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Stars on 45 (known in some countries as Starsound) were a Dutch novelty pop act that was briefly very popular in the UK, Europe and the U.S. in the very early 1980s. The band, which consisted solely of studio session musicians under the direction of Jaap Eggermont (see photo), formerly of Golden Earring, popularised the medley, by recreating hit songs as faithfully as possible and stringing them together, with a common tempo and relentless underlying drum track. The point was to provide a danceable disco record which used familiar tunes. Eggermont originally created the "Stars on 45" concept after hearing a bootleg 12-inch dance record called "Let's Do It in the 80's" and credited to the band Passion. The record actually used original recordings of songs by the Beatles, the Buggles, the Archies and Madness, and used a segment of "Venus", a recording by Shocking Blue, for which Eggermont held a copyright. With the bootleg recording circulating in dance clubs, Eggermont decided to create a licensed version of the medley by using soundalike artists to replicate the original hits. The Beatles soundalikes were established Dutch singers. John Lennon's parts were sung by Bas Muys of the 70s Dutch pop group, Smyle. The other two singers were the famous Sandy Coast frontman Hans Vermeulen and Okkie Huysdens who worked with Vermeulen in the band Rainbow Train. The female vocalist in the chorus was session singer Jody Pijper. Apart from the recreated songs, an original chorus and hook was added at intervals to help string differing sections together. The first such release, "Stars on 45 Medley", mostly featuring songs from The Beatles, went to Number 1 in the US, and Number 2 in the UK, and several follow up records did well too. A second Beatles medley went to #67 on the US charts. Another album followed the same year, featuring medleys using the songs of ABBA, a #2 hit in the UK and Motown, US #55. A third album featured medleys of The Rolling Stones and Stevie Wonder. The single "Stars on 45 III: A Tribute to Stevie Wonder", peaked at US #28 in 1982, but reached #14 in the UK, where it was called "Stars on Stevie".
There was a touring company also called Stars on 45 that promoted their albums (although not using the same studio session musicians as on the record). In 1982, there was a staged musical show at the Huntington Hartford Theater in Hollywood, CA and a video of that show was released in 1983 by MCA Home Video. The '45' in the title refers to the playback speed of a vinyl record single — 45 rpm. Such singles are often simply called "45s". Their first album was Stars on Long Play. Followups included Stars on Long Play II, Stars on Long Play III, and Soul Revue, the latter paying tribute to Sam and Dave and James Brown. Later European-only releases included Stars on Frankie and Stars on 45 : The Club Hits. A spinoff group called The Star Sisters had a hit in Europe with an Andrews Sisters medley. The albums were released under the moniker of Stars on 45 Presents The Star Sisters. Track list for the "Stars on 45 Medley" was the name of the songs that make up the medley: Intro Venus / Sugar, Sugar / No Reply / I'll Be Back / Drive My Car / Do You Want to Know a Secret / We Can Work It Out / I Should Have Known Better / Nowhere Man / You're Going to Lose That Girl / Stars on 45. This single continues to hold the record for a #1 single with the longest name on the Billboard charts, due to the legalities requiring each song title be listed.
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Dutch Fansite: www.thestarson45.nl
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