Saturday, June 30, 2007

Gregory: the final farewell

"La Voix d'un Ange" is the posthumously released album by the young singer, which has of course gone to the top of the French chart. It's a mixture of previously unreleased tracks including the single "De Temps en Temps", a cover of Queen's "The Show Must Go On" (one of the very rare times we've ever heard him sing in English) and old favourites which he made his own on Star Academy including an impressive "Con Te Partiro", "Envole-Moi" and his signature tune "SOS D'Un Terrien en Detresse" as well as his own French version of "Meme Si" (Lucie Silvas' "What You're Made Of"). A fitting tribute to the young man who was taken from us far too early. All proceeds from the album will go to "L'Association Gregory Lemarchal", the charity set up to fight cystic fibrosis.

David Hallyday is back

Just because you're the son of France's most loved and enduring singer doesn't mean that you should cash in. Or does it? Clearly, David Hallyday tore up the rule book. The son of Johnny Hallyday has managed to create his own career, and if not as successful as his father then at least it has managed to be a credible one. Clearly influenced by rock - and most recently British guitar bands - David continues to produce quality music. His latest CD - titled "David Hallyday" continues with his formula of British-style contemporary pop-rock which fans of Coldplay and Muse would appreciate. IMHO it's not as good as his last album, the career-defining "Satellite" but stands up very well and is an effort that David (and dad) can be proud of.

French Charts Update

And we're lovin' it. It is the end of June and Christophe Willem is no. 1 with "Double Je". Yes, no annoying kiddie-pop to be seen! Christophe knocks the late Gregory Lemarchal's "De Temps en Temps" off the no. 1 spot. Amel Bent's "Nouveau Francais" is the highest new entry this week, whilst David Guetta's excellent "Love is Gone" is the highest climber going up to no. 4. It's been a long while since I enjoyed lots of songs in the French chart which for the last year or so has been monopolised by kiddie-pop and dull r'n'b: at last things seem to be changing for the better. But it is summer in France, and that means that les tubes de l'ete are on their way. What will be the hits of the summer in France? Stay tuned to find out.

Gilles Luka....remember him?

Some years back during one of my many visits to Paris, I remember the song "Tout ou Rien" by Gilles Luka and its video getting lots of play on M6. It became one of my favourites - but that was the last I heard of this singer.

Decided to do a bit of digging to find out that he's still making music and has hig own Myspace: the electro-rock of "Killshout" is very good and reminiscent of David Guetta, whilst "Just Because You Lied" and its hard-hitting video is a protest against the Iraq war.

Didn't realise until now that he was also responsible for Galleon's "So I Begin" which was a big hit in France in 2001.

His official site is currently undergoing maintenance: in the meantime visit and have a listen to "Killshout" and some of his other tunes.

The return of Jenifer

Some news regarding Jenifer at last!!! She will finally release her long awaited third album on 19th November. The first ever (and most successful) winner of France's Star Academy took a bit of time out but has returned with a new look which dare we say is a bit Nelly Furtado. The first single will be released in September. The musical landscape in France has changed over the past couple of years with acts like Diam's, Shy'm and Vitaa getting lots of airplay and having hit after hit. Times have not been so good for the more traditional French female singers (and, for that matter, ex-Star Academy winners!) so it will be very interesting to see what kind of musical style Jenifer will return with. The French gossip mags are also reporting that Jenifer and her (gorgeous...!) significant other Maxim Nucci will finally marry in Corsica this August. What a lovely couple they are and we wish them all the best.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A day off work.... always a wonderful thing of course, however thanks to a rather nasty fall yesterday, my mobility is not what it was and jet-propelled power walking is now replaced by slow (and slower) limping. Therefore the ideal thing to do was for me and faithful travelling companion to take ourselves off to the nearest movie house to see "La Vie En Rose", this year's big-budget French success about the life of one of France's best known singers of the last century, Edith Piaf. Already Marion Cotillard, the young actress in the leading role, is tipped for victory come next year's Hollywood awards season. She was fantastic too - she literally became Piaf in one of the most believable performances I've seen for a long time, going from a teenager to a dying woman of 47 years old, (but who looked much older, thanks to the addictions and illnesses which befell her over the years) in this film which covered the life of the singer from her childhood until her death, and all the events in between. It was clear that hers was a very tragic life from beginning to end, and parts of this film are truly heartbreaking. Critics have commented in the lack of continuity as the film jumps backwards and forwards to various stages in her life - but don't let that put you off. This is a film which will hold your attention throughout its 2 hours and 20 minutes. Magnifique!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Star Academy - some ramblings about series 4 and series 5

Thanks to Y** T***, I've been watching some old Star Academy clips from the 2004 series, which of course was won by the late Gregory Lemarchal. My favourite contestant in that series was Mathieu Johann, who made it to the final 4. Great to see these videos and I'd forgotten just how tall he was!!
I don't make a secret of the fact that series 5 was my least favourite, as it seemed to be the most manipulative (and manipulated) of them all. Inevitably the most talented contestants - Alexia and Jean-Luc (IMHO) didn't make it to the final.

Thankfully, talent will eventually prevail. Alexia is now part of the cast of "Salut Joe", a musical based on the songs of French legend Joe Dassin. The interesting thing is that the main performers are all ex Star Ac contestants: Mario & Carine (series 1), Houcine & Anne-Laure (series 2) and Alexia & Pierre (series 5).

Nothing has been heard of Jean-Luc till now, but we have just discovered that from October 2007 he will be starring in the French adaptation of the musical "The Lion King".

And what about Magalie Vae? That would be another story....

Album Review: "Vonken & Vuur" - Clouseau

It’s hard to believe that Belgium’s most popular band have been going for 20 years, yet the prolific Wauters brothers have managed to deliver yet again with their latest album.

