lundi 23 juillet 2018

40th anniversary of "You're the Greatest Lover"

LUV's international breakthrough

On July 29th, 1978, "You're the Greatest Lover", Luv's fourth single, entered the Dutch Top 40 and later became the trio's signature song as well as their breakthrough abroad.


In March 1978, Luv' reached fame and fortune in the Netherlands and Belgium with their "U.O.Me" single (see article posted on February 12th, 2018). But the girls were not satisfied by the way their manager Han Meijer developed their career and wanted to dispense with his services. Meijer considered the name of the pop group as his ownership and took the three singers to court about the use of it. Finally, in early June 1978, the ladies won the legal action and were officially allowed to be named Luv' (see article posted on June 2nd, 1978).  Pim ter Linde became their new manager. He ran Interlinde Artists Management, the legendary “House of Dutch Stars” (including Bonnie St. Claire, Don Mercedes, Saskia & Serge, Ron Brandsteder, Lee Towers.... ).

Picture published in Leidsch Dagblad on May 26th, 1978 (Luv' Vs Han Meijer)

Article published in Leidsch Dagblad on June 2nd, 1978 (The group is allowed to be named "Luv")

One of Luv's first public appearances after this judgement was a sport event prior to the Tour de France with Dutch road racing cyclist Hennie Kuiper:

De Telegraaf - June 28th, 1978

The ladies were ready to concentrate on their main goal: to have an international career. The songwriters Hans van Hemert and Piet Souer composed "You're the Greatest Lover" which featured Spanish guitars. In the book "Nederpop, met hart en ziel", a history of Dutch pop music written by Jan van der Plas and published in 2003, Van Hemert told: "The music had to be uncomplicated but not too vulgar. Preferably with a South American touch...My songs were easy but Piet made refined arrangements for them."

When the Luv' girls were informed that "You're the Greatest Lover" would be their new single, they were horrified. They didn't like the song at first and thought it was too childish. They were even ashamed of it. 

They later changed their mind when they realized that the track was a hit.

In July 1978, Philips/Phonogram put out "You're the Greatest Lover" as a single. Holland's most read newspaper, De Telegraaf, mentioned this release in its July 10th, 1978 edition:

As Luv' started to promote their new song, they appeared in an advertising campaign for Polaroid cameras in local papers:

De Feanster, July 20th, 1978

Limburgs Dagblad, July 22nd, 1978

You're the Greatest Lover rapidly entered the Dutch and Flemish hit parades. In September 1978, it was #1 in the Low Countries. The Dutch press published articles about this success:

Leidsch Dagblad - September 1st, 1978 (Luv' hit the number one spot with "The Greatest Lover")

Leidsch Dagblad - September 20th, 1978 (Luv' about their success)

Apart from her career with Luv', the blonde Marga Scheide was still modelling. Here's how she discussed the incredible popularity of "Greatest Lover" when she gave a phone interview on the NPO Radio 5 program "Theater van het sentiment" in 2016:

"In the beginning, I kept working as a model in addition to my activities with Luv'. I never expected that we would have a number-one hit. I didn't follow the record charts like the Dutch Top 40. One day I received a call from our manager. He told me that we were #1. We had a party. I was very surprised. Earlier that day I did a photo shoot for Foxy Fashion and C&A (Dutch chain of fashion retail clothing stores)," she said. 

Luv' and their team (producer Hans van Hemert, manager Pim ter Linde and arranger Piet Souer) celebrating their #1 hit in Holland in the office of Interlinde Management on September 2nd, 1978 

Photo montage by Marco Rens

In October 1978, the single entered the Musikmarkt/Media Control charts in Germany. The next month, Luv' became a household name in Goethe's country when "You're the Greatest Lover" hit the number one spot. The Federal Republic was Luv's biggest market. They were chauffeured in limousines to luxury hotels, graced magazines covers and often performed on TV shows next to super acts like Blondie or Boney M. 

Greatest Lover was included in the soundtrack of the Derrick TV series. 

Derrick episode 54 including a scene in a discotheque where "You're the Greatest Lover" was played (1979)

It was also used over the opening credits of a Teutonic comedy film "Sunnyboy and Sugarbaby(aka She's 19 and Readyin 1979. 

Luv's triumph in the Benelux and Germany facilitated the conquest of the neighbouring European countries (Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland...). In France, Luv's single was entitled "Sing Me, Sing Me a Chanson" to adapt to the local market and was supported by the leading French radio station RTL. A Spanish version of the track ("Eres Mi Mejor Amante") was also recorded, which permitted Luv' to have a minor hit in Spain.

