buzz/Been A Son/Stain (12” or CD, Tupelo TUPCD 8)
Sliver/Dive (Green Vinyl 7, Tupelo TUP 25)
Sliver/Dive/About A Girl (Live)/Spank Thru (Live) (CD, Tupelo TUPCD 25)
Bleach (CD, Geffen GED 24433, 1992 reissue with “Love Buzz”, “Big Cheese” and “Downer”)
Sliver/Dive/About A Girl (Live) (Blue Vinyl 12”, 1992 reissue, Tupelo TUPEP 25)
Bleach (White Vinyl LP, Warners 9878 70034 1, 2002 pressing with “Love Buzz”, “Big Cheese” and “Downer”)
Bleach (CD, Rhino 5186 56146 2, 2009 pressing adding 12 live songs to 1992/2002 editions, also on White Vinyl imported from US [Sub Pop SP 834])
Sunday, 12 June 2011
OK, so she is not the only one, but it does seem strange that, with the 30th anniversary of her debut single next year, Madonna still hasn’t got around to doing a career spanning box set yet. Madonna remains one of the few acts who has failed to re-release material that has been ’off catalogue’ for 20 plus years. Last year, I looked at Madonna’s UK single releases from 1982 to the spring of 1990, a period that was subjected to a series of German Only CD Single reissues in 1995, but given that even these have been deleted, it means that if you want to get hold of B-sides like “Ain’t No Big Deal”, you will have to hunt down the original “Papa Don’t Preach” 45, or try to find one of the Japanese CD EP’s that came out years ago.
Even the Japanese Only 3” CD Singles boxset that came out a while back is deleted, but that was fairly expensive to buy in the first place, and when you consider that the likes of The Stones have made all of their singles available again (from 1963 -2006 at least) across just four box sets, it makes you wonder why other acts can’t do it. The argument with Madonna singles is that the extra tracks are usually so-so remixes of the A-side, so the amount of “rare” Madonna songs missing from her currently available CD’s, are technically few and far between.
This is the first of a series of articles picking up where I left off last year. It is worth pointing out that every commercially released Madonna single post-”Like A Prayer” was issued on CD, so if you can find a copy of a particular single on that format, then at least you won’t have to worry about it skipping or getting stuck - unless the CD itself is knackered! This month, we look at the post-”Vogue” period up to (and including) singles from the “Immaculate Collection” best of.
The format is slightly different to the articles I did last year - all UK pressings are mentioned, but overseas rarities will only be mentioned in passing. This is because, in recent years, the number of promos and overseas releases offering mixes unreleased in the UK has become so widespread, I have been simply unable to keep up with it - but items of interest from my own personal collection are listed where appropriate. I have only included scans of the basic 7”/CD format cover, to keep things simple.
The only “proper” single from 1990’s “I’m Breathless”, this tongue in cheek romp remains one of Madonna’s more fun 45‘s. The 12” and CD editions featured two remixes of the A-side - a 7” mix, and a 12” mix - and had the album track “More” on the flip. A 12” picture disc was also issued - it came with a card backing insert, so it looked like a “normal” 12” from a distance, and was 12”x24” in size, and was thus folded in half. Reach inside, and you would find a free Madonna poster. To date, “Hanky Panky” is the only Madonna single to be issued in such style.
Many years ago, I bought a rare 12” at the now-defunct “Sounds Familiar” record store in Romford, and when I mentioned to the shop owner that I would play it when I got home, he said “you shouldn’t do that, as it will decrease it’s value”. So, ever since then, if I have bought a single that seemed to contain songs I already own, I don’t play it. This means that, even though there was a 7” remix of “Hanky Panky”, I honestly have no idea if this mix was actually included on the 7” version of the single! I am reliably informed that both the 7” and Cassette editions play the album version instead, and indeed, the sleeves for both formats make no mention of the remix.
There are some minor variants in the UK pressings - in those days, singles sold in such large numbers, that additional pressings had to be done, and these later issues had minor differences to the original 1st press - may I refer you again to the "Dear Jessie" fansite for such info.
Hanky Panky/More (7”, Sire W 9789)
Hanky Panky/More (Cassette, Sire W 9789 C)
Hanky Panky (Bare Bottom 12” Mix)/(Bare Bones 7” Mix)/More (12”, Sire W 9789 T)
Hanky Panky (Bare Bottom 12” Mix)/(Bare Bones 7” Mix)/More (12” Picture Disc with insert + poster, Sire W 9789 TP)
Hanky Panky (Bare Bottom 12” Mix)/(Bare Bones 7” Mix)/More (CD, Sire W 9789 CD)
Justify My Love
The first of the two “new” songs on “Immaculate” to also get issued as a single, “Justify My Love” came with a now famous shag-fest of a video, with Madonna looking stunning throughout. Shame that the single itself comes in one of the worst Madonna picture sleeves ever.
Don’t get too excited about the remix of “Express Yourself” listed on the B-side - it’s exactly the same as the one on “Immaculate”, although an extended version did surface on selected US editions of this single, including the Maxi CD Single (Sire 9 21820). As a result, the 7” and Cassette formats in the UK contain nothing of interest, but both the 12” and CD include a bonus remix of the A-side. There is also a 12” picture disc which features a far superior photo, one of the “cropped hair” shots from the “Immaculate” photoshoot. As mentioned a couple of months ago, a VHS single was also released.
Many years ago, I bought a Madonna book which referred to a second CD Single - the track listing consisted of the album mix and two other versions, but in all my years, I have never seen a copy, nor have any Madonna discographies even mentioned it. There is certainly a German edition in existence (Sire 7599 21851 2)- easily identifiable by it’s light blue tinted cover - so the listing below shows what may be a mythical release.
The Orbit mix first turned up, listed simply as “Remix”, on a 1 sided white label promo 12” prior to the single release (SAM 738), and a (badly) edited version of this mix was issued on a US promo 12” at the same time (Sire PRO A 4613). The single was later issued as part of the US “Backtrax” series, being released on CD in a “vinyl” style sleeve with “Rescue Me” (Sire 9 15988-2).
