• Ralph Ruiz

In The Sign Of Love by José: 35th anniversary

Many thanks to Jos Theuns and Marco Rens for the pictures and support.


Thirty-five years ago precisely, on November 16th, 1987, José Hoebee's single entitled "In The Sign Of Love" premiered on Dutch TV. Though it never entered the record charts, this track is very appreciated by loyal fans to this day. Let's celebrate the 35th anniversary of this underestimated record, based on a Wolfang Amadeus Mozart's theme.


History


After Luv's first break-up in 1981, José Hoebee was the former member of the 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.


José at the peak of her solo success in 1982


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 the Top 40 hit "Cassandra" (originally the B-side of ABBA's hit "The Day Before You Came" in late 1982).


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). This Top 40 hit became the signature song of the duo.


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


Herinnering by Bonnie & José (1985)


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


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.


The songstress planned to cover an English folk song: "All Around My Hat". She went back to her folk & country roots with this track, produced by Hans Vermeulen and her husband, Will Hoebee. Unfortunately, All Around My Hat, released in November 1986, was not successful.


All Around My Hat by José (1986)


In 1987, Bonnie & José appeared twice on TV (Frank en Vrij Show on NCRV and Sterrenslag in de sneeuw on AVRO). Though José hadn't scored a hit on the charts since late 1985, she was still appreciated as a celebrity.


She took her role of mother very seriously and decided to perform sporadically on stage. Her biggest fan and now a friend of hers, Jos Theuns, was a witness of her occasional live shows, sometimes solo and sometimes with Bonnie St. Claire.


Photos by Jos Theuns:



Live performance with Bonnie St. Claire in Hillegom, the Netherlands on March 28th, 1987

Live performance in Hoofddorp, the Netherlands on April 30th, 1987 (solo and with Bonnie St. Claire)



Live performance in Scheveningen, the Netherlands on June 6th, 1987 (solo and with Bonnie St. Claire)


Live performance in Nispen, the Netherlands on August 23rd, 1987 (solo and with Bonnie St. Claire)


In the summer of 1987, José tried to reinvent herself musically. Her challenge was to put out new material which would be appreciated by the recording-buying public after two years without any hit on the Dutch Top 40. Once again, she teamed up with Piet Souer, the Pygmalion who discovered her with her sisters and her best friend Ad van Genechten as they were part of the folk & country group "Young Tradition" in the early 1970s. Souer made José and her sisters record their debut single entitled "Elongi" in 1976. This track flopped but several months later, the legendary producer asked José to join Luv' with Patty Brard and Marga Scheide. The rest is history.


Mozart & Vicki Brown as an inspiration


Piet and José were impressed by "Stay with Me 'til the Morning", a pop track based on a Mozart theme and performed by The New London Chorale featuring Vicki Brown. This song peaked at #22 on the Dutch Top 40 and #27 on the Nationale Hitparade in the Netherlands and #25 on the Flemish Ultratop in late 1986 and early 1987.


Stay with Me 'til the Morning" by The New London Chorale featuring Vicki Brown (1986)


Piet Souer wrote a solemn song entitled "In The Sign Of Love" also based on a Mozart tune. José recorded it with the prestigious choir "Pro Musica". Click here to read the choir's bio in Dutch. The singer was hoping for success à la Vicky Brown with her ambitious single.


On October 20th, 1987, José appeared on Linda, a talk show hosted by Linda de Mol on TROS. She and other guests (including fans of Boy George, David Bowie and Henny Huisman) discussed the relationships between celebrities and their extreme admirers. José told a story of threatening letters that she received when she was a Luv' member.


In November 1987, Corduroy Records released "In The Sign Of Love" by José.



Photo edited by Marco Rens


Thirty-five years precisely, on November 16th, 1987, José's single premiered on television. Accompanied by the Pro Musica choir, she performed "In The Sign Of Love" on Willem Duys' talk show "Voor de Vuist Weg" on AVRO.


José & Pro Musica on Voor de Vuist Weg


Here's what José answered when I asked her to tell me an anecdote about "In The Sign Of Love": "It was the idea of Piet Souer, the record producer who asked me to join Luv'. He wanted to test something new with me. After I recorded it, Piet hugged me with tears in his eyes. The icing on the cake was when I performed it on Willem Duys' TV show. At the time, Duys was a leading media personality who was very demanding when he invited artists to his programs. I was very honoured when he announced my performance on "Voor de Vuist Weg".


José sang her new song on two other TV shows in early January 1988: Service Salon on AVRO and Sky Channel in the UK.


José on Sky Channel (January 5th, 1988) - Photo montage by Marco Rens


Despite this exposure on TV and José's excellent vocals, the track was not a commercial success. The Dutch radio DJs didn't play it. Maybe this project was too challenging and the general public was not ready to accept José as a serious performer and preferred to label her as a "former Luv' singer"?


Commercial performance


"In The Sign Of Love" by José didn't enter the Dutch Top 40 and the Nationale Hitparade, mainly due to a radio boycott.


Tracklisting


In The Sign Of Love

7" vinyl single (45 rpm) - original release by Corduroy Records in November 1987


Front cover



  • A side: In The Sign Of Love - 3:25

Written by Piet Souer and based on a Wolfang Amadeus Mozart's theme


  • B side: Rhythm Of Love (Instrumental) - 3:25

Written by Piet Souer and Martin Duiser






Credits:


Lead Vocals by José Hoebee

Backup vocals by Pro Musica

Produced by Piet Souer for Hiltown Prod.

Recorded by Balance Sound

Mixed by Sound Push


In The Sign Of Love was included in the 2005 compilation "Alle Hits & Unieke Bonustracks".


TV performances


* November 16th, 1987: Voor de Vuist Weg (AVRO, Netherlands)



* January 4th, 1988: Service Salon (AVRO, Netherlands)


* January 5th, 1988: Sky Channel, United Kingdom


Source: Jos Theuns, Luv' weblog archives, With Luv' From José weblog archives, Discogs.com, YouTube

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