Since the release of "En Dans" in 2001, Koen and Kris would appear to have had a musical rebirth, going back to their uptempo roots. The ballad hell of "Adrenaline" (IMHO their lowest point) is long gone. "Vanbinnen" proved that they were still alive and kicking, and "Vonken..." proves that the boys haven’t lost it.
Clouseau’s formula is of course big bouncy anthemic songs with hands-in-the-air choruses.

It all kicks off with "Oogcontact" which, in typical Clouseau style, starts off low-key and builds into a big singalong chorus. Likewise the title track (first single from the album) and the follow-up, the very similar sounding "De Tegenpartij".
"Casanova" is a more mid tempo traditional Clouseau number, the melody is very reminiscent of "I Ain’t Missing You". "Onvolmaakt" finds Koen and Kris in close harmony on an acoustic flavoured number with yet another big chorus. "Erop Los" is very catchy, danceable and dare we say, funky! "Hoe Lang" (not to be confused with another old Clouseau song "How Lang Nog" starts off slowly but soon rocks.

Clouseau being Clouseau of course, there are a couple of typical swaying ballads - "Houvast" and "De Ware".

"Voltooid Verleden Tijd" (not to be confused with another old Clouseau song "Voltooid Verleden" - are K & K running out of song titles??? :-)) is the most rocky song on the album. "Dansvloertherapie" is another nice slice of catchy pop-rock.

"Vonken and Vuur" may not reach the heights of the classic "Oker" and "En Dans", but it’s yet another good effort from the ever-popular Koen and Kris Wauters which has already sold by the bucketload in their native Flanders and will guarantee that they will continue to sell out their legendary end-of-year Sportpaleis concerts for a long time to come.

COMING SOON: EuropeCrazy's European Music Hall of Fame

As you know, this blog is very much devoted to my love of European music and I thought it was about time that I honoured some of my all time favourite European artists. Over the next twelve months, an artist (or group) will be selected every month and will be inducted into our hall of fame.

I have already selected twelve acts, most of whom have made music for at least 10 years - however there are a couple of more recent acts which have been selected just because we love them and can see them having long careers.
The European Music Hall of Fame begins in July 2007 and will end in June 2008. I’m looking forward to this and hope you enjoy my choices.

The EuropeCrazy Holiday Hit List: Part 4

Summer 1999 and we returned to Paris. If 1998 had been a scorcher, then 1999 was equally so. as we hit the French capital in the first week of September...

"Mambo No. 5" by Lou Bega was the European hit of the summer of 1999. However, Lou had to take second place to Eiffel 65's "Blue (Da Ba Dee)" which got stuck at the top of the French hit parade and refused to move. Some other songs I remember very well from that summer in Paris....
"Sing It Back" - Moloko
"Au Pays des Merveilles" - Cheb Mami
"Sitting Down Here" - Lene Marlin
"Papa Chico" - Jamalak
"Septieme Ciel" - Jane Fostin
"On Ne S'Aimera Plus Jamais" - Larusso
"Tomber La Chemise" - Zebda.

Our obsession with Paris was in full swing, so it was inevitable that we would return in the spring of 2000 for our spring holiday. Cue soundtrack!!!
"Too Much Of Heaven" - Eiffel 65: proving they were no one-hit wonders
"My Heart Goes Boom" - French Affair: despite the name, they weren't French
"Le Mot de Passe" - Patricia Kaas: another quality song from a quality singer
"Ces Soirees-La" - Yannick: Oh What A Night! In French!
"The Riddle" - Gigi D'Agostino: Nik Kershaw revival time!
"Des Cendres et de Terre" - Calogero: the beginning of a brilliant career
"Jeune et Con" - Saez: the beginning of another brilliant career.

Coming soon: Portugal and....Paris! Just for a change!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Prepare for the "Wurst" ....we're Berlin bound!!!!

After some considerable debate which saw the EuropeCrazy 2007 Summer Holiday Cup being contested between Nice, Pisa, Berlin and Dusseldorf, we finally reached a decision. Nice and Dusseldorf did very well to reach the semi-final, but our final decision on our summer holiday destination was made last night. Well done to Pisa for reaching the final two, but it was just edged out by Berlin. It will be the second year running that me and my faithful travelling companion spend our summer holiday in Germany: after a rather fab week in Cologne in 2006, we go further east to the once-divided city in 11 weeks' time. Can't wait!!!

Introducing...Mark Medlock

Mark Medlock is the latest winner of "Deutschland Sucht Den Superstar" (aka Idol) and his first single "Now Or Never" reached the top of the German singles charts. Written by Mr Modern Talking himself, Dieter Bohlen, it's typical Idol-winner-fodder, a big ballad with the inevitable big gospel choir finale. I didn't really follow the last series of DSDS but I get the feeling that this singer deserves better - just like many Idol winners of course.

This week's playlist.

Bit of a mixed bag this week....
Shine - Booty Luv: I doubt if any of this summer's dance anthems will top this one. "Boogie 2Nite" seemed to be around for ever but IMHO this is even better.
Leef - Mozaiek featuring Walter Grootaers: The theme tune to the original Netherlands version of Big Brother - and a song which still sounds great today.
Heavyweight Champion Of The World - Reverend and the Makers: not too much British new music around at the minute to get too excited about...until this came along. From Sheffield, and connected in some way to the Arctic Monkeys, we won't hold that against them however - this is a great record!
Work Of Art (Da Vinci) / Please Me - Måns Zelmerlöw: His album is providing the pop soundtrack to the summer at EuropeCrazy HQ and these are the two tracks which, pardon the pun, "pleased me" this week.
Set Me Free - Jaki Graham: Sparkly slice of 80s electro-soul which was good to hear again....
Another Step (Closer to You) - Kim Wilde & Junior: ... continuing the 80s vibe this week, a nice collaboration between Ms Wilde and one of the decade's finest young Brit-soul discoveries.
Beautiful Liar (remix) - Beyonce & Shakira: Fed up with the original version but I'm enjoying the remix now.
Mambo - Helena Paparizou: Bit late getting into this, but heard it again in Stockholm and now I can't stop playing it. A million times better than her Eurovision winner "My Number One".
Behind The Cow - Scooter: marvellous piece of techno nonsense from Deutschland's main exporters of that kind of thing.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Bosson sings Magnus

