Thursday, April 8, 2010

Hazel O'Connor



Singer-songwriter and actress Hazel O'Connor was born on May 16, 1955 in Coventry, England. She is the daughter of an Irish soldier who settled in England during World War II to work in a car plant. She grew up in a family environment that encouraged her to have a mind of her own and be independent from a very early age. This led her to start taking her own decisions as early as age 5. During her teenage years she really went on to a large search of herself as she traveled all around the world and tried a wide variety of professions. When she was only 16, she went to Amsterdam to design her own clothes and sell them. Then she picked grapes in southern France, then joined a dance troupe that went from Tokyo to Beirut. She left Beirut just a month before the civil war ignited there. When she was in Japan, she also taught English for Japanese people and learned Japanese. Later, she traveled to West Africa, crossed the Sahara Desert, sang with a dreadful trio for the U.S. troops in Germany and when all her sadventure finished, she returned home to settle down. She realized during this colorful trip that singing was the one thing that lifted her up, so that's when her decision of becoming a singer was born. Her debut was in a softcore porn film called Girls Come First, in 1975, in which she even simulated having sex on a bathtub with another man (John Hamill). However, her big break came in 1980 with her first top-billing film, Breaking Glass, winning the role over already established artists such as then-orange haired friend Toyah Willcox. O'Connor recorded its accompanying soundtrack which got to smell the aroma of success. O'Connor released subsequent albums until she had serious problems with her recording company as they were trying to take decisions for her and treating her like a puppet and she found herself upset with the whole situation and dumped the record company. This left her in the brink of bankruptcy and couldn't record another album until 1990. In 1987 she was invited as the ensemble of the Ferry Aid performing Let It Be. Since 1990 she hasn't stopped recording and among the projects she's released is Beyond the Breaking Glass, which was an act that narrated Hazel's life and also played her songs accompanied only by a harp. This vegetarian artist divides her time living in the Irish countryside in a 300-year old house and in France and in 2010 will release a new album with her newest project The Bluja project. A woman with a very strong sense of her own self, with a mind of her own and a force of nature sprinkled with enormous talent. That is, in short, the quality of artist that Hazel O'Connor is.

Trivia:

She has a star in the Coventry Walk of Fame.
She did a cameo in Eurythmics's Who's That Girl video in 1983.
Her dear friend George Michael appeared in her video Don't Touch Me in 1984.

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This is the album that started the Hazelmania back in 1980. This is the soundtrack for the movie of the same name. In the movie, which is set during former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, (with scenes of civil unrest, violence, etc.) Hazel O'Connor portrays a punk/new wave frontwoman called Kate for a group called Breaking Glass. She is rebellious, tough, with a mind of her own and doesn't believe in contracts or in managers and has a disdain for the machinery that the record industry is. Then, she finds herself trapped in that world, suffers a nervous breakdown and her life itself breaks itself like glass. For this movie she was nominated as Best Newcomer at BAFTA awards and the soundtrack was also nominated as best film score. In addition to the nominations, Hazel won a Variety Club of Great Britain Award for her role in this movie.
BTW, we recommend the movie. It's an excellent movie and O'Connor gives an amazing performance. Now, about the album, the music in this record is pure new wave with lots of saxophones and angry lyrics that denounce society, such as in the Top 5 hit Eighth Day (#5 in U.K.) which makes a statement about how God created this world and mankind is destroying it with technology. Blackman is an anti-racism anthem, to mention some examples. All of the songs were written lyrics and music by Hazel O'Connor as well as playing the synthesizers. Singles released here are: Writing on the Wall, Eighth Day (#5), Give Me an Inch (#41), the haunting ballad with the famous sax solo Will You (#8), and Calls the Tune (#60), //

