Rant Of The Day
Rant Of The Day is where I get to mouth off about whatever I feel like for however long I like. Theoretically, I'll update my whinge/opinion piece every weekday; in practice, maybe not so often.

THIS RANT 22/07/2002

Dance your love away -- into another song

As you'd expect from an 80's music obsessive of my age, I've always been rather fond of the numerous productions that spewed forth from Stock/Aitken/Waterman for much of the decade. Although Pete Waterman's more recent attempts to promote himself as the source of practically every musical trend since 1975 are a tad annoying, the records themselves were always fun.

For that reason, I was an easy sucker when I spotted a copy of London Retro: The Best Of Stock Aitken Waterman for $10 in a discount CD shop the other day. Oh sure, I already had virtually every track featured on it. The immediate attraction was that many of these songs featured in their extended mixes, which are generally fairly hard to track down on CD if you don't want to pay a fortune to an eBay seller from Germany. (Germany embraced CD singles earlier than the UK, so recordings from 1987 and 1988 are often easier to find there.)

However, the disc also has another hidden treasure: 'Dance Your Love Away' by Michael Prince. I'd never heard this song before, which isn't altogether surprising; it dates from 1986, just before SAW's golden run, and it never made the charts in the UK, let alone Australia. And yet, at the same time, I had heard this song before.

It was a common criticism of SAW at the time that all their songs sounded the same, but 'Dance Your Love Away' quite literally sounded like another one of their songs. To be precise, it uses virtually all of the backing track for one of SAW's earlier successes, 1984's 'Whatever I Do, Wherever I Go' by Hazell Dean. Not just occasional Linn drum fills or keyboard flourishes; this is the entire box, dice and chord progression, with a different vocal melody and lyrics. This is, as far as I know, the only time SAW did this (as opposed to recording the same song for multiple artists, which certainly happened occasionally).

Since Stock & Aitken (without Waterman on this occasion) are credited as the writers on both tracks, it's not like anyone is getting directly ripped off. Nonetheless, I suspect that part of the reason for the track's failure at a time when, increasingly, everything that SAW touched hit paydirt, it was just a bit too close to something already familiar.

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