Thursday, November 11, 2010

big daddy of the rhythm

Rarely does a label produce a truly perfect singles collection. Often, it feels like someone in the finance department out them together. It's as if they randomly decided they needed some new "product" out there to shift among the dwindling number of music consumers. Sometimes a quick rehash for cash is thrown out there like chum to the ever fewer circling sharks in the water. Always hoping for a bite.

However, when someone decides to do it right, fans of a particular group will lavish praise on that collection. Also, any mistakes will come to light by the trainspotters.

Recently, the UK division of Sony decided to release "That's The Way I Like It: The Best Of Dead Or Alive". A collective yawn was heard across the kingdom. In fact, anyone who owned "Evolution - The Hits", released in 2003, probably passed over this latest DOA compilation.

However, there is cause for celebration. The new collection features ALL of Dead Or Alive's singles released on Epic. Each track is represented by the version that appeared on the original 7" single. Huzzah!

You see, more than half of these tracks have never previously appeared on CD. That's a shocking surprise to most people considering we're more than two decades into the existence of the shiny, silver configuration. The skimpy booklet is the only cause for complaint.

In celebration of the 25th anniversary of DOA's seminal, electro-disco classic, "You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)", I present to you the tracklisting for "That's The Way I Like It: The Best Of Dead Or Alive". Please send your youth regimens to me scribbled on a cocktail napkin.

"That's The Way I Like It: The Best Of Dead Or Alive"

1. You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)
2. That's The Way (I Like It) (7" Version)
3. Lover Come Back To Me
4. In Too Deep (7" Remix)
5. My Heart Goes Bang (Get Me To The Doctor) (7" Version)
6. Brand New Lover (7" Single Mix)
7. Something In My House (7" Single Mix)
8. Hooked On Love
9. I'll Save You All My Kisses (7" Remix)
10. Turn Around And Count 2 Ten (7" Single Mix)
11. Come Home With Me Baby (7" Mix)
12. Misty Circles (7" Version)
13. What I Want (7" Version)
14. I'd Do Anything (7" Version)
15. Lover Come Back To Me (Extended Remix)
16. My Heart Goes Bang (Get Me To The Doctor) (American Wipe-Out Mix)
17. Something In My House (Mortevicar Mix)
18. You Spin Me Round (Like A Record) (Murder Mix)

As a healthy bonus, four extended remixes, - all of which have never appeared on CD (according to the liner notes on the back inlay card) - have been tacked onto the end of the collection. Each one features more than a daily serving Pete Burns' cavernous bravado. But if my memory serves me correctly, I have "Lover Come Back To Me (Extended Remix)" and "You Spin Me Round (Like A Record) (Murder Mix)" on a couple of other compilations.

"What was my first Dead Or Alive purchase?", I hear you ask with wide-eyed wonder?

Oh, the countless dollars I spent on the many configurations. Designers sure were having a field day back then. And Dead Or Alive certainly didn't spare any expense on their packaging. The double pack gatefold 7", the remix 12", the picture disc and much more. It seemed endless. And then there was the small matter of the special 12" releases from Japan. Oy!

I first saw the video for "I'd Do Anything" - a sleazy, funk workout - on MTV back in the day before they applied standards and practices to their programming.

Pete Burns' playful presence and raw sexuality commanded your attention. Look at those cheekbones! The simplicity of the video certainly had impact. Besides, who doesn't love a hot, serif font?

Just imagine how it affected the teenage version of me.


  1. I already bought this...FABULOUS spot! The best untouched, unremixed collection of DOA singles ever. Actually, the only one, as you pointed out. What an amazing run of music this band had. Now Pete's gotten a bit messed up with surgery & all, but at one time, they ruled the world (or at least mine). Bring on Youthquake and Mad Bad deluxe remasters NOW!

  2. Pete Burns is a true 80's pop enigma! Part of the Liverpool whirlwind that spit out Echo and the Bunnymen, Teardrop Explodes and Wah!, a tabloid darling when he fought with Boy George (George used to refer to Pete as Thunder Thighs!!) in the gossip pages, and the man/woman that proper mums and dad's feared their sons would become if they listened to his music! I love the early stuff, dark pop/disco - almost goth! No wonder future Sisters/Mission man Wayne Hussey felt at home in the band early on!

  3. Hi Vinny,

    er, don't get misled by boasting "previously unreleased on CD" statements.

