Here’s a little something by Neil Arthur and Stephen Luscombe, alias Blancmange, and for once it’s not “Living On The Ceiling”, which is a good record but seriously overplayed. Instead, here’s the follow-up single “Waves”, a sort-of ballad which was fairly heavily reworked for the single release, with sometime Real Thing and Billy Ocean collaborator Lynton Naiff providing a lush string arrangement. Also here is the original stringless album version, and the B-side “Business Steps” which is a rather throwaway instrumental commisioned by a dance company.
And here’s a bonus track. This was the new song recorded for their 2012 “Very Best Of” collection. Not sure if they’re trying to be The Streets (it doesn’t work if they are), but it’s quite a fun song…
EDIT: A week after I posted this, DJ Paul T put up a high-quality rip of the “Waves” 12″ on his Burning The Ground blog. For the best version of these tracks (and a rare 12″ bonus track!), I recommend you visit that. And actually, just go visit that blog anyway, it’s ace.
Here’s two tunes for polling day.
A lesser-known Nina Persson recording from 2012, collaborating with New York political cabaret troupe The Citizens Band on a cover of Jack Teagarden‘s 1939 swing tune…
And Leicester’s Deep Freeze Mice with a typically tongue-in-cheek number from 1979…
Sharing thirteen versions of this song, is definitely overkill. I had planned to share a three-track single and then got carried away and started gathering all the versions I have. I will highlight my favourites as we go along…
The song in question is “Tokyo Wa Yoru No Shichiji” (literally “7pm in Tokyo”, but known in English as “The Night Is Still Young”), a 1993 single which was the first major release by Japanese alt-dance oddments Pizzicato Five after they’d slimmed down to a duo of Maki Nomiya and Yasuharu Konishi. It’s one of their straighter club dance tracks, rather than one of their quirky “modern retro” things like “Twiggy Twiggy” or “Baby Love Child”. At this stage they were still unknown in the West but the single would eventually appear on Matador’s second P5 compilation, The Sound Of Music, where I first heard it. The original version is still a favourite…
Link: Pizzicato Five – The Night Is Still Young (single version) – recommended pick!
The original single also featured an instrumental version (which I don’t have) and this mellower remix by Yukihiro Fukutomi:
Then in 1994, they revisited it in two very different versions. On the EP “A Television’s Workshop”, they did it in a more disco arrangement with rhythm guitar and strings. Nice! I suspect that if P5 themselves had to choose a definitive version, this might be the one. Probably the most immediately likeable version as well.
Link: Pizzicato Five – The Night Is Still Young (MFSB Readymade Mix) – recommended pick!
The other 1994 version was this remix (by Fukutomi again) which appeared on their album Overdose:
In 1995, during a promotional tour for The Sound Of Music, the duo did this live acoustic version for KCRW Los Angeles.
Link: Pizzicato Five – The Night Is Still Young (KCRW acoustic session) – recommended pick!
And when P5 finally split in 2001, their farewell compilation Pizzicato Five RIP (on their Japanese label Nippon Columbia, not Matador) featured yet another remix.
Since the split, both halves of the duo have revisited the song solo. Yasuharu was first, producing this 2006 version for his protege Karia Nomoto, aka Karly. “The First Cut” is the album version (the album being Dance Music, which I will share at some point), and is somewhere between the original and the Readymade MFSB arrangements:
Maki Nomiya waited a bit longer, and then put versions of “The Night Is Still Young” on four consecutive albums! The deluge started in 2012 when she marked 30 years in the business we call show by recording an album of “self covers”, including this:
I’m not sure that really adds anything to the previous versions. However, Nomiya’s more recent takes on the song, actually do something different with it. First is the swing arrangement on her 2014 live album Miss Maki Nomiya Sings Shibuya-kei Standards:
Link: Maki Nomiya – The Night Is Still Young (live) – recommended pick!
…which she also did a studio recording of for her 2015 album What The World Needs Now Is Love.
And her most recent re-invention of the song is this distinctively Japanese “bon odori” version, tacked on as a bonus track to her 2016 album Un Homme Et Une Femme. It’s a little bit cheesy, but an interesting twist all the same.
Back to the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games for this one. If you’ve never seen “Isles of Wonder”, it’s worth checking out. I would recommend the DVD because you can watch it without commentary, which is by far the best way. But if you don’t want to shell out, the Olympic Broadcasting Service’s version is on YouTube and their commentary is less annoying than the BBC’s.
Here’s the studio version of Underworld’ s epic piece that was played during the “Pandemonium” section. It’s 17 minutes and 15 seconds long, so you get your money’s worth, especially as you’re getting this for free…