The death of David Bowie has led to some REALLY WEIRD stuff happening, and not much of it has been weirder the emergence of Bananarama’s legendary cover version of Changes.
Recorded in 1993 at PWL when Keren and Sara were without a record deal after disappointing sales of their Please Yourself album, the track was locked away in the archives, unheard.
Rumours of its existence persisted for decades, and it seemed like it might finally see the light of day when all the Rams’ albums were remastered in 2013. Alas, it was missing from the final tracklistings, and fans resigned themselves to the fact it might never be released.
There are a number of theories about why it’s been kept under wraps all this time. I favour the idea that everyone involved was scared that Bowie himself would get to hear it and come looking for them all, but then I would because I just made it up. Perhaps we’ll never know for sure.
The fact it finally leaked on Soundcloud yesterday was, I’m sure we can all agree, a real tonic at a difficult time. People seemed genuinely cheered by its appearance – probably much more so than they would have been in 1993.
I have to confess that I laughed with sheer joy at the first “Ch-ch-ch-ch-CHANGES” when the familiar PWL drum machine and strings kick in. Repeated listens reveal ever-increasing levels of amazingness, not least in the duo’s spirited vocals. When they get to “Oh, look out you rock ‘n rollers”, it briefly seems that they might not actually be able to contain their own laughter.
But like all PWL productions, there’s so much more to discover! After playing the track approximately 79 times over the last two days, I can now hear many hidden details, low down in the mix. Have a listen and see if you can spot them.
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0:00 – Champagne cork pops.
0:04 – Mysterious fizzing and clinking noises.
0:34 – Slight muffling as Miriam Stockley wipes unidentified liquid off the Calrec Soundfield microphone.
1:24 – Sara tells Kim to shut up.
2:02 – Keren falls over.
2:03 – Pete Waterman hoots with laughter.*
2:04 – Mike Stock sighs heavily.
3:12 – Taxi horn blares.
3.13 – Low hum of engine running in background.
3:37 – Sound of slamming door.
3:38 – Screeching of tyres.
* (Only kidding, obviously Pete would have been nowhere near the studio.)