Justify My Love/Express Yourself (Q Sound Mix) (7”, Sire W 9000)
Justify My Love/Express Yourself (Q Sound Mix) (Cassette, Sire W 9000 C)
Justify My Love (William Orbit Mix)/(Q Sound Mix)/Express Yourself (Q Sound Mix) (12”, Sire W 9000 T)
Justify My Love (William Orbit Mix)/(Q Sound Mix)/Express Yourself (Q Sound Mix) (12“ Picture Disc + insert, Sire W 9000 TP)
Justify My Love (William Orbit Mix)/(Q Sound Mix)/Express Yourself (Q Sound Mix) (CD, Sire W 9000 CD)
Justify My Love (Video)/Vogue (At The 1990 MTV Awards) (Video, Sire 7599 38225 3)
Justify My Love (Hip Hop Mix)/(Q Sound Mix)/(The Beast Within) (Remix CD, Sire W 9000 CDX, existence unconfirmed)
Crazy For You
Apparently, somebody somewhere did a poll at the end of 1990 asking people to vote for their favourite Madonna song. “Crazy For You” won. It just so happened that the track had appeared, in remixed and slightly edited form, on “Immaculate” so that was an excuse for Sire to re-release the single. Perhaps the poll was “what’s your favourite song on the Greatest Hits album?”, as it seems a bit of a coincidence.
“Crazy For You" was thus issued in the UK whilst other countries got ready to release “Rescue Me” as the next 45. The cover photo that was being used overseas for the latter (a still from the “Justify” video) was thus used for “Crazy”. It was a bit of a lazy release, as the B-sides were nothing special - even the remix of “Keep It Together” that appeared on the flip was the same mix as had been used on the B-side of “Vogue” less than a year earlier! It’s been years since I played any of my copies, so again, even though I always thought the different formats all used the same mix of “KIT”, the “extended play” editions use the 12” Remix of "Keep It Together", again, as found on the “Vogue” 12” as well.
There was, however, a bit of a rarity. The 12” and CD editions included the “Shep Pettibone Remix” of “Into The Groove”. This was basically the version off “You Can Dance”, but it was not the original DJ only “unedited” mix that had appeared on a US Promo 12” back in 1987. Nope, it was the basic album version, but it faded out before the next song on the album, “Where’s The Party”, kicked in (the two tracks were segued together on the album). As far as I can make out, this is the only place that this edit has been issued anywhere in the world.
Don’t go paying over the odds for the CD Single - it was only Madonna’s second CD to come with a picture on the disc, but unlike the previous one (“Dear Jessie”), ALL copies were pressed like this so they are not rare. A Shaped Picture Disc was also issued, Madonna’s first for 5 years (and to date, her last) but unlike previous ones, came with both a backing insert and a display plinth. Uncut copies, at one point worth nothing more than 20 quid, are now major rarities like all other uncut discs.
Crazy For You (Remix)/Keep It Together (Single Remix) (7”, Sire W 0008)
Crazy For You (Remix)/Keep It Together (Single Remix) (Shaped Picture Disc with insert + plinth, Sire W 0008 P)
Crazy For You (Remix)/Keep It Together (Single Remix) (Cassette, Sire W 0008 C)
Crazy For You (Remix)/Keep It Together (12” Remix)/Into The Groove (Shep Pettibone Remix Edit) (12”, Sire W 0008 T)
Crazy For You (Remix)/Keep It Together (12” Remix)/Into The Groove (Shep Pettibone Remix Edit) (CD, Sire W 0008 CD)
The other new song on “Immaculate”, this time around, the version used for the single was edited down from the original album version. Because the cover used on foreign editions of the single had been used on “Crazy For You”, the UK editions came in a photo of Madonna wearing a two piece wetsuit and fishnets. As such, it sometimes get referred to as the “Wetsuit” sleeve.
The 7” and Cassette editions featured the edit along with “Spotlight”, lifted from “You Can Dance”. Again, it was not the original promo mix, nor even the “single edit” version that had appeared as an A-side in Japan, but the LP version which this time faded out AFTER the start of the next song on the LP (“Holiday”) started to play. CD editions added the “Titanic Mix” of the a-side as a bonus. According to the “Dear Jessie” site, certain pressings of the 7” play the album version instead of the edit, whilst all CD copies include the album version.
The 12” opted to include three remixes of the song - and again, there was an instant UK rarity. Chart rules stated that no single could last longer than 20 minutes, but the three mixes had a playing time of just over that. So, to get around this, the “Houseboat” mix was edited - the false ending heard on the US copy of the single was no longer false - in other words, instead of fading out and then in again, it just faded out. Again, this is a UK only rarity AFAIK. Some copies of the 12” came with a free poster, although I recall buying the single in the week it was first released, and mine was the “normal” edition, so I'm not sure if they were released later, or if I simply missed the rare version first time around.
“Rescue Me” was the real start of multi-remixing, and the three remixes released in the UK were just the tip of the iceberg. The Japanese 3” (Sire WPDP-6267) included the “Alternate Single Mix” on the B-side, whilst a US Promo 12” Double Pack contained no less than six mixes not available in the UK (Sire PRO A 4710). This would set the precedent for future Madonna UK 45’s. In Germany, the various mixes were spread out across the formats, with two CD’s appearing with the same cover but differently coloured sleeves (Sire 9362 40034 2, blue cover, Sire 9362 40035 2, black and white).
Rescue Me (7” Mix)/Spotlight (Fade) (7”, Sire W 0024)
Rescue Me (7” Mix)/Spotlight (Fade) (Cassette, Sire W 0024 C)
Rescue Me (LP Version)/(Titanic Mix)/Spotlight (Fade) (CD, Sire W 0024 CD)
Rescue Me (Titanic Mix)/(Houseboat Edit)/(Lifeboat Mix) (12”, Sire W 0024 T)
Rescue Me (Titanic Mix)/(Houseboat Edit)/(Lifeboat Mix) (12” with poster, Sire W 0024 TW)
Given that “Holiday” had been reissued once before, you do have to wonder why Sire thought they should reissue it again? Money, probably. “Holiday” was included - in Q Sound form - on “Immaculate”, but it was the original 7”/12” version that was re-released in the summer of 91.
