Music Club MCCD 192
Music Collection International
Total playing time: 53.07
Everybody knows the Beatles learned their trade in Hamburg, Germany but when Merseybeat went Dutch 20 years later, the result was a sensation!
The story started in the early 1980s with a bootleg (illegally pressed) 12-inch single combining many hit songs of the 1960s. Offering over ten minutes of non-stop dancing, it was unsurprisingly popular with disco DJs in Holland. One of the songs it sampled was Shocking Blue's 'Venus', and it was when the copyright owner of that song decided to bootleg the bootleggers that Stars On 45 was born. Producer Jaap Eggermont, former drummer of Golden Earring, selected the cream of Dutch singers to contribute vocals to a new, legal version for public release - and in doing so altered the medley of songs to give it a decidedly Beatle-esque flavour.
The individual numbers, sometimes just a verse and chorus, were recorded separately and edited together, quite a feat in the days before current digital sound technology. When the resulting medley, all eleven and a half minutes of it, topped the Dutch chart, it seemed the bootleggers had been beaten fair and square... But that was just the start of the story as Stars On 45 went world- wide!
When released in the States, the single made Number 1 in the Billboard chart (though with a couple of songs dropped for copyright reasons), having already reached Number 2 in Britain and charted as far afield as Mexico and New Zealand. More than that, it started a medley craze that saw the Beach Boys, Hollies and even the Beatles themselves (a mix of movie music) jump on the bandwagon. Then-current teen heart-throbs Wham! followed suit with a 'Club Tropicana' megamix, while others to sample a winning formula included Boney M and Technotronic.
But the Stars On 45 hit machine rocked on regardless, with three more British Top 20 entries during 1981-82: most successful was a tribute to Abba which reached Number 2, the same position as the original, while other efforts included a second Beatles medley, Stars On Stevie (Wonder), the Rolling Stones, Supremes and more. Its continuing success even gave rise to a live act, the Star Sisters, who took the whole thing on the road.
Like any successful pop phenomenon, the format had its critics, who considered Stars on 45 'faceless' - the most polite of several adjectives used. But it was certainly far from voice-less, and while all the vocalists you'll hear here have an uncanny likeness to the originals it was the abilities of the very first 'Fab Three' that gave the concept the impetus it needed for lift-off.
So take a bow Bas Muys (Lennon), Hans Vermeuien (Harrison) and Okkie Huysdens (McCartney) - the original stars of Stars on 45!
Here in Germany also, both the Beatles- and Abba-medley went straight to number one,
back in the very early eighties. The Beatles-Medley remained in No.1 position for over 10
weeks, I think it was 12 weeks, almost beating Paul McCartney's record with Mull of
Kintyre which remained number one for 13 weeks! - the best-selling single of all time, and
remaining in that spot for over 15 years.
What's presented here is a bit different, that is extended, compared to the hit single. It combines both the first and 2nd Beatles medley, and leaves the omissions intact.
So it's over 16 minutes, underlayed with a steady disco beat, typical of the early 80s!
I still love it very much! The dutch singers and musicians really did an excellent job of imitating the original Fab Four. They manage to demonstrate the beauty of the Beatles songs very well!
Warning: Don't get addicted!
[Cover Versions][Beatles Homepage]
©1996 Harald Gernhardt's Beatles Pages