As outlined in A Love Deluxe, the past year or so has seen me become just a little bit addicted to creating “fantasy” deluxe editions. You take an album, and use whatever extra material is available (B-sides, Single Edits, 12″ Remixes, Demos, Out-takes, non-album 45s) to piece together a multi-disc celebration of it.
What better way to kick off a new year on afdpj than to feature an album called Here’s To Future Days.
The follow-up to Into The Gap, still one of the most perfect pop albums ever made in my humble view, it saw the previously unassailable Thompson Twins hit machine of 1983 and 1984 enter distinctly choppy waters. The Here’s To Future Days era began with the luxury pop of Lay Your Hands On Me in November 1984, took in a Live Aid performance with Madonna as backing vocalist, saw the much-delayed and much-changed album finally issued a couple of months or so later, only for it all to fizzle out (in the UK) before 1985 had bade its farewells.
The official album, completed with the aid of Nile Rodgers, was understandably a bit of a fudge, neither boasting the slick, carefully crafted pop style that Tom Bailey had perfected with co-producer Alex Sadkin by the time of Lay Your Hands On Me, nor really getting back to the dancefloor-friendly sounds of Quick Step & Side Kick.
There were withdrawn singles, clumsy re-recordings with nasty guitar solos and unnecessary gospel choirs, and a pointless cover of The Beatles’ Revolution (the song they’d played at Live Aid). Thanks to the wonders of Edsel’s expanded reissues from 2008 and then a superb Remixes & Rarities collection in 2014, a host of bonus material became easily available in addition to the existing Thompson Twins compilations (of which there are a lot!). I wasn’t sure what improvements I could make to an eternally frustrating and messy period of the band’s career, but SOMETHING HAD TO BE DONE.
In fact, I’d first had a shot at doing something with the album in about 2010, via a “Director’s Cut” edition. Actual single versions replaced their bloated/curtailed/segued album counterparts, the famously nixed single Roll Over was added, and a few other tweaks were made. More on that later, as it ended up becoming part of the 6-disc extravaganza we present to you today.
Here’s To Future Days was released the same day (September 16th 1985) as Hounds Of Love by Kate Bush. Good timing there!
As usual, Disc 1 is the original (vinyl) configuration, with the earliest mastering. 10 tracks.
01 DON’T MESS WITH DOCTOR DREAM 4.25
02 LAY YOUR HANDS ON ME 4.21
03 FUTURE DAYS 3.01
04 YOU KILLED THE CLOWN 4.53
05 REVOLUTION 4.04
06 KING FOR A DAY 5.20
07 LOVE IS THE LAW 4.45
08 EMPEROR’S CLOTHES [PT.1] 4.46
09 TOKYO 3.39
10 BREAKAWAY 3.32
Although not a fan of this version (hence my later attempts to create it according to my own ideals), I always feel it’s important to have the album as originally envisioned on these fantasy sets. The CD edition inserted the Roll Over single-that-never-was, although possibly only on the US pressing (the one I have had since the 1990s).
Disc 2 is the same tracklisting, but taken from the 2008 Edsel reissue. In truth there is not a great deal of difference in the sound, but…well…completism etc.
The famous Roll Over single, pulled from release at the 11th hour after Tom’s collapse from nervous exhaustion. 250,000 copies were apparently pressed up and ready to go.
Time for the real work to begin! Disc 3, 4 and 5 took an age to piece together, sifting through so many mixes and variations, before settling on a satisfactory running order for each CD.
THE SINGLES – A & B-SIDES
01 LAY YOUR HANDS ON ME U.K. Single Version 4.08
02 ROLL OVER Original Withdrawn Single 5.00
03 KING FOR A DAY Original Withdrawn Mix 4.15
04 DON’T MESS WITH DOCTOR DREAM 3.26
05 LAY YOUR HANDS ON ME 1985 U.S. Single Remix 4.23
06 KING FOR A DAY 4.13
07 REVOLUTION Single Version 3.26
08 NOTHING IN COMMON 3.30
09 THE LEWIS CAROL (ALICE IN WONDERLAND) 4.13
10 BIG BUSINESS 4.15
11 FOOLS IN PARADISE 4.51
12 ROLLUNDER 4.42
13 THE FOURTH SUNDAY 4.19
Self-explanatory, for the most part. The four UK singles in their official 7″ form (plus an extra mix of King For A Day that was pulled), and that “lost” single Roll Over – placed where it would have been chronologically as the planned follow-up to Lay Your Hands On Me and the album’s true lead 45. Also here are the US single remix of Lay… and the 1986 film soundtrack single to the film Nothing In Common (a #54 smash in America, and predictably nowhere to be found over here). The latter could arguably be better suited to the underrated Close To The Bone era of 1987, when Tom and Alannah soldiered on without Joe Leeway and had very little commercial success.
Completing the third disc are the B-sides for each single, which despite the grandiose and intriguing titles are basically instrumental remixes of their A-sides.
