Won Ton Ton’s singer Bea Van Der Maat is probably the reason to explore this Belgian Eighties outfit.
After Chow-Chow, the forerunner to Won Ton Ton split, Bea started a career on television and sang in the LSP Band. Her popularity got the group a record contract. In 1987 the group reformed – under the name Won Ton Ton – and released the single included here – “I lie and I cheat”.
Interesting for its self-destructive lyrical theme, this song became a big hit, both in Belgium (n° 10) and in Holland (n° 13). The successors, “Hey Marlene” and the rather prurient “Can I come near you” were less successful.
Bea Van Der Maat ‘s commitment to the band was spasmodic – pursuing a parallel television career (making the move to VTM and presenting “Tien om te zien” – a program carrying the more commercially oriented Flemish music) and she also brought up two children.
In 1996 she released a comeback album of Triphop music “Thin skinned” that got good reviews but sold poorly.
The Won Ton Ton lineup:
– Bea Van Der Maat – vocals
– Ronny Timmermans – guitar
– Fons Noeyens – guitar
– Els Ravijts / Jos Borremans – keyboards
– Jan Biesemans – bass
– Raf Ravijts – drums
Breathe was a London-based musical group formed in the early 1980s. Originally a larger, six-person band called “Catch 22”, they trimmed down to a quartet to record the album All That Jazz in 1987. This contained their two best-known hits, “How Can I Fall?” and “Hands to Heaven”. The latter charted on the Billboard Hot 100 at #2 in 1988, and at #4 in the UK. Bassist Micheal Delahunty left the group in 1989 and the remaining three followed “All that Jazz” with the lesser known “Peace of Mind” in early 1990.
Despite having all the pop potential of an Air Supply, they were destined to remain a cult band – which is why they are here.
Big Sound Authority were an English pop band. The group was formed in 1983 by Tony Burke and Julie Hadwin who both took turns as lead singers. They signed to Source Records and released one album ‘An Inward Revolution’ before splitting up in 1986.
Box of Toys were born from the ashes of A Select Committee (1981-83), a powerpop band formed by Brian Jones, Tim Lees (both later of Something French), Steve Downey (later of Come in Tokyo) and Andy Redhead (on drums, percussion and synth). Even before the band broke up in 1983,in 1982 Redhead teamed up with Phil Martin (on sax, keys and vocals, formerly of 3D), Roy Campbell (on bass and vocals) and Brian Atherton (on vocals and synth, later of ‘The Light’). Even before their first single the quartet recorded a session with the ever prescient John Peel in April 1983.
Peel Session (April 1983)
– When Daylight Is Over (Sunset)
– Time Takes Me Back
– Precious Is The Pearl
– I’m Thinking Of You Now
In 1983 ‘Precious Is the Pearl’ (included here) and When Daylight Is Over (Sunset) appeared on their second single (12” version, together with a second b-side, It Goes Without Saying). The band split in late 1984, and Andy Redhead joined a later version of 3D.
Cactus World News was an Irish rock band formed in Dublin in 1984. The original members included: Frank Kearns, Eoin McEvoy, Wayne Sheehy, and Fergal MacAindris. Their early influences were The Clash, The Ramones, Talking Heads, U2, The Waterboys, and R.E.M.
Their first recording, and best known song, was The Bridge. They performed at the Self Aid concert in Dublin on May 17, 1986. The two 12″ tracks here fought hard to avoid the charts and were destined for obscurity – but not in these parts.
One of my favourite guitar tracks from the Eighties comes from another widescreen Irish band, ‘Blue in Heaven’ who assumed legend-like shape in 1985-6 although unfairly lumped in with the ‘Big Beat’ movement and so suffered by comparison to stadium-fillers like Simple Minds, U2 and even the Waterboys.
They released 2 full length albums on Island Records: All the Gods Men (1985) and Explicit Material (1986). They also released several singles and EPs. ‘Across my Heart’ is their masterpiece. Judge for yourself – it still sounds wonderful.
Vincent Montana Jnr is part of the wider Philly soul-disco scene working as a composer, arranger, bandleader, percussionist and producer. His credits include MFSB, Salsoul Orchestra, Goody Goody and many others but ‘Heavy Vibes’ is a particular favourite with its jazz vibes and light touch – particularly enjoyable on the extended Paul Simpson’s club mix here.
Real Life was a Melbourne-based Australian New Wave band that made waves with both their debut single, ‘Send Me an Angel’ (1983) and with ‘Catch Me, I’m Falling’ (1984), both of which were featured on the band’s debut album Heartland (1983).
The band originally consisted of David Sterry (lead vocals/guitar), Richard Zatorski (violin/keyboard), Alan Johnson (bass) and Danny Simcic (drums). Steve Williams (keyboard) replaced Zatorski in 1986, who was then replaced by George Pappas in 1996 after a long hiatus of band activity.
This 12″ version of ‘Send me an Angel’ is just one of seventeen versions of the song – and probably the best.
The Prime Movers were a three piece band from the greater Los Angeles area. During the mid 80s The Prime Movers made the big(gish) time after releasing the critically acclaimed LP “Museum” on their own Birdcage Records.
They signed to Island Records and two singles, ‘On the Trail’ and ‘Dark Western Night’ entered the UK charts.
Nothing can be found about ‘Whirl’ whose sole 12″ release ‘Clear’ is included – suffice to say that it represents a great piece of Eighties Indie rock – with just enough melody to make it worthy of reprising here.
Fifteen rare tracks – including the hard to find Icelandic version of The Sugarcubes’ (featuring Bjork) breakthrough ‘Birthday’ are waiting for your listening pleasure below:
1. Big Sound Authority – Don’t let our love start a war (12″)
2. Blue in Heaven – Across my Heart (12″)
3. Box of Toys – Precious is the Pearl (12″)
4. Cactus World News – Worlds Apart (12″)
5. Cactus World News – Years Later (12″)
6. H20 – I dream to Sleep (7″)
7. H20 – I dream to Sleep (12″)
8. Here’s Johnny – I fall apart (12″)
9. Montana Sextet – Heavy, heavy Vibes (12″)
10. Real Life – Catch me I’m Falling (12″)
11. The Prime Movers – On the Trail (12″)
12. The Sugarcubes – Birthday (Icelandic version – 12″)
13. Turquoise Blue – We are Lost (12″)
14. Whirl – Clear (12″)
15. Won Ton Ton – I lie and I Cheat (12″)
Apologies – link has been removed because of an objection from one of the copyright holders above.