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#1 in Heaven Import

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Audio CD, Import, April 26, 1999
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$7.08 $8.38

Amazon's Sparks Store


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Sparks - short biog

The artists who would come to be known for posterity as Sparks commenced inventing their often-copied, seldom-equaled brand of music back around 1970, when pop was young and brash and the Southern California airwaves awash with a contingent of post-British invasion inspirations like The Kinks, Barretts Floyd, and The Seeds. The purchase of countless shiny-sleeved ... Read more in Amazon's Sparks Store

Visit Amazon's Sparks Store
for 98 albums, 8 photos, discussions, and more.

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 26, 1999)
  • Original Release Date: 2005
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Repertoire
  • ASIN: B000026VL1
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,891 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Tryouts For The Human Race
2. Academy Award Performance
3. La Dolce Vita
4. Beat The Clock
5. My Other Voice
6. The Number One Song In Heaven

Editorial Reviews

Import only 1979 album produced by famed Disco producer Giorgio Moroder. Ron and Russell Mael were always taking chances musically, so when they joined creative forces with the producer of Donna Summer's big hits, the critics were dumbfounded. But upon release, the album was instantly called a classic and remains the foundation of their career for the last 25 years. With witty lyrics, catchy melodies and a musical bed of keyboards and dance beats, this remains one of their most influential albums. Includes the chart hits 'Number One Song in Heaven' and 'Beat the Clock' as well as solid album tracks like 'La Dolce Vita', No. 1 in Heaven surprises by succeeding on an artistic and commercial level. Repertoire.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Madeline Bocaro on October 8, 2005
Format: Audio CD

How Sparks Parted The New Wave

In 1979 punk rock was still the rage in England, and disco was devouring America. So where did Sparks fit in? With disco in England of course! This didn't make much sense at all to their fans, but the Maels made the best of both worlds. Their take on disco had a European edge coupled with Sparks' trademark sensibility, which became the perfect formula for a revolutionary new sound that would resonate through the decades. They may or may not have known it at the time, but Sparks were prophetically writing the Ten Commandments of Synth-Pop. Unfortunately, the commandment most often disobeyed by their eventual followers was, "Thou shalt be original!"

In the days when Sparks were releasing an album per year, No. 1 In Heaven was the follow-up to the surprisingly ordinary Introducing Sparks. Ordinary became extraordinary seemingly overnight. As suddenly as Tyrannosaurus Rex became electric warriors, and as shockingly as when Dylan went electric, Sparks went electronic! They got as much flak from their fans as Dylan and T-Rex did in their time, but some of us were hip to this new change, and new fans became enlightened as well. The music press gave the album equal shares of praise and damnation, but its musical prophecy would ring true in due time.

For almost a decade, the usual Sparks album consisted of ten succinct, highly unusual pop songs. No. 1 In Heaven gave us six extended, highly unusual fluid epics; the shortest just under five minutes, the title track being the longest, outlasting both "Hey Jude" and "Bohemian Rhapsody" at 7:27, not to mention the re-mixes!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Pieter Uys HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 3, 2002
Format: Audio CD
This is the ultimate in synth-rock! Sparks called in the help of producer Giorgio Moroder and created an album that is the electronic equivalent of Meat Loaf's Bat Out Of Hell. Dramatic and overblown, it works because of the sheer exuberance of the songs, the hypnotic beat, the falsetto vocals and the gripping melody lines. The most accessible numbers are Tryouts For The Human Race, Beat The Clock and the devastating Number One Song In Heaven (also available as a CD single in four remixes). Think of Kraftwerk and Suicide at their weirdest, throw in Donna Summer's classic I Feel Love, and you'll have some idea of what this album sounds like. An essential album for those who love cutting-edge synth/electronic music.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By sonik57 on May 24, 2008
Format: Audio CD
1979: the fag end of punk was dwindling to a gradual stop as Britain, it seemed, reached a cataclysmic collapse. For those not in the UK during the infamous "winter of discontent" of 1978-9, Britain was on the brink of meltdown as everyone went on strike, the bins went unemptied, the dead unburied. So what gave people hope during this bleak time? DISCO! Clashing head-on with the grubby ethics of guitar rock, disco dared to be
ebullient, hedonistic and escapist. It was a Marshall Plan of a musical movement. As with most popular musics, it was to leave a lasting legacy; one that is still celebrated now.

Britain (and Europe generally) engaged completely with (mostly American) disco in the wake of Saturday Night Fever. Arguably there are fewer than
twenty really solid gold disco classics but 'Beat The Clock' is one of them. Blown away by what Moroder had done two years previously with the sublime 'I Feel Love', the Maels approached him to produce their next album. Junking the traditional guitars/drums approach, this is the Sparks album where Ron and Giorgio fully availed themselves of the synth technology of the time. Moroder hadn't worked with a band since Chichory (Son Of My Father) Tip some years before and the Maels had never worked with someone like him before and the combination was dynamite. I was 13 years old and totally destroyed by this album.

As with Kraftwerk's classic album from the previous year, 'The Man Machine', it has just six tracks but all of them are real winners. The lyrics, the sounds, the empassioned drumming (a medal to whoever drummed on the songs!), the production and everything else meshed together to produce an incredible album which was both of the time and ahead of it.

Stand-out tracks?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tim Brough TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 3, 2010
Format: Audio CD
In 1979, those purveyors of quirk (aka Sparks) decided that they should make a record with the reigning king of European electronic disco, Giorgio Moroder. Moroder, primarily known as the man who gave America Donna Summer, said OK. The result was this bizarre delight, "Number 1 In Heaven." And while it made almost no impact at all in the USA, it delivered three hits in the UK. For an album comprised of a mere six songs, that's saying something.

Moroder (who recently turned 70!) did little to change his sound, yet neither did the Mael Brothers. The spacey disco-toms still cascade across the songs and a four-to-the-floor kick drum pounds relentlessly, all while Russell's piercing vocals cut through the fog machines and spinning lights. Hall of fame synth-nerd Ron handled the bulk of the keyboards (and future mega-producer Keith Forsey played drums). Somehow, Moroder Munich Machines the whole thing and it still sounded like Sparks.

Shotgun wedding or not, "No 1 In Heaven" works. The three main singles, "Tryouts For The Human Race," "Beat The Clock" and the title song, still sound terrific (something most late 70's disco records can't boast), and the non-hits are almost a strong. The Mael bro's wit under pressure still enthralls (the gold diggers in "La Dolce Vita" in particular). I think it may have also given Moroder a nudge in other directions, he eventually turned to more rock artists like Berlin, Cheap Trick and Kenny Loggins.

As for Sparks, this was their last album of the 70's and holds its own as a pinnacle for both Sparks and Moroder.
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