Saturday, 5 October 2013

Kim Wilde in the UK

When I saw Kim Wilde back in 2002, it was on one of those awful 80’s “Here And Now” packages. That year, the line up was enlivened by the fact that Altered Images and The Human League were part of the line up as well as Ms Wilde. She only played for about 20 minutes, made a risqué joke before playing “You Came”, and basically rattled through a few of her biggest hits, no album tracks here. Like Altered Images, it seemed as though her appearance on the tour was a retro style decision to briefly revisit her past, as she had begun to carve out a career as a TV Gardener a year or so before, and hadn’t released an LP in the UK since 1995.

But I later found out that whilst Wilde’s UK pop career was more or less killed off by TV and Radio showing little interest in her anymore, it was a bit different elsewhere. Kim, it seems, is big in Germany, and there had been some “non UK” single releases in those intervening years since 95. Indeed, Kim has released no less than three LP’s in Europe since that “Here And Now“ show. I am guessing her UK Xmas tour will possibly not involve her playing anything from these records, although you can get them cheaply from Amazon, the days of expensive “import albums” now (mostly) long gone.

The tour is being conducted to coincide with a Christmas album, which seems to be getting a proper UK release, and will therefore be her first “new” album here for 18 years. Bananarama went through a similar situation in the 1990’s. I do rather adore Kim Wilde, I heard “The Touch” again recently and nearly passed out with excitement (her great lost 45), so I thought I would look at her UK releases, especially as she too, like Belinda Carlisle, is in the middle of a comprehensive reissue program as I type this.


Wilde, famously, has a real pop pedigree, being the daughter of rocker Marty Wilde. She released her self titled debut LP in 1981, which curiously featured her plus the three members of her touring band on the front, which might have suggested to the uneducated that Kim Wilde was the name of the band. Wilde later stated that it was done because “it was passe for a female to attempt...a serious career in pop”, and the striking image was done to try and boost her credibility stakes. The accompanying singles, however, featured Kim solo (or at least, nobody other than Kim looking at the camera).

For anybody discovering Kim nowadays, their introduction might be via some of the more “pop” stuff she did later the same decade, so they might be shocked at the sparky, synth driven, new wave that inhabits the first album. The first single from the LP, the glorious “Kids In America”, sounded like Blondie covering Kraftwerk, and featured a slightly scary video with Kim looking all mean and moody, and somebody cutting their hand on a venetian blind, with blood dripping down the screen. A far cry from “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree”.

“Kids In America” was a huge hit, number 2 in the UK, but was no fluke, and the other singles from the album were equally thrilling pieces of high charting electro-pop - “Chequered Love” and “Water On Glass” also went top 10, and Wilde’s debut LP, issued inbetween these two 45’s, was a critically acclaimed, and commercial, success.

1982’s “Select” saw the art department decide to trust the public’s instinct, by featuring Kim alone on the cover. Although I have long believed that this one came in for some stick in the past (the decision to go political on “Cambodia”, and the fact that I am sure even Kim herself once said that “Chaos At the Airport” was awful), it’s deemed to be more “synth”-y than it’s predecessor, and much loved by many. I’ll admit, “View From A Bridge” is magnificently brilliant, and nigh on perfect synthpop.

Things started to go slightly astray with 1983’s “Catch As Catch Can” - another album that, for the most part, followed the synth/new wave stylings of what had come before, only this time with mixed reviews, and relatively poor sales of both the album and it’s attendant 45’s. The album had been previewed with a curveball of a single, “Love Blonde”, a jazzy shuffle that was as uncharacteristic of Wilde as “The Lovecats” was of The Cure (issued the same year, perhaps there was something in the water). The decision to issue the singles from the album on 12” as well as 7” - sometimes with different track listings, meaning completists would have to buy both - couldn’t rescue them from rather poor chart positions, and Wilde left RAK soon after. Her departure was marked by the label in 1984 with the release of “The Very Best Of Kim Wilde”, a run through of the singles (including 1982‘s stand alone 45, “Child Come Away“), selected B-sides, and random album tracks.