Swedish pop star Bosson, best known for "One In A Million" (can it really be 7 years ago?) has been away for a while is now back with the interestingly titled "Future's Gone Tomorrow, Life Is Here Today", an album packed with typically Swedish electro-pop with many a falsetto interlude. If that sounds I'm not hallucinating, I really did hear him sing "Live Forever". Yes he has done a cover version of Magnus Carlsson's recent hit and manages to make it sound even more camp than the original. Anyway I don't like his voice as much as I like Magnus'. Oh well I suppose it's a matter of taste - there may be some (or many) out there who may disagree with me. Nevertheless I've never really been a Bosson fan and I can't see this CD joining my collection any time soon.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


I am in shock, to discover that my other favourite Swedish Idol finalist and all round gorgeous person, Sebastian Karlsson, has gone and done a "Martin Stenmarck" - yes he's shaved all his hair off. Now we know his hairline was receding but did he have to shave it all off? Despite his indisputable loveliness, we at EC HQ have to say that he does not suit this new style at all. Add to that his increasingly questionable fashion sense (those neck scarves were, as Calvin Harris would say "Acceptable in the 80s" but today???) and we're now seriously worried that if he keeps on like this, he may be in danger of being relegated from our EuropeCrazy Hot Guys Hall of Fame!!

More Måns...

I feel like a stalker on this blog as I seem to be watching his every move!! Latest sighting was on TV4's "Nyhetsmorgon" this week, where he was interviewed and also performed fab acoustic versions of "Work Of Art (Da Vinci)" and "Cara Mia". He continues to look as if he's enjoying every minute of this, and so are we!!

Alejandro's not well (awwwww)

News recently reached us that our favourite little bundle of Spanish hunkalicious intensity, none other than Mr Alejandro Sanz, has had to postpone his summer tour of the USA on doctors' orders that he needs to rest although further details are not known.

We're not really surprised that he's run out of steam, thanks to what seems to be a constant recording/touring schedule which would wear anyone down. Add to that his recent marriage split and revelations regarding his personal life, and voila! Exhaustion and cancelled tour.

Hopefully he'll be back on track very soon, and if he needs anyone to help him recover.....we live in hope!!

Can it really be true?

Just read over at the Popjustice forum ( that the mighty Alcazar are rumoured to be reforming and will play a gig at a well (G) known (A) London (Y) nightclub in July, alongside none other than the almost equally mighty BWO. It would look to me however that the line up would probably be back to its original three members Andreas, Annikafiore and Tess, as Magnus is doing wonderful solo career-type things now.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Måns has arrived at EuropeCrazy HQ at last!!

...well at least his CD has, after a rather long wait! "Stand By For" was well worth the wait. Måns Petter Zelmerlöw has managed to produced a high quality debut album of Swedish pop which is already being played relentlessly at EuropeCrazy HQ. The young singer was discovered during the 2005 series of Sweden's "Idol" and then later that year appeared on - and won! - the first series of "Let's Dance" (Swedish version of "Strictly Come Dancing"). As if that wasn't enough, he was chosen to compete in 2007's Melodifestivalen with "Cara Mia". Although it didn't win, it has become one of this year's biggest Swedish hits (and the song I will always associate with my wonderful trip to Stockholm this year!).

His debut CD is a mix of catchy uptempo numbers and agreeable ballads, although there is little in the same vein as "Cara Mia" (apart from "Dreaming" and "Brother Oh Brother"). Still that's not such a bad thing: it's a versatile collection which stands up to repeated play. My favourite songs at the moment are of course "Cara Mia" and his new single "Work Of Art", and "Miss America".
Hidden track alert: The acoustic version of "Cara Mia" (the one I heard in Ahlens City in Stockholm and thought I was hallucinating!!) is the hidden track on the album and is rather sweet and very different from the original. Think Tomas Andersson Wij's reinvention of "Evighet" and you get the idea.
Måns is a very likeable performer who has a big, bright career ahead of him. According to his website he is due to appear this summer in Robert Wells' "Rhapsody in Rock", duetting with Sonja Alden; he is also scheduled to duet with Carola at Princess Victoria's birthday party and in October will co-present Sweden's "Lilla Melodifestivalen". As if that's not enough he is also due to appear in the hit Swedish stage show "Ladies Night" which has previously starred Martin Stenmarck. Well done Måns: you deserve it!

Danny plays it for the girls...

After the magnificent Euro-electro-pop wonderfulness of Swedish Idol finalist Danny Saucedo's "Tokyo", it was inevitable that his next single wouldn't be as good. "Play It For The Girls" is another electro-pop tune but it's a little on the bland and forgettable side on first hearing, maybe it will grow on me?

Dima Bilan: Timbaland goes all Russian

There is no place safe from all-conquering producer and man of the moment Timbaland, who has turned his attention to Russian Idol winner Dima Bilan's "Number One Fan" which is not as good as "Never Let You Go" and "See What I See". It's all rather bland and anonymous and Enrique-Iglesias-on-a-bad-day.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Belgium (Flemish) Charts Update

After about 30 years at the top of the charts (!) Fixkes are finally dethroned by....oh nooooo... the queen of Belgian schlager....Laura Lynn, and her version of the old Dutch singalong "Dans Je de Hele Nacht Met Mij". Idol winner Dean is the highest climber in the top 20 this week with "So Many Ways" whilst Udo is still doing well with "Ik Mis Je Zo", his Will Tura cover version. This comes from a top Flemish TV show "Zo er is maar een" which saw current stars doing cover versions of popular old hits by Flemish artists.

