Music Review: Stars on 45, "Stars on 45 (2011 Remixes)"
Release Date: January 24, 2011
Label: Work Records
· Spinnin Records
by Paul Schultz
Published: January 5, 2013
Though despised by many then and to this day, I loved Stars on 45. The Dutch novelty act appeared at just the right time in my music formation. It was referred to as "Medley" when it appeared on radio in 1981, but its actual title was "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" which still holds the record for a #1 single with the longest name on the Billboard charts.
I was just getting into the Beatles and though this song consisted of faithful recreations of those hits by studio session musicians I was completed captivated. I was never into disco, being too young FWIW, but the common tempo of bass drum then hand clap seemed like a harmless nod to that crazy time in music history. My aunt broadened my education by creating a cassette for me with the original songs by the original artists. I painstakingly created my own specialized Beatles medley onto tape using my records.
The Beach Boys soon got into the craze using their original recordings to create "The Beach Boys Medley," peaking at #12 in the late summer of 1981. The Beatles did the same the following spring with "The Beatles' Movie Medley," including hits from their motion pictures. I learned me some classical music through the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, whom Louis Clark conducted utilizing a similar medley format for Hooked on Classics. I dug Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers and "Pump Up the Volume" by M/A/R/R/S, both of whom stitched together actual songs into a danceable mix. All this because Jaap Eggermont, formerly of Golden Earring, popularized the medley format. Yeah, I still love Stars on 45.
So when I stumbled upon this product of Work (Spinnin Records) I thought it was a ripe fruit for updating with modern sounds. Eggermont, along with Mike Duiser, crafted a filler tune both as an intro and outro to their medleys as well as a bridge between different tempos when necessary. The self-referential "Stars on 45" would be their signature sound with the ascending female vocalization and reminder "the stars on 45 keep on turning in your mind." Subsequent releases would feature variations on this "theme song" like "The Stars Will Never Stop" opening the Rolling Stones medley on Stars on Long Play III and the brief "Stars on Jingle" on the single "Stars on 45 III: A Tribute to Stevie Wonder." However, "45 Stars Get Ready" from Stars on Long Play II would really seem to be a natural for the dance floor with its "50s!... 60s!... 70s!... 80s!" countdown amid a funky guitar lick. I hereby challenge anyone who has the means and happens to read this to create some slammin' mixes of "45 Stars Get Ready" with a fresh sound... it can be done!
Stars on Vinyl: Three albums of recreated hits captured my heart,
but these remixes are based only on "Stars on 45," the original
tune that appeared as a snippet amongst the medleys and as a
full song on the B-side of their #1 single.
As it is, this four-song collection employs only "Stars on 45" for remix consideration. It doesn't start out on a very promising note either. The "Olav Basoski Remix" starts with a long stretch of random low beats which could be used on virtually any song. Only at the two-and-a-half-minute mark does anything recognizable from "Stars on 45" show up. The last seconds of repetition also seem wasteful, but that's the nature of house music. To its credit, when it does finally use the melody it's a pretty awesome groove. Still, it redundantly sticks with just the female vocalization to the edge of annoyance, and plucks out "boogie" and "love that disco sound" as the only lyrics to include.
The "Koen Groeneveld Remix" is an improvement, rocking the beat with faux hand claps in a nod to the original's disco backbeat. This one focuses on a repetition of the horns part of "Stars on 45" while adding a robotic buzz. Then, with a "one, two, three, four..." it recognizes arguably the most groove-worthy aspect of the song, the bass line, and concentrates on that. If possible, though, it utilizes even less of the original melody that the "Olav Basoski Remix."
That's why the "Addy Van Der Zwan Remix" was such a refreshing change. This effort uses the melody way more starting with the aforementioned bass line. As the ascending female vocalization is faded in, it plays for a few bars practically without embellishment, proving that the original is perfectly danceable all on it own. It works in the "ya gotta beat the clock, ya gotta beat the clock" shout out to its advantage. The echo-y warped cassette technique get a healthy workout to its equal benefit and detriment. How this remix is able to pick apart substantial pieces of the original and drop it into a new beat was fascinating to behold.
Finally, only the ascending vocalization is the centerpiece of the "Criminal Vibes Remix." Other than using a few stray piano stabs from the original, there are no lyrics to be had in this rendition. Well, except for a couple sequences of weird female vocalization that had no tie to the original melody. Not only did that take you out of the moment, but the wedding of old song to new beats was not terribly smooth. Therefore, of all the remixes presented here, this one felt like two distinctive tunes attempted to be crammed together.
|1. Stars on 45 – Stars on 45 (Olav Basoski Remix) (7:12)
2. Stars on 45 – Stars on 45 (Koen Groeneveld Remix) (7:04)
3. Stars on 45 – Stars on 45 (Addy Van Der Zwan Remix) (5:34)
4. Stars on 45 – Stars on 45 (Criminal Vibes Remix) (5:28)
The independent dance record label putting out this release had a #1 hit for three weeks on the Dutch Charts in 2010 with Duck Sauce's "Barbra Streisand" which sampled the German band Nighttrain and their song "Hallo Bimmelbahn." This success seemed to be a definite influence on especially the first track of Stars on 45 (2011 Remixes). Without the striving for lightning to strike twice, this bunch does present unique beats on its theme for various dance floor situations. The thirty year legacy of Stars on 45 is far and wide, but if you love them as much as I do, only the "Addy Van Der Zwan Remix" is worth your attention.