By this point in her career, Wilde had signed to MCA, and released her fourth album the same year, “Teases And Dares”. Both the LP and lead single, “The Second Time”, featured Kim as some sort of ‘Barbarella‘-style Sci Fi Supervixen, an image which got played up by the label a bit too much, something she wasn’t actually too keen on them doing. There was a continuation of issuing the singles on 7" as well as 12, and several of these 45’s were even housed in different sleeves for the different formats as well. Wilde was still struggling to regain the commercial ground lost in the last few years, until a remixed “Rage To Love” hit the top 20 in April 1985.

This hit was a sign of things to come. In 1986, Wilde released “Another Step”, which whilst only a moderate seller, spawned some enormous hit singles. The album was a shift in sound, away from the new wave/electro style of the previous records, and towards a far more “pop” mainstream sound. Whilst this might have sounded like the death knell for Kim’s career, this move away from the left field actually worked quite well, her hi-energy cover of “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” giving her one of her biggest ever hits, and deservedly so, as her wholescale revamping of the original was brilliantly conceived. The other singles, “Another Step” and “Say You Really Want Me”, were equally glorious pieces of raucous pop, whilst the second half of the album was mostly full of well received ballads, a deliberate move by Kim, including the magnificently lush “She Hasn’t Got Time For You”. Vinyl copies of the record neglected to include the song “Victim” on space grounds, whilst initial copies came in the well known “map” cover, but with the water and land coloured in in what looked like some amateurish felt tip pen, subsequent pressings used a more “professional” pallet.

In 1987, the album was reissued in a completely new, and arty, black and white image of Wilde, with three bonus tracks - the 7” remixes of “Another Step” and “Say You Really Want Me”, plus a brand new Megamix. For the vinyl edition, these three tracks were housed on a free 12” included in the package, for the CD, they appeared at the end of the record, and for the Tape, the Megamix closed side 1, and the remixes side 2. The year ended with a fun cover of Brenda Lee’s “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree”, recorded with comedian Mel Smith - the record was credited to “Mel And Kim”, as an affectionate nod to the SAW pop duo of the same name.

Kim’s stock was now rising, and for many, this culminated in what is regarded as her finest record, 1988’s “Close”, which carried on with the pop sound of “Another Step”, veering between sweet ballads (the unbelievably beautiful “Four Letter Word”), searing power pop (“You Came”, her favourite record BTW) and full blown camp ultra-pop (“Never Trust A Stranger”). The album took a while to catch the public imagination, only eventually charting inside the top 10 during 1989, but each of the singles hit the top 40, many going top 10, and her profile was boosted by a high profile stint as the support on Michael Jackson’s “Bad” tour.

I have long believed that 1990’s “Love Moves” carried on where “Close” left off, after all, everybody knows how gloriously anthemic the singles “It’s Here” and “Time” are, don’t they? Well, the former just dented the top 40, and the other one didn’t, and the LP sold poorly, with little love shown by the critics, so maybe it‘s just me who loves those records. Anyway, last time I listened to it, it sounded alright, and in danger of sounding like a "Daily Sport" reading misogynist, Wilde still looked like a vampy sex kitten on the album and single covers. She seemingly hadn’t aged in the past ten years. In what may have been an attempt to try and remind people of Wilde’s genius pop past, the b-side of the last 45 from the album, “I Can’t Say Goodbye”, came backed with another Megamix.

Such were the poor sales of “Love Moves” and it’s accompanying singles, that 1992’s “Love Is” is thus seen by some as Wilde’s comeback, and it did seem to have an updated 90’s edge to it, be it the crunching rhythm of “Heart Over Mind”, the soaring Belinda-style “Love Is Holy”, or the Bananarama-esque thrill of “Who Do You Think You Are”. With the CD Single now fully established as a major player in the format wars, several of the singles were issued on two CD editions each in an attempt to hit the charts, with other formats coming in unique picture covers as well. It sort of worked, with the three singles issued in the UK at least all going top 50.

The high energy of “Who Do You Think You Are” was carried over into 1993, when Wilde recorded two new equally energetic songs for her “Singles Collection 1981-1993” set - a cover of “If I Can’t Have You” and “In My Life”. The album charted at number 11, and raised Wilde’s profile again, helped by both the high charting position of the “If I Can’t Have You” 45 (number 12) and a brief romance with UK TV presenter Chris Evans. A remixed “Kids In America” was issued overseas, whilst a VHS collection of selected hits from the past was issued to coincide.

