vendredi 6 juillet 2018

Ria Thiesch: Portrait of a Luv' lady

All Photo montages by Marco Rens

Ria Thielsch has been a great asset to the Luv' concept during the history of the group. She came twice to the rescue of José Hoebee and Marga Scheide when they needed a third member to complete the trio. 

Legendary record producer Hans van Hemert had a clear vision for his girl group when he launched it in late 1976. He wanted a combo consisting of a blonde girl (a Prom Queen type), a dark-haired girl (a girl next door) and an Asian girl (an exotic beauty). 

After Patty Brard left Luv' suddenly in the summer of 1980, Ria was recruited. Prior to her selection, she was a sought-after photo model. She was born in Manokwari, West Papua-New Guinea, on August 25th, 1951. In the late 1960s, she started modelling at age 17 via her older sister who was already a model. Ria and her sibling even worked together. At that time, Twiggy was a trendsetter in the fashion industry and a global sensation. 

Ria and her sister in the 1970s 

At age 23, she became a limbo dancer in addition to her photo shoots. She was later part of the Ricardo & The Flames group which recorded in 1979 a single entitled "Trinidad" and produced by Roy Beltman (who collaborated previously with the legendary band BZN). The record flopped.

Ricardo & The Flames

Shortly after Patty's defection, manager Pim ter Linde contacted Ria because the group still had legal obligations. The owner of a club in Zevenhuizen threatened Luv' to start a legal action if they did not perform. To avoid this penalty, a new girl had to be recruited. Ria had an audition. She had to sing a Linda Ronstadt's song. Piet Souer (who co-wrote Luv' songs with Hans van Hemert) accompanied her on the guitar. Her first performance with Luv' in Zevenhuizen on August 22nd, 1980 was supposed to be a one-off. Finally, she was allowed to be a permanent member of Luv' in September 1980 after Patty's lawyer announced that she would not come back.

Ria's real assessment happened when her charisma was put to the test on television. The viewers discovered the new Luv' girl when she performed "One More Little Kissy" with her colleagues on "Boemerang", a Flemish TV program on BRT channel on September 27th, 1980:

Actually, Ria was much more than a replacement. She was immediately accepted by the fans. Her involvement in Luv' helped the trio to have a Top 5 hit in the Netherlands and Belgium with the "My Number One" single.  

 October 31st, 1980: My Number One on AVRO's TopPop, Netherlands

November 13th, 1980: My Number One on Musikladen (Radio Bremen), West Germany

In addition to the success of My Number One, Luv's album "Forever Yours" peaked at #5 on the Nationale Hitparade Top 50 and #13 on the LP Top 50.

Unfortunately, due to Marga Scheide's burnout, Luv' disbanded in March 1981. 

The ladies briefly reunited in the summer of 1981 for the release of a so-called final single (Tingalingaling) and a compilation (Goodbye Luv'). On June 18th, 1981, they took part in the Hitkrant's zomerspelen (a summer multi-sport event with celebrities which was sponsored by teen magazine Hitkrant) at the Efteling theme park. On that occasion, a handprint ceremony with the girls was organized for the official launch of the Efteling's latest attraction: the "Python" roller coaster. 

To the public's great surprise, Luv' made a farewell performance on July 22nd, 1981 on Veronica's TV show "Nederland Muziekland". The program was taped in Spakenburg, Netherlands. It was supposed to be the end of Luv'. But there would be several comebacks of the trio.

Luv' on Nederland Muziekland

After Luv's breakup, rumours circulated that Ria had recording projects (including a collaboration with the producer of Flemish girl group Bordeaux Rouge). However, nothing materialized.

Article about Ria's project with the producer of Bordeaux Rouge in "Joepie" magazine (Flanders, Belgium - 1981)

Unlike the other ex-Luv' singers, Ria never put out a solo record. Instead, she continued her modelling career until age 40. 

In the early 1990s, she was even in charge of Luv's styling. At the time, the line-up consisted of Marga Scheide, Diana van Berlo and Carina Lemoine.

Marga Scheide, Ria Thielsch, Diana van Berlo & Carina Lemoine

In recent years, she took part in several meet'n greets with Marga and José

Ria and José at Luv' s first fan club day in Breda in April 2003

René Moonen, José, Hans van Hemert & Ria at the release party of the "25 Jaar Na Waldolala" compilation in October 2003

Ria, Marga & José at a fan club day in Eindhoven in May 2013 

Press launch and release party of "The Story of Luv" book in May 2015 at the Wisseloord Studios in Hilversum

In late 2015, speculations about an umpteenth comeback of Luv' appeared in the media. The name of Ria was even mentioned. 

On the second Christmas day of 2015, Ria and the ladies had a dinner together with friends which caused a wave of positive reactions among fans. 

On March 16th, 2016, Dutch newspaper "De Telegraaf" and its sister magazine "Privé" announced that Marga, José and Ria wanted to resurrect Holland's greatest girl group. It was a new chapter in their lives. 

Since June 2016, the Luv' singers have been touring the gay and nostalgia circuit in the Netherlands and Flanders (Belgium). 

Among their most significant performances:

EuroPride in Amsterdam, NL - August 6th, 2016

Studio 54 @ Antwerps Sportpaleis, Belgium - October 1st, 2016

Mega Piraten Festijn at the GelreDome stadium in Arnhem, NL - December 10th, 2016

Yesterdayland at the Bobbejaanland theme park in Lichtaart, Belgium - August 27th, 2017

Goes Couture Night (in association with DC Models) at the Grote Kerk (Mary Magdalene church) in Goes, NL - September 22nd, 2017

Hollands Glorie at the Kursaal Oostende, Belgium - September 29th, 2017

Disco Fever at Lucky in Rijssen, NL - November 3rd, 2017

On July 9th, 2017, Luv' celebrated their 40th anniversary with fans and friends at the restaurant Quatre Bras in Best, NL. 

In addition to her activities with Luv', Ria also attended public events:

Ria & Leon Vosters (of Musical Magazine) at the premiere of the Dutch production of "A Chorus Line" at the Zaantheater in Zaandam, NL - November 21st, 2016

Ria and friends (among them: Peter Warren-Jowett, Leon Vosters and Jan Uriot (reporter for Privé magazine) @ "De 5e van Vuile Huichelaar" (a revue at De Kleine Komedie in Amsterdam) - February 5th, 2017

Ria with Leon Vosters, Jan Uriot and friends at the premiere of the musical "Vamos!" at the DeLaMar Theater in Amsterdam  - October 1st, 2017

On behalf of the fans: many thanks to Ria Thielsch for being part of Luv'!!!

Source: Blog archives, Facebook, Marco Rens

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