This week back in 1981 a mega-medley was rapidly moving up the Billboard Hot 100 chart, placing in at #5. One month later it was #1.
The mysterious Dutch group “Stars on 45” scored big with the “Stars on 45 Medley.” That was actually quite short for the record’s official title.
Dutch musicians Bas Muys, Okkie Huysdens, and Hans Vermeulen had an uncanny ability to emulate other singers, predominantly the Beatles on this single. Snippets of famous songs were perfectly mixed together.
What was the inspiration behind the medley?
A man named Michel Ali reportedly stopped in at a Montreal club where a DJ named Michel Gendreau was working and and showed him a tape that had a mix of popular disco songs, Beatles hits and other old songs. The quality of the tape was sub-par. So Gendreau and an editor named Paul Richer reworked the medley.
Admitting it was risky, they decided the medley would not be all disco. They’d toss in some 60’s classics. Again,a gamble because at that time clubs didn’t spin Beatles records.
Eventually a producer at a Dutch record company put together a similar version, and the 4-minute single enjoyed success, first in the Netherlands, then the UK, and then America.
Since the single was so popular, the medley was expanded to 16 minutes to fit on side one of the Stars on 45’s 1981 debut full-length, which was known in the U.S. as “Stars on Long Play.”
And that’s our Forgotten Oldie this week.
Kevin’s conscience: Wait a minute. This week’s oldie is 16 minutes long? 16 minutes?
Kevin: That’s right.
Kevin’s conscience: And you expect people to click on and listen?
Kevin: I wouldn’t post it if I thought otherwise.
Kevin’s conscience: The entire 16 minutes…
Kevin: Well I certainly hope so. It’s time well spent.
Kevin’s conscience: OK. what makes you think this will happen?
Kevin: Lots of reasons. Not the least of which there’s a curiosity factor.
Kevin’s conscience: Go on.
Kevin: It’s Beatles music for heaven’s sake.
Kevin’s conscience: Yes, Beatles music. How can you possibly categorize this as a Forgotten Oldie?
Kevin: The Beatles tunes are obviously not forgotten. This medley might be. Some may not have heard this in over 35 years. Some may have never heard what we’re about to post. Never. That’s exciting.
Kevin’s conscience: Fine. What else?
Kevin: Once you start listening and get caught up in all those wonderful classic clips, it’s hard to stop. You are hooked.
Kevin’s conscience: I repeat. 16 minutes!
Kevin: It’s a long weekend. Plenty of time to soak it all in.
Kevin’s conscience: What about that disco opening and dance theme? A lot of people hate disco.
Kevin: When the Beatles clips begin to roll the disco beat isn’t as prominent. It’s very listenable and enjoyable.
Kevin’s conscience: One more thing…
Kevin: No, I’m done with you. I should have known better than to get into this with you. I’m posting and no reply from you, get it?
So, here we go.
Normally I despise impersonators. Not this time because these folks were so good!
30, count ’em, 30 Beatles hits in 1 gigantic medley, from “No Reply” to “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”
Fasten your seat belts for a terrific nostalgic ride!
And kudos to the person who produced the homemade video. True Beatles fans will understand and totally love it!
It’s so cool and worth the look!