And then, things went slightly awry again. 1995’s “Now And Forever” moved further into the dance territory that was found on the likes of “In My Life”, but even though this was very much an attempt to remain contemporary and cutting edge, Wilde was now a bit “old skool”, and the likes of Radio 1 lost interest. In the UK, the album failed to chart, and the singles released failed to hit the top 40. A stand alone single, “Shame”, recorded during the sessions but left off the record, fared even worse.

Wilde appeared in the London stage production of “Tommy” in 1996 (and I’ll admit, seeing her in the flesh for the first time ever was quite thrilling) and she reportedly began work on a new album, but seemed to have lost interest in the industry - she later admitted that she felt too old in an age where the Spice Girls were the new kids on the block, and felt disillusioned with the fact that the music industry had become so “business” minded. She instead began a new career as a TV Gardener, and seemed to have walked away from the music biz for good.

And apart from those “Here And Now” tours, in the UK at least, she did. Another best of in 2001, “The Very Best Of”, did include a new song, “Loved”, but it was only released as a single outside the UK. Wilde’s studio albums issued since have been Euro-only releases, always the sound of something a bit dodgy, but came about simply because she wanted to make music again, and her re-emergence came with a real kudos, allowing her to get the likes of ultra hip Charlotte Hatherley involved in a re-recording of “Kids In America” for 2006’s “Never Say Never”. From a UK viewpoint, the Xmas album will officially be her first studio effort here since “Now And Forever”, and although she may have got a bit of ridicule recently for doing a karaoke version of “Kids” on the tube, the recent expanded reissue of “Close” and her first headline tour since 1987, suggest that Kim Wilde is truly back. Hallelujah!

Reissues And Compilations

Although several of Kim’s latter period albums were released on CD straight from the off, CD editions of her earlier albums always remained a bit more obscure. In 2009, the “pop” division of Cherry Red records, Cherry Pop, set about reissuing her albums, seemingly because the original labels had no interest in doing so. First up, were expanded single disc versions of her three RAK albums. Most relevant rarities from the period were on them - the 7” mix of “Water Of Glass” appeared on “Kim Wilde” along with the non album B-sides from the period, “Select” followed suit but also included the stand alone 45’s “Child Come Away” and the Japanese only “Bitter Is Better”, whilst “Catch As Catch Can” included similar rarities, including the 12” mixes of “Love Blonde” and “Dancing In The Dark”, along with the instrumental B-side mix of the latter. It’s a shame her short take on “Freight Train”, included on the Cassette Interview magazine SFX2 from 1981 couldn’t have been snuck onto the reissue of her debut LP, but I guess logistics got in the way.

In 2010, the label set about reissuing her MCA albums, although the campaign got no further than 1986’s “Another Step”. Rumours were that MCA thought that 1988’s “Close” was something of a pop masterpiece, and wanted to keep it for themselves - born out now of course by the recent 2-CD mega expanded edition that they have indeed just put out. Generally, the revamps of both “Teases And Dares” and “Another Step” featured single mixes, B-sides and any other odds and sods from the period at the end of the original album on disc 1, whilst CD2 came with the 12” mixes from the period - of which, there were plenty. As you would expect, “Victim” and the three bonus tracks from the 1987 repressing of “Another Step“, are all present and correct on it‘s 2010 edition - the only issue is that the European only b-side “Songs About Love“ has been transferred from an original vinyl single (the masters have obviously gone missing), and thus sounds a bit too crackly and loud.

Aside from the aforementioned best ofs, it’s difficult to know where to guide you if you want more - because there are so many of them. Pick of the bunch is probably the budget label “The Hits Collection”, which features - a la “Singles Going Steady” - Kim’s eight RAK singles, then their accompanying B-sides. The set is rounded off with the other major rarities from the period, namely “Bitter Is Better” and the extended versions of “Love Blonde” and “DITD”. If you want to complete the set, then the similarly titled Spectrum release “The Collection” might be of interest, as it covers the MCA years only, and can be seen as a sort of unplanned volume 2. Oh yes, there is another “The Collection” release in existence, a 2-CD trawl through the RAK years, along with a couple of stuff from the euro albums, issued by Music Club.


