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  • Photo du rédacteurRalph Ruiz

Secret Love by José: 40th anniversary

Thanks Marco Rens and Jos Theuns for the photos.

Photo by Govert de Roos - edited by Marco Rens

Forty years ago precisely, on September 11th, 1982, José Hoebee's third solo single, "Secret Love", entered the Dutch Tipparade (the Bubbling Under Top 40 chart). The following week, the record reached the Dutch Top 40. It later got on the Nationale Hitparade in the Netherlands as well as on the BRT Top 30 and the Flemish Ultratop 50 in Belgium. More than one year after Luv's first break-up, José proved that she was much more than a "one-hit wonder". Let's celebrate Secret Love's 40th anniversary.

Song history

"I Will Follow Him" by José, a cover version of Little Peggy March's signature song, spent 10 weeks on the Dutch Top 40 (from June 5th to August 7th, 1982) and reached #1 for one week on July 3rd, 1982. It stayed 11 weeks on the Nationale Hitparade in the Netherlands (from June 5th to August 14th, 1982) and peaked at #2 for two weeks (June 26th and July 3rd, 1982).

The single did also well in Flanders (Belgium): it spent 11 weeks on the BRT Top 30 (June 12th to August 21st, 1982) and 12 weeks on the Ultratop (June 12th to August 28th, 1982). It was a chart-topper on both charts for three weeks, from July 17th to July 31st, 1982. José's single eventually sold 100.000 copies in Benelux and peaked at #6 on the Europarade (a list combining the charts of ten European countries).

Photo edited by Marco Rens

José's recipe for success was to perform American classic hits from the 1950s and 1960s. Indeed, the artist was nicknamed "the cover queen". As a follow-up single to "I Will Follow Him", she released a cover version of a classic from the 1950s: "Secret Love".

"Secret Love" was a song originally performed by Doris Day in the film "Calamity Jane" in 1953. The track was written by Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster. It received an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1954. It reached the number one spot on both the Billboard and Cash Box charts in the USA. The record was also a chart-topper in the UK. Many international recording artists (including Connie Francis, Kim Weston & Marvin Gaye, Freddy Fender, George Michael, Viola Wills, Mandy Moore, Engelbert Humperdinck and K.d Lang) covered the song.

Pim Koopman (formerly of Dutch band Kayak and producer of the iconic sister duo "Maywood") supervised the recording sessions of José's version. British singer July Forsyth (a member of "Guys 'n Dolls" between 1974 and 1985) recorded the backing vocals. Renowned photographer Govert de Roos took a beautiful picture of José for the front cover of the single.

In 2017, I asked José to tell me her feelings about this classic hit. "After "I Will Follow Him", I was named the "cover queen"...I've always been a fan of Doris Day...My husband, who came up with the idea of recording "I Will Follow Him", thought that "Secret Love" would fit me like a glove. Record producer Pim Koopman chose an uptempo dance-pop orchestration and it worked. I remember performing the song on Tineke de Nooij's show on TV. American actor Howard Keel was a guest on this program. He co-starred with Doris Day in the movie "Calamity Jane" which included "Secret Love". He talked to me very gently," the songstress said.

A few days before Secret Love's release, Flemish teen magazine Joepie published José's private photo album in its August 29th, 1982 issue.

José's photo album including the highlights of the singer's life - Joepie (1982)

Tracklisting - release

On September 8th, 1982, CNR/Carrere Records released "Secret Love" by José as a 7-inch 45 rpm record with the country track "Mr Jones" on the B-side. It was later included on José's first solo album "The Good Times" which came out in November 1982 and on her compilation "Alle Hits & Unieke Bonustracks" (released by WVS Music in 2005).

Cover of Secret Love

  • A side: Secret Love ( Webster, Fain) - 3:04

  • B side: Mr. Jones (W. Helmus) - 3:06


Lead vocals by José

Background vocals by Julie Forsyth

All instruments played by Pim Koopman for Purple Eye Productions B.V

Instruments supplied by HVK Music

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

On September 10th, 1982, Dutch station Radio Veronica/Hilversum 3 chose "Secret Love"

as an "Alarmschijf" (record of the week or hit tip). The single was played in heavy rotation on Veronica to make it a hit record.

On September 18th, 1982, it entered the Dutch Top 40 at #24, peaked at #11 for two weeks (October 2nd and 9th, 1982) and spent six weeks on the singles chart.

Dutch Top 40 published on September 18th, 1982

On September 25th, 1982, the song entered the Nationale Hitparade at #27 in the Netherlands, reached #14 on October 2nd, 1982 and stayed five weeks on this chart.

José's Secret Love mentioned in the "Hit Score" section (record charts) of De Telegraaf on September 22nd, 1982 - Click here to read the article online.

"Secret Love" also charted in Flanders, Belgium. It entered the Ultratop at #30 on September 25th, 1982, peaked at #4 for two weeks (October 16th and 23rd, 1982) and spent eight weeks on this chart. The single entered the BRT Top 30 at #28 on September 25th, 1982, reached #3 for two weeks (October 16th and 23rd, 1982) and stayed seven weeks on this hit parade.

José's single entered and peaked at #19 on the Europarade (a list combining the charts of ten European countries) on October 16th, 1982. It only stayed two weeks on the European hit list.

TV appearances

  • September 15th, 1982: Nederland Muziekland (Veronica)

  • September 25th, 1982: Met de TROS de winter door (TROS)

José on "Met de TROS de winter in" - Screenshots by Co Rnz

  • October 4th, 1982: Tineke Show (Veronica)

Radio performances

José performed "Secret Love" live twice on the radio: "Los Vast" (NCRV) on October 2nd, 1982 and "Mijn Idool" (Veronica) on June 29th, 1983.

José on Los Vast, broadcast live from Jirnsum, Friesland on October 2nd, 1982

Secret Love (live) on "Mijn Idool" (Veronica, June 29th, 1983)

Live shows

In addition to TV and radio performances, José toured the club circuit in the Netherlands. One of her live shows took place at the Disco-dancing "Bios" in Born, Limburg on October 10th, 1982. José's longtime fan and friend, Jos Theuns, attended this gig and even took photos of it.

José at Disco-dancing "Bios" in Born on October 10th, 1982

Five days later, on October 15th, 1982, José performed at Disco Lexis in Heerlen, Limburg. Jos Theuns was present and took other pictures of the show:

José at Disco Lexis in Heerlen on October 15th, 1982

Secret Love was part of José's set list during her solo performances until late 2018.

Bibliography: Top 40 Hitdossier 1956-2005 (9e editie), 2006 by Johan van Slooten, published by Gottmer Becht Groep

Source: Luv' and José weblogs archives, Wikipedia,, Dutchcharts, Facebook (José Hoebee Fan Page (Marco Rens) - José Hoebee Mijn Idool (Jos Theuns) - The Good Times (Karen Angeleyes),, Dutch Rock Pop Institute,,, YouTube, Toen gisteren nog vandaag was...

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