The song was also successful behind the Iron Curtain, especially in East Germany, Poland and Hungary. Records distribution was limited in the Eastern Bloc. Sales were hard to evaluate in this part of the world.

Luv's Greatest Lover was also a smash hit in South Africa. 

The USA and UK seemed immune to the trio's charm. "It would have been great if we had been picked up in America or England," José Hoebee told American author James Arena in his book "Europe's Stars of '80s Dance Pop Vol. 2" (2018). "But I think the lyrics to our songs may have been too simple for these markets. We never made it there, but it was never a problem for us, and we never felt like we missed out something," she added.

Single cover

One important aspect of the record was its iconic front cover with the three sexy singers posing at the Gran Canaria Airport. The photo was taken by Claude Vanheye. This artist had already photographed the "crème de la crème" of the 1960s and 1970s: Jimi Hendrix, Mick Jagger, Michael Jackson, Iggy Pop...

Commercial performance

The Luv' singers took advantage of their attractive look and promoted the "Greatest Lover" on the major European TV shows (TopPop, Musikladen, Disco, Top Club, Musik & Gäste...). As a result, the track was a chart-topper in the Netherlands (where it went platinum - 150.000 copies sold), Belgium, Germany (Gold certification650.000 copies sold), Switzerland and Denmark. It reached the Top 5 of the Europarade (a compilation of European charts). It peaked at #2 on the Austrian singles chart, #26 on the Finnish singles chart and #15 in South Africa. In France, "Sing me, sing me a chanson" reached #19 on the SNEP chart and sold 60.000 copies

In early 1979, Phonogram/Philips Records announced that the single sold 1 million copies worldwide.

Ad published by Phonogram Records in Billboard Benelux Magazine in 1979 to celebrate the 1 Million sales of "You're the Greatest Lover"

TV performances 

* July 25th, 1978: Rockplanet (TROS Top 50, TROS/Nederland 2), Netherlands

* August 15th, 1978: Ter Land, Ter Zee En In De Lucht (TROS), Netherlands


 * September 2nd, 1978: AVRO's TopPop, Netherlands

* September 21st, 1978: Musikladen (Radio Bremen), West Germany


* October 14th, 1978: Die Aktuelle Schaubude (NDR), West Germany

* October 30th, 1978: Disco (ZDF), West Germany

 * November 19th, 1978: All You Need Is Luv' (TV special) on TROS, Netherlands


* December 8th, 1978: Top Club (Antenne 2), France

* December 31st, 1978: Medley (U.O.Me, You're the Greatest Lover, Trojan Horse) and presentation of two Veronica awards on Countdown '78 (Veronica), Netherlands 

* December 31st, 1978: Jetzt Geht Die Party Richtig Los! (ZDF), West Germany

* Unknown broadcast date in 1978: Musik und Gäste (Schweizer Fernsehen), Switzerland

* January 1st, 1979: Luv' takes part in a magic trick and performs You're the Greatest Lover on Des Magiciens (TF1), France


* March 4th, 1979: Eres Mi Mejor Amante (Spanish version) on Fantástico (TVE), Spain

* September 15th, 1979: Eres Mi Mejor Amante (intro) and Casanova (Spanish version) on Aplauso (TVE), Spain

* October 27th, 1988:  Samen (charity TV show hosted by Mies Bouwman on AVRO), Netherlands 

June 12th, 1993: Let's have a party (RTL 4, Netherlands)

* Unknown broadcast date in 1993: OPA – Die Oldie-Parade on N3 (Germany)

* January 19th, 2007: Sterren Dansen Op Het Ijs on SBS 6 (Netherlands)

* August 31st, 2007: Het Grootste Muziekfeest van Nederland on TROS/Nederland 1, Netherlands

Tracklisting & release

You're the Greatest Lover

7" vinyl single (45 rpm) - original release by Philips/Phonogram Records in July 1978

A side: "You're the Greatest Lover" - 2:50
B side: "Everybody's Shaking Hands On Broadway" - 3:27

Original Dutch cover

The single came out in various editions - all depending on which countries the release took place. Philips/Phonogram licensed the rights for the record to various labels around the world.

Click here to be informed about the several editions of You're the Greatest Lover

German edition

Spanish version (Tu eres mi mejor amante)

French edition

Italian edition

Japanese edition

Turkish edition

Polish edition

Canadian edition

In 1989, the German subsidiary of Philips re-issued the track on a CD single. 

