Peter Godwin: Torch Songs + Heroics 2xCD 
- America In My Head [7″]
- Torch Songs For The Heroine [7″]
- Cruel Heart
- America In My Head [12″]
- Torch Songs For The Heroine [ballad]
- Cruel Heart [inst.]
- America in My Head [dance mix]
- Torch Songs For The Heroine [dance mix]
- Emotional Disguise [12″]
- Luxury [extended ver.]
- Images Of Heaven [7″]
- Emotional Disguise [inst.]
- Spoken Images
- Emotions Francaises/inst. [segue mix]
- Images Of Heaven [12″]
- Baby’s In The Mountains [new york remix]
- Images Of Heaven [razormaid ver.]
- The Art Of Love [new york remix]
- The Art of Love [new york dubmix]
- Rendezvous [french ver.]
- The Art Of Love [UK remix]
- Another World
- Rendezvous [english remix]
- Naked Smile
- Rendezvous [french remix]
I first heard of Peter Godwin when an MTV news spot said that Midge Ure was producing some work for him. This certainly pricked up my ears. A bit later, the video for “Images Of Heaven” made it to MTV and was a stellar song. I looked and looked for the “Images Of Heaven” EP but never found a copy at the time. Instead, I managed to pick up the UK 12” of “Torch Songs For The Heroine” in the late, lamented Record City import cutout bin and found a US Polydor 12” of “Emotional Disguise”, which had “Emotional Disguise/Emotional Disguise Inst.” on the A-side and “Images Of Heaven” on the B-side. Given that this was 3/4 of the contents of the “Images Of Heaven” EP, it didn’t make much sense to me as a release at the time. I was just happy to have all of the songs on the EP on these two records. But who is this Peter Godwin, and where did he come from? What are his powers? Would he save the universe… or destroy it?
For a start he was the lead singer for the group Metro. Their debut album came out in 1976 as part of the tail end of the Roxy-glam curve. It got picked up domestically in 1977 by Sire and got a release in The States. I have that as well as a copy of a 21st century Japanese kami sleeved CD of it. It is in print currently and contains the best known Metro song, “Criminal World.” You may have heard David Bowie’s cover of it on his “Let’s Dance” album; a fact that has [hopefully] kept Mr. Godwin’s cup full, if not runneth over, ever since. There even exists a Hot Gossip cover of it, though this evades my grasp!
The core of Metro was Godwin and Duncan Browne, but after the first album, Browne left for greener pastures. The 2nd-gen Metro released their second album, “New Love” in 1979 as produced by Mike Thorne for EMI. We remastered that album from within the REVO vaults in 2010. A third Metro album, “Future Imperfect” was released the following year in Germany only yet it still managed to find its way into my Record Cell. Martin Lawrence produced it and the single “America In My Head” managed to get a UK release the next year as it turned a lot of heads during the UK’s “New Romantic” movement. A cursory glance at back issues of the seminal New Sounds/New Styles newro magazine of Kasper DeGraff and Malcolm Garrett revealed a lot of love for Metro at this time. And why not? The 3rd Metro album was a dazzling confection of post-punk pop driven not primarily by keyboards, but instead by minty fresh guitar synthesizers!
Had I been aware of it at the time, it would have been in heavy rotation in my personal playlist. Amazingly, this only got a release outside of the initial German-only LP in 1980 a decade ago when the minds at Oglio Records released it as Peter Godwin’s “America In My Head” album on CD! Ten years later and it’s woefully OOP. It was after the UK release of the single “America In My Head” in 1981 that the bulk of this collection concerns itself. For the next 18 months Godwin released a brace of sparkling singles but no album. That would wait until 1983, but his first new single for Polydor was the Midge Ure produced “Torch Songs For The Heroine.” There were 7” and 12” versions of the Anton Karras influenced track with each having the alternate “ballad” version as the B-side. If the A-side versions were heavily pregnant with New Romantic sturm und drang, then the Ballad mix heightened the drama to ridiculous “Old World” levels [complete with cymbalom].
