Want List: The Fingerprintz Singles

Jimme O'Neill fronted surely the most overlooked group on Virgin Records?

Jimme O’Neill fronted surely the most overlooked group on Virgin Records?

Among the 30 releases that arrived in the mail on Monday, was a record that was pretty significant to me. The Fingerprintz “Shadowed” 12″ single. I bought what was the new Fingerprintz album, “Beat Noir” when it was released in America in 1981, and really enjoyed it a lot. I’d been first exposed to Fingerprintz on Virgin’s “Cash Cows” compilation a year earlier with the ebullient power pop [non]hit “Yes Eyes” and was ready for their new funk direction. I cashed in the Stiff Records US pressing of “Beat Noir” in the Great Vinyl Purge since I fully expected the band’s three albums to eventually get a CD release. Over three decades earlier, that is clearly not the case!

It’s not as if I haven’t been doing my duty. I have emailed Cherry Red beseeching them to work that Fingerprintz action to a chorus of yawns. So in the end, it will have to come down to me. In the last 20 years I have obtained copies of all three Fingerprintz albums, and I could surely remaster CDs from them, but what fun is that? No, that’s not how we roll at REVO. Surely every potential bonus track should be appended to the albums, yes? How would that play out?

fingerprintz - theverydabUSLPA

Fingerprintz: The Very Dab [1979]

  1. Close Circuit Connection
  2. Fingerprince
  3. Wet Job
  4. Punchy Judy
  5. Temperamental
  6. 2 A T
  7. Hey Mr. Smith
  8. Tough Luck
  9. Invisible Seams
  10. On The Hop
  11. Beam Me Up Scotty

The debut album got a release on Virgin Atlantic, and that’s the US pressing that I have of that album. There were three singles released in 1979 and only one of them was from the LP!

Virgin | UK | 12

Virgin | UK | 12″ | 1979 | VS 235-12

Fingerprintz: Dancing With Myself UK green vinyl 12″ [1979]

  1. Dancing With Myself
  2. Sync Unit
  3. Sean’s New Shoes

Virgin thought that green vinyl would make an impression for the debut single – with an extra track on the 12″ version.  Here are three songs that need to be on any CD I make. One imagines that Billy Idol and Tony James must have heard this single. Their attempt with the same title came the next year.

Virgin ‎| UK | 7

Virgin ‎| UK | 7″ | 1979 | VS 252

Fingerprintz: Who’s Your Friend? UK blue vinyl 7″ [1979]

  1. Who’s Your Friend?
  2. Do You Want To Know A Secret?
  3. Nervz
  4. Night Nurse

Their next single was a full-fledged EP of four non-LP tunes! Remember, at this time, Jimme O’Neill was a busy lad churning out hits for many others like Lene Lovich [“Say When”], Rachel Sweet [“Spellbound”] and even Manfred Mann’s Earth Band! Obviously, his pen overfloweth [though track two is a Beatles cover]. What else do we need?

Virgin ‎| UK | 7

Virgin ‎| UK | 7″ | 1979 | VS 278

Fingerprintz: Tough Luck UK 7″ [1979]

  1. Tough Luck
  2. Detonator

It was only their third single that deigned to pull an album cut as the A-side. There’s one more non-LP B-side, “Detonator,” though it remains to be seen until I actually get the single to see if the A-side is an alternate take, which was so common during the 70s. Remember kids: play those records and some times you will be rewarded with a previously unheard take on an A-side that’s pulled from an album! Altogether that’s at least eight bonus tracks for “The Very Dab.”

fingerprintz - distinguishingmarksUSLPA

Fingerprintz: Distinguishing Marks US LP [1980]

  1. Yes Eyes
  2. Houdini Love
  3. Criminal Mind
  4. Bullet Proof Heart
  5. Remorse Code
  6. Amnesia
  7. Ringing Tone
  8. Radiation
  9. Jabs
  10. Hide And Seek

Ten more songs on this Peter Saville-designed pop platter. Keep in mind I’ve not heard “The Very Dab” at all in the dozen or more years I’ve owned the LP! At least I’m familiar with the chiming power pop perfection of “Yes Eyes” from “Cash Cows.” The production here was by Nick Garvey of The Motors and it hits close to the mark of their mid period as well. What do we still need to buy?

Virgin ‎| UK | 7

Virgin ‎| UK | 7″ | 1980 | VS 358

Fingerprintz: Bulletproof Heart UK 7″ [1980]

  1. Bulletproof Heart
  2. Hide + Seek

Hmmmm. After the luxurious complement of non-LP material for their debut album, their sophomore effort has the ignominy of two tracks pulled from the LP! But…could it be that any of these tracks are a different take than the LP versions? Right now, it’s impossible to tell. That’s why it is always best to buy every release by groups that you intend to remaster. There’s nothing worse than finding out that the A/B side of a single you thought you didn’t need was a different production years later! Can any readers shed some light here?