The EuropeCrazy Holiday Hit List: Part 3

We have reached 1998 and another new country - Norway. Strangely enough, I can't remember any songs linked with our trip that spring to Stavanger, although when I think of Norway I think of Espen Lind for some strange reason. His "When Susannah Cries" had been a big hit all over Europe the previous year, and I almost bought his album "Red" whilst in Stavanger, however by-passed this in favour of Tomas Ledin's "Sanger Att Alska Till" (Treason! Buying a Swedish singer's album in Norway. Oh well, this was in the days before the internet arrived at EC HQ and you had to take all the chances you could get...!)

Anyway, did you know that Espen Lind co-wrote Beyonce's "Irreplaceable"?? I only just found that out. He has also written songs for Ne-Yo, Elliot Yamin, Atomic Kitten, Rooster and Jessica Simpson. So he's not just a pretty face. And boy oh boy, he is one very pretty face (drooooool).

But I digress.

In August 1998, I visited Paris for the very first time ever with my faithful travelling companion. It was the holiday that changed everything for me, when I realised just how much I loved France .... and how I rediscovered my love of French pop music. The most played French songs on the radio (and TV - we had M6 - what a great TV channel with lots of French music) during that holiday were:

"La Tribu de Dana" - Manau
"Pourquoi" - Sandy Valentino
"Pata Pata" - can't remember who sang it, wasn't Miriam Makeba but was a big summer hit in France?
"Univers" - Jean-Louis Aubert

That summer I bought the "Fredericks Goldman Jones" tape, the one with "A Nos Actes Manques" and Mylene Farmer's "Anamorphosee" and "Ainsi Soit-Je". It wouldn't be the last time I would visit FNAC for my French music fix.

1999 saw yet another return to Ostend, as Belgium still figured largely in our travels. Once more I had my trusty radio by my side and yet again it was playing lots of Clouseau, whose latest CD "In Stereo" had just been released. After the rather rubbish "Adrenaline" which is to this day my least favourite Clouseau album, I was rather pleased that they had redeemed themselves with this new CD which of course I bought during a day trip to Bruges. Another purchase on this holiday was Mylene Farmer's "Innamoramento" which over the years has proved itself to be a rather great album, even if in the beginning I had my reservations about it. (Compare this with "Avant Que L'Ombre" if you catch my drift). "L'Ame-Stram-Gram" is a rather fab piece of electro-pop. Check the video out, with Mylene and her hair extensions in all their glory. It goes without saying that, of course, she rules.

Coming soon: another trip to Paris....and another trip to Belgium!

This is what they want!

Was eagerly looking forward to "Tiswas Reunited" on ITV tonight, and I was not disappointed. It was a fitting tribute to the greatest Saturday morning TV show, which ran from 1974 to 1977 in the ATV region (Midlands) EDIT: and then got a full UK airing later on (sorry for inaccuracies in my original post which stated that it ran from 1977 to 1982).

Tonight's show brought all of the great memories flooding back. Of course in these days of political correctness (yawn) it would probably never get commissioned by any TV company, so it was a joy to look back to the glory days of a truly great show. Lots of laughs and flan-flingingly great memories resurrected thanks to this show. Just one thing though: that wasn't the original Spit the Dog, was it? Or maybe he's just had a facial wax?

Saturday night.

Oh well here we are, it's Saturday night but things aren't the same as both "Any Dream Will Do" and "Grease Is The Word" have left our TV screens. Still, we did manage to get our Lee Mead fix as he appeared on the "National Lottery Draw" singing of course what else but "Any Dream Will Do". Very nice to see him again, but I'm a little distressed on reading that he's been fitted for a wig for the stage show. Yes, a wig. You could understand if he had rubbish hair, but a man with such glorious curls should be allowed to share them with the world. EDIT: Have now discovered that he will not be wearing a wig on stage and all his lovely curls will be displayed in all their glory.

Anyway, to fill the void there is "Britain's Got Talent", which promised a feast of variety, but only delivered a parade of sob stories and....children. People of a certain age in the UK will remember a TV talent show called "Junior Showtime" which showcased the alleged talents of kiddie performers in the 1970s. A nightmare from my TV childhood which has come back to haunt me, only it's now called "Britain's Got Talent". Please don't put your children on the stage. You only have to remember the tragic lstory of Lena Zavaroni, who won a UK TV talent show in the 1970s only to fall victim to the pressures of fame which in turn led to an all too early death from anorexia.

Talking of 70s retro TV, tonight sees the Tiswas reunion show. Tiswas was of course the best Saturday morning TV show EVER and again those of a certain age have many fond memories of the Phantom Flan Flinger, Trevor McDoughnut and Compost Corner!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The EuropeCrazy Holiday Hit List: Part 2

My journey through the songs that, for whatever reason good or bad, remind me of past holidays, continues.

1996 - Ostend. For some reason, I didn't have a 'holiday song' for this springtime visit to Ostend, however I was listening to a lot of Marco Borsato at the time so possibly "Dromen Zijn Bedrog", three minutes of pure Dutch Edam if ever there was. Also around that time in the days before Sky Digital and you could get Dutch TV, there was the "Rabo Top 40" which in April 1996 featured "Ridin'" by Doop, a song so spectacular and unforgettable that I was on a mission to buy it. Flemish-speaking Belgium however was a Doop-free zone. Doop, if you recall, was a one-hit wonder in the UK with the very silly "Doop" but that was nothing compared to "Ridin'", lyrically and musically a true classic. The video is one of the greatest ever made.