The 7” and Cassette formats included the original edit with “True Blue” on the flip. By coincidence (maybe), “True Blue” had been backed by “Holiday” when it was issued as a single in 1986. The same two tracks appeared on a 1-sided “Clear” picture disc. The image from the single was more or less ‘glued’ onto the non playing side, and when you flipped it over, the image showed through the disc “in reverse”. Because of the reduced playing time, this explains why it was just the two tracks from the 7” that appeared on this 12”. The single was also issued with a backing card, and remains the only Madonna picture disc of this style to be issued in the UK (although 1993’s “Rain” is similar in design).
There was also a black vinyl 12” - it included the album mixes of “Holiday”, “Where’s The Party” and “Everybody”. According to the back of the sleeve, the version of “Everybody” had a 1987 Publishing date, which suggests there was a plan to include the remixed version from “You Can Dance” on this format, but all copies (as far as I know) play the original 4.57 Album Mix.
Although there was a 1 track CD promo in this sleeve (now worth a small fortune, Sire SAM 800), the commercial CD release for the single was in the form of a 4-track EP, entitled “The Holiday Collection”. It came in the same sleeve as “Immaculate”, but in a claret colour, as opposed to light blue. West Ham colours I say, Aston Villa says the wife. It seemed to be a sort of companion piece, as all three bonus tracks were not on the Greatest Hits, and this release seemed to say “perhaps they should have been”. It included the LP versions of “Holiday”, “True Blue” and “Who’s That Girl”, and the 7” remix of “Causin’ A Commotion”. A Cassette edition was also released, but went virtually unnoticed, and few copies seem to exist, although as nobody seems interested in MC’s anymore, I am not sure how much it is worth.
As an aside, the other “Holiday” cassette was later reissued. The interview label, Baktabak, released a 500-only Twin Cassette release which coupled an interview called “The Immaculate Conversation” with the 1991 “Holiday” release. The box was double sided, so whichever way you looked at it, you would get either the “Holiday” cover or the “Interview” cover (a shot of Madonna from 1987). From what I can gather, the label had acquired unsold copies of the original “Holiday” cassette, all copies came with a deletion cut at the bottom right of the sleeve. They also did a CD edition as well, but this actually used deleted US editions of the “Hanky Panky” CD Single, rather than the UK version.
Holiday (Edit)/True Blue (7”, Sire W 0037)
Holiday (Edit)/True Blue (Cassette, Sire W 0037 C)
Holiday/Where’s The Party/Everybody (12”, Sire W 0037 T)
Holiday (Edit)/True Blue (1-sided 12“ Picture Disc with insert, Sire W 0037 TP)
The Holiday Collection EP: Holiday/True Blue/Who’s That Girl/Causin’ A Commotion (Silver Screen Single Mix) (CD, Sire W 0037 CD)
The Holiday Collection EP: Holiday/True Blue/Who’s That Girl/Causin’ A Commotion (Silver Screen Single Mix) (Cassette, Sire W 0037 CT)
Holiday (Edit)/True Blue (2 x Cassette, Reissue, with “The Immaculate Conversation” interview, Baktabak MBAK 36021)
Wednesday, 8 June 2011
Last month, I did a blog on the Pet Shop Boys’ album releases from 1986 to 1996 - a period covered by a series of “extended” reissues in 2001. This month, I will look at the remaining albums up to the present day. Note - any “Tenant/Lowe” releases are not covered within the realms of this blog. Unlike the previous blog, the amount of PSB singles that contain nothing exclusive are few and far between, so I have listed all known UK formats for all the 45’s this time around - more or less. Also note, the albums listed are all UK studio/greatest hits collections, the two live albums the band have issued are not covered here.
Studio album seven, “Nightlife”, was issued in 1999. It was not subjected to the “Further Listening” releases treatment in 2001, presumably on the basis that the album was too new to be reissued in deluxe form. Initial copies of the CD came in a “double sleeve”, with the album title being embossed onto a see-through slipcase that could be removed to just reveal the original photo used for the cover.
By the time of the album’s release, the UK chart format rules prevented any act from issuing more than three formats - although any number of additional formats could be released, they would not count towards chart sales, and hence, would have no impact on a chart position. All three of the singles from the album were issued on non-chart eligible 12” singles, with the “New York City Boy” coming in an elaborate double vinyl edition, in a gatefold sleeve. Discographies will refer to a quadruple vinyl edition, but this was a promo release, with each of the singles also being shipped out individually. “Drunk” was issued on 3 different CD versions, each with a different theme - “Enhanced”, “Mixed” and “Live”, and a slipcase was made available via mail order which was designed to hold all three discs.
I Don’t Know What You Want But I Can’t Give It Anymore (Edit)/Silver Age/Screaming/I Don’t Know What You Want But I Can’t Give It Anymore (Video) (CD1, Parlophone CDRS 6523)
I Don’t Know What You Want But I Can’t Give It Anymore (The Morales Mix)/(Thee Maddkatt Courtship 80 Witness Mix)/Je T’Aime…Moi Non Plus (CD2, Parlophone CDR 6523)
I Don’t Know What You Want But I Can’t Give It Anymore (The Morales Mix)/(Dub Mix)/(Radio Fade)/(Thee Madkatt Courtship 80 Witness Mix)/(Thee Drum Drum Mix)/(Thee 2 BlakNinja Mix) (12”, Parlophone 12R6523)
New York City Boy (Edit)/The Ghost Of Myself/New York City Boy (The Almighty Definitive Mix)/(Video) (CD1, Parlophone CDRS 6525)
New York City Boy/Casting A Shadow/New York City Boy (Superchumbo’s Uptown Mix) (CD2, Parlophone CDR 6525)
New York City Boy (The Morales Club Mix)/(Almighty Man On A Mission Mix)/(Lange Mix)/(Thunderpuss 2000 Club Mix)/(Superchumbo’s Downtown Dub) (2x12”, Parlophone 12R6525)
You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You’re Drunk/Lies/Sail Away/You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You’re Drunk (Video) (CD1, Parlophone CDRS 6533)
You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You’re Drunk (The T-Total Mix)/(Brother Brown’s Newt Mix)/(Attaboy Still Love You When We’re Sober Mix) (CD2, Parlophone CDR 6533)
You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You’re Drunk (Live)/Always On My Mind (Live)/Being Boring (Live) (CD3, Parlophone CDRX 6533)
You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You’re Drunk (Brother Brown’s Newt Mix)/(Attaboy Still Love You When We’re Sober Mix)/(The T-Total Mix)/(Brother Brown’s Newt Dub) (12”, Parlophone 12R6533)
The edited mix of “I Don’t Know What You Want” is on 2003’s “Pop Art”. The triple disc edition of the same release includes the “Lange” mix of “NYC Boy”.
