In the ’80s, even though the sale of 7″ 45s was on the decline, suddenly 12″ singles became the thing. Every big or moderately big or not big at all artist was putting out their singles on 12″ discs. There was usually some awful, unwanted extended dance mix added in to the mix, so there would be two or three tracks on the single, but often just one or two songs.
ABC was no exception. From “The Lexicon of Love,” I have three special 12″ discs.
First off, there’s “The Look of Love.” The album only featured Parts One and Four, but have no fear, there were two other parts, and they’re included here; in fact, this disc was issued before the album came out. (YouTube has it here.) It comes with liner notes on the back cover, in the form of a letter from singer Martin Fry, dated 24th March 1982:
“I hold in my hand four letters . . . L.O.V.E. welcome to the new ABC record, its [sic] called ‘The Look of Love.’ The third in a series of three and a story with a happy ending. Do you remember ‘Poison Arrow’ or even ‘Tears Are Not Enough’? Well I hope you agree with me that this is the best ABC recording so far. It’s time to put down that bow and arrow and dry those tears and enjoy the one thing, the one thing that turns this grey sky to blue.”
Yeah, if you know the songs, you know he’s referencing his own lyrics.
I wonder what you got if you sent a stamped, addressed envelope to the Very Special ABC club, as the rest of the back cover copy invites you to do? (Number of times I ever wrote a fan club: zero.)
I’m also a fan of this Phonogram logo. Clever as all get-out.
Then there’s “All of My Heart,” backed with “Overture,” an adaptation of themes from “The Lexicon of Love.” The cover is not accidentally reminiscent of the Deutsche Grammophon classical LP covers. A touch of style, and a nod to the big orchestra sound that ABC was affecting, albeit through synthesized instruments. The back side is a suitable (to the classical theme) pastoral engraving, quite lovely. The A side is just the same as the song on the album. The B side, “Overture,” is an orchestral version of the main themes of the album.
There’s an odd little gold emboss or raised printing on the back of the cover – don’t know its purpose. I presume the ‘P’ stands for Phonogram. The rest?
My third 12″ single from this album is a nearly 7-minute remix of “Poison Arrow,” backed with two versions of the “Theme from Mantrap,” the short video/film associated with the album. It’s a bluesy, loungey take on “Poison Arrow” that I just love (listen to it here), although my copy is less than pristine and cracklier than I like. The plain cover was apparently a thing for this release, but there was also a picture cover out there in the world. I remember extreme excitement at finally finding the Theme from Mantrap, which had been eluding me, and disappointment that the sound quality was not the best. Uncharacteristically, I don’t particularly remember where I bought any of these singles.