In 1993, the Dutch Top 40 hit "Megamix '93" was backed with a Eurodance remix of "The Greatest Lover".

Cover versions

Photo montage by Marco Rens
  • Ulla Norden"Wir Sind Verrückt (Wir Beide)" (Germany, 1978)
  • The Hiltonaires (cover band)‎: "You're the Greatest Lover" on "Hits For Young People 18" and "Top Disco" (German compilations released in 1978)
  • Jonathan King: "You're the Greatest Lover" (UK, 1979) - #67 on the UK Singles Chart

  • Disco Light Orchestra (cover band): "You're the Greatest Lover" on the Disco Sensation compilation (Germany, 1979).
  • Franz Lambert ‎: "You're the Greatest Lover" on the Pop-Orgel Hitparade 4 compilation (Germany, 1979)
  • Eini: "Vetonaula" (Finland, 1979)

  • Taru (cover band): "Vetonaula" on the "Disco City 3" compilation (Finland, 1979)

  • James Last Orchestra: "You're the Greatest Lover" on his album "New Non Stop Dancing 79" (Germany, 1979)
  • Disco Ape (cover band): "You're the Greatest Lover" (Finland, 1979)
  • Gina, Dale Haze and the Champions: "You're the Greatest Lover" (Irland, 1979) - #10 on the Irish Singles chart

  • Karl Dall: "Hey Hallo, Ich Bin Die Größte Nummer" (Germany, 1979)
  • Die Molly Sisters: "He, hallo, du bist ein Mann geworden" (East Germany, 1979)
  • Brotherhood of Man: "You're the Greatest Lover" on the Good Fortune album (UK, 1980)
  • Kirmesmusikanten (Accordion duo): "You're the Greatest Lover" on the "28 Super-Sommer-Sonnen-Hits non stop" compilation (Netherlands/Germany, 1985)

  • Angie van Burg: "Wir Sind Verrückt (Wir Beide)"  (Germany, 1994)

  • The Hallmond All Stars Orchestra: "You're the Greatest Lover" on the Night Fever Hammond Hit Parade compilation (UK, 1996).
  • Kristina Bach: "Hey, ich such' hier nicht den größten Lover" (Germany, 1999)

  • Loona: "Latino Lover" (Netherlands/Germany/Spain, 2000) - #6 on the German singles chart (250.000 copies sold), #6 on the Swiss singles chart#9 on the Austrian singles chart, #40 on the Dutch Single Top 100.

  • Rob Ronalds: "Kanjer" (Netherlands, 2002) - #57 on the Dutch Single Top 50

  • Massiv in Mensch: "You're the Greatest Lover" (Germany, 2003)

  • Glamourama: "Greatest Lovers" (Netherlands, 2004) - Medley including You're the Greatest Lover

  • Swoop: "The Greatest Lover " (Belgium, 2005) - #25 on the Ultratop singles chart in Flanders.

  • Renate Fuchs: "Hey, kumm loss m'r Fastelovend fiere" (Germany, 2008):

  • Huub Hangop feat. DJ Maurice: "Ik wil met jou een selfie" (Netherlands 2016)
  • Jack Gelee: "Ich will mit Dir ein Selfie" (Germany, 2016)

  • Feierwut: "Hey Hallo wir sind heut auf Mallorca" (Germany, 2016)

  • Nederpop met hart en ziel (History of Dutch Pop Music) by J. van der Plas, publisher: Kosmos Z&K (2003)
  • Hit-Lexikon des Rock und Pop Vol. 1 by Frank Laufenberg, publisher: Verlag Ullstein 
  • 50 jaar nummer-1-hits 1956-2006 by Johan van Slooten, publisher: Gottmer Uitgevers Groep 
  • De 500 Nummer 1-Hits uit de Top 40 (1997) by Johan van Slooten, publisher: Gottmer Becht 
  • Top 40 Hitdossier 1956-2005 (9e editie) by Johan van Slooten, publisher: Gottmer Bech
  • The Story of Luv' by Peter Boonstra (2015)
  • Stars of 80s Dance Pop, The European Edition by James Arena (2015), publisher: AuthorHouse
  • Europe's Stars of '80s Dance Pop Vol. 2: 33 International Hitmakers Discuss Their Careers by James Arena (2018), publisher: BookBaby

Source: Wikipedia,,, YouTube, Blog Archives...

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