1996 - Gothenburg. Ah, Sweden. Surely there would be lots of Swedish music on the radio? 11 years ago, Swedish radio was in denial that there was actually any Swedish music. Don't think Svenska Favoriter existed back in the day, or I would have been listening to it. So anyway the most played song on the radio, during that holiday....."Champagne Supernova" by a little-known Swedish combo called Oasis. Hm.

1997 - Toronto. Now this was a strange one as it was possibly the only time I didn't take a radio with me, and had to rely on what was played on the music channels and in shops. Maybe it was just as well, as I would have been even more sickened than I already was by Elton John's gooey remake of "Candle In The Wind", three weeks after Diana's death of course.

1997 - Ostend. With a jaunt over the border to the Calais hypermarket. This holiday being notable for buying Eros Ramazzotti's Greatest Hits and Mylene Farmer's "Live at Bercy". It was one of those occasions where a song hits Europe first and then the UK later. Run DMC's "It's Like That" was a hit in Belgium long before it reached the UK charts and therefore got lots of airplay and it always reminds me of that holiday.

Coming soon: The French years, and .... Norway!

Nouvelle Star: Julien wins. No surprise there then.

So after all these weeks, France's "Nouvelle Star" is over and the winner has been chosen. As predicted, Julien has won this year's title although we at EC HQ refuse to recognise this fact, as Pierre was clearly the best of this year's contestants and his eviction several weeks ago remains a mystery.

Still can't see Julien having any kind of recording career, unless the French record-buying public want to hear his Marilyn Manson tribute version of "Tainted Love" for example.

With "Idol" (Belgium), "Any Dream Will Do" and "Grease Is The Word" (UK) and "Nouvelle Star" now over, my next assignment is to find me a reality singing contest somewhere in Europe in between now and September/October when of course it will be time for the 7th "Star Academy" and Swedish version of "Idol". "Star Academy" remains my favourite of them all, of course.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Gregory Lemarchal: the tributes continue

Next week will see the release of "La Voix d'un Ange", the final album by the late Gregory Lemarchal, who recently died after losing his battle with cystic fibrosis. His family have set up a foundation in his memory and all funds raised from sales of the album will go to this foundation to provide assistance to those also suffering from this illness.

The album inclues five previously unreleased tracks and some of his best loved numbers which he sang on "Star Academy" including "Con Te Partiro" and what became his signature tune, "SOS d'un Terrien en Detresse".

Corneille - From French to English!

Just found out that Corneille will soon be releasing a new album "The Birth of Cornelius", which will be his first recorded in the English language. The soulful singer, who has achieved massive success in the French-speaking world in recent years, is best known for hits such as "Parce Qu'On Vient de Loin", "Avec Classe" and "Les Marchands de Reves".

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Grease Is The Word: We have a result!!

Four contestants were left, battling for the role of Danny and Sandy in the new West End show. Anthony "Me-Me-Me! I used to be Kavana" Kavanagh, and Danny B (our favourite), then Susan "Sister of Brian, but it's not as if I mention it much" McFadden, and Michelle, who improbably reached the final at the expense of the better Vicky and Alison.
Anthony & Danny: "Sandy" - Ant is tooooo confident.
Michelle & Susan: "Hopelessly Devoted to You" - Round one to the McFadden, with The Chin a long way behind.

Anthony: "You Get What You Give" - up a wee bit in our estimations as it's one of our fave songs ever. If gold medals were given out for self confidence, he's be on top of the podium everytime.

Danny: "I'm Your Man" - effortless performance which proves he would make a good Danny Zuko.

Michelle: "When You Tell Me That You Love Me" - dreary. That's all.

Susan: "One Moment in Time" - pleasantly subtle performance of a song which is always in danger of becoming overblown.

Anthony/Susan/Danny/Michelle: "Summer Nights". Good to hear another song from Grease. Danny & Susan still our faves.

During the week the final four were then set the challenge of performing to the co-stars already cast for the musical - which includes - OMG! The mighty Siobhan from "How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria"!! Good to see her again and glad she's making her way in musical theatre.


Sandy....... IT'S SUSAN !! (cue shots of cheering by The Brother who is there tonight with Delta Goodrem)

Danny ....... IT'S.......... DANNY B !!!!!! Justice is done!!!!

We at EuropeCrazy feel that the right choices were made for Danny and Sandy. Despite only being 19 years old, Danny B has the maturity and cool appeal for the part, whilst Susan not only has singing experience, but she really has that Sandy-quality.

Saturday 9th June 2007 was a very enjoyable night, as not since Will Young on Pop Idol have we agreed with the result of any of these TV singing contests, neither in the UK or in Europe. So let's celebrate!!!!

Any Dream Will Do: Give him his coloured coat.

So here we are, it seems no time since the search for Joseph was just beginning and now it is at an end.
Firstly, king of the bottom 2 and blub-meister Lewis coming over all Tom Jones with "Kiss". With all the hotness of a fish on a slab of ice in a fishmonger's. Nana Jean - check. He gave it his all, but we at EC HQ can only think what might have been, and that Daniel (and indeed lovely young Ben) should have been here tonight. Cue self-belief speech from Lewis (ewwwwwww).
John Barrowman: "Showman, showman, showman!"
Bill "Journey" Kenwright: "He's had more criticism than anyone else blah're a winner and you're a man" (EH?????)
Andrew Lloyd Webber: "Lewis could be Joseph" followed by some guff about having the best journey of anyone on the show. For a minute ALW is possessed by the spirit of Bill Kenwright.

Keith (Teeth)

Toothsome Tesco Boy (loved the Grey's Anatomy-style description of him as McCheckout on another well-visited website) tackled soul classic "For Once In My Life" and got all the theatrical bits right. An assured and confident performance.
Zoe Tyler: "Voice of Joseph. Knocked me for six"
Denise Van Outen: "From superstore to superstar". (eh????)
ALW: "Could be could Lewis" (oh you fence sitter you)


You've seen the boys, now here is THE MAN!!!!