Este es el disco que comenzó la "Hazelmanía". Este es a la vez la banda sonora de la película del mismo nombre. En la película, la cual es ambientada durante el gobierno de la otrora primera ministra Margaret Thatcher (con escenas de inseguridad ciudadana, violencia urbana, etc.), ilustra a Kate, la cantante y rostro de un grupo new wave con el nombre de Breaking Glass. Ella es rebelde, dura, con una mente propia y no cree en en contratos ni en managers y tiene una enorme aversión a la maquinaria que es la industria discográfica. Luego, ella se encuentra atrapada en ese mundo, sufre una crisis nerviosa y su vida se quiebra poco a poco como vidrios. Para esta película, ella fue nominada por los premios BAFTA como Mejor actriz novata y la banda sonora fue nominada como mejor banda sonora de una película. Además, Hazel ganó un premio del Variety Club of Great Britain Award por su papel en esta película.
Por cierto, les recomendamos esta película . Es una excelente película y O'Connor hace una actuación impresionante. Ahora, sobre el disco, la música aquí es puramente new wave con muchos saxofones y letras cargadas de enojo que denuncian la sociedad, como en el éxito que llegó al Top 5 Eighth Day (#5) que hace una crítica sobre cómo Dios creó este mundo y el hombre lo está destruyendo con la tecnología. Blackman es un himno al anti racismo, para mencionar unos cuantos ejemplos. Todas las canciones fueron escritas música y letra por Hazel O'Connor misma e inclusive toca los sintetizadores. Los sencillos extraídos de acá son: Writing on the Wall, Eighth Day (#5), Give Me an Inch (#41), la balada hipnotizante con el famoso solo de sax Will You (#8) y Calls the Tune (#60).

Tracklist:

1-) Writing on the Wall.
2-) Monsters in Disguise.
3-) Come into the Air.
4-) Big Brother.
5-) Who Needs It?
6-) Will You?
7-) Eighth Day.
8-) Top of the Wheel.
9-) Calls the Tune.
10-) Blackman.
11-) Give Me an Inch.
12-) If Only.

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Sons & Lovers is the name of Hazel O'Connor's second album, released also in 1980. The album didn't have the same impact of its predecessor as it was felt like a rushed release hot on the heels of her first album. However, that didn't stop the album from spawning memorable hits such as D-Days (#10 in the U.K.). This song was inspired by one trip Hazel did to a London night club where she met a lot of bizarre looking people. The album follows pretty much the same line of her previous album, New Wave with intelligent lyrics and saxophones thrown in the songs, but it's worth a listen. Other singles are Time (Ain't on Our Side), Zoo, and Do What You Do.//

Sons & Lovers es el nombre del segundo disco de nuevo material de Hazel O'Connor, lanzado también en 1980. El disco no tuvo el mismo impacto que el anterior porque se sintió como un lanzamiento apresurado, pisando los talones del disco anterior. Aún así, eso no detuvo que el disco extrajera éxitos memorables como D-Days (#10 en el Reino Unido). La inspiración de esta canción fue una noche que Hazel fue a una disco en Londres y conoció muchas personas con apariencia muy extraña. El disco casi que sigue la línea del disco anterior con la música New Wave con letras inteligentes y saxofones entremezclado en las canciones, pero vale la pena escuchar este disco. Otros sencillos son Time (Ain't on Our Side), Zoo y Do What You Do.

Tracklist:

1-) D-Days.
2-) Waiting.
3-) Who Will Care?
4-) Zoo.
5-) Gigolo.
6-) Do What You Do.
7-) Sons and Lovers.
8-) Glass Houses.
9-) Ain't It Funny.
10-) Danny Boy.
11-) Bye Bye.
12-) Time (Ain't on Our Side).

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Cover Plus is O'Connor's third studio album released in 1981. Yes, the woman is very very creative, I know. She never runs out of it. For many O'Connor fans this is her best album of all, although successfully doesn't surpass Breaking Glass. This album charted to #32 in the U.K. Cover Plus musically speaking follows the line of her previous two albums but at the same time sounds different to these other albums. The singles taken from this album were: (Cover Plus) We're All Grown Up (#41), her cover of The Stranglers' Hanging Around (#45), Men of Good Fortune and That's Life. //
Cover Plus es el tercer disco de nuevo material de O'Connor el cual fue lanzado en 1981. Sí, la mujer es muy muy creativa, lo sé. Nunca se le acaba. Para muchos fans de O'Connor este es su mejor disco de todos, aunque en términos de éxito no supera a Breaking Glass. Este álbum entró al #32 en el Reino Unido. Musicalmente hablando este disco sigue la línea de sus dos discos anteriores pero a la vez suena diferentes a los discos anteriores. Los sencillos de este disco fueron: Ee-i-addio, (Cover Plus) We're All Grown Up (#41), su versión "cover" de la canción de The Stranglers, Hanging Around (#45), Men of Good Fortune y That's Life.