PSB go “indie” - 2002’s “Release” was notable for the band claiming they had discovered guitars, and they promptly turned up on “TOTP” with about four or five extras on stage, with guitars, drums, and equipment everywhere. The more cynical may question all of this, as the first single from the album, “Home And Dry”, didn’t sound particularly different to what they’d recorded before. The album was issued on a number of formats, including four differently coloured slipcases for the CD editions, and copies pressed on white vinyl in a fifth variant sleeve.
Inbetween the release of “Nightlife” and “Release”, the band released a US only single with Peter Rauhofer, under the moniker “The Collaboration”. The track, “Break 4 Love”, appeared as the B-side of “Home And Dry”, but had received an earlier UK release, in alternate form, on a 4 track CD EP given free at Virgin Meastores - the first listing in the discography below.
You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You’re Drunk/Break 4 Love (US Radio Mix)/So Hard (D Morales Red Zone Mix)/You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You’re Drunk (Video) (CD, Pro-Tein PETSHOPBOYS 04)
Home And Dry (Edit)/Sexy Northerner/Always (CD1, Parlophone CDRS 6572)
Home And Dry (Ambient Mix)/Break 4 Love (UK Radio Edit)/(Friburn & Urik Hi Pass Mix) (CD2, Parlophone CDR 6572)
Home And Dry (Video)/Nightlife/Break 4 Love (US Club Mix) (DVD, Parlophone DVDR 6572)
I Get Along (Radio Edit)/Searching For The Face Of Jesus/Between Two Islands/I Get Along (Video) (CD1, Parlophone CDRS 6581)
I Get Along (Live)/A Red Letter Day (Live)/Love Comes Quickly (Live) (CD2, Parlophone CDR 6581)
I Get Along (Extended Video)/Friendly Fire/Home And Dry (Blank And Jones Remix) (DVD, Parlophone DVDR 6581)
The edited versions of “Home And Dry“ and “I Get Along” are on “Pop Art”.
The follow up to “Disco 2”, this one returned partly to the original “Disco” concept - new and old remixes. This time around though, there were in fact brand new songs, apart from just new mixes of old songs. The band had performed several of these new songs for a John Peel Session in 2002, and they made a re-recorded and official debut here.
The vinyl copy included two additional tracks, plus different versions of “London” and “Somebody Else’s Business”, the original version of the latter appearing on the CD edition as one of those new songs (in, of course, un-remixed form). No singles were lifted from the album, although “London“ had been issued as a German Only CD not long before the release of this album. A "Disco 4" collection was released some years later, consisting of PSB mixes of other acts, although it did include a new PSB track to reel the collectors in.
An updated Greatest Hits, including the now customary new songs. As has already been mentioned, there was a 3-CD box set version, which featured each of the discs in their own individual sleeves, each with it’s own title - “Pop”, “Art” and “Mix”. The latter was a bonus disc of remixes, unavailable on the standard 2-CD editions.
For the French edition of the album, the band re-recorded some of the vocals of “New York City Boy”, and the new edition was entitled “Paris City Boy”. “Pop Art” was also issued as a 3-CD box set in France, making this pressing of the album THE one to own of all the ones issued worldwide, given that it had the bonus remix disc alongside this exclusive re-recording - something the UK 3-disc set cannot boast.
Miracles/We’re The Pet Shop Boys (CD1, Parlophone CDR 6620)
Miracles (Extended Mix)/(Lemon Jelly Remix)/Transparent (CD2, Parlophone CDRS 6620)
Miracles (Lemon Jelly Remix)/(Eric Drydz Remix)/(Extended Mix) (White Vinyl 12”, Parlophone 12R 6620)
Flamboyant/I Didn’t Get Where I Am Today (CD1, Parlophone CDR 6629)
Flamboyant (Tomcraft Extended Mix)/(Scissor Sisters Silhouettes And Shadows Mix)/(DJ Hell Remix)/(Original Demo)/(Video) (CD2, Parlophone CDRS 6629)
Flamboyant (DJ Hell Remix)/(Scissor Sisters Silhouettes And Shadows Mix)/West End Girls (DJ Hell Remix) (12”, Parlophone 12R 6629)
Studio album number 9. Issued in 2006, “Fundamental” was originally issued as a 2-disc CD set, with a free 8 track second CD subtitled “Fundamentalism”. All the bonus tracks were remixes but interestingly, not everything on it appeared in original form on the standard album - a remix of “Flamboyant”, originally on “Pop Art”, was track 4.
The band issued two mini albums, “Fundamentalism Part 1” and “Fundamentalism Part 2” at the same time, on vinyl only, which included between them, all the tracks from the bonus disc.
I’m With Stupid/Girls Don’t Cry (7” Picture Disc, Parlophone R6690)
I’m With Stupid/The Resurrectionist (CD, Parlophone CDR 6690)
I’m With Stupid/The Resurrectionist (Goetz B Extended Mix)/Girls Don’t Cry/I’m With Stupid (Video) (DVD, Parlophone DVDR 6690)
Minimal (Radio Edit)/In Private (7 Inch Mix) (Clear Vinyl 7”, Parlophone R 6708)
Minimal (Radio Edit)/In Private (7 Inch Mix) (CD1, Parlophone CDR 6708)
Minimal (Radio Edit)/(Tocadisco’s Sunday At Space Remix)/(M Factor Remix) (CD2, Parlophone CDRS 6708)
Minimal (Telex Hell Mix)/Blue On Blue/No Time For Tears/Minimal (Video) (DVD, Parlophone DVDR 6708)
Numb (New Radio Version)/Party Song (7”, Parlophone R 6723)
Numb (New Radio Version)/West End Girls (Live at the Mermaid Theatre) (CD1, Parlophone CDR 6723)
Numb (Demo)/Party Song/Bright Young Things/Numb (Video) (CD2, Parlophone CDRS 6723)
Numb (Album Version)/(Accapella)/Psychological (Ewan Pearson Vocal Remix) (12”, Parlophone 12R 6723)
A “Mail On Sunday” freebie, “Story” on the face of it offered nothing special. But not only did it include 7” mixes of the old hits, but the 10” version of “West End Girls” - a bit of a rarity. The band later issued another compilation, “Party”, in Brazil, meaning that they by 2011, they had issued more best-of sets in the last five years that they had done in their first twenty years!