"Devil in Disguise" is a very strange choice for the final, but Lee being Lee takes it in his stride, as ever. He is far too good for this you know.
John Barrowman: "A lead in disguise. The quintessential leading man!!" (We so love you JB!!!)
Zoe Tyler: "I've been tough on you. You look like an angel. You sing like an angel...stunning!" (OK ZT, it's been a long time coming but we forgive you)
ALW: "Terrific" (after he dwelt needlessly on a dropped note)

Big Band Songs

Lewis: "Beyond The Sea": Quelle fromage. Tedious version of a great song. Oh and....Nana Jean - Check.
Zoe's doing a Bill and going on about his journey blah blah. ALW gets in on the journey thing but do we sense doubts about his age??

Keith: "Moondance": Very good performance with, again, good stage presence. Nice suit - but he is still too young!
JB is waving his hands and shouting Fantastic! Fantastic! Fantastic! You're a leading man. ( that not Mr Mead?)
ALW: Fantastic voice...not a natural dancer....ramble ramble.

Lee: "New York New York" START SPREADING THE NEWS!!!! He runs up the stairs! Big finale! Big showstopping finale!! It's all too much and I need revived!!
BK: "You are not an're a star - a West End leading man"
ZT: "Amazing"
ALW: "Fantastic performance. Phenomenal. Got everything".

Lee, Lewis & Keith: "Maria". At last some musical theatre. Lee is looking all intense and at his brooding best.

Connie Fisher: "The Sound of Music": Last year's winner. Tonight Matthew, I'm going to be Julie Andrews.


Lee is through to the final 2. YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!
Lewis is OUT!!
The Teeth is through!!

Close every door to......Lewis: he blubs, a lot, and wobbled vocally at the end. Aw. Go running into the arms of Nana Jean why don't you.

Part 2

Their best bits....

"Always On My Mind" - Keith: The toothsome one does a nice version of this. That's all. Credit where it's due though, he did deserve to reach the final.

"Paint It Black" - Lee: ooooooooohhh!!! Intense Lee! Just the way we love him! Utterly brilliant!!!! I am now ready to spontaneously combust, such is my uncontrollable love for this man!!!!

The Josephs: "The Boys Are Back In Town": Nice to see them all back again, especially (of course) Ben and Daniel!!!!

The final song: "Jesus Christ Superstar" - Keith and Lee

Lee is in a red T-shirt - enough said!!
Great stuff.
This is the best reality show final since Will vs Gareth in Pop Idol.

Result: 3 million votes cast........LEE IS JOSEPH!!

So Lee Mead, the understudy from Essex, whom we at EuropeCrazy have supported almost since the beginning of "Any Dream Will Do", wins the coveted role of Joseph in the West End, and it will surely will be a springboard to much better things. We certainly haven't seen or heard the last of this talented young man who has made Saturday nights worth staying in for over the last few weeks.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Any Dream Will Do: 5 hours to go

Getting all excited as the final is tonight. If you read this blog (if you do, a big warm welcome!!) you will know already who I want to win. (Clue: it's not Keith, it's not Lewis :-)))) Fingers crossed! However if something goes wrong on the night and the Great British Public go all gooey for the blubbing blonde or the checkout underdog, then we will, reluctantly, have to root for the toothsome Tesco boy. Anyone but Lewis!

The EuropeCrazy Holiday Hit List - Part 1

No playlist this week as I've been too busy over the past week catching up with all the telly shows and films that I still had to watch.


As summer has now officially arrived here at EC HQ, over the next couple of weeks I'll be taking a look back at some of the songs which have reminded me of past holidays.

So let's start with 1994 and 1995.

Amsterdam 1994: "Saturday Night" - Whigfield. Daft dance routine - check. Daft lyrics - check. Cheesy Danish woman - check. Will forever be linked with my first ever holiday abroad.

Dublin 1995: "Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me" - U2. Perfect soundtrack for a visit to Dublin, and most appropriately from the city's favourite sons.

Ostend 1995: "Swentibold" - Clouseau. Off to Belgium where I rediscovered one of their most enduring pop acts. This is a bold, brassy upbeat treat which went very well with the hot weather.

"Conquest of Paradise" - Vangelis. Not a particular favourite of mine but needs mentioning as this dreary instrumental seemed to be a favourite all over Europe that summer.

Coming soon: 1996 and 1997.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Gone with the wind.

Frankly my dear, we do give a damn....about the latest game on Ben & Jerry's website ( Keeping in step with the current fad for all things green and environmentally friendly, "Belchin' Bovines" has the B & J cows doing what comes naturally, but of course it's a known fact that the average cow passes enough wind in a week to inflate a hot air balloon and possibly destroy the ozone layer at the same time. Your mission is therefore to intercept said moo-wind and save the planet. Oh, and make sure your speakers are turned up LOUD when you play this game...!

Swedish National Day: we're a bit late.

