Tuesday, January 1, 2013

À La Carte - Euro Girl Group

 (updated January 6)

In 1978 two then little-known German producers - a married couple Tony Hendrik and Karin Hartmann, employed by Hansa International (sub-label of Ariola-Eurodisc), developed the project of a female pop group. These girl-groups were especially popular in Europe in the late 70s.  Among others those included Arabesque (Germany), Baccara (Spain), Maywood and Luv (both from the Netherlands).

The first single of A La Carte "When The Boys Come Home" (Ariola/Hansa 100 478-100) was released in March 1979. The song, performed by three attractive girls from London: Patsy Fuller, Julia and Elaine, gained popularity and the group was invited to the famous German TV-show "Musikladen" ("Music Shop"). The single had good sales, and in October a second catchy single was released "Doctor, Doctor (Help Me Please)" (Ariola/Hansa 101 080-100), with a new line-up: Patsy Fuller, Jeanny Renshaw, Denise Distelle. After that nobody dared to deny their reputation as the best dance girl-band. In 1980 one more replacement occurs: instead of Denise Distelle came Katie Humble. In March 1980 this line-up a launched new single - a cover of Manfred Mann's 60s super-hit "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" (Ariola/Hansa 101 677-100), in a short time followed by their first album - "Do Wah Diddy Diddy Round" (LP: Ariola/Hansa/Coconut 202 143-320).
The next single of A La Carte - "Ring Me, Honey" (Ariola/Hansa 102 429-100), was released in September 1980.
In January 1981, after a change of two members, Jeanny Renshaw, Linda Daniels and Joy Martin released the new single "You Get Me On The Run" (Ariola/Hansa/Coconut 102 871-100). The lead vocals in the song were of Jeanny and Joy. The third girl, Linda Daniels, was needed only for the "phantom" presence of the third singer, the recent Denise Distelle. Then were issued 3 singles and the next album called "Viva" (LP: Ariola/Hansa/Coconut). "In the Summer Sun Of Greece" was released on a single (Ariola/Hansa/Coconut 104 263-100) in April 1982 and its front cover shows one more change in the line-up: Kati Humble's comeback instead of the blue-eyed blonde Linda Daniels. This line-up existed until the group's splitting.

In July 1982 they released the single "Aha Tamoure" (Ariola/Hansa/Coconut 104 569-100) and the group's activity was summed up on the first compilation - "The Wonderful Hits Of A La Carte" (LP: Ariola/Hansa/Coconut 204 935-302). This album included nearly all the hits of A La Carte: "When The Boys Come Home", "In The Summer Sun Of Greece", "Do Wah Diddy Diddy", "Aha Tamoure", "Viva Torero" and others.
In January 1983 was released the single called "Radio" (Ariola/Hansa/Coconut 104 918-100). The two new songs were never issued on any LPs.
The next album of the group "Rockin' Oldies" (Ariola/Hansa/Coconut 205 743-320) and new single "On The Top Old Smokie" (Ariola/Hansa/Coconut 105 802-100) were released at the same time in September 1983. In 1984, the group launched the next single "Jimme Gimme Reggae" (Ariola/Hansa/Coconut). The title song was a new version of the one from the first album, and a completely new song - "Lightyears Away From Home" was on the back side.
After that, A La Carte disappeared from the scene. Probably, it was the result of the birth of the new "lovely child" of their producers, Karin Hartmann and Tony Hendrik, the male trio Bad Boys Blue, launched in 1984 with "L.O.V.E. In My Car ". But maybe also because of decreasing demand in the music market for female acts and a corresponding increase for male ones. The attractive girl-groups were getting competition from male duos and trios like Modern Talking, Joy, London Boys, Silent Circle, Pet Shop Boys...

[This article is based on a defunct old GeoCities website in order to keep the information alive. The credits given were:
Original Russian text by Alex (Invisible Man), with assistance of Marc Wiese.
2004-2005 English translation by L.D.]

The World Of A La Carte