Next up was the Latin influenced “Emotional Disguise” single, which reminded me a lot of the rhythm programming on Pete Shelley’s fantastic “Witness The Change” B-side. The B-side to the 7” was “French Emotions” which recast the tune in a very different mix en Francais. The 12” version was slightly extended to a curt 4:12 and also includes an instrumental version. Since I do not have the 7”, all pressings that I have of “Emotional Disguise” are the 4 minute version. The US “Emotional Disguise” 12” has the instrumental virtually segued together with the A-side, but I have chosen not to include that because I much prefer the unique segue of “French Emotions/Emotional Disguise Instrumental” that exists only on the Canadian “Images Of Heaven” 6-track EP. This single was the first of his to be produced by Dutch technologist Georg Kajanus, of the group DATA, who would go on to produce all of his material for the next 4 years.
The next single was the luxuriantly opulent “Images Of Heaven.” This is a song that can make me feel honored every time I hear it, as if it’s simply hard to believe that pop music was ever this richly magnificent! The succinct 7” is bested by the more luxuriant extended twelve inch version. Both singles had “Spoken Images” on the B-side. There also exists a deluxe Razormaid remix that unites the extended and spoken versions for maximum effect, thought the EQ variations between the two mixes are apparent in the resultant remix. Colin Wight plays the soaring lead on guitar synthesizer while Warren Cann of Ultravox slams the Simmons in a drum pattern very different from his motorik Ultravox style.
The last of this series of non-LP singles was “Cruel Heart.” The song had an instrumental remix as the B-side to the 7” single, but the 12” features “Luxury (extended version)” as the single’s A-side with the 7” and inst. mixes of “Cruel Heart” relegated to the B-side! Both the cover designs are the same photo and composition with the exception that the 7” says “Cruel Heart” and the 12” says “Luxury.” For the record, there is no version of “Luxury” that is not the extended version. This final non-lp single takes us through the end of 1982 in Godwin’s career. In many territories, variations of these four singles were assembled into the “Images Of Heaven” EP. In the Netherlands, it’s called “Dance Emotions” instead. I finally scored a domestic copy of this just a few years ago. For some reason, I never came across it in spite of looking for it all over at the time and wanting it pretty badly for nearly 20 years. I more recently purchased the even better Canadian copy. Godwin’s next move would be his last for a long time.
In 1983, his virtual swansong would play out when the “Correspondence” album hit the shelves. It represented nine new songs with none of his last two years of singles included in the program. The leadoff single was “The Art Of Love” which appeared in three remixes: US, UK and US dubmix. Dig that synth bassline! The final single was the tremendous “Baby’s In The Mountains” which had only an excellent extended remix (Godwin’s best – by John Luongo) on the various single variations offered. And that was that.
For 15 years, not a peep was heard from Mr. Godwin until our friends at Oglio offered the much-needed “Images Of Heaven” CD in 1998. It featured a great career overview of Godwin from the very first Metro single, “Criminal World” all the way to the present [albeit 17 years ago!] with three good new tunes unveiled for the first time. “Rendezvous” existed in French and English version; two mixes each. “Another World and “Naked Smile” stood alone but were consistent with the themes of sensual decadence that Godwin has explored for his professional (and presumably personal) life. His liner notes on this CD release were also very witty and illuminating. Not surprisingly, this disc has been OOP for years and exchanges hands at an inflated rate. Is this beginning to sound tiresome?
Thankfully, REVO has already re-issued “New Love” and “Correspondence” on CD. The 1st Metro goes in and out of print, particularly in Japan, but seems to be widely available as a download at either Amazon or iTunes. No such luck for the rest of his catalogue. Peter Godwin remains an above average talent capable of rising to the heights of greatness on some of his cuts while never quite skirting mediocrity on his others. He is a prime example of a Roxy Music-influenced stylist that more often than not, came up with the pop goods, not unlike Iva Davies and his group Icehouse. True, Peter doesn’t “rock out” like Iva but I just wish he had recorded more music over the years.
This set is among my very favorites of all of the discs I’ve remastered over the last nearly twenty years. Its title was taken from a Godwin interview I read where he revealed that the bulk of this material was to originally have been issued on an album of that name which was not to be. Listening was always a real treat and I’ve loved hearing this collection in playback in spite of the investment of time and money spent mail ordering and remastering from vinyl. The songs can stick in my head for days at a time and that’s always a good sign. I just wish that this collection were from Polygram instead of me, but that’s what REVO is here for; filling the breach where desperately needed.