Virgin ‎| UK | 7

Virgin ‎| UK | 7″ | 1980 | VS 375

Fingerprintz: Houdini Love UK 7″ [1980]

  1. Houdini Love
  2. All About You

At least this time, we know that the record must be bought for “All About You.” That much is definite.

Virgin ‎| UK | 7

Virgin ‎| UK | 7″ | 1981 | VS 432

Fingerprintz: Bohemian Dance UK 7″ [1981]

  1. Bohemian Dance
  2. Coffee and Screams

Then, outta nowhere comes this obscure [just added to the Discogs database recently] non-LP single between albums two and three! Since bonus tracks for “Distinguishing Marks” are so thin on the ground, I’m inclined to add these tracks [once I find/buy them] to disc two in the Fingerprintz series. That will yield at least three bonus tracks if none of the other two A-sides are different from the LP cuts.

fingerprintz - beatnoirUKLPAFingerprintz: Beat Noir UK LP [1981]

  1. The Beat Escape
  2. The Chase
  3. Catwalk
  4. Changing
  5. Get Civilised
  6. Shadowed
  7. Touch Sense
  8. Echohead
  9. Going Going Gone
  10. Famous Last Words

I had bought the Stiff American LP of this in 1981, and I re-bought a copy years ago but eventually I got the preferred UK edition with two tracks [“Echohead,” “Famous Last Words”] excised from the US copy! Here’s what need to join it on CD.

Virgin ‎| UK | 12

Virgin ‎| UK | 12″ | 1981 VS 420-12

Fingerprintz: Shadowed UK 12″ [1981]

  1. Shadowed
  2. Madame X
  3. Tickled To Death

This is the only Fingerprintz single currently sitting in the Record Cell. One down, eight to go.

Virgin ‎| UK | 7

Virgin ‎| UK | 7″ | 1981 | VS 452

Fingerprintz: The Beat Escape UK 7″ [1981]

  1. The Beat Escape
  2. Disorient Express

Their last single has a 7″ with a different B-side than 12″ version so both must be purchased.

Virgin ‎| UK | 12

Virgin ‎| UK | 12″ | 1981 | VS 452-12

Fingerprintz: The Beat Escape UK 12″ [1981]

  1. The Beat Escape [ext. ver.]
  2. Catwalk [ext. ver.]

The 12″ of the über-dynamic dancefloor bomb “The Beat Escape” comes with extended A/B sides for maximum joy, so I’m very eager to hear this, the only remixed Fingerprintz single. Given that it’s taken me over a dozen years to buy the albums and one 12″ single, I hope that I can find a cache of Fingerprintz singles from a single vendor one day since I’d hate to pay the postage for all of these records separately! And soon. I’m not getting any younger.

– 30 –

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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20 Responses to Want List: The Fingerprintz Singles

  1. SimonH says:

    Incredible how a major label kept the faith for three albums that didn’t sell in large numbers, a commonish occurance back then (see also: The Sound and Comsat Angels for starters).
    Very different times!


    • postpunkmonk says:

      SimonH – It was a kinder, gentler time. The men in charge of labels weren’t lawyers yet – I blame Clive Davis for that overarching trend. It’s usually men running labels… Sylvia Robinson [Sugar Hill] and Carol Wilson [Dindisc] only come to mind immediately.


  2. SimonH says:

    Very true, I marvel at how the bands I mentioned were almost allowed to do their own thing for a few years bankrolled by labels like Warners and Polydor, just a label name like Polydor makes me nostalgic!


    • postpunkmonk says:

      SimonH -It used to be that bands and their albums were a cheap investment by conglomerates that made enormous profit on the backs of superstars and breakout artists. A line was crossed when dinosaur acts started spending into six figures and multiple years making their albums. It all came crashing down once file sharing killed the goose that laid the golden egg.