If we treat the recent Tenant/Lowe album as - indeed - a Tenant/Lowe album, and not as a PSB one, then this remains the band’s most recent studio outing. Still using one word album titles, and with various limited edition vinyl and CD versions available, the promo campaign for “Yes” stretched on until that storming 2010 Glasto appearance.
At the end of 2009, the band released the “Christmas” EP - one of the “Yes” tracks appeared in newly recorded form on the EP, “All Over The World”. The lead track, “It Doesn’t Often Snow At Christmas”, was another re-recording, this time of a highly valuable fan club only single A-side. A cover of Madness’ “My Girl” appeared in to two variants, whilst “Domino Dancing” was mashed up with a cover of Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida”, vaguely reminiscent of the “Always On My Mind”/”In My House” medley on “Introspective” - upon which “Domino Dancing” also appeared.
Love Etc/Gin & Jag (CD1, Parlophone CDR 6765)
Love Etc (Album Version)/(Pet Shop Boys Mix)/(Gui Boratto Mix)/(Kurd Maverick Mix)/(Frankmusik Star & Garter Dub)/(Kurd Maverick Dub) (CD2, Parlophone CDRS 6765)
Did You See Me Coming?/After The Event (CD1, Parlophone CDR 6772)
Did You See Me Coming? (PSB Possibly More Mix)/The Former Enfant Terrible/Up And Down (CD2, Parlophone CDRS 6772)
Did You See Me Coming? (PSB Possibly More Mix)/(Unicorn Kid Mix)/The Way It Used To Be (Richard X Mix) (12”, Parlophone R 6772)
Christmas EP: It Doesn’t Often Snow At Christmas (New Version)/My Girl/All Over The World (New Version)/Viva La Vida/My Girl (Our House Mix) (CD, Parlophone CDR 6784)
2010, and another greatest hits, this one seemed a bit pointless. After the double disc excess of “Pop Art”, this was a single CD affair - trying to squeeze the best bits of the band’s career onto an 80 minute album was always going to throw up numerous “missing” items. The deluxe edition, with a free “PSB At The BBC” DVD, is however, an essential buy. The band included one new song on the album, which was issued as a single in it’s own right.
Together (Ultimate Mix)/Glad All Over/I Cried For Us/Together (Extended Mix) (CD1, Parlophone 50999 9 48691 2)
Together (Radio Mix)/West End Girls (Grum Remix) (CD1, Parlophone 50999 9 48681 2)
Friday, 3 June 2011
The recent passing of John Walker was so “unannounced” by the media, you could be forgiven for thinking that it was another John Walker, rather than one third of one of the most popular Sixties bands. But then again, The Walkers have been semi-written out of history by numerous people - from one of my relatives who claims they were “never that big”, to the hipsters who namecheck the correct Scott solo albums, but have no idea where it all started. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again - no “Portrait”, no “Scott 4”. No “Nite Flights”, no “Climate Of Hunter”. To commemorate John’s death, in this blog I shall look at the band’s 60’s and 70’s output.
The Early Years
Both Scott Engel and John Maus, as they were then known, had long been involved in music before they formed The Walker Brothers Trio with drummer Al Schneider. They were effectively a beat combo, with John as the lead singer and guitarist, and Scott as bass player. They released their debut single in 1964, “Pretty Girls Everywhere”, a so-so pop song, which gave no indication as to the direction the band would take later on. The b-side, “Doin’ The Jerk”, was a song that wouldn’t have sounded out of place in an Austin Powers movie, and the band even performed the song - playing themselves - in a film called “Beach Ball”, one of the most surreal things you will ever see in your life. By the end of the year, with the single flopping universally, Schneider was replaced by Gary Leeds, and the trio adopted their Walker surnames. Leeds had a good pedigree musically, but had apparently signed a bizarre deal earlier on in his music career, and was thus precluded from recording on any Walkers records, meaning session drummers had to be used on all future Walker Brothers studio recordings.
The “trio” recorded their next 45, “Love Her”, in the USA. It had more of a brooding, Phil Spector-esque sound, with a big orchestral roar that would become the Walkers ‘sound’ throughout the sixties, but the first version taped with John on lead was deemed poor. John himself suggested that Scott’s deeper voice would suit the track better, and although Scott was reluctant to be in the limelight, he agreed to sing the song if it was felt he could provide a better vocal. "The Voice" was discovered, and the Walkers were never the same again. Scott, more or less, became the group’s lead singer, and although it was later claimed John was jealous of this shift in “rank”, he stated he was more interested in the band becoming popular, even if it meant he had to hand the reins over to Scott.
After recording “Love Her”, the band relocated to the UK, whom Gary suggested would “get” the band more than in the US. Upon arrival, “Love Her” started to garner interest, and charted well in the UK. The band decided to stay in Europe, a move that pleased Scott as he was fascinated by European Cinema. The band’s success back in the States remained minimal. By the time the band released their monumental version of “Make It Easy On Yourself” as their next 45, they were superstars - it gave the band a UK Number 1, and the band’s gigs were starting to become manic affairs - John and Scott were often mobbed on stage, and attempts to continue playing as a guitar based 3-piece had to be abandoned almost immediately. The group instead moulded themselves into a vocal duo with a full band backing them, The Quotations, with Gary as second drummer - twenty five years before Adam And The Ants did it!
The band’s debut LP, “Take It Easy With The Walker Brothers”, was issued at the tail end of 65, and charted well. A bit of a patchy affair at times, heavily reliant on covers, it’s image on the front of the three Walkers with their mop tops looking miserably at the camera gave something of a clue as to the morose nature of some of the material they were performing. Although the album did not hit the top spot, the band were by now so popular, their fan club was rivalling that of The Beatles - it seemed that whilst the Fab Four had a lot of admirers who were not obsessive enough to join their fanclub, the Brothers seemed to be worshipped by just about everybody who bought one of their records. There were no "floating" fans. And whilst John and Gary loved the attention, Scott did not. There were stories of the band having to wear crash helmets when arriving for gigs, so they were not injured in the crush, whilst Scott was later reported to have attempted suicide, so horrified by the level of fame the band were gathering.
