REDUX: A Young Person’s Guide To Associates – “Heart Of Glass”

October 10, 2014

Billy MacKenzie © Gilbert Blecken

This smile could solve the world’s problems…but not his own. Billy MacKenzie © Gilbert Blecken

I think I actually first heart The Associates expansive cover of Blondie’s “Heart Of Glass” being played in a club! This was the pre-show disco for some show at Visage in Orlando during the late 80s-early 90s period, as I recall. At the time, I definitely did not have “Popera” by The Associates, so I had not a clue in the world, only noting that – hey, this was a great cover of “Heart Of Glass” with some guy singing! It’s hard to believe such naíveté now, but that was certainly the case. By late 1990 I was hip deep in my magnificent Associates obsession and by the end of the decade, had obtained the requisite original single forms of the release.

WEA |UK | 12

WEA |UK | 12″ | 1988 | YZ 310T

The Associates: Heart Of Glass [Auchterhouse Mix] UK 12″ [1988]

  1. Heart Of Glass [Auchterhouse Mix]
  2. Heart Of Glass [Auchterhouse Instrumental]
  3. Her Only Wish

The initial 12″ was remixed by Robert Gorgon of FON Force and naturally reflects their acid house leanings. The cleverly named mix reflects the community in Dundee that Billy hailed from as well as the acid house sounds that Gordon brought to the table. Lots of bleeps instead of the somewhat grandiose showbiz technopop that original producers Chris Hughes and Ross Cullum provided sounds somewhat thin to my ears, though acid house usually has some pull with me. Had I not been familiar with the original mix first, this would have certainly passed muster as a fantastic cover of the Blondie classic.

The B-side contains the requisite instrumental dub mix, sans MacKenzie and therefore a lot less spectacular. More intriguing is the B-side, “Her Only Wish,” a nervy MacKenzie production that shows that he didn’t need Alan Rankine to make music that was fully worthy of The Associates name. The resulting track had a vibe that could have seen it rubbing shoulders with “Fourth Drawer Down” material, had it not used tech that didn’t exist in 1981.

WEA | UK | 12

WEA | UK | 12″ | 1988 | YZ 310TX

The Associates: Heart Of Glass [Temperament Mix] UK 12″ [1988]

  1. Heart Of Glass [Temperament Mix]
  2. Heart Of Glass [Radio Mix]
  3. Her Only Wish
  4. Heaven’s Blue

The anaglyphic 3-D printing [complete with tiny glasses] let the buyer know that this was not the other “Heart Of Glass” single. second 12″ was remixed by François Kevorkian and Goh Hotoda and if you loved the original 7″ mix, this is your 12″ single! The widescreen glamour of the original was expanded dramatically with every ounce of gloss and polish available, and it’s almost twice as long as the original experience. It managed to make the stellar original mix sound puny and impoverished in comparison. What more can one ask from a 12″ single?


Said original mix also appeared for completists, and so did the edgy B-side, “Her Only Wish.” Of greater interest to collectors of the MacKenzie muse, was the extra B-side “Heaven’s Blue,” which was exclusive to this disc. The brief, piano-led instrumental presaged the sort of music that MacKenzie would record later in the 90s, as part of his posthumous releases “Transmission Impossible” or “Beyond The Sun.”

WEA | UK | CD3 | 1988 | YZ310CD

WEA | UK | CD3 | 1988 | YZ310CD

The Associates: Heart Of Glass UK CD3 [1988]

  1. Heart Of Glass
  2. Her Only Wish
  3. Breakfast [alt. ver.]
  4. Those First Impressions

Finally, it took a while to track this down, but I managed to snare the CD3 of this single, which in keeping with the tiny format, only had the short, single mix of the song as an A-side. “Her Only Wish” appears here in digital form, and the other two songs here are unique MacKenzie rarities on this disc only. The take of “Breakfast” from the “Perhaps” album was also produced by Martin Rushent but it is an alternate take to what had been released four years prior on the album and associated single. Finally, the version of “Those First Impressions” here is unique for the slightly longer drum intro that was edited off of all of the previous issues of this single from “Perhaps.” One would like to think that MacKenzie was particularly enamored of the drum fillips and lamented their excision on all previous issues of the song, and putting his foot down, demanded its appearance here. Note to self: I still need that 7″ single of this!

– 30 –

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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4 Responses to REDUX: A Young Person’s Guide To Associates – “Heart Of Glass”

  1. djjedredy says:

    It’s Rob Gordon from FON Studio’s. who was behind a lot of the mid to late 80’s Sheffield stuff, Cabaret Voltaire, ColourBox, Age Of Chance etc… and co-founder of the Techno label, Warp Records. A single I have not got (apart from the Acid House 12″), must be extremely rare!


  2. slur says:

    You should give A Primary Industry’s Version from 1987 a listen when you get the chance…


    • postpunkmonk says:

      slur – That was fantastic! I have never heard of A Primary Industry before! Many thanks. I can’t imagine that not being an influence on the Associates version that came the next year. Even the back cover informed the front sleeve of the Associates release! Wow.


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