  3. Jim says:

    Dear Post-Punk Monk, I`m very thankful for the Fingerprintz information, and very surprised it came up when I queried: Fingerprintz – Known Bonus Tracks. I can`t imagine a more complete discography, nor more fascinating writing. I`m looking forward to discovering more great music through your site. Somehow, Amazon.com has a digital download of Beat Noir (not from vinyl) with 2 of these bonus tracks, and Mp3va has another version (that I believe is vinyl sourced) with 2 more bonus tracks. I, however, am referencing the U.S. vinyl release as my base source. You probably know Youtube has a number of these Fingerprintz rarities as well, and as a last resort (until all these CDs are released with all of their relevant bonus tracks), I really enjoy downloading the singles with the free Tube-Mate app on my Android device, and transferring them to my laptop. – piecing together rare albums and singles for excellent playback! As I recall, in my related efforts to find and complete my Fingerprintz download discography, I think it was Pirate Bay, or another one of the famous torrent sites, that listed The Very Dab + 8 Bonus Tracks, Distinguishing Marks + 1, and Beat Noir + 5. I believe it was digitally sourced, which tells me they have been released somewhere at some time. I was, sadly, too late to join in on the download frenzy because no one is seeding these any longer, and my downloads are incomplete. I`m glad I was able to find the 3 albums on vinyl, locally, and am glad I`m holding on to them. (U.S. versions)…thanks again, Peace – Jim.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      Jim – Welcome to the comments! It’s always gratifying to see some love for Fingerprintz. That these releases have never climbed out of the black hole of the 70s was disappointing, but your tale of Amazon selling a non-vinyl rip DL is intriguing. UK or US version? Must check… It’s difficult to know what’s out there, especially since with UK singles of that time period it was not uncommon to have a re-recorded version of a single that was different from an LP cut.


      • Jim says:

        PPM – Good to be welcomed. News; I looked again and listened between the tracks of my Amazon.com Beat Noir DL and have to apologize for my assumption that it was not vinyl sourced. I now believe it is sourced from vinyl. Let me say, however, that it is, without hesitation, the cleanest Rip I`ve ever heard. The sound quality is, also, absolutely beautiful and amazing. The version is U.S. release order (first 8 tracks) with Coffee & Screams and Madame X added. Also noticed they have the other 2 Fingerprintz albums available, and a collection: Ten Best. Noticing that Madame X clocks in at 7;34, I`m thinking that the Tickled to Death title is just the possible delineation of a musical transition within the same track, or alternate title, not another track that we`re missing. You were right about alt. single versions. Listening to YouTube, vinyl single versions of Tough Luck are, indeed, different, in this case…and I look forward to more great listening and discoveries…Thanks again – Jim.


        • postpunkmonk says:

          Jim – Once you mentioned “Beat Noir,” I went to the usual places and saw that the three albums and a best of were now available. Once I get the full complement of singles, and turn my thoughts to compiling, I’ll compare with the DLs. If they sound that much better than my source vinyl, I may choose to purchase. Watch this space [ as much as 7 years later]…


          • Jim says:

            PPM – Once again, let me apologize for jumping the gun. I`m not sure at this point if the single version of Tough Luck is different than the album version. Listening to the YouTube DL today it sounded more similar than different, but given a little more time – say, as much as 7 years… (good one). Other Youtube discoveries/questions include a Nov. 28, 1978 Peel session (full album) which includes: 1. Sean`s New Shoes, 2. Fingerprince, 3. Nervs, 4. Who`s Your Friend, & 5. Sync Unit. And someone has posted several of those songs seperately. They sound like studio recordings, and I know from listening to other BBC/Peel sessions that some (if not all) groups pretend to be playing while all there doing is playing recordings. So these may be the actual recordings released later as Singles, EP`s and B-sides. Also on YouTube, I was able to find Dancing With Myself, Do You Wanna Know a Secret? (a Beatles cover), Detonator, Bohemian Dance, and Disorient Express, and various others that I`m not mentioning because they`re already on the albums (be they different versions or not – to be decided later). Which still leaves me missing: Night Nurse, All About You, Beat Escape (Ext. Version), and Catwalk (Ext.Version). The Mp3va Website version of Beat Noir is the Euro-German version that contains the 8 tracks of the U.S. version, although mixed-up, with Echohead, and Famous Last Words, added. (Vinyl Sourced). I don`t know if the Amazon offerings sound better than vinyl, but I swear I couldn`t hear a static pop, scratch, or click, anywhere! Peace – Jim.


  4. JC says:

    “Being that they’re Irish, I guess Virgin thought that green vinyl would make an impression.”

    Sorry, PPM. They were from all parts….Jimmie O’Neill is a Scotsman!!


  5. JC says:

    PPS …..they were a very fine band


  6. Steve Briggs says:

    Fingerptintz are Scottish not Irish – apart from that great article !!!!


  7. Pingback: Fingerprintz – The Very Dab (1979) | Fingerprintz & Silencers fansite

  8. Michael Schwenk says:

    still waiting for the cds!!


  9. jungalero1101 says:

    Great band. An officially licensed compilation cd was just released by Rubellan Remasters. Includes some of the rarities and apparently an interview with Jimme in the booklet.


  10. Pingback: The Rob Preuss Interview [part 1] | Post-Punk Monk

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