lundi 7 juillet 2014

"Cassandra" by Bonnie & José: 30th Anniversary

A tribute to the music of ABBA

In 1984, long before the revival of interest in ABBA's music (ABBA Gold, Mamma Mia! musical...), Bonnie St. Claire and José Hoebee decided to form a duo to  cover songs of the Swedish Fab Four in Dutch. On July 7th 1984, their single "Cassandra", released by Philips Records, entered the Dutch charts. It later peaked at #24 on the Top 40 and #19 on the Nationale Hitparade

After Luv's first break-up in 1981, José was the former member of the girl group who enjoyed the most successful solo career. She scored two big hits in Holland and Belgium (the #1 song "I Will Follow Him" and "Secret Love" in 1982) as well as a couple of moderate hit records ("The Good Times", "I Can Hear Music" and "Time Goes By"). In early 1984, she experienced a new phase of her career thanks to the popular duet single "So Long, Marianne" with Ron Brandsteder.

Then, José recorded with Bonnie St Claire a Dutch cover version of "Cassandra" at the Wisseloord Studios in Hilversum, NL. This track was originally performed by ABBA and was the B-side of their single "The Day Before You Came" in 1982. 

ABBA performing "Cassandra" on ZDF's Show-Express in November 1982

Will Hoebee (José's husband), then a sought-after producer, supervised the recording of this duet. Eurovision Song Contest conductor Harry van Hoof arranged the track. Benny Neyman (a famous artist from Will's roster) wrote the text of this song in Dutch. His lyrics dealt with the movement of Argentinian mothers (Las Madres de Plaza de Mayowho marched in 1977 in Buenos Aires to protest against the disappearance of their children (actually they were arrested by the military and eventually died). 

Las Madres de Plaza de Mayo

Bonnie & José on "Op Volle Toeren"

Bonnie & José on "Nederland Muziekland"

Bonnie & José knew each others for years as they had the same manager (Pim ter Linde) in the late 1970s and early 1980s. After Cassandra's respectable success on the charts, the ladies decided to continue their professionnal relationship. In 1985, they were involved in the ABBAcadra project (a TV musical for children based on ABBA songs). Bonnie played the role of Sleeping Beauty and José had the role of Snow White. They later released a full-length album (entitled "Herinnering") with ABBA standards. This opus featured the Top 40 hit "Zoals Vrienden Doen" (The Way Old Friends Do). 


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