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  • Photo du rédacteurRalph Ruiz

"I Can Hear Music" by José: 40th anniversary

Photo by Govert de Roos and edited by Marco Rens

Forty years ago precisely, on March 5th, 1983, "I Can Hear Music", a single by José Hoebee, entered the Nationale Hitparade (currently known as the Single Top 100) in the Netherlands, the BRT Top 30 and the Ultratop in Belgium. Though this record missed the Dutch Top 40 and was not as popular as José's previous smash hits (including the #1 song "I Will Follow Him"), it remains cult among the fans. Here's the story of the underestimated track

Song history

1982 was the peak of José's solo career after Luv's first break-up. Thanks to this triumph, she won in January 1983 the Hitkrant award for the "best Dutch female singer of 1982".

José, the lucky winner of the 1983 Hitkrant award for "best Dutch female singer of 1982"

Her recipe for success was to perform cover versions of classic American hits from the 1950s and 1960s. Indeed, the artist was nicknamed "the cover queen".

In the summer of 1982, her cover version of Peggy March's pop classic "I Will Follow Him" was a chart-topper in the Netherlands and Belgium and sold 100.000 copies. The follow-up single "Secret Love" (a cover version of a Doris Day's song) was also popular on the charts: #11 on the Dutch Top 40 and #14 on the Nationale Hitparade in the Netherlands as well as #3 on the Flemish BRT Top 30 and #4 on the Ultratop in Belgium.

CNR/Carrere Records released José's first solo album "The Good Times", shortly after. This LP was produced by Pim Koopman (member of the legendary pop-rock band Kayak and producer of the sister duo Maywood) and was named after "The Good Times", an original song penned by Piet Souer and released as a single.

After a glorious 1982, how would 1983 be?

José showed a new haircut at the New Year's reception organized by the TROS broadcaster. She was accompanied by Marga Scheide, who also revealed a new hairdo. "De Telegraaf" published an article about this event in its "Privé" section on January 6th, 1983. José told the newspaper that she was allowed to perform again after her lung inflammation due to an artificial snowflake she swallowed during a photo shoot with Harry Slinger (singer of the Dutch band Drukwerk).

De Telegraaf - January 6th, 1983- Click here to read the article online.

José was in good condition to put out her next single, "I Can Hear Music", on February 9th, 1983. This song was taken from her solo LP "The Good Times".

"I Can Hear Music" was written by Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich and Phil Spector for the American girl group The Ronettes in 1966. Three years later, the legendary Beach Boys made the track famous. Their version peaked at number 24 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the USA and reached the Top 10 and the Top 20 in several countries worldwide (including Sweden, Netherlands, UK, Germany, Irland, Malaysia, Chile and Australia).

Beach Boys - I Can Hear Music (1969)

Lucy Steymel recorded backing vocals on José's version. Renowned photographer Govert de Roos took a beautiful picture of the singer for the single's front cover.

Photos edited by Marco Rens

Radio and TV performances

José performed "I Can Hear Music" live on the NCRV radio show "Los Vast" in February 1983. Click here to listen to this performance (source: Jos Theuns and The Good Times - José's Facebook page)

"I Can Hear Music" premiered on television on AVRO's TopPop on March 5th, 1983.

José performing "I Can Hear Music" on AVRO's TopPop - broadcast date: March 5th, 1983

She also sang this track on the iconic Veronica's TV show "Nederland Muziekland".

José on Nederland Muziekland - unknown broadcast date

José was supposed to promote her single during the March 12th, 1983 broadcast of the TROS game show "Showbizzquiz". The Dutch paper Limburgsch dagblad even announced it.

Limburgsch dagblad - March 12th, 1983

Click here to read the article online.

José performed her previous single, "Secret Love", and her new song, "I Can Hear Music", during the program's taping. But an incident occurred. The Showbizzquiz team cut "I Can Hear Music" from the final broadcast.

The March 12th, 1983 edition of the Dutch newspaper "Het Vrije Volk" reported what happened: "José doesn't have to complain as a recording artist. But recently, she has been through bad moments. First, the former voice of Luv' swallowed an artificial snowflake during a photo shoot with the Drukwerk singer Harry Slinger. As a result, she was on sick leave for a week. It caused the artist to lose an estimated 20.000 Dutch guilders. This week, José faced bad luck again from a financial point of view as a guest on Ron Brandsteder's Showbizzquiz, which airs tonight on Nederland 2 at 8.10 pm. The Hilversum hit singer was invited to perform two songs, her previous success "Secret Love" and her new single "I Can Hear Music". The latter song, made famous by The Beach Boys in the 1960s, was cut from the broadcast. The TROS staff removed forty-five minutes from the taping and kept "Secret Love". José was very disappointed as she invested 4.000 guilders in ballet, rehearsals and outfits. "It was as if they threw this money away. If TROS had kept the new song, nothing would have happened. The audience would have been pleased. Now we have to sell thousands of records to compensate for this loss. The TV viewers watched a song they already listened to last year," the record label director Willem-Jan van de Wetering said".

Het Vrije Volk - March 12th, 1983

Click here to read the article online


I Can Hear Music

7" vinyl single (45 rpm) - original release by CNR/Carrere Records on February 9th, 1983

Front cover

  • A side: I Can Hear Music (J. Barry / E. Greenwich / P. Spector) - 3:11

  • B side: A Reason For Fallin' In Love (P. Koopman) - 2:41

Back cover

On May 7th, 2019, "The Good Times" album (including "I Can Hear Music") became available on digital platforms.


José: lead vocals, backing vocals

Lucy Steymel and Pim Koopman: backing vocals

All instruments played by Pim Koopman

Recorded at D.M.C studios, Baarn, Holland

Engineered by John Smit and John Sonneveld

Produced by Pim Koopman for Purple Eye Productions B.V.

Marketed and distributed by B.V. Grammofoonplatenmaatschappij CNR

Management: Interlinde Management

Photography by Govert de Roos

Make-up: Frans Sam

Styling: Stinx - Hilversum - Amsterdam

Commercial performance

Here are the single's peak positions on the Dutch and Flemish record charts:

🇳🇱 #48 on the Nationale Hitparade - Top 50 (Netherlands)

Debut date: March 5th, 1983 - Weeks on chart: 1

🇧🇪 #13 on the BRT Top 30 (Belgium)

Debut date: March 5th, 1983 - Weeks on chart: 3

🇧🇪 #15 on the Ultratop Flanders - Top 40 (Belgium)

Debut date: March 5th, 1983 - Weeks on chart: 3

Site about Pim Koopman's music:

Source: Luv' and José's weblogs archives, Wikipedia,, Dutchcharts,, Facebook

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