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  • Photo du rédacteurRalph Ruiz

All Around My Hat by José: 35th anniversary

Dernière mise à jour : 20 janv. 2022

Thirty five years ago, in late 1986, RCA Records released José Hoebee's single entitled "All Around My Hat". Though it was not a mainstream success, this track is very appreciated by the fans to this day. Let's celebrate the 35th anniversary of this underestimated record.


After Luv's first break-up in 1981, José Hoebee was the former member of the girl group who enjoyed the most successful solo career. She chose a more adult repertoire including popular cover versions of American and British pop classics from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. José was nicknamed the "Cover Queen" by the Dutch press.

In 1982, the singer scored two big solo hits in the Netherlands and Belgium: the #1 song "I Will Follow Him" (originally performed by Little Peggy March in 1963) and "Secret Love" (a Doris Day song from 1954).

The talented vocalist experienced a new phase of her career thanks to the popular duet single "So Long, Marianne" (a Leonard Cohen song) with Ron Brandsteder in early 1984.

In the summer of 1984, she teamed up with Bonnie St Claire to form a duo to record Dutch cover versions of ABBA songs. Their first collaboration was "Cassandra" (originally the B-side of ABBA's hit "The Day Before You Came" in late 1982). This duet single peaked at #24 on the Top 40 and #19 on the Nationale Hitparade in the Netherlands.

After Cassandra's respectable success on the hit parade, Bonnie & José decided to continue their professional relationship. In late 1984 and early 1985, they were involved in the ABBAcadra project with other Dutch artists. Later that year, they put out the single "Zoals Vrienden Doen" (the cover of ABBA's The Way Old Friends Do). The track became the signature song of the duo. It reached #36 on the Top 40 and #18 on the Nationale Hitparade in the summer of 1985.

RCA Records put out Bonnie & José's album "Herinnering" in September 1985.

José gave birth to a beautiful son named Tim on October 14th, 1985. This significant event in José's life had consequences on her career. The singer decided to slow down. She expressed satisfaction about motherhood in celebrity gossip magazines.

Article published in Story in March 1986

On May 27th, 1986, Dutch TV channel NCRV broadcast "Bonnie en José in Zweden", a special filmed in Stockholm and the surrounding area to promote the Herinnering LP.

After this TV show, José kept a low profile until the autumn of 1986.

The fans wondered what José's next project would be. The songstress planned to cover an English folk song: All Around My Hat. She went back to her musical roots with this track.

Before Luv', José toured the folk circuit as a member of Young Tradition, a group formed with her two sisters (Marijke and Yvonne) and her best friend Ad van Genechten.

The song "All Around my Hat" is of nineteenth-century English origin. In an early version, dating from the 1820s, a Cockney costermonger vowed to be true to his fiancée, who had been sentenced to seven years transportation to Australia for theft and to mourn his loss of her by wearing green willow sprigs in his hatband for "a twelve-month and a day", the willow being a traditional symbol of mourning.

The song was made famous in 1975 by the British band Steeleye Span whose rendition may have been based on a more traditional version sung by John Langstaff. Steeleye Span's version peaked at #5 on the UK Singles Chart on December 6th, 1975. In early 1976, it also reached #10 on the Dutch Top 40 and #11 on the Nationale Hitparade in the Netherlands as well as #14 on the BRT Top 30 and #20 on the Flemish Ultratrop in Belgium.

Steeleye Span - All Around My Hat on January 10th, 1976 on AVRO's TopPop

Steeleye Span's rendering inspired José's cover of "All Around My Hat". Her version was produced by her husband, record producer Will Hoebee and Hans Vermeulen. The Eurovision Song Contest conductor Harry van Hoof helped arrange it.

It was not the first time José collaborated with Hans. In 1984, the two of them recorded the demo of "I Love You" (a medley of "Nights of white satin" and "I (Who Have Nothing)" as a duet. This song appeared as a bonus track on the Luv' compilation "25 Jaar Na Waldolala" in 2003. José released it as a solo single backed with a cover version of "Should I Be Lonely" (originally performed by Hans) on the B-side. In 1985, Hans Vermeulen wrote the Dutch lyrics of two tracks for Bonnie & José's "Herinnering" LP: "Is 't Zo Bedoeld" (I Let The Music Speak) and "Een Man" (One Man One Woman). He played the bass guitar and recorded background vocals on this duet album.

"All Around My Hat" by José was backed with a beautiful ballad entitled "Caroll" (written by Vermeulen) on the B-side.

In late November, "All Around My Hat" got a little airplay on Dutch radio. On December 15th, 1986, José's single premiered on television. Accompanied by Hans Vermeulen, Ad van Genechten and Albert Hol (Bonnie St Claire's husband at the time), she performed "All Around My Hat" on Karin Bloem's program "Zeg 't Maar" on VARA channel.

José on Zeg't Maar (1986)

Hans Vermeulen, José Hoebee, Ad van Genechten and Albert Hol on Zeg't Maar (1986)

Despite this media exposure and José's excellent vocals, the track was not a commercial success. Maybe this project was too ambitious and the general public was not ready to accept José as a folk singer and preferred to label her as a "former Luv' singer"?

Commercial performance

"All Around My Hat" by José didn't reach the Dutch Top 40 and the Nationale Hitparade. On December 13th, 1986, it entered the Tipparade (the Dutch Bubbling Under Top 40 chart) at #29 and stayed five weeks. On January 17th, 1987, it peaked at #16 on the Tipparade.


All Around My Hat

7" vinyl single (45 rpm) - original release by RCA in November 1986

  • A side: All Around My Hat - 3:15

Written by Traditional, Hans Vermeulen, Harry van Hoof and Will Hoebee

  • B side: Caroll - 2:58

Written by Hans Vermeulen

Back Cover


Vocals by José Hoebee

Male background vocals by Hans Vermeulen, Ad van Genechten and Albert Hol (uncredited)

Produced by Hans Vermeulen and Will Hoebee

Recorded by Jan Fred Arendsen at Wisseloord Studios

All Around My Hat/Caroll was included in the 2005 compilation "Alle Hits & Unieke Bonustracks".

TV performances

  • December 15th, 1986: Accompanied by Hans Vermeulen, Albert Hol and Ad van Genechten on Zeg 't Maar (VARA, Netherlands)

  • December 20th, 1986: The DJ Kat Show (Sky Channel, United Kingdom)

Source: Luv' weblog archives, With Luv' From José weblog archives,,,,, YouTube (Jos Theuns), Toen gisteren nog vandaag was (site)

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