Norma was Chic’s original lead vocalist who left to pursue a solo career, which has mainly been back-up work for other artists. Norma Jean from 1978 remains her only solo album, and it’s effectively a Chic album in all but name – its personnel is practically identical to that of Chic’s own self-titled debut of the previous year. It’s not prime Chic; it’s certainly nowhere near as consistent as the band’s own 1978 offering, C’est Chic, but it does at least feature this classic, much covered but never improved upon.
Chic productions, whether for themselves or other acts, pretty much always featured a ballad on the B-side, and never anything exclusive. This single is no exception, so you get “This Is The Love” as the flipside, lifted straight from the LP.
Norma Jean Wright – “Saturday” (1978 Bearsville 7″ and 12″ single)
Link: Norma Jean Wright – Saturday (7″ edit)
Link: Norma Jean Wright – This Is The Love
Link: Norma Jean Wright – Saturday (full length)
Dimitri From Paris did a remix of “Saturday” for the Chic box set that came out a few years ago, and much as I adore ol’ Dimmy, I think on this occasion he may actually be guilty of stretching it too far. Still, if there’s a DFP remix, of course I’m going to share it, so here it is!
When The Cardigans released their Best Of album in 2008, it was thoughtfully packaged as a double CD. The first CD was the singles (plus a few favourite album tracks), and a fantastic collection it was too. The second helpfully collated most of the non-album B-sides, minus the covers, live tracks and remixes. Noticeably though, the second CD was rather light on material from the period of their biggest album, 1997’s Gran Turismo. There’s a simple explanation for this: across the three singles, only one non-album song, “War”, was released as a B-side during that campaign (and it duly appears on the Best Of in two versions). The rest was live tracks and, especially, remixes.
The singles from 1996’s First Band On The Moon had dabbled in remixes, Todd Terry providing them for “Been It” and “Lovefool” (mainly for the American market) and Ian Pooley for “Your New Cuckoo”. But for Gran Turismo, The Cardigans went remix-crazy. All three singles – “My Favourite Game”, “Erase/Rewind” and “Hanging Around” – were supported by an assortment of remixes, and in Sweden there was even a five-track EP, Gran Turismo Overdrive, with mixes by Martin Landquist, a.k.a Nåid. His mix of “Erase/Rewind” also features here, though it’s not the main reason I’m sharing this particular CD.
For me, the standout track here is the remix of “Explode” by Marco Manieri, done in a Kraftwerk/OMD style. Even for a band who liked to change their musical style a lot, this stands out as quite different to anything else that ever bore The Cardigans’ name. It’s gorgeous and one of my favourite Cardigans tracks, even though they’re hardly on it.
Also here as a bonus, and a contrast to “Explode”, is Dimitri From Paris‘ somewhat bonkers synth-disco (morphing into mock-turnablist cut-up shenanigans) version of “Erase/Rewind” itself. Dance yerself dizzy.