– 30 –
There are songs from the late 70’s and early 80’s that remind me that musical discovery was such a satisfying thing in my late teens and early 20’s. Images Of Heaven may top the list of those songs that bring me back to that wonderful and exciting time. Other songs that make that cut are I’m In Love With A German Film Star by The Passions, Airport by The Motors, Another Girl, Another Planet by The Only Ones and Is Vic There? by Department S. There are many more, but those are all top choices…
Godwin fit in well with the New Romantics, but he was already miles ahead of them having been so well informed by the scene he and Metro were born out of. Where a track like Ultravox’s Vienna is all drama and bombast, Images Of Heaven, is built on emotional urgency. It crescendos over and over throughout the song, almost draining the listener into submission.
I have to agree the Luongo remix of Baby’s In The Mountains is brilliant. It got loads of airplay in clubs and on alt radio in NYC back in those days. The Art Of Love comes oh so close for me to Images Of Heaven. It can be found on every mix tape I made for friends back in those days.
This is a wonderful REVO tracklist Monk! Award winning I’d say.
Echorich – “Images Of Heaven” is a perennial. A song I can never tire of! I could say the same of “Hungry Like The Wolf” too, but in the grand scheme of things, it wipes the floor with the Duran cut! It’s on a whole other level of its own! It stymies my mind that it was only a middling hit at best, as far as I know. We often hear songs that sound like number one smashes to our knowledgable ears, yet fail to alight the charts afire. This should have been a huge a worldwide hit as “Video Killed The Radio Star” in my estimation. A chart topper in a dozen or so territories. At least.
The best compliment we can give to a song is to remember it as multiple times more popular than it may have actually been. It goes to prove that song’s impact on us and as time/decades go by, I think some songs that weren’t chart toppers actually do appear to have had a greater audience than sales numbers may have ever shown.
This is so true. A quintessential example (for me) is Modern English’s “I Melt With You.” Absolutely one of my fave new wave tracks, and despite endless listening over the decades it still makes me swoon. It got to the “lofty heights” of maybe 73 or something on the Billboard Hot 100 back in the day, yet many people will swear it was a huge hit.
Taffy – So true about “hindsight hits!” In fact, I think I just coined a useful media term! We’ll have to post on this soon, methinks.
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i can still remember hunting ‘Images’ down for quite a while back then and turning up trumps with the US ep with Emotional mixes on the B side -all for a couple of quid too ! I still have it and i agree its one i can listen to over and over again, even now. I think the sound of those thundering Simmons drums is just a beauty and strangely doesn’t sound dated . Went to check out the video again and turned up with this…..which is growing on me at an alarming rate ……..
Nick – I’d heard about this. I’m still waiting for it to show up in a DL store.
Agree with Echorich, it was a wonderful and exciting time. Still to this day hearing Film Star’s opening chords sends shivers down my spine. Sadly in my teens financially I couldn’t keep up with the constant flow of gems. Peter Godwin joined the list of ‘wants’ that never actually turned into a purchase due to a mix of lack of money or simply not coming across a copy. The sort of songs that almost became mythical in that I could only recall hearing them once or twice on UK radio and thinking, ‘wow’.
I was lucky enough to pick up the Oglio compilation for less than £10 some years back, great to have but not a patch on your comp in terms of artwork or completeness!
Sadly as you say that’s about it commercially now, even the first Metro album seems a costly rarity these days (I think it’s deleted now), so my collection begins and ends there.
Re New Sounds New Styles – what was I thinking when I allowed my copies to be thrown away??!
Simon H – Alas, I had to buy my scant copies of New Sounds/New Styles mail order in the early 90s via a catalog! Yes, it was pre-internet. They weren’t cheap but I felt that it was time to have some of these since I skipped the 2-3 issues that came into the better record stores at the time as “pricey” import magazines. Back when that meant $3.00! But in 1981, $3 would buy an import 7″, so no time for paper goods!
Waited if someone recognized Mr. Kajanus….
He is Norwegian (had to look that up though) but the man had a string of hits in the 70’s
with the band Sailor, check Youtube for assorted videos of a band with two pianola’s
and a peculiar taste in clothes….
Fred – Welcome to the comments. I was conversant with Sailor but I’ve not yet had the pleasure. It’s is imperative that I buy some DATA music though.