Given that some of the recent reissues are nigh on essential (“Teases And Dares” includes, amongst other things, a soundtrack contribution and US only remixes, “Another Step” appears in the original rare “felt tip pen” cover), and given that some newcomers will find it preferable to buy these CD’s as opposed to the vinyl originals, the list of 45’s below thus includes some singles that were of little interest when first released, other than to completists, but which are now of interest because the tracks they were missing are to be found on said reissues. Again, given that some of these reissues do only include previously released material, the more hardcore amongst you may prefer to hunt down the original LP’s, and so the albums list shows (one of) the original pressing(s), plus the reissue where relevant. You may also wish to check out the officially endorsed "Wilde Life" collectors site, which has photos and more details of everything listed here and more.


Kim Wilde (1981, LP, RAK SRAK 544)
Kim Wilde (2009, CD, Cherry Pop CRPOP 20)

Select (1982, LP, RAK SRAK 548)
Select (2009, CD, Cherry Pop CRPOP 21)

Catch As Catch Can (1983, LP, RAK SRAK 1654081)
Catch As Catch Can (2009, CD, Cherry Pop CRPOP 22)

Teases And Dares (1984, LP, MCA WILDE 1)
Teases And Dares (2010, 2xCD, Cherry Pop CRPOPD 54)

Another Step (1986, LP, MCA MCF 3339)
Another Step (1987, LP+12”, MCA KIML 1)
Another Step (2010, 2xCD, Cherry Pop CRPOPD 55)

Close (1988, LP, MCA MCG 6030)
Close (2013, 2xCD, MCA UMCREP 2025, includes previously unreleased remixes)

Love Moves (1990, CD, MCA DMCG 6088)

Love Is (1992, CD, MCA MCAD 10625)

Now And Forever (1995, CD, MCA MCD 60002)


Kids In America/Tuning In Tuning Out (7”, RAK 327)

Chequered Love/Shane (7”, RAK 330)

Water On Glass (7“ Mix)/Boys (7”, RAK 334)

Cambodia (7” Mix)/Watching For Shapes (7”, RAK 336)

View From A Bridge/Take Me Tonight (7”, RAK 342)

Child Come Away/Just Another Guy (7”, RAK 352)

Love Blonde (Edit)/Can You Hear It (7”, RAK 360)
Love Blonde (12” Mix)/(Edit)/Can You Hear It (12”, RAK 12 RAKS 360, with free poster)

Dancing In The Dark/Back Street Driver (7”, RAK 365)
Dancing In The Dark (Nile Rodgers Extended Version)/(Instrumental) (12”, RAK 12 RAK 365)

The Second Time (7” Version)/Lovers On A Beach (7”, MCA KIM 1)
The Second Time (7” Version)/Lovers On A Beach (7” Picture Disc, MCA KIMP 1, in clear sleeve)
The Second Time (Extended Version)/Lovers On A Beach (Extended Version) (12”, MCA KIMT 1, unique p/s)

The Touch (7” Version)/Shangri-La (7”, MCA KIM 2)
The Touch (7” Version)/Shangri-La (7” Picture Disc, MCA KIMP 2, in clear sleeve)
The Touch (12” Version)/Shangri-La (12” Version) (12”, MCA KIMT 2)

Rage To Love (7” Version)/Putty In Your Hands (7”, MCA KIM 3)
Rage To Love (7” Version)/Putty In Your Hands (7” Picture Disc, MCA KIMP 3, in clear sleeve)
Rage To Love (12” Version)/The Second Time (US Remix)/Putty In Your Hands (12”, MCA KIMT 3, different p/s)

You Keep Me Hangin’ On/Loving You (7”, MCA KIM 4)
You Keep Me Hangin’ On (WCH Mix)/Loving You/You Keep Me Hangin’ On (12”, MCA KIMT 4)

Another Step (7” Version)/Hold Back (7”, MCA KIM 5)
Another Step (Extended Mix)/(7” Version)/Hold Back (12”, MCA KIMT 5)

Say You Really Want Me (Remix)/Don’t Say Nothing’s Changed (7”, MCA KIM 6, in gatefold p/s)
Say You Really Want Me (Extended Version)/(Remix)/Don’t Say Nothing’s Changed (12”, MCA KIMT 6, plus poster)
Say You Really Want Me (The Video Mix)/(Remix)/Don’t Say Nothing’s Changed (Remix 12”, MCA KIMX 6, different p/s)
Say You Really Want Me (The Video Mix)/(Remix)/Don’t Say Nothing’s Changed (Cassette, MCA KIMC 6)

Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree +1 (7”, Ten Records TEN 2)
Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree (The Mega Merry Magimix) +1 (12”, Ten Records TEN 2-12)

Hey Mr Heartache (Single Version)/Tell Me Where You Are (7”, MCA KIM 7)
Hey Mr Heartache (Extended Version)/(Album Version)/Tell Me Where You Are (12”, MCA KIMT 7)
Hey Mr Heartache (Kilo Watt Remix)/(Album Version)/Tell Me Where You Are (Remix 12”, MCA KIMX 7, different colour text on p/s)
Hey Mr Heartache (Extended Version)/Tell Me Where You Are/You Keep Me Hangin’ On/Another Step (7“ Version) (CD, MCA DKIM 7)

You Came (7” Version)/Stone (7”, MCA KIM 8)
You Came (7” Version)/Stone (Limited 7”, MCA KIM 8, in boxset with postcards and poster)
You Came (Extended Version)/(7” Version)/Stone (12”, MCA KIMT 8)
You Came (Shep Pettibone Mix)/(Extended Version) (Remix 12”, MCA KIMX 8)
You Came (Extended Version)/(7” Version)/Stone (CD, MCA DKIM 8)

Never Trust A Stranger (Single Version)/Wotcha Gonna Do (7”, MCA KIM 9)
Never Trust A Stranger (Single Version)/Wotcha Gonna Do (7”, MCA KIMSG 9, in gatefold p/s, slightly altered front cover)
Never Trust A Stranger (Extended Version)/You Came (Shep Pettibone Mix)/Wotcha Gonna Do (12, MCA KIMT 9)
Never Trust A Stranger (Sanjazz Mix)/Wotcha Gonna Do/Never Trust A Stranger (Extended Version) (Remix 12”, MCA KIMX 9, unique p/s)
Never Trust A Stranger (Extended Version)/You Came (Shep Pettibone Mix)/Wotcha Gonna Do (CD, MCA DKIM 9)

Four Letter Word/She Hasn’t Got Time For You (‘88) (7”, MCA KIM 10)
Four Letter Word/She Hasn’t Got Time For You (‘88) (7”, MCA KIMB 10, in boxset with poster, unique p/s)
Four Letter Word (Extended Version)/(Late Night Mix)/She Hasn’t Got Time For You (‘88) (12”, MCA KIMT 10)
Four Letter Word/She Hasn’t Got Time For You (‘88)/Four Letter Word (Extended Version) (CD, MCA DKIM 10)

Love In The Natural Way (7 Inch Version)/You’ll Be The One Who’ll Lose (7”, MCA KIM 11)
Love In The Natural Way (7 Inch Version)/You’ll Be The One Who’ll Lose (7”, MCA KIMR 11, poster bag, slightly altered artwork)
Love In The Natural Way (Extended Version)/(7 Inch Version)/You’ll Be The One Who’ll Lose (12“, MCA KIMT 11)
Love In The Natural Way (7 Inch Version)/You’ll Be The One Who’ll Lose/Love In The Natural World (Extended Version) (CD, MCA DKIMT 11, slightly altered artwork)

It’s Here (7” Version)/Virtual World (7”, MCA KIM 12)
It’s Here (7” Version)/Virtual World (Limited 7”, MCA KIMB 12, boxset with poster and lyric booklet)
It’s Here (Extended Version)/Virtual World (Extended)/It’s Here (7” Version) (12”, MCA KIMT 12)
It’s Here (7” Version)/(Extended Version)/Virtual World (Extended) (CD, MCA DKIMT 12)

Time (12” Version)/Someday/Time (7” Version) (12”, MCA KIMT 13)
Time (12” Version)/Someday/Time (7” Version) (Limited 12”, MCA KIMT 13, with free poster)
Time (7” Version)/(12” Version)/Someday (CD, MCA DKIMT 13)

