Thursday, 19 June 2014

Stars On 45RPM: The Belle Stars - Iko Iko (Picture Disc, Stiff Records, 1982)

Iko Iko was the fourth release by The Belle Stars on Stiff Records and their first UK chart entry when it was released in 1982.

Formed in 1980 by ex members of The Bodysnatchers, guitarists Sarah-Jane Owen,and Stella Barker, saxophonist Miranda Joyce, keyboardist Penny Leyton and drummer Judy Parsons were joined by vocalist Jennie Matthias and bass player Jenny Shone to form The Belle Stars.

They were distinctive by not only playing their own instruments but delivering very charismatic and colourful performances and usually looking like they were having lots of fun!

The Belle Stars would go on to score big hits with their cover of Mary Ellis' 1965 hit The Clapping Song (UK, No.11, 1982) and their biggest hit A Sign Of The Times (UK, No.3, 1983).

Iko Iko (written by James Sugarboy Crawford under the title Jock a Mo in 1953) was a big hit for The Dixie Cups in 1965, evidently The Belle Stars hoped to emulate this success in 1982. 

However, their release coincided with another version released by Natasha. Natasha's version of Iko Iko scaled into the UK Top 10 , while The Belle Stars version peaked at No.35. Seven years later, the single would be featured on the soundtrack of Rain Man, which prompted a release in the US as a single where it peaked at No.14. Evidently, it was all a matter of timing!

I recently uncovered this picture disc version of Iko Iko in a Newport Charity Shop for 50p.

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