    Of the 4 extended remixes,
    - You Spin Me Round was on a plethora of compilations; the earliest should be Club Epic Volume 3, by Epic Dance, US, subsidiary of Epic.
    - Lover Come Back To Me was on Retro:Active 5, by Hi-Bias Records, Canada.
    - Something In My House was on Mixed Masters Volume 1, by CBS (printed in Netherlands).
    - at last, My Heart Goes Bang was actually unreleased on CD; two distinct edits of this version appeared on the single- and double-CD editions of Evolution.

    Of the 7" versions, some stated as unreleased on CD were already available on CD compilations (mostly from the US and Australia); but there's a not-so-obvious mistake, as the version of Hooked On Love available here is the album version - NOT the 7" version, that is identical to the album version except for the bridge, where the album version is a guitar-driven instrumental and the 7" version sports the additional lyrics " Do you deal in it? / 'Cos I want some / Baby I can handle it / I gotta get some". So the 7" version of Hooked On Love stays unreleased on CD, AFAIK.

    Watching the bright side of things, it's indeed a pleasure to see these tracks collected together in a proper DOA release. To tell the truth, a few mixes and dubs from that era (most notably, IMHO, the Off Yer Mong Mix of In Too Deep) are nowhere to be seen on CD, so a limited 2CD edition of this compilation would have been truly welcome. But again, this compilation goes for less than £4 on Amazon UK... and the full version of the American Wipe-Out Mix of My Heart Goes Bang alone makes it worthier than that.


    Paolo M

  4. @countpopula - Agreed! I'm surprised it took someone this long to put this out. Highly unusual that it came out on Sony and not Cherry Pop or Edsel. I'm just glad someone saw fit to issue it.

  5. Hey Vinnie!

    I really enjoy your posts and keep reading them every day! Dare I just to make a quick commment?: The Murder Mix of "You Spin Me Round" appeared on CD for the first time back in 2005 as part of Gold: The Best of Stock Aitken Waterman 3CD compilation!! :)


  6. DOA certainly had some fine pop songs. I'm partial to the "Fan The Flame Pt. 1" album, personally and it's too bad that some of those singles ["Unhappy Birthday," "Gone 2 long," "Your Sweetness Is Your Weakness"] aren't here. On the other hand, most of DOA's Epic singles rendered down into concise 7" bits of pop is a good thing, with the 12" of "Lover Come Back To Me" more than enough reason for me to eventually buy this.

  7. @butch&pow - I was waiting for a trainspotter! Thanks for the info. I wasn't home when I posted this entry, so I didn't have a chance to properly research it again my singles collections.

    Here's the tricky bit with "Hooked On Love". The version featured on the new DOA collection is the one that was used as the single. If memory serves me correctly, it is the album version. However, a SECOND 7" single with the middle eight vocal you mention was released shortly after in a different sleeve. That second single has "remix" listed at the top of the sleeve. Additionally, the middle eight lyrics are printed across the front.

    Technically, the single version of "HOL" is correct on this collection. But you are right when you mention that the 7" remix has not appeared on CD.

    As far as the extended remixes are concerned, I amended my entry shortly before you sent me your informative response. I knew I had at least two of those 12" versions on CD somewhere.

    At least we're both happy that this collection is 99% the way we would have wanted to see it. Huzzah!

  8. @Cesar - Thank you for the kind words! I really appreciate it.

    I knew I had at least two of those extended remixes on CD somewhere. Thanks for pointing out their whereabouts! Much appreciated.

  9. @butch&pow...
    As I remember I believe Vinnie is right on this one.
    I have the 7" vinyl of both the "single version" which is the same as the album version and the double 7" vinyl set that features the "remix" which is an edited version of the legendary (to me at least, lol) La Vie en Rose Remix by Mix Master Phil Harding... :)


  10. @Cesar - I guess they had a tough choice deciding which one to go with. Some sites have the remix listed. Others have the original album/single version listed.

    Great catch, guys! I love this kind of stuff. Thanks for the info.

  11. Hi Vinny, Cesar,

    thank you for the appreciation. It's truly welcome - and I appreciate your trainspotting abilities, too.