Tracklist:

1-) (Cover Plus) We're All Grown Up.
2-) Hanging Around.
3-) Ee-i-addio.
4-) Not for You.
5-) Hold On.
6-) So You're Born.
7-) Dawn Chorus.
8-) Animal Farm (We Will Be Happy?).
9-) Runaway.
10-) Do What You Gotta Do.
11-) Men of Good Fortune.
12-) That's Life.

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Smile is Hazel O'Connor's fourth studio album, released in 1984. Most of the songs were written during and after the time Hazel was being sued by her record company, her manager, and even her saxophone player who played in her hit Will You. This album was produced by Martin Rushent who had worked with established bands such as The Human League and Altered Images, so it's no surprise that Hazel decided this time around to drop the new wave style and instead favor synth-pop music.The album didn't make any impression in the U.K. charts and the first two singles Don't Touch Me and Just Good Friends didn't go beyond the Top 100. The other two singles Tell Me a Story and Cuts Too Deep didn't even make it into the charts. Smile was re-released and remastered in 2008 by Cherry Red Records. This edition includes bonus tracks, including songs that have never appeared in any of her albums and a couple of mixes. However, for the blog's purposes, we decided to keep the original tracklist. This album is very different to what she has done before but it's definitely worth a listen. //
Smile es el cuarto disco de estudio de Hazel O'Connor, lanzado en 1984. Casi todas las canciones fueron escritas durante y después del tiempo en que Hazel tuvo problemas legales con su compañía disquera, su manager e inclusive su saxofonista quien tocó en su éxito Will You. Este disco fue producido por Martin Rushent quien había trabajado con bandas establecidas como The Human League y Altered Images, así que no es sorpresa que Hazel decidiera en esta oportunidad abandonar el new wave y favorecer el synth-pop. Este disco no causó ninguna impresión en los charts del Reino Unido y los dos primeros sencillos extraídos Don't Touch Me y Just Good Friends no llegaron más allá del Top 100. Los otros dos sencillos Tell Me a Story y Cuts Too Deep ni siquiera lograron entrar en los charts. Smile fue relanzado y remasterizado en el 2008 por Cherry Red Records. Esta edición incluye bonus tracks, incluyendo canciones que nunca habían aparecido en sus discos y unos remixes. No obstante, debido a los propósitos de este blog, decidimos conservar el tracklist original. Este disco es muy distinto a lo que Hazel ha hecho anteriormente pero vale totalmente la pena darle una escuchada.

Tracklist:

1-) Just Good Friends.
2-) Don't Touch Me.
3-) I'm So Sorry.
4-) Tell Me a Story.
5-) Smile.
6-) Cuts Too Deep.
7-) The Man I Love.
8-) I Don't Know.
9-) Mystifies.
10-) Bring It on Home to Me.
11-) Spancill Hill.

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Alive and Kicking in L.A. (1990) (***NEW***)


Alive and Kicking in L.A. is Hazel O'Connor's live album, released in 1990 and then re-released under other names such as L.A. Confidential. This live album includes hits like Will You and D-Days plus other rare tracks.

Tracklisting:

1-) D-Days.
2-) Reach.
3-) Driftwood.
4-) Blackman.
5-) Summertime.
6-) Tell Me Why.
7-) Just Like a Woman.
8-) Time After Time.
9-) Will You?
10-) Sing Out Sister.

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Hazel Plus

Hazel Plus is a self-made compilation which consists of a handful of Hazel O'Connor's non-album tracks and a couple of alternate versions of a couple of her hits. This includes her 2010 Christmas song collaboration as part of the Hazel O'Connor Collective, Re-Joyce and her 1986 song Today Could Be So Good.





Tracklisting:

1-) D-Days (single version).
2-) (Cover Plus) We're All Grown Up (alternate version).
3-) Fire Away.
4-) Today Could Be So Good.
5-) We Tried.
6-) Re-Joyce.

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And lastly, the trailer of the great film Breaking Glass, starring the equally great Hazel O'Connor/ Y por último, el trailer de la gran película Breaking Glass de la igualmente grande Hazel O'Connor:


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6 comments:

  1. Fantastic.

    Breaking Glass one of my favourite films.

    Hazel O'Connor one of my favourite singers.

    thanks for posting this,

    kind regards,

    Michael.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you very much for the album "Smile" (1984)!
    Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for the Hazel O'Connor albums

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  4. Collection(15CD) - http://rutracker.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4193924

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  5. Your links are all taken down now...too bad.....would love some of these cds....

    ReplyDelete