Another interesting pop factoid in case you dont already know,PPM:
Georg Kajanus wrote the excellent song “Over 21” which was sung by Peter Godwin and then covered very well in my opinion by your fave and mine,Toyah!It appears on the album “Minx” from 1985.
Oddly enough,when I first met GK,he had not yet heard Toyah’s version,so I gave him a copy and he liked it.
Gavin – For years [at least until I remastered “Correspondence” in 2010] Toyah’s excellent cover on “Minx” was my go-to substitute. I had bought “Minx” on CD from day one so I never had to pay outrageous sums for it, though I still bought the nice DLX RM that came out a few years back. Wonderful, very candid liner notes on that one!
A few years ago,before I left London for the calmer climes of rural Wales,I spent two consectutive evenings with Peter and Warren Cann-an Ultravox gig and after party, followed by Peter and Warren’s live appearance with Party Fears Three,performing “Images of Heaven”.I captured bits of both nights on video and photographs.
Here is a taster:
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Your review is out of this world! I sent your review to Peter Godwin and he was very flattered. But how does one obtain the double whammy of “Torch Songs + Heroics” I have not the faintest idea. Thanks for the review & best, jehanbosch at rateyourmusic.com
Johan Louis De Jong – Welcome to the comments! Alas, I make the CD for my personal use, so it’s not for sale. One would have to walk in my shoes: buy the vinyl/CD and compile the CD-Rs from those. I wish some label would license the music and do it professionally from master tapes, but it hasn’t happened yet – apart from the brains at Oglio. I want to buy the Nuevo DL but the only place to buy it is on the Neuvo website, which is Flash coded, and won’t play on any of my computers of devices. Too bad they don’t sell at Bandcamp. It’s my favorite DL platform since CD quality files are possible there.
Hello. I do have all tracks I think. I am in touch with an American bootlegger who converts vinyl to digital and he has the converted tracks as well and used these for a number of CDrs.. I think i can get you the Nuevo tracks as i am a personal friend of Peter Godwin himself. So i do not need your tracks but would it be possible to send me the artwork of the double CDr I do not have a printer and this way you do not have to part with your tracks. If you are interested please reply. Best, Johan
Johan Louis de Jong – I am surprised that you have taken a personal project of mine into a crowd-sourced release database. I have to say that as a collector, I find home-made CD-Rs making their way into databases of otherwise legit releases, as with many Discogs.com entries, somewhat disturbing. Even when the disc in question is one of my own. I find it unnecessarily muddies the waters.
I am truly sorry you think that way. But like i said most of the tracks were converted by the sound engineer Wesley Holly in his studio. Wes is a professional and worked for Grapefruit and other labels. I merely rearranged the tracks. And they are not for sale. I merely took your project as inspiration…And apparently you have not heard Discogs conducted a witchhunt and purged most of the bootlegs from its database. And RYM is not a sales site like Discogs is.
Johan Louis deJong – Now I am confused. I thought you sent me a link to my Peter Godwin project I’d blogged about making as entered by you into the rateyourmusic database. Now you seem to be saying that you have made your own copy using a engineer to digitize and master from your vinyl? Well, that was my intent in writing about my own CD-R projects, to inspire others to do the same, so I certainly approve of your actions. It just seemed like you were treating my personal project as if it were a commercial release.
As for Discogs removing bootlegs, this is a step in the right direction. Next they should remove acetates. Once it gets down to releases that are <50 in number then the point of the site as a collector's resource is diluted. Though in today's market, the creation of deliberately minute runs of certain titles at vastly inflated prices is more or less similar in its manipulation of the fan market.
Hi! Are these remasters for sale? I’d love to buy this and “Correspondence”…
Christopher Kent – Welcome to the comments! These projects I make for myself and cannot be sold. Maybe in the description of making them I can inspire others to enter the satisfying realm of being their own “amateur label.” Hopefully, one day we could actually buy such discs, but until then, we have to make them ourselves.
Hi. I rather trade them for something else. But i am able to make copies. A friend of mine converted them from vinyl.. … Best, J.
Johan Louis deJong – We appreciate all fans of Peter Godwin here at PPM. He’s an under-appreciated artist, by our reckoning.
Hi A friend of mine converted everything from vinyl to digital. He is a sound engineer. I can make copies but i did rather swap. Best, J.