Title - '80s Romance - The Complete Belle Stars' (Salvo)
Artist - The Belle Stars
If, like me (or at least, what's left of my memory from the '80s), you recall the Belle Stars in as much as they had two or three hit singles, well, you'd be mighty wrong! '80s Romance - The Complete Belle Stars' is just that: a complete OTT collection of 41 singles, album tracks, covers, extended remixes, and even promo videos!
The Belle Stars, an all-British female band founded in London in the early eighties by former members of the 2 Tone ska revival band, The Bodysnatchers, combined limitless energy with incredible passion. Indeed, they enjoyed no fewer than 7 UK chart entries between 1982 and 1984 and even toured with The Clash, Madness, The Police and Elvis Costello.
As for what my brain remembers, well, I think we'll all agree that the pop-fused singles such as 'Iko Iko,' 'The Clapping Song,' and the self-penned smash 'Sign Of The Times,' were all at the top of the recall list.
But there is so much more here packaged into this glorious multi-fold digi-pak! The great 'Indian Summer' and instantly recognisable 'Mockingbird' are both here, plus a cover of Bob and Earl's 'Harlem Shuffle,' 'The Reason,' 'Baby I'm Yours,' a delicious cover of Al Wilson's 'The Snake,' 'Burning' and the coy 'Needle In A Haystack.'
Disc one also contains three of their best videos: 'Sign Of The Times' (with all those blue lasers - what imagery - and yet, amazingly, it still looks good today!); 'Sweet Memory' (and it's live vibe); and '80s Romance' (with all the fun of a day at Canary Wharf!). Quite why those in the know owning the rights to these songs decided to name this collection after that lesser-performing single of theirs ('80s Romance') is beyond me though. I mean, it entered the UK charts at #71 in August 1984 and then dropped out a week later!
Disc two begins with such songs as 'Big Blonde,' 'Take Another Look,' 'Stop Now,' the speed-infused 'Having A Good Time,' and 'Blame,' before taking the ride home with 'Turn Back The Clock,' 'Madness,' 'April Fool,' 'Sun Sun Sun,' 'The Spider,' and 'It's Me.'
Comprising all of their recordings for the legendary Stiff Records, including their debut album in its entirety, this comprehensive, enhanced collection also comes complete with some 20 page artwork - that features new interviews with all seven Bellies!
Closing the second disc out, and we have extended 12" remix versions of songs such as 'Slick Trick,' 'The Clapping Song,' 'Mockingbird,' 'Sign Of The Times,' 'Sweet Memory,' 'Indian Summer,' 'Sun Sun Sun,' and '80's Romance.'