"History Repeating" episode 7 featuring José Hoebee: review
Dernière mise à jour : 16 mai
Luv's former lead singer, José Hoebee, recently gave an interview in English on "History Repeating", a radio show on SpiritLive (a web-streaming broadcast station) hosted by Ryan Gray, assisted by Emma Mulvey and Emilia Hyatt, Canadian students of the RTA School of Media at Toronto Metropolitan University.
"History Repeating" aims to introduce the music of great artists from the 1960s, 70s, and 80s to new audiences while also allowing fans to hear some lesser-known songs from the artists they love.
Ryan Gray: the host of "History Repeating"
Episode 7, featuring José Hoebee, was broadcast earlier today on YouTube. The Dutch pop singer discussed her incredible career, from Luv's creation in late 1976 to the group's definitive break-up three years ago. The program focuses on Luv's glory years (1977-1981) and José's solo work and duets with Bonnie St Claire covering ABBA songs in Dutch in the 1980s. In addition to Luv's signature songs "U.O.Me", "You're the Greatest Lover", and "Trojan Horse", other lesser-known tracks are part of the playlist, including "I.M.U.R", "Who Do You Wanna Be" and "Mother Of the Hearts".
On behalf of José Hoebee, Marga Scheide, Hans van Hemert and the fan community, I want to thank Ryan for his excellent comments on Luv' and José's music, Emma for the graphics and Emilia for editing.
Click on the link below to listen to the interview:
Ryan started the show by playing Luv's first big hit in the Low Countries, the 1978 single "U.O.Me", the theme song from the iconic Dutch series "Het is Weer Zo Laat!" (aka Waldolala).
Here's what José said about how she became a member of Holland's greatest girl group: "I've never had singing lessons. Instead, I had technique lessons. My sister and I did a lot of talent shows with a friend who played the guitar. During one of these talent shows, an arranger, Piet Souer, noticed us and really liked my voice. He was creating an act featuring three girls. He was looking for a singer. Piet asked me to audition for the group. I was there with Hans van Hemert, the producer. They had a dark-haired girl and a red-haired one. They wanted a blonde. But forty-five years ago, I didn't want to change my hair colour. Nowadays, girls dye their hair blue and purple. So the red-haired girl had to leave, and they took me. Then there was Marga, who was blonde. So I could stay with my initial hair colour".
Luv's debut in 1977, featuring Patty Brard, Marga Scheide & José Hoebee
Luv's 1978 international breakthrough hit, "You're the Greatest Lover", was the second song played on the program. José and her Luv' colleagues were not fond of this track when they had to perform it for the very time. "I'm being very honest now. You can ask Marga as well. When we recorded "The Greatest Lover", we thought: "Oh, My God! No! Shananananananana". We didn't like Hans van Hemert's choice. But he knew what would become popular, so he was right. It was a huge hit, but we didn't like it when we released it at first as a single. We're happy he went through it 'cause it was our big breakthrough," the ex-Luv' singer said.
Luv' during the "Greatest Lover" era (1978)
José explained what happened after the Greatest Lover's worldwide success. "We were more up in the air in a plane than on the land. We had to go from one country to the other one. It was funny 'cause we slept in suites in luxury hotels abroad. When Marga woke up in the morning, she often asked: "In which country are we? Where are we now?". It was hectic. We couldn't enjoy the moment 'cause it was way too much for us, and we were young. It was incredible," she asserted.
Trojan Horse, Luv's single which charted the most worldwide in late 1978 and early 1979, was the third song played on "History Repeating". The singer, who started her career by covering the folk and country repertoire, explained how she had to adapt to the Luv' sound: "I knew I had to adjust to the commercial sound of Luv'. Before I joined the trio, I was in a folk and country group, which was completely different from what I did with Luv'. Trojan Horse was a nice song, and we did it with a marching band. We filmed the video with them".
Luv' performing "Trojan Horse" on the TROS TV program "Showbizzquiz" (1978)
Marga's high-pitched voice was essential to the group's sound, in addition to José's lead vocals. "Well, I have to tell you something. Marga's voice was very important in Luv's songs because she had this childish sound. I was the only experienced singer when I became a member of Luv'," José told Ryan.
"I.M.U.R", a lesser-known track from Luv's 1979 "Lots Of Luv'" album, was the fourth song on the show. Ryan praised José's vocal range on the trio's material.