During 1966, the Walkers began to move into even darker territory. Their masterpiece on 45, a cover of “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore”, was a huge hit, but somewhat subversive, being swathed in heartbreak and depression. It was followed by what many regard as their greatest LP, “Portrait”. Another front cover of the boys looking troubled, the choice of songs were indicative of Scott’s state of mind - the title of one of the covers, “In My Room”, tells you all you need to know about how Scott was feeling isolated by fame, the madness of the show business world. And yet, although it was arguably the high point of their career, it also spelled the beginning of the end.
The Break Up
At the tail end of 66, the Walkers issued their second EP. But “Solo John Solo Scott” was, as it’s title suggested, not really a Walkers EP at all. It featured a pair of solo songs by each Brother, with John absent from Scott’s two tunes, and vice versa. It was - although nobody knew at the time - the beginning of the solo careers for both men. Whilst John’s side was quite mainstream, Scott’s songs were an indication of where his solo career would up end - in particular, the self penned kitchen-sink drama of “Mrs Murphy” would have fitted straight onto any of those classic “numbered” solo albums he released from 67 to 69.
During the spring of 67, the Walkers set out on what remains one of the most famous - and baffling - package tours of the decade. They were supported by Cat Stevens, Engelbert Humperdinck, and The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Quite how this lot ended up sharing the bill is beyond me, but given that they had all had a hit record each, one can only assume they were all seen as being “pop” stars at the time. During the first show of the tour, at the Finsbury Park Astoria, Hendrix famously set his guitar on fire (apparently as he was a bit miffed at the muted reaction he got from the Walkers fan base), and once that had happened, the Walkers performance seemed a bit dull in comparison. It was later reported that some “top brass” asked Hendrix not to do it again - I did read somewhere that the instruction came from the Walkers’ management, who were concerned about their support act blowing them offstage, although Wikipedia claims it was from the Rank Theatre management, whose venues were being used, who were trying to do a “health and safety” job on Hendrix.
The end was now in sight. Just before the tour started, the band had released “Images”, their third LP. So famous were the band before it’s release that it contained their picture, the album title, but not the band name - people could tell not just who Scott was, but Gary and John as well, so the band name appeared only on the spine of the vinyl edition. But some reviews were a bit mediocre, and there was a feeling that the band’s old fashioned crooner act was a bit "last year" - and the Astoria show seemed to confirm it. With relationships between Scott and John strained, the still obsessive fan base troubling Scott, and the feeling that the band were behind the times, Scott decided that the final show of the tour would be the end, and announced to the rest of the group that he was throwing in the towel backstage at the final gig. The rest of the band happily agreed to quit. The final show was at the Tooting Granada on 30th April 1967, and after a rather low-key “farewell” single, “Walking In The Rain”, failed to do much in the charts, the group bowed out with a whimper.
The band did reunite in early 68, for a series of shows in Japan that they had committed to do pre-split. Scott agreed to do them because he “needed the money”, but they still put in their usual classy performances. A Japanese only album, “Walker Brothers In Japan”, was compiled using selected recordings from the shows, and featured a number of songs that the band had never taped in the studio - although they were all cover versions. Gary also got to do one of his solo songs, “Twinkie Lee”, and the album ended with a message from the Walkers to their fans, stating they would see them all again soon. It would be seven years before the Walkers would return.
The GTO Years
During the seventies, all three of the Brothers failed to do much commercially or critically, and at the tail end of 74, all three of them found themselves in contact again, where talk of a reunion took place. All three agreed, and they signed to GTO Records. Following on from the Country Rock vibe of Scott’s 1974 album “We Had It All”, “No Regrets” ploughed a similar path. All of the songs were covers, although John wrote a B-side called “Remember Me” under the pseudonym, “A Dayam”, presumably as some sort of tax dodge. “Remember Me” was issued in on the flip of the title track, released as a single early in 1976.
“No Regrets“, a cover of a Tom Rush number, was a remarkable piece of work. A slow burning epic, with the band reportedly adding overdub after overdub to create a wall of sound during the second half of the song, it did little at first. Radio 1 refused to play it, as the band were dubbed “60’s throwbacks”, but eventually, the world started to realise it’s genius, and it gave the band one of the biggest hits of their career. The Walkers found themselves on TV across Europe, Scott and John with their guitars, looking little like they did in their suited and booted 60’s days. Even the cover of the album was seemingly anti-”Walker”, John and Gary in denim jackets, minus shirts, grinning at the camera, whilst a topless Scott holds his beercan in celebration. In a reasonable throwback to the “I Hate Fame” image of the previous decade, he is at least looking away from the camera, with his hand strategically placed to try and block the camera from seeing him. But otherwise, it looked more like a Rolling Stones album cover than a Walker Brothers one.
But whilst the single was a huge success, the album was not. It sold in OK numbers, but not great ones, and critics were nonplussed by the slightly middle of the road nature of the material. Nevertheless, it was only the beginning (again), and later on in 1976, the band returned with “Lines”, hoping to improve matters. The title track, also issued as a single, was a Jerry Fuller song apparently about drug abuse - the Walkers seemed to be back to their dark selves once more. Scott later claimed it was his favourite ever Walkers recording, but it flopped. The album - all covers but for a single “A Dayam” tune - failed to generate any interest, and even a follow up 45, a brilliant stab at Boz Scaggs' “We’re All Alone”, flopped. When Rita Coolidge had a hit with the same song later the same year (1977) following a stack of radio play, the band claimed there was some sort of conspiracy theory in place, that resulted in radio stations ignoring the group irrelevant of how good their new material was.
By now, the writing was on the wall yet again. GTO were rumoured to be going bust, and Scott and John were arguing once more. Scott felt they had just one more album in them, and decided that this time, they should go out with a bang. He came up with an idea - to try and make a Walker Brothers album that didn’t sound like the Walker Brothers at all. So, he instructed each member of the band to go away and write four songs, and the twelve resultant songs would be used on the next LP. Apart from a rumoured anonymous co-write in 1973, these would be the first songs Scott had written since 1971.
