When the history of 1980s cover versions is written, (back off! I’m doing it!) this album will have a special place therein.
I may be over-simplifying, but this is essentially Heaven 17 with guest vocalists (including their own!) covering ten classic songs originally made famous by no less than Lou Reed, David Bowie, Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Glen Campbell and more – talk about setting the bar high.
Add to that vocalists hand-picked for their ability to carry a tune (rather than their popularity in the world of popular music in 1982) and you have one great album – side one sets the pace – side two surpasses it by some considerable amount. Three of the all-time great 80s covers appear on this second side; ‘Wichita Lineman’ and ‘Perfect Day’, both by Glenn Gregory, and the colossal ‘It’s Over’ by Billy Mackenzie.
Time hasn’t particularly been kind to the participants though. Two of them (Billy Mackenzie and Paula Yates) are sadly no longer with us. And probably the less said about Gary Gl****r (who covers ‘Suspicious Minds’ here and gets top-billing on the cover) the better.
If you’re interested there was also a Volume 2. Released some years later, it’s almost bound to feature here in a few weeks time if you play your cards right. If you don’t want to know the result, please look away now – it’s not as good as Volume 1.
Unusual credit – ‘Special thanks to John Foxx and Gareth Jones for their unsolicited help and encouragement’