In addition to the vocal harmonies and the arrangements, Luv's simple and iconic dance routines, particularly the hands in the air for "Greatest Lover" performances, are another part of the girl group's success. "We had a marvellous choreographer. She knew we were not dancers. So she invented easy routines for us and the fans who could do them too. You know "Shananana" with the hands. Everybody could join what we did on stage," José said.
"Eeny Meeny Miny Moe", Luv's 1979 single, was the fifth song on the program. Ryan insisted on the importance of Piet Souer and Hans van Hemert's production. "We didn't have a say, but we didn't need one. We liked it all. Piet Souer wrote songs for us. His songs were more mature, like for example "Who Do You Wanna Be". I like them better, but I understood they were less commercial than the ones Hans van Hemert wrote. Piet was a very important man in our group 'cause he supported Marga and Patty when they recorded the choruses," José explained.
"Who Do You Wanna Be" was the sixth song played on the program. It's José and Ryan's favourite track from Luv's 1978 debut album "With Luv'".
Ryan mentioned José's solo career after the trio's first break-up in 1981. The songstress had a Dutch and Flemish Nr. 1 hit in 1982: a cover version of Peggy March's classic "I Will Follow Him". This single was the seventh song played on the show. Here's what she said about her music career after Luv': "I'm a singer. When I was 12, my father said: "José must become an artist because she is not interested in anything else". He was right. I was so lucky I had success. To me, it was wonderful I had a number-one hit after Luv'. I did some duets with Dutch singers. I was happy I was still appreciated after Luv'".
José's 1985 album with Bonnie St. Claire, including Dutch cover versions of ABBA songs, was also referred to. "We did a television special. The director asked Björn of ABBA to comment on this album. First, he wanted to listen to it. I have a video of him saying how much he appreciated this album. It was a great honour," José said. Bonnie & José's 1984 duet "Cassandra" was the eighth track on the show.
José & Bonnie
Ryan shed light on a ninth song, "Mother Of The Hearts", a solo number by José taken from
Luv's fourth album, "Forever Yours". "There's one song. I don't know if you know it. It's called "Mother Of The Hearts". It's a solo track on a Luv' album. Hans van Hemert came one morning to my house. He brought a demo tape with a song he wrote about his youth and told me: "I want YOU to sing it". I had half a day to learn the song. I remember I was very nervous in the studio. It was a difficult song. Hans didn't tell me he recorded it. After I finished the recording, which I thought was a tryout, he had tears in his eyes and hugged me. I thought I had to sing it again. He said: "No, no, no! This is wonderful!". It was one of the best moments from my career in Luv'," the singer asserted.
According to Ryan, "Forever Yours" is Luv's best album due to the variety of genres. "Patty left the group. It was a hard moment. We were back with another girl. We scored a successful hit, "My Number One", and we made an album with her. Our success continued. It was great that the help from the other girl worked," José said about Luv's LP with Ria Thielsch, who replaced Patty Brard in August 1980. Ryan played "Never Wanted To Be" as the tenth song on the show, including a church bell sound in the intro and taken from Forever Yours.
Luv's Forever Yours LP (1980), including rarities like "Mother Of the Hearts" and "Never Wanted To Be"
José talked about the other Dutch girl groups launched after Luv'. None of them surpassed the success and impact Luv' had. "I think all the girl groups after us tried to be us. Some of them had success, but most of them didn't. It's not only about us. It has got to do with the producer and the arranger too. I like the Dolly Dots. They were successful, but not the way we were. This popularity was limited to Holland. We were successful in Europe and Mexico," José said about the female pop formations which came after Luv'.
Dolly Dots, Luv's biggest rivals in the 1980s
Ryan admitted that the lyrics of Luv' songs could have been better. However, the vocal harmonies and the production made the tracks catchy. To illustrate this point, he played "Rhythm'n Shoes", taken from the 1979 True Luv' album, as the eleventh song on the program.
José discussed Luv's legacy: "We knew we couldn't go on forever. We stopped at a time we were at a high level after four years. It's clear that no-one has forgotten us. We finally stopped three years ago. We don't have any contact with Patty anymore. It was fun performing in petty coats. We didn't need new material. We went on with the same songs for years. When a mother of a 20-year-old son comes to me, the boy knows"Shananana". They still play it in discotheques and on the radio".
Ryan played Luv's medley from the 2006 Toppers concert at the Amsterdam ArenA as the final song on "History Repeating" to show Luv's great popularity in Europe.
Luv' performing during De Toppers concert at the Amsterdam ArenA in 2006
Source: SpiritLive, YouTube