Not only am I at the stage where I'm forgetting birthdays but as if that's not bad enough, I' forgot Swedish National Day which was on the 6th of June. So we at EuropeCrazy want to raise a big glass of class III Pripps (followed by a big glass of Kopparbergs pear cider) and wish everyone a belatedly happy Swedish national day. And no, I'm not Swedish, but the way I've been going on lately, you'd think I was!!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Magnus Carlsson: new CD on the way

"I'm gonna liiiiiiiiive forever!!" Yes I'm still playing that song and still not sick of it. Anyway I just found out that in 20 days time - make that 19 days time as it's just after midnight - the one and only Magnus Carlsson will release his new solo album. He must have spent, oh, at least 5 seconds thinking of a title for it. After his last album (and I don't count the whole Christmas album thing which just pushed him off the edge of the cheese-o-meter) had the complex title of ... wait for it.... "Magnus Carlsson", this one will be called...drum roll please...."Live Forever - The Album"!!! On his official website Magnus promises the ultimate party album for hot summer nights - we can't wait! Here's the tracklisting:

1. Crazy Summer Nights 2. I Won't Cry 3. Waves Of Love 4. Nothing's Real 5. Another Rainbow 6. Give A Little Love 7. Never Walk Away 8. Live Forever 9. I Need Your Love 10. Don't You Worry 11. You 12. Boogie Time 13. Live Forever (Acoustic Studio Version). "Waves of Love" will be his new single and it's a bit of a 70s disco number.
Just one minor gripe: isn't the album cover a bit, well, Julio Iglesias? Not even Enrique "Do you know do you know ping pong" Iglesias, but his old fella. Only about 40 years younger and cuter and Swedish of course!

Nouvelle Star Semi-Final: Julien & Tigane to the final!

Tonight saw the semi-final in France of "Nouvelle Star" fought out between favourite Julien, his girlfriend Gaetane and outside bet Tigane. Again as usual I haven't seen the videos and will post a full review over the weekend. Oh, and Gaetane went out by the way. I have however been taking a look back at his performances through the series, and I still can't make up my mind. On the one hand he is a bit of a novelty comedy contestant - think American Idol's Sanjaya or X-Factor's Chico - yet on the other hand he manages to be more original than any other reality TV contestant I can remember. Can't see him having any kind of lasting career beyond this series - but then again, the same could have been said for Star Academy 1's rubbish vocalist extraordinaire Jean-Pascal who has gone on to great things, although it has to be said, not as a recording artiste!!

I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell.

The above words come from a song by the excellent Matchbox 20, a song which currently describes my state of mind. Life has been a little less wonderful for me lately, so bad that I couldn't even face doing this blog. But also in the words of the great philosopher Yazz: "The only way is up". And that's where I'm gonna go.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Grease Is The Word...I'm speechless

I'll keep it short.
Sandy semi: We liked Alison, she's gone. (Evicted by the panel)
We liked Vicky, she's gone. (Evicted by the Great British Public)

We at EuropeCrazy always like to give credit where it is due so we'll say that Susan "Sister of Brian" McFadden should really be Sandy now. She looks like a Sandy would look like, she sings well, and she has that strangely old fashioned quality about her. Oh and I didn't like the comment made about her weight either - leave the girl alone Mr Ian!

As for Michelle, I've never understood her appeal. Why is she in the final? (Conspiracy theory: keep the weakest contestant in to make the chosen one win, or what?)

Didn't look as if the remaining Dannys - Anthony & Danny B - were too chuffed either. Know how they feel....

Final next week. Prediction: Anthony and Susan to win (although I'd prefer Danny B to Anthony). After tonight, who could predict anything?

Any Dream Will Do: Bye bye Ben. Oh and Lee is fantastic and yes we are biased!!

Due to other commitments was unable to watch the show live this week so my review is 24 hours retrospective.
Keith: "Could It Be Magic". Every week he is good, no doubt about it, and clearly deserves his place in the final. However IMHO, magic is the one quality lacking in Keith's performance. He sings very well, performs more than adequately, but still lacks that charisma and star quality required of a true winner. The panel (particularly John Barrowman) went a little over the top about him this week, but even The Lord felt he was just falling short.
Ben: "Ease On Down The Road". Ben on the other hand has bucketloads of showmanship, charisma and star quality which makes up for his erratic vocal performances. Terrible song choice for him this week: the conspiracy theorists would say that it was a deliberate plan to get him in the bottom 2....
Keith and Ben: "Only You ("Starlight Express"). Excellent performance by both and very hard to choose who was the best here, although Ben managed a controlled and mature performance given that ballads had been his weak spot to date.
Lewis: "Sweet Caroline". If you know me, you will know that Lewis is my least favourite of the remaining Josephs. One dimensional, lacking in charisma or personality, irritating in his "I can do musical theatre, me" delivery. Having lost Craig last week, Bill decided that Lewis is his new "journey-man" of the contest!
Lee: "Living On A Prayer". I had my reservations on hearing that he would be singing this, but of course he delivered. Back in the red shirt too, yum! An assured, mature and masculine performance: it really is a contest of man against boys now. Does Zoe Tyler really need to be so harsh when it comes to Lee? Also I thought Lee looked a little strained tonight - he may be a pro, but it proves that the tension is getting to everyone.
Lewis and Lee: "Oh What A Circus" ("Evita"). Now banish all thoughts of David Essex - this was a class act and credit where it's due, even Lewis came good here. Lee is of course head and shoulders above everyone else in this competition and I hope that he is given more musical theatre numbers next week to prove, if it was needed, that he is a leading man - and an understudy no more!
Group number: "Under Pressure". Ooh, doesn't Lee look nice in lilac! Was this a tribute to gone-too-soon Daniel (who also looked nice in lilac, in a cheesy kind of way)?
Result: Lee - You could still be Joseph, you hot talented man!
Keith - You could still be Joseph, just go get yourself some charisma!
Sing-Off: Ben vs Lewis. Another very nice musical theatre number to test them - "I Dreamed A Dream" from Les Miserables.
Close every door to.... Ben, what a good looking young man, and he lit up the stage whenever he was on it. He was our second favourite. Gonna miss his cute smile and showmanship in the final. Being Ben of course, he vocally wobbled even in the final number. Keith took the coat (not that the curse is working any more of course).
What does The Lord see in Lewis? Has he had an advance ticket order from Nanna Jean? Is he casting for "Bob Downe: The Musical"?
Final next week: not sure my nerves can stand it!