I Can’t Say Goodbye (Edit)/Sanjazz Megamix (Edit) (7”, KIM 14)
I Can’t Say Goodbye (Edit)/Sanjazz Megamix (Edit) (7”, KIMB 14, in postersleeve)
I Can’t Say Goodbye/Sanjazz Megamix (12”, MCA KIMT 14)
I Can’t Say Goodbye (Edit)/Sanjazz Megamix/I Can’t Say Goodbye (CD, MCA DKIMT 14)
I Can’t Say Goodbye (Edit)/Sanjazz Megamix (Edit) (Cassette, KIMC 14)

Love Is Holy/Birthday Song (7”, MCA KIM 15, unique p/s)
Love Is Holy (LP Mix)/(Ambient Mix)/Birthday Song (12”, MCA KIMT 15, unique p/s)
Love Is Holy/Birthday Song/Love Is Holy (Ambient Mix)/You Came (Shep Pettibone Mix) (CD, MCA KIMTD 15)
Love Is Holy/Birthday Song (Cassette, MCA KIMC 15, unique p/s)

Heart Over Mind (7”)/I Found A Reason (7”, MCA KIM 16, unique p/s)
Heart Over Mind (7”)/I Found A Reason/Heart Over Mind (Extended Version)/Touched By Your Magic (Extended Version) (CD1, MCA KIMTD 16)
Heart Over Mind (7”)/You Keep Me Hangin’ On/Love Is Holy/Heart Over Mind (Extended Version) (CD2, MCA KIMXD 16, unique p/s)
Heart Over Mind (7”)/I Found A Reason (Cassette, MCA KIMC 16, unique p/s)

Who Do You Think You Are (7” Version)/Try Again (Club Mix) (7”, MCA KIM 17, unique p/s)
Who Do You Think You Are (7” Version)/Try Again (Club Mix)/Who Do You Think You Are (Bruce Forest Remix)/(Bruce Forest Dub Mix) (CD1, MCA KIMTD 17)
Who Do You Think You Are (7” Version)/(Extended Version)/Heart Over Mind (Club Mix)/Never Trust A Stranger (Single Version) (CD2, MCA KIMXD 17, unique p/s)
Who Do You Think You Are (7” Version)/Try Again (Club Mix) (Cassette, MCA KIMC 17, unique p/s)

If I Can’t Have You (7” Edit)/Never Felt So Alive (7”, MCA KIM 18)
If I Can’t Have You (Kelsey Mix)/(Dub Mix)/(Extended Version)/Never Felt So Alive (12”, MCA KIMT 18)
If I Can’t Have You (7” Edit)/(Kelsey Mix)/(Extended Version)/Never Felt So Alive (CD, MCA KIMTD 18)
If I Can’t Have You (7” Edit)/Never Felt So Alive (Cassette, MCA KIMC 18)

In My Life (LP Version)/(Lifestyle Mix)/(Dub Mix)/(Get A Life Mix) (CD1, MCA KIMTD 19)
In My Life (West End 7”)/(West End 12” Remix)/(West End D’oomy Dub)/If I Can’t Have You (Made In Japan) (CD2, MCA KIMXD 19, different p/s)

Breakin’ Away (Original 12” Mix)/(T-Empo Dub)/(Matt Darey Vocal Mix)/(Matt Darey Dub) (12”, MCA KIMT 21)
Breakin’ Away (Radio Mix)/(Original 12” Mix)/(Matt Darey Vocal Mix)/Staying With My Baby (Radio Mix) (CD, MCA KIMTD 21)
Breakin’ Away (Radio Mix)/Staying With My Baby (Radio Mix) (Cassette, MCA KIMC 21)

This I Swear (Radio Mix)/(Wilde Remix)/Heaven (Matt Darey 12”)/(Eddy Fingers Vocal) (CD, MCA KIMTD 22)
This I Swear (Radio Mix)/Heaven (Matt Darey 7”) (Cassette, MCA KIMC 22)

Shame (Jupiter’s 12” Mix)/(Matt Darey’s Vocal Mix)/(T-Empo’s Club Mix)/(T-Empo’s Dub Mix)/(Matt Darey Dub) (12”, MCA MCST 40080)
Shame (Jupiter’s Radio Mix)/(Matt Darey’s Vocal Mix)/(T-Empo’s Club Mix)/Hypnotise (CD, MCA MCSTD 40080)

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