Saturday Flashback: Alphaville – Forever Young (Special Dance Mix)

“Big drum beat! More trumpets! Intermittent vocal bits going going ‘ah, ah, ah, ah’!”

Tim: Here’s a fun thing I found while looking up versions of this song when we chatted about the Boy In Space version: the B-side of the original release, which somehow I’d never heard before.

Tom: I didn’t even know this existed! Okay, then. How did they remix this back in 1984?

Tom: Well, that sounds a bit like Pet Shop Boys only ten years earlier, doesn’t it? There’s no actual remix producer credited, so presumably this was the same team as the main single, just moving things about and banging on a couple of extra tracks.

Tim: Big drum beat! More trumpets! Intermittent vocal bits going going ‘ah, ah, ah, ah’!

Tom: I am surprised this sounds as good as it does.

Tim: Most important for us, though, an answer to your observation about it not being a song you’d expect to become so popular, what with lyrics about fading horses and suchlike. It’s not until I heard this, with the vocal bits and the excessive trumpeting, that I realised quite how much it’s based on Pachelbel’s Canon, and suddenly I can’t unhear it.

I’d love to know what it is about that piece of music, what quality it has, that makes it quite so pervasive in pop – you’ve got obvious ones like All Together Now, Go West and C U When U Get There, but then you dig further and it’s in Let It Be, Don’t Look Back In Anger, Sk8er Boi. There’s With Or Without You, Basket Case and hell, even Welcome To The Black Parade. I’ve no idea how many of those were deliberate – it’s entirely entirely possible they were subconsciously inspired or even complete coincidences (though Pete Waterman’s on record saying I Should Be So Lucky is partly based on it), but it’s interesting how one eight note theme can become the basis of so many hit singles.

Tom: If you haven’t seen Rob Paravonian’s piece on this, I suspect you should.

Tim: I hadn’t seen it, no, so thanks for that. And whether or not this is the reason they become big I’ve no idea – ups the chances a bit, I’d guess – but either way, I love music for stuff like this.