Friday, March 8, 2013

12 Inches of Love: 'Sign of the Times'

Yikes! A whole week with nothing but Ranking Roger to keep you company. Many apologies. Turns out man cannot live on pop music alone. Well, I suppose he can if the he has no fam, but I'm not willing to put a 30-year old single from the Belle Stars in front of my son's special needs... am I? Um, at any rate, I should make this quick.

Back in 2010 I posted a little piece on the Bodysnatchers that included the band's two standout singles, as well as the single version of "Sign of the Times," the best song (in my opinion) from the Belle Stars, the group several of the gals formed immediately following the demise of the Bodysnatchers. I didn't give up all the goods that day. Today I include the stellar remixed extended 12" version, along with a B-side that sounds a bit like something out of the Bow Wow Wow playbook. I love this take, particularly the intro. If you already know and like "Sign of the Times," I think you will enjoy the extra two-and-a-half minutes.

Indeed, the ska sound of the Bodysnatchers had been snatched on this one. This was completely radio ready, and the UK chart reflected that. "Sign of the Times" peaked at No. 3 in the UK. I never heard it on my radio here in America, but I definitely saw the gaggle of girls dressed in tuxedos on MTV quite a few times. It was '83. The channel played videos like this back then. The result of that exposure was a modest No. 75 on this side of the pond. We would, of course, hear from the Belle Stars one more time when an unlikely single from '82 would be re-released on the 'Rain Man' soundtrack in '89. "Iko Iko" would make it all the way to No. 14 a few years after the group had disbanded.

The Belle Stars - Sign of the Times (12" Version) (mp3)
The Belle Stars - Madness (B-side) (mp3)

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