Listen, do you want to know a secret? Do you promise not to tell?
Well, it’s Monday, and that isn’t much of a secret.
I just recently started listening to Music Choice at work, after my YouTube playlists continually played the same ten or so songs without any kind of change. Not that I mind several Chicago songs in a row, coupled with Dire Straits’ “Walk of Life,” the few songs of 38 Special that I know, as well as several Survivor songs, but I really love the eclectic nature of Music Choice’s 80s station. You may hear a few songs several times a week, but the coupling of one-hit wonders and stuff you don’t think to actively seek out, as well as songs you love listening to consistently, is right up my alley. In the two weeks, I’ve heard several songs I completely forgot about, including today’s song.
Which would seem difficult, knowing how spastic this song feels, especially when you find out what the song’s actual title is!
“Medley: Intro ‘Venus’/Sugar Sugar/No Reply/I’ll Be Back/Drive My Car/Do You Want to Know a Secret/We Can Work It Out/I Should Have Known Better/Nowhere Man/You’re Going to Lose That Girl/Stars on 45” (simply called “Medley”) is a 1981 song/cover extraordinaire by Dutch “novelty” act Stars on 45 (credited in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and New Zealand as “Starsound”). And yes, this is the official title (more on that later).
Stars on 45, which was a group of studio musicians formed in 1980, did covers of songs, mixing them together with a faintly disco-esque sound.
The group was largely anonymous, but logo their wasn’t.
It just screams generic, which we can’t exactly say about their music.
The origins of this single was in the Netherlands, where various disco bootlegs were making the rounds. Willem van Kooten, a copyright holder, decided to make a legitimate single called “Let’s Do It in the 80s Great Hits” (which doesn’t seem to be any better of a title), featuring Lennon-McCarthy soundalikes to cover Beatles songs. That medley was extended to 16 minutes (to quote the title of a covered George Harrison song, “My Sweet Lord”), and two other songs featured on the album it would eventually find itself on, “Venus” and “Sugar Sugar”, would wind up on side two of the album.
Now, I’ve never heard the 16-minute version (though now I pretty much have to at this point), but I have heard the five minute version, thanks to Music Choice and the local free-format station WBEN (It’s a Philadelphia station, so of course it would be named for Benjamin Franklin!). And now, you’re going to hear it too!
I first heard this song about four or five years ago, listening to the free-format station and thinking it was such an eclectic mix, associating two songs who doesn’t even associate with each other, and further combining them with several songs that really don’t have anything to do with the first two songs…mixed with disco. It doesn’t make a ton of sense, but then again, neither did, well, capturing the sounds of the Beatles on a disco-tinged megamix.
“Medley” (we’re just going to call it by its unofficial title) charted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on June 20, 1981…for one week. It had unseated Kim Carnes’ “Bette Davis Eyes,” which reclaimed the top spot a week later.
As for that title…in order to use Beatles songs, the copyright required crediting the titles of any songs used. Hence, the ridiculously long title!
As for Stars on 45, this song was not their last medley of previous hits. It was featured on their first album, Longplay Album (yes, they shoot for creativity), and kicked off the craze of megamixed medleys. Stars on 45 (among other acts) would continue the trend through the mid-1980s, covering the likes of Frank Sinatra, Soul music, Stevie Wonder, The Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, The Village People, and even Kim Carnes’ “Bette Davis Eyes.”
Ironically enough, that was not released in the United States.
Oh, and if you like Star Wars, I’ve got a treat for you!
And that 16 minute version…
I’d normally never say nostalgia should be left in the past, but in the case of Stars on 45…yeah, certain things should be left there.
But still, these tunes are catchy, if not hopelessly outdated sounding for the early 1980s, given the crashing end of disco and all.
Music Monday is not scraping the bottom of the barrel, don’t you worry!
May this cheerful, disco-screaming medley help you have a great Monday. Keep your death threats to yourself, I merely write about the music. I had nothing to do with it existing, I just merely…slip it into your conscious mind.
Have a great Monday, and enjoy the music!