    However, I have to insist. :-)

    While the version known as Remix, and pressed on both the second 7" and the gatefold 2x7", is based on the extended version available on the 12" (and here are two mixes not yet available on CD, by the way), the version pressed on the first 7" is almost identical to the album version, but it indeed contains the additional lyrics in the bridge. There are, in fact, THREE different "short" official edits of Hooked On Love, all released between 1986 and 1987. I'm speaking UK-wise, of course.

    When I wrote my first comment I was relying on memory alone (I own both UK 7"s of Hooked On Love, and played them to death back in 1987, but my turntable is out of order); nevertheless, I've now double-checked what I remember with the Evolution DVD, that contains the video of Hooked On Love - and it plays the "album version plus middle eight vocal" version. Go play your own copy, please. Nice montage video, by the way. :-)

    And, even if I can't check the 7", I'm pretty sure I'm not swapping versions in my mind: while I was playing the two 7"s to death, in my country the only Music TV channel available - it was called VideoMusic - didn't bother playing that video. I only managed to watch it years later, from a bootleg videotape, so the 7" version stuck in my ears way before its video did in my eyes.

    Getting back to the latest compilation, anyway, having sites with different entries might (I say MIGHT) hint the existence of mispressings, containing the second 7" version. But mispressings are like weapons of mass destruction - spending time and money trying to prove that they exist can be very noxious if your hints are badly founded... ;-)


    Paolo M

  12. @butch&pow - You are correct, indeed! I played both 7" singles. The first 7" is the album version with the middle eight lyric. The second 7" listed as a remix is the edit of the 12" single. I certainly spent enough cash on them back in 1987!

  13. yeah but this compilation is a brickwalled, horrible sounding ear bleeder of a cd and really sounds like utter shit...

  14. I recently watched a youtube with Pete spouting how everyone in the eighties copied the sound that DOA created, especially after the success of 'Spin'. He seemed resentful (not unusual for him).

    whilst I truly am a DOA lover forever, I have always assumed that their 'sound' was just the wonderful but soom-to-be-cookie cutter creation of the Stock/Aiken/Waterman/Harding team. Pete seemed to feel that it's creation belonged to him, or his 'band' named DOA.

    Love to know other opinions and facts about this.

  15. Hi Anonymous...
    Well...If you checked some of the other outputs coming from the Hit Factory even in 1985-1985 (the high commercial success period for Dead Or Alive) you will easily see that NONE of them sounded like Pete and the boys...Nor Princess, Hazell Dean, Pepsi & Shirlie, Brilliant, etc..
    Of course SAW were responsible for their sound but it is a little risky to affirm that Dead Or Alive (which by the way at that time was a real band and not a 'band') had nothing to do with it....

  16. @ butch&pow...
    You are absolutely right. Period. lol!
    By the way, I got my copy of the album on Saturday....frustrating....the sound is really awful guys....but the versions are great anyway...Hooked on Love sounds way too loud...

  17. @Bill Cason - I know. The sound blares out of the speakers. I wonder why this became such a significant trend. Surely, they don't have to ping the audio levels for a reason. Back off on those dials and buttons!

  18. What a great thread this is! Is there nothing better than a bunch of serious record collector geeks trying to make sense out of a band's discography? I think not. It's why the web was invented, as far as I can tell.

    Not to proselytize, but any serious record collectors should be users/contributors to the database of god at Besides my blogspace, it's the single website I visit every day, multiple times per day! It gets better every day as users add more and more detail. It's how I monitor and make sense of my collection.

  19. @Echorich: my, you're reminding me of the attitude my father had towards Pete Burns... he brilliantly matched the stereotype for homophobia. I had to reassure him that, being hetero, I wasn't interested in Pete's looks - just his music.

    @Vinny: indeed, Dead Or Alive made us joyfully spend a nice bunch of money in those years - don't know about you, but I didn't know anyone else I could share my passion with, so I had to restrain my enthusiasm :-(.
    Thankfully, Pet Shop Boys became a much much greater joyful expense in the following years... and with a much broader fans community.

    @Vinny again: I'm afraid this "dynamics crushing" trend is due to the way music is listened to nowadays: most people listen to it with a lot of background noise, so overall volume has to be kept as consistent as possible to save quieter parts from disappearing. At least, that's my theory - I'm not a sound engineer, so I may well be wrong.

    @postpunkmonk: you're right, this is a great thread!

  20. @postpunkmonk - This is why I blog. This particular thread has been amazing!