Etienne Daho news

It's been 4 long years since Etienne Daho released his "Reevolution" CD. According to his official website he's currently recording his new album in three locations: Paris, Ibiza and London. No news on the title or the musical style of the album, but what we do know is that it will be out in November 2007. Oh goody! Just in time for my Christmas list for Santa, tee hee!!

Weight Watchers: It's all gone Pete Tong...

Last week: euphoria (lost a stone in weight)
This week: greed (unacceptable nibbling), followed by guilt at said unacceptable nibbling, followed by fear as I couldn't face the prospect of stepping on the scales.

Now comes rehab!!! ("no, no, no.....")
With only 14 weeks to go till my return to Nice, it's back on the wagon for me. Hopefully it will not make me too grumpy. (Well I can't be any more grumpy than I've been this past week, but that's another story....).

Sophie and Peter Johnston: Rediscovered!

Back in the 1980s I was a devoted listener to John Peel's nightly show on Radio 1. It was a bit of a mixed bag of course - you'd love some of the music, you'd hate some of it with a passion - but above all, the great man introduced many talented acts to us thanks to his "Peel Sessions". Many of these bands were or became legendary, but many were undiscovered delights who never managed to get the commercial success they deserved.

Take Sophie and Peter Johnston, for example. They were a brother and sister synth duo from Newcastle, and they made some lovely little electro-pop songs which I taped off the radio - well didn't everyone???? - and they still sound fresh and fabulous today. I had forgotten all about them, but for a strange reason I remembered them today, did a Google search and hey presto - there is a website!!!

The site,, has everything you ever wanted to know about the duo, and there are also sound clips of some of their classic songs like "Television Satellite", "Open Eyes" and "Paradise". There are also anthology CDs for sale - for all of us who have worn out our Peel session tapes!

Belgium (Flanders) Charts Update

Think this is the first time we've done one of these.
"Kvraagetan" by Fixkes has apparently been no.1 for ever in the singles chart. Not too many other Flemish acts in the chart apart from the ever-popular Natalia with "Gone to Stay" and Clouseau's "De Tegenpartij" which only reached no. 4 in the chart instead of the usual no. 1 which they have become accustomed to. At least they have the consolation of their "Vonken & Vuur" still being at the top of the album chart. Haven't played it too much to date - still to put a review of it on this blog.

Swedish Charts Update

It looks like Melodifestivalen fever is fading at last, three months after the event. Only Sarah Dawn Finer, Måns Zelmerlöw and Elin Lanto are still in the top 20 (The Ark only at no 23) but the Swedes' love of the Eurovision Song Contest has put entries from Finland (Hanna Pakarinen) and Ukraine (the mighty Verka Serduchka) in the top 20. We also have the return of techno king E-Type with "True Believer" at no.2, just behind the latest single from Per Gessle, "En Handig Man". It would appear that Gessle is as popular as ever.

Måns & Carola duet....?

Aftonbladet ( reported that Swedish pop's man of the moment is to perform a duet with one of my least favourite singers in the whole wide world. The reason? They're throwing a 30th birthday party for Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden on 14th June. Also due to sing at the party will be Tre S - a trio made up of Shirley Clamp, Sonya Alden and Slappable-Sanna Nielsen. Oh well: two out of three ain't bad.

French Charts Update

Long time since we had one of these! (Been too busy wallowing in Swedish music of late) :-)
We previously mentioned the battle between former Le Roi Soleil stars Emmanuel Moire and Christophe Mae. It still looks as if Christophe has won the chart war as he reached no. 1 recently in the singles chart with "On S'Attache". As ever, not too much going on in the French top 40, with only dance act Pakito's "Are U Ready" and the Nouvelle Star single as new entries this week.
Other recent number ones: "Balance-Toi" by Tony Parker. Yes, that Tony Parker as in Eva Longoria's Tony Parker! Also the latest French release by Celine Dion (zzz).
Now to the album charts and guess who is at no.1? Celine Dion....
Following his recent tragic death, Gregory Lemarchal's "Olympia 2006" is again selling well. Still in the top 10 are Christophe Willem's very good "Inventaire" and a new entry from Bob Sinclar with "Sounds of Freedom". Shy'm's debut album is a high climber but not doing so well is Calogero, whose "Pomme C" (which has not been received too well by critics) is only at no. 30. The title track is due to be released as the follow-up to "Saut de L'Ange" - I would have preferred "Melodies En Sous-Sol" or "Suis-Je Assez Clair" as they are my favourite tracks.

This week's playlist.

Miss America/Work of Art - Måns Zelmerlöw: Two of the best tracks from his debut CD which is currently on its way to EC HQ. Already topping the charts in Sweden, it's a pure pop treat.
I Heard A Rumour/Nathan Jones - Bananarama: The 'Rama are often forgotten when it comes to 80's guilty pleasures, but here are two - produced by the guiltiest producers of all - Stock, Aitken, Waterman!
Little Of Your Time/Makes Me Wonder - Maroon 5: Still liking their album, and these are my two faves from it this week.
Relax, Take It Easy - Mika: Crying out to be released as a single in the UK - but I fear it may be "Lollipop" instead.
Tokyo - Danny Saucedo: Still playing this a lot, from the Swedish Idol 2006 finalist.
Elu Produit de L'Annee/Kiss The Bride - Christophe Willem: Still worth a mention in my playlist. "Double Je" is out as a single in France but I still prefer these 2 tracks.

Big Brother 8 - I take it all back, won't be watching after all...

In my previous post I may have suggested that I might just give Big Brother 8 a chance. Well, I did. Happened to catch the moment when "Ziggy" (some kind of model and ex boy band chap) went into the house. Enough said. I really can't be a***d watching a load of WAG/Posh/Paris wannabes fighting for the attentions of someone who looks as if his best friend is his mirror. Therefore I have decided that life is too short to waste it watching BB8.