American author and Facebook friend James Arena published a book entitled "Stars of 80s Dance Pop - The European Edition" (see news posted on March 9th, 2015). He interviewed more than 50 European Dance-pop artists from the 1980s including Pete Burns of Dead or Alive, Thomas Anders of Modern Talking, Spagna, Sabrina Salerno, Amii Stewart, Ryan Paris, Caroline Loeb, Desireless, Fab Morvan of Milli Vanilli, Leee John of Imagination, Liz Mitchell of Boney M., Hazell Dean, Yazz, Jo Bogaert of Technotronic, Taco, Mai Tai and Hollywood entertainer Mel Brooks. All the artists have one thing in common. They scored big post disco hits in Old Europe in the 1980s.
The book also features the former lead singer of Luv': José Hoebee. The songstress discussed her glory years as a member of Holland's greatest girl group and as a solo artist.
This is how James described Luv': "Bridging the swinging '70s and the electro-edgy 80s with their effervescent dance-pop sound, the music of the Dutch female trio known as Luv' became one of Holland's top exports. The group, which featured lead vocals by José Hoebee, is reported to have sold more than seven million records worldwide. Distinguished by sweet harmonies and uplifting melodies, such as their breakthrough 1978 disco hit "You're the Greatest Lover", Luv' was an international phenomenon".
Here's what José said about several issues:
On her recruitment as a Luv' singer: "I met Piet Souer (Champagne, Doris D. & The Pins, Vanessa), who was an arranger. We became friends and he asked me if I was interested in being in a commercial group with two other singers....I thought maybe it was worth trying as a way of furthering my music career...."
On Luv's debut: "At first, the group's producer, Hans van Hemert, wanted to do a three-girl group like The Ronettes and The Shangri-Las....They realized The Shangri-Las' sound wouldn't work and the new sound of Luv' came from that need for something more contemporary".
On the trio's image: "We had a sexy image, but we were never vulgar, I think because we maintained a very tasteful style, we were always treated with respect".
On the lack of success in the UK and the USA (despite their popularity in Continental Europe): "It would have been great if we had been picked up in America and England but I think the lyrics to our songs may have been too simple for those markets."
On her solo career: "It was difficult at first....The producers didn't want to change the way I sang from the way I sounded with Luv', so, as a result, my first song "I'm so sorry" failed to make the charts in Holland...I took a different approach on my next song "I Will Follow Him"....It was completely accepted, going all the way to number 1".
On her duo with Bonnie St. Claire: "Our voices really sounded good together. It was suggested that we do a recording together, so we did an album of ABBA covers, translated in Dutch. I recall our manager asked Björn Ulvaeus of ABBA if he'd like to make a comment about the album on TV....Björn agreed on the condition that he had to, of course, like the album once he heard it. He gave us the most glowing recommendation, saying how proud he was that we were singing their songs in Dutch. It was the biggest compliment I ever received."
If you're curious about the other comments of José, you can buy one copy of the book by clicking here.
I would like to thank James for his Herculean work and José for her generosity.