Melodie und Rhythmus Article: English Translation
You may remember a while ago that we featured an article written in the German language, taken from a scarce copy of East German magazine Melodie und Rhythmus.
Originally printed in 1984, the article featured Kajagoogoo as a four piece band with a separate section about Limahl. Although interesting to KajaFans who could speak German, the article was a mystery to those of us who don’t! Well, thanks to KajaFax reader Dagmar from Essen in Northrhine-Westfalia, we now have an English version. Dagmar commented on the translation:
“….the contents are written in a strange tone and are sometimes not very polite/positive. In my translation I tried to stick to that strange way of writing. Its not the way, the German magazine “Bravo” would have written it. Nevertheless, enjoy it now….”
This being the case and to correct the unusual tone of the piece by the original East German writer, we have altered the phrasing slightly to make it a little more natural to English ears 🙂
Article 1 – Kajagoogoo Phase II
It all began at the end of 1982 by chance, or rather a coincidence, of fortunate circumstances. Guitarist Steve Askew, bassist Nick Beggs, drummer Jez Strode and keyboardist Stuart Croxford Neale had been performing as Art Nouveau, but their “Art” couldn’t have been so very new as success stayed away. The decision was made to dissolve the quartet. During one of their last meetings they stumbled across an advert in the Melody Maker, the leading British paper for music:
“…am a 22 year old, good looking, talented songwriter, looking for four musicians with similar attributes to form a successful band…” That is the way that Limahl – then Chris Hamill – the former actor and lead singer with different bands – presented himself. After a few rehearsals, the five of them agreed that Limahl was to become the singer of the band. The new group needed a new name. It should be easy to commit to memory – who knows, maybe some clever public relations manager helped – but the result of their thought process was worth it: Kajagoogoo.
Psychologists would surely consider this nonsense name very easy to remember.
The new group made one last effort, and with borrowed money, they organized two concerts at London’s Embassy Club. Many representatives from the British showbiz scene came to the shows. Finally, it was Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran that managed to get the record company EMI interested in the band. Contracts were signed and everything started well. The first single, Too Shy, went with lightning speed to number 1 into the UK charts. The band became immediately well known by everyone, with singles sales of 750.000, sell out concerts, interviews and TV appearances. With the singles that followed however, the band had to be satisfied with slightly lesser positions in the charts.
Music critics have since debated if the music of the ‘Kajas’ was really something new, or if they had simply copied the ideas of other bands of the New Romantic era (Duran Duran, Talk Talk). Fans between the ages of 6 and 16 were less concerned with that! The image of the group – colourful clothes, ingenious haircuts, young, fresh looks and a dynamic stage show, appealed to people of this age who admire groups not for their musical skills but for their entertainment value. This is shown by the moderately small success of the first Kajagoogoo album, White Feathers that appeared in April 1983. The musical substance was only good enough for a few singles to gain success. Later, in September when the British press shocked their readers with the sensation of Limahl´s departure, the band’s fate seemed to be sealed.
Reasons for the split were said to be a difference of opinions about the selection of material for the second album, and the future musical direction of the group. In the meantime, Kajagoogoo had survived the split. Nick Beggs is now the singer and leader of the band and also plays the miraculous instrument, the Chapman Stick. For live performance, they use two female backing singers and a keyboard player to gain added musical possibilities. Their latest album, Islands, has sold quite well, and the new Kajagoogoo live show is worth both seeing and hearing, although it manages without big lights or other special effects. Audiences in the Republic of Poland will have the chance to see this for themselves in August when the group play the country.
The tour may very nearly have failed, as Jez (born 17.01.1958 in Luton, Bedfordshire), Stu (born 05.08.1960 in Leighton Buzzard), Steve (born 09.12.1957 in London) and Nick (born 15.12.1961 in Winslow, Buckinghamshire) are all vegetarians. It is rumoured that both the band and their crew requested on the rider over 400 sandwiches filled with many types of cheese. Luckily, the organisers met their demands, even down to Nick’s glass of honey with lemon juice. This is why Nick happily welcomed his audience in the Polish language. The Polish audiences sang along enthusiastically to hits like Lions Mouth, Big Apple and of course Too Shy.
The fact remained that Limahl (born 19.12.1958 in Wigan, Lancashire) was missing, although Nick Beggs was able to stand up to the comparisons with Limahl so far as voice and charm are concerned. EMI Records had to postpone the release of the first Limahl LP, Don’t Suppose, because the material written for it was ‘too thin’, and single Tar Beach failed to meet the demands of the EMI executives.
These actions naturally justify the belief that his ideas were right to be opposed, although two singles were moderately successful, especially Too Much Trouble. At the Tokyo Music Festival in 1984, Limahl was to make new fans as he sang the leading track for the film Never Ending Story; the music for which also appearing on the new album.
Maybe the musical story of Limahl and Kajagoogoo will last longer than it seems?
Article 2 – Limahl
He looks like he is taken out of a picture book – a kind of modern fashion prince. Visual appearance means a lot in the life of Limahl and helps make the bond between him as a personality and his pop-art, as well as between him and his mostly female fan community. The Never Ending Story and its international success in the pop charts had created a Limahl boom by the end of 1984….as did Limahl’s spectacular departure from the group Kajagoogoo – or vice versa. Limahl states: “I was fired….the manager told me during our tour” In the meantime, it seems that his anger may well have been overcome as the worldwide success of album Don’t Suppose and also the single Never Ending Story has won the race between him and his ex-Kaja colleagues, certainly so far as popularity and commerciality are concerned. Their new projects have set a new direction, as both acts have produced more breadth in the stylistic spectrum more than ever before in pop with the special “disco-cut”.
Limahl has stayed with danceable pop music, but as shown in some of the tracks on his debut solo album also demonstrates the possibilities of both modern electronic sounds and in his bass lines some harder funk influences as his preferred style. An important partner for the 26 year old pop star, real name Chris Hamill (Limahl is an anagram of his surname), is the successful disco producer, songwriter and composer Giorgio Moroder. As an official member of the jury, Moroder heard Limahl at the Tokyo Music Festival where he enjoyed the performance delivered by the sympathetic Englishman with the white mane. Limahl was singing there (as one of the soon to be prize winners) his first hit single, Only For Love and Moroder enjoyed his performance so much that only three weeks later he asked Limahl to sing vocals on the main theme to the English version of the film Never Ending Story! Upon first listening, no one could tell if the Never Ending Story was sung by a boy or a girl.
And so the short story of the pop disciple Limahl becomes a love story….
Many thanks go to Dagmar on behalf of our readers for taking the time out to provide this English translation. We hope that our modification of the original text did not move too far away from the spirit and meaning of the original piece.
Kajafax will return next week with a special announcement!