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Oct 21 2016

The best 12-inches

Preface

7-inch / Single (apoplife.nl)

7-inch / Single

A 12-inch is a vinylsingle on albumformat, also called maxi-single. The 12-inch became popular suring the rise of disco music. Popular dancehits were, at times, too short for the people onm the dancefloor. Therefore, discjockeys needed longer versions of songs. One of the first examples of such a longer discoversion was Donna Summer’s single Love To Love You Baby, from 1975 (!). A classic by Giorgio Moroder. It became onbne of the first discohits ever to be released in an extended version (16:50 minutes long). It didn’t take long for artists to discover the possiblities of a (re)mix. You didn’t have to ‘out-source’ the job, but actually could utilise it as a new form of art.

12-inch / Maxi-single (apoplife.nl)

12-inch / Maxi-single

Late 1970’s the 12-inch’s popularity began growing. In the 1980’s releasing 12-inches had become common practice. Besides remixes or extended versions the 12-inch often contained never before released songs on the B-side, making these particular 12-inches instant collector’s items, for which handsome prices were paid at record fairs.

Thanks to the DJ-culture the 12-inch never really disappeared. They have always been available in, specialized stores, and remained officially manufactured.

I give you the best 12-inches I own:

 

Joy Division - Love Will Tear Us Apart (rateyourmusic.com)

Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart

(1980)

Released in between the two albums, just before Ian Curtis’ death. Beautiful song with two, equally as good, B-side songs.

The song probably concerns Curtis’ wife: the couple was going to get a divorce and Ian Curtis wrote this song with this situation in mind.

Strictly speaking this isn’t a real 12-inch, but it’s too good to not include it.

 

Japan - The Art Of Parties (eil.com)

Japan – The Art Of Parties

(1981)

Japan as Japan never sounded before. This song, in its full version, is nothing short of stunning. Extremely funky, with blazers, extra background singers and Japan on top of their game.

Just brilliant. Essential listening!

 

Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five - The Message (pitchfork.com)

Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five – The Message

(1982)

Classic song with classic lyrics, which I knew by heart.

Broken glass everywhere / People pissin’ on the stairs, you know they just don’t care / I can’t take the smell, can’t take the noise / Got no money to move out, I guess I got no choice / …

Don’t push me ’cause I’m close to the edge / I’m trying not to lose my head, ha-ha

It’s like a jungle sometimes, it makes me wonder how I keep from goin’ under

 

David Sylvian & Ryuichi Sakamoto - Bamboo Houses / Bamboo Music (discogs.com)

David Sylvian / Ryuichi Sakamoto – Bamboo Music / Bamboo Houses

(1982)

Double A-sided 12-inch. David Sylvian’s first solo-project. Two years later David Sylvian & Ryuichi Sakamoto would work together once more and release Forbidden Colours.

I played this 12-inch to death. The music, the lyrics, the atmosphere and the drumming (!): fabulous!

 

New Order - Blue Monday (afactoryalphabet.blogspot.com)

New Order – Blue Monday

(1983)

Well, a list of 12-inches without Blue Monday is no 12-inch list. A classic song, which has proved to be very influential to (particularly) dance music.

The cover for this song was so revolutionary and expensive at the time, that record-company Factory Records lost money on every shipped item. And it was hugely successful: Blue Monday is the best sold 12-inch of all time, worldwide.

Stunning song, beautiful cover, iconic release.

 

Prince & The Revolution - Let's Go Crazy (12inch) (wikipedia.org)

Prince & The Revolution – Let’s Go Crazy / Erotic City

(1984)

Prince and 12-inches… There are so many to choose from: I Would Die 4 U, America, Kiss, Mountains, U Got The Look, I Wish U Heaven, Thieves In The Temple, etc.

Let’s Go Crazy is a great release. Partly because of the brilliant B-side, Erotic City, this 12-inch is selected. Must-have Prince.

 

Simple Minds - Waterfront (discogs.com)

Simple Minds – Waterfront

(1984)

I listened a lot to this extended version of Waterfront. This version blows the regular version out of the water. Adrenaline from start to finish. Fantastic 12-inch.

 

Time Zone - World Destruction (discogs.com)

Time Zone – World Destruction

(1984)

Time Zone, a one-time-only collaboration between Afrika Bambaataa and John Lydon.

To the point: indispensable!

 

The Cult - She Sells Sanctuary (beautyaboveall.wordpress.com)

The Cult – She Sells Sanctuary

(1985)

The Long Version of She Sells Sanctuary builds the song beautifully and was, during my teens, a guaranteed dancefloor-filler. Heard and danced to it a lot.

 

U2 - Last Night On Earth (discogs.com)

U2 – Last Night On Earth

(1997)

The song comes off my favorite U2 album Pop. One of the extra songs was used as the intro to the very good Pop Mart Tour: Pop Muzik.

A powerful recording of the original by M. U2 and dance: I think the combination is irresistible.

 

Tenslotte

These are my favorite 12-inches.

Do you have another favorite? Let me know using the comments, and I will add the cover!

 

Compliments/remarks? I´d love to hear them!