The plan sort of worked - Scott managed five songs, although the fifth one was an unfinished demo called “Tokyo Rimshot”, Gary only managed two. But with ten songs in the can, the band went into the studio to record “Nite Flights”. The result was a bafflingly mixed up album, with Gary’s dirge-like rumbles on “Den Haague” opening side 2, and John’s camp-as-christmas disco romp “Child Of Flames” finishing the album.
The decision was taken to group the songs written by each member together - so whilst John’s quartet closed the album, Scott’s started it. And what a start it was. The four songs Scott wrote were astonishing - from the post punk growl of “Shutout”, to the terrifying horror of “Fat Mama Kick”, and the half ambient throb/half 60’s-esque Walkers string-roar of “The Electrician”, it caused a headache at the record company. They loved Scott’s songs, but were not so keen on the rest. They asked Scott to split the band, and write another four or five “Electrician's". He refused. Partly through loyalty, partly through a desire to release the album that he had originally planned, it did mean that “Nite Flights” was a fascinatingly strange mish mash of an album. Although it is not cool to say so, I have always loved the whole album, not just the Scott songs, and I was always pleased that “Nite Flights” sounded the way it did.
The album flopped. Despite coming in a striking sleeve, and with the lyrics to “Fat Mama Kick” being printed in such a way they look even more frightening in print than they sounded on record, it simply didn’t connect to anyone other than the band’s hardcore fan base. “The Electrican” was released as a single, and failed to chart. The end was nearly over.
Depending on who you ask, the band’s farewell tour was either a poorly attended cabaret style embarrassment, with John and Scott walking off stage after a fight during at least one gig, or was a celebratory finale. Depending on who you ask, the band either played no “Nite Flights” material as it was too difficult to re-create on stage, or slipped a few numbers into an otherwise greatest hits show. By the end of 1978, they had split for the final time. GTO didn’t go bust, but got bought out by CBS, and thus survived until 1981. In the same year, they finally got their wish to plug “Nite Flights“ as a ‘Scott Solo‘ record - they issued the “Walker Brothers EP”, which featured the four Scott penned songs off “Nite Flights” and nothing else.
The Aftermath and The Reissues
During 1979, musicians started to line up to name check “Nite Flights” as one of their favourite albums of the year. David Bowie led the queue. A couple of years later, Ultravox “borrowed” ideas from “The Electrician” for “Vienna”. Scott and The Walkers started to get cited as an influence by everybody, and although the cool kids always claimed they preferred “Scott 4” over “Portrait”, the popularity of the band never went away - a 1992 “Best Of” stormed into the top 3.
It wasn’t the first Walkers’ best of - indeed, there had been plenty of them during the sixties and beyond. The first one of major interest was 1975’s “Greatest Hits”, which included “Doin’ The Jerk” and it’s accompanying A-side, “Pretty Girls Everywhere”. Earlier sets had included some of the “non album” single material, but the rarity of the debut single made this collection extra special.
In 1998, the band’s three studio albums from the 60’s were reissued, with stray A-sides, B-sides and EP tracks added as bonuses (with the exception of the “Pretty Girls Everywhere” 45). “Take It Easy” added the a-sides “Love Her” and “My Ship Is Coming In”, plus the b-sides “Seventh Dawn” (from “Love Her”) and “But I Do” (from “Make It Easy On Yourself”). All four tracks from the band’s first EP, “I Need You”, finished the set.
“Portrait” adds both sides of the four stand alone singles the group issued in 66 - “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore”, “Baby You Don’t Have To Tell Me”, “Another Tear Falls” and “Deadlier Than The Male”. All four songs from the “Solo John Solo Scott” EP finished the set off. “Images” added both sides of the “Stay With Me Baby” and “Walking In The Rain” non-album 45’s.
In 2001, Columbia issued the “If You Could Hear Me Now” CD. A sort of “GTO Years” best of, the set was padded out with seven previously unheard tracks from sessions from all three of the GTO LP’s. 2005’s Scott collection “Classics & Collectables” threw in some Walkers tunes, including a previously unissued alternate mix of “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore”.
2006’s “Everything Under The Sun” is - nearly - the last word. Including all six studio albums, the EP’s and all the A and B-sides (including “Remember Me”), it also throws in the seven “new” songs from “If You Could Hear Me Now”, sequenced alongside the relevant albums from which the outtakes date (as opposed to being shoved at the end). The alternate mix of “The Sun” appears again, along with 12 other previously unissued songs/mixes. However, it is not quite everything (under the sun). Not only is the “In Japan” material missing, but so is a 1967 rarity called “Don’t Fight It”, which surfaced on a US only compilation LP at the time called “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore Baby, You Don’t Have To Tell Me” on Smash Records.
And aside from a few more greatest hits, and a mixture of reissue singles, that’s pretty much it. Sheer genius. RIP John.
Depending on how you look at it, the Walkers discography is either very simple - or bafflingly never ending. This is the simple version: six studio LP’s, a Japanese live album, and a load of singles/EP's containing a stack of exclusive tracks. After the band split for the second time, both their former labels issued a single each using an A-side never before issued as an A-side in the past. Get the 2006 box set, and you will get everything (bar “Don’t Fight It”) that the band taped in the studio.
Then there is the more complex version. Greatest Hits albums with songs missing, a 1990 "alternate" best of, reissues of old singles in different packaging, the amount of Walkers releases that exist is quite substantial for a band who only issued six studio albums.
I have listed below a sizeable chunk of the band’s UK releases, although only selected “Best Of” collections are shown. Many of the band’s A and B sides had surfaced on these before the expanded reissues of the three Philips albums in 1998, and I have detailed which tracks turned up on which collection. They are - I think - in release date order, so you can sort of see how each album was released to try and “fill the gaps”.
Unless stated, all releases are UK pressings. The singles that were re-issued after the band’s first split in 68 (using A-sides that had already been A-sides in a former life) are listed separately, but may not be a complete list. Also listed are details of the two Cassette EP’s the band issued at the end of the 60’s (or thereabouts).
