Kiki Dee — The Ariola and EMI Years

Kiki Dee isn’t the only British artist to be signed to Detroit’s Motown Records Company, but I’ll bet you hers is the only name you’d recognise if you saw of list of British signees.


The former Pauline Mathews from Bradford made her first record in 1963; thirty years later she had her last hit, although in between there were far more misses than hits, a crying shame in many cases.

This isn’t the first time the Demon Records Group that owns the Edsel label has turned its focus on Kiki. In recent years they have chronicled her output for the Fontana and Motown labels and then the recordings she made for Elton John’s Rocket label. This time it’s her recordings for the Ariola and Columbia labels and, once again, it’s a mix of hits and also-runs. That’s not to say her performances are anything less than first class throughout; it’s just, for some reason, she never became the consistent hit maker she should have.

In this 4xCD, you’ll find a smattering of hits including Star (the signature tune from BBC TV’s revival of Opportunity Knocks), Perfect Timing (shamefully only reaching #66) and her duet with Elton John, True Love, which made number 2. Among the non hits are Midnight Flyer, Another Day Comes (Another Day Goes), I Fall In Love Too Easily, Angel Eyes and another duet with Elton, Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever. Why that one wasn’t a hit, I can’t imagine.

The highlight for long time Kiki fans is the inclusion of the previously unreleased album, Two Sides To Every Story, which, inexplicably, Ariola left gathering dust on a tape store shelf, three unreleased demo recordings plus some twelve inch mixes and the odd remix among the forty-seven tracks and while you’re listening to all of that there’s a booklet which tells her story thanks to new interviews with the singer and two of her producers, Pip Williams and Chris Kimsey.


Austin Powell has spent his entire working life in the music business. From being an agent and manager of ‘beat groups’ in the sixties to working for major record companies in the seventies and eighties, he has also held management positions at radio stations in England, Wales and on the Isle Of Man. He continues to act as a consultant to several record companies and artists and presents a weekly 'oldies' show on Monday evenings on 101.8 WCR FM in Wolverhampton.


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