Onto the pair of remix-centric discs…
THE REMIXES – PART 1
01 LAY YOUR HANDS ON ME Original Extended Mix 6.05
02 ROLL OVER AGAIN 6.54
03 DON’T MESS WITH DOCTOR DREAM Smack Attack 12″ Mix 6.07
04 LAY YOUR HANDS ON ME U.S. Extended Mix 6.23
05 KING FOR A DAY U.K. Extended Mix 8.03
06 REVOLUTION Extended Re-Mix 6.01
07 LAY YOUR HANDS ON ME Extended Nile Rodgers & Tom Bailey Mix 6.00
08 LAY YOUR HANDS ON ME 1984 U.S. Extended Mix 5.56
Yes, that’s a lot of Laying of Hands, I admit. Half the tracks are versions of the same song. The UK 12″ has to be the lead track, then it’s Roll Over and Dr. Dream to follow again (despite its naff name, the Smack Attack mix is terrific and the one I bought on 12″ in August 1985). There seem to be two US 12″ Extended Mixes, hence one appearing inbetween the run of UK singles as otherwise the disc would have concluded with three Lay Your Hands On Me mixes in a row!
A US release of Lay Your Hands On Me from 1985, which uses a different photo from the same shoot as the Don’t Mess With Doctor Dream UK single. As if I’m not confused enough!
On we go, taking it yet another version of Lay… (sorry!), some more variations on the singles, the 12″ of Nothing In Common, before we get to all the instrumentals that weren’t covered on the A & B-sides disc.
A main feature of Thompson Twins albums in the mid-80s, at least from Quickstep through to Future Days, was the inclusion of an entire extra LP’s worth of dub mixes, instrumentals and assorted deconstructions of the original songs from the main album. I wasn’t buying records in 1983 when Quickstep & Sidekick was released, but both that and Into The Gap did have cassette editions with the album on Side 1 and the mixes filling up Side 2. In the case of Into The Gap, there was even a sublime, exotic piece called Leopard Ray which I think was exclusive to that release (at least until the expanded reissues came along).
Here’s To Future Days was also released with the side of mixes on Side B of the cassette format, but for some reason (my purchase decisions back then rarely had any logic!) I opted for the vinyl, which had a bonus 12″ disc featuring the same content.
THE REMIXES – PART 2
01 LAY YOUR HANDS ON ME 1985 Extended Version Edit 5.11
02 KING FOR A DAY U.S. Extended Remix 7.20
03 REVOLUTION Extended Mix 6.28
04 NOTHING IN COMMON Club Mix 7.43
05 FOOLS IN PARADISE 12″ Mix 5.28
06 (VERY) BIG BUSINESS 5.07
07 ROLLUNDER Extended Mix 6.45
08 ALICE 5.01
09 SHOOT OUT 6.23
10 HEAVENS ABOVE! 3.21
11 THE KISS 5.44
12 DESERT DANCERS 7.07
Just to round proceedings off, I decided to add my old “Director’s Cut” version of Future Days to the set. After all, once you’ve already passed the point of overkill, why stop?
Something I made earlier…afdpj’s 2010 special edition of Here’s To Future Days.
This is what I wrote about my “Directors Cut” edition in 2016:
“So, here we have an alternate version. The singles are all in single form, which means the definitive 1984 mix of Lay Your Hands On Me replaces the stodgy, cod-gospel racket on the LP, and Doctor Dream no longer segues clumsily into it. Roll Over, which vanished in the haze after Tom felt it had bad associations for him, is back in at the expense of the terrible Tokyo.
You Killed The Clown still plods along, like a wannabe Into The Gap ballad, but it’s not that bad. The first half now has a bit more consistency and zip about it, with Future Days bumped up to track 2, Love Is The Law now track 5 and Lay Your Hands moved to track 7 after the other “classic” Twins-sounding King For A Day.
Emperor’s Clothes is actually the (second) best thing on this album, if your will to live held out that long to hear it. Revolution was always a bit of a mis-step, but it fits better as the closing track. I added the 1986 non-album 45, Nothing In Common, just because its sound fitted in quite well with the Future Days era.”
For the artwork, I used a range of motifs and imagery from the official releases (LP, singles, tour programmes, promo shots) to create something different. The naked baby looking lost on the original cover was always a bit odd, along with Joe tying his shoelaces. The scenery was fine, and both Tom and Alannah gave the necessary illusion of wanton luxury and celebration. It’s just there were better alternatives to that particular image, so I used one of them.
A minor adjustment to the Twins three-headed logo to blend in better with a black background was required, and I added one of those mock hype-stickers I am so fond of. For the rear, it’s essentially the same masonry as on the original LP’s reverse. There was a lot of text and information to squeeze onto the area, but a similar condensed font to the one used for the album title allowed it to look less overwhelming and cluttered.
I suspect this particular Fantasy Deluxe will remain very much that, as the prospective audience for such an exhaustive (and exhausting!) trawl through the material from Here’s To Future Days would be extremely limited, you would imagine.
Really enjoying these Fantasy Deluxe pieces, and looking forward to those to come.
I had no idea that Thompson Twins had a pulled single release from this period. Part of the appeal of these articles is the peppering of facts not previously known.
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Thanks Matt – glad to know these posts are serving a purpose. I hoped people would find them interesting but you can never be sure!