ORIGINAL STUDIO/LIVE VINYL ALBUMS
Take It Easy With The Walker Brothers (Mono LP, Philips BL 7691)
Portrait (Mono LP, Philips BL 7732, includes free art print)
Images (Mono LP, Philips BL 7770)
In Japan (Japanese 2xLP, Philips SFL 9046/7)
No Regrets (LP, GTO GTLP 007)
Lines (LP, GTO GTLP 014, includes free art print)
Nite Flights (LP, GTO GTLP 033, gatefold sleeve)
ORIGINAL UK 7” SINGLES
Pretty Girls Everywhere/Doin’ The Jerk (Philips BF 1401)
Love Her/The Seventh Dawn (Philips BF 1409)
Make It Easy On Yourself/But I Do (Philips BF 1428)
My Ship Is Coming In/You’re All Around Me (Philips BF 1454)
The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore/After The Lights Go Out (Philips BF 1473)
The Big Four EP: My Ship Is Coming In +3 (Philips “Various Artists” EP, BE 12593, p/s)
I Need You EP: Looking For Me/Young Man Cried/Everythings’s Gonna Be All Right/I Need You (Philips BE 12596, p/s)
Baby You Don’t Have To Tell Me/My Love Is Growing (Philips BF 1497)
Another Tear Falls/Saddest Night In The World (Philips BF 1514)
Deadlier Than The Male/Archangel (Philips BF 1537)
Solo John Solo Scott EP: Sunny/Come Rain Or Come Shine/The Gentle Rain/Mrs Murphy (Philips BE 12597, p/s)
Stay With Me Baby/Turn Out The Moon (Philips BF 1548)
Walking In The Rain/Baby Make It The Last Time (Philips BF 1576)
No Regrets/Remember Me (GTO GT 42)
Lines/First Day (GTO GT 67)
We’re All Alone/Have You Seen My Baby (GTO GT 78)
The Electrician/Den Haague (GTO GT 230, p/s)
The Walker Brothers EP: Shutout/The Electrician/Nite Flights/Fat Mama Kick (GTO GT 295, p/s)
First Love Never Dies/The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore (Philips IPS 001, p/s)
Hits Of The Walker Brothers (Philips MCP 1002, plays “Another Tear Falls“, “Summertime“, “The Sun Ain‘t Gonna Shine Anymore“, “Make It Easy On Yourself“)
Hits Of The Walker Brothers And Dusty Springfield (Philips MCP 1004, 2 tracks by Walkers, 2 by Dusty)
SELECTED REISSUE/COMPILATION ALBUMS ON VINYL AND CD
The Fabulous Walker Brothers (1967, LP, Wing WL1188, includes the entire “Solo John Solo Scott” EP, all of the “I Need You“ EP except the title track, “Deadlier Than The Male” and “After The Lights Go Out”)
The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore Baby, You Don’t Have To Tell Me (1967, US LP, Smash MGS 27082, Stereo version also available [SRS 67082], includes “Don‘t Fight It“)
The Immortal Walker Brothers (1968, LP, Contour 6870 564)
The Walker Brothers Story (1968, 2xLP, Philips 6640 001, includes “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore”, “I Need You”, “My Ship Is Coming In”, “Archangel”, and “Stay With Me Baby”, gatefold sleeve, labels show different catalogue number DBL 002)
Greatest Hits (1975, 2xLP, Philips 6640 009, includes “Doin’ The Jerk”, “Pretty Girls Everywhere”, “Love Her”, “The Seventh Dawn”, “Baby You Don’t Have To Tell Me”, “Another Tear Falls” and “Walking In The Rain”, gatefold sleeve)
Hits (1982, LP, Philips PRICE 37)
In Japan (1987, 2xLP, Bam Caruso AIDA 076. Different sleeve to original LP. Bootleg CD copies exist, original later reissued on CD in Japan only in 2007)
The Walker Brothers Greatest Hits (1988, CD, Duchesse CD 352025. Expanded reissue of “Hits” using same picture sleeve)
After The Lights Go Out (1990, CD, Fontana 842 831-2, includes “Saddest Night In The World”, band interviews and first time on CD for numerous recordings)
No Regrets (1992, CD, Fontana 510 831-2)
The Walker Brothers Collection (1996, CD, Spectrum 550 200-2)
Collection (1997, CD, Spectrum, 554 151 2)
Take It Easy With The Walker Brothers (1998, CD, Mercury 558 179-2, expanded edition)
Portrait (1998, CD, Mercury 558 180-2, expanded edition)
Images (1998, CD, Mercury 558 181-2, expanded edition)
The Singles + (2001, Dutch 2xCD, BR Music BS 8122-2, includes all of the A-sides from 64 to 78, plus selected EP and solo songs)
If You Could Hear Me Now (2001, CD, Columbia COL 503302 2)
In 5 Easy Pieces (2003, 5xCD Scott Walker Box Set, Universal 981 044-2. Includes several Walkers tracks. Early copies were mispressed, with disc 3 featuring music coming out of one speaker only, this disc includes therefore a unique mix of “Lines”)
Classics & Collectables (2005, Scott Walker CD, Mercury 9828473, includes several Walkers tracks qith alternate mix of “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore”)
Everything Under The Sun (2006, 5xCD Box Set, Mercury 9839844, includes all UK studio recordings and bonus tracks)
The Best Of (2006, CD, Universal 9839598)
3 Original Album Classics (2010, 3xCD Box Set, Columbia 88697 62589 2, includes reissues of the three GTO albums)
NOTABLE REISSUE SINGLES 1971-2011
Love Her/The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore/Make It Easy On Yourself (1971, 7”, Philips 6051 017)
The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore/Make It Easy On Yourself/Stay With Me Baby (1976, 7”, Philips 6160 050)
The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore/My Ship Is Coming In (1985, 7”, Old Gold OG 9474)
No Regrets/We’re All Alone (1985, 7”, Old Gold OG 9557)
Make It Easy On Yourself/First Love Never Dies (1988, 7”, Old Gold OG 9779)
The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore/First Love Never Dies/Jackie/Joanna (1991, CD, Fontana WALKC1, p/s. Last two tracks are Scott solo, other formats available with less B-sides)
No Regrets/Boy Child/Montague Terrace In Blue (1992, CD, Fontana WALKC2, p/s. Last two tracks are Scott solo, other formats available with only “Boy Child” on b-side)
The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore/After The Lights Go Out/Make It Easy On Yourself/Baby You Don’t Have To Tell Me (2006, CD, Philips 9836919, p/s. 7” in Philips bag also released with mono version of A-side, and “After The Lights Go Out” on B-side)