Thursday, February 12, 2009

Julie Anthony - Here I Am (Updated)

You're looking at one of my most prized possessions. I stumbled across this amazing 80s relic on Ebay a couple of years ago and just knew that it belonged in my collection. The sight of prim and proper Julie Anthony in that fabulous tracksuit immediately caught my attention and I was interested to hear her pop material. To cut a short story even shorter, it turned out to be the best one cent I've ever spent! "Here I Am" not only delivers an endearing selection of 80s cover versions, it also gave me a whole new appreciation for one of Australia's best loved divas. Like most people under the age of 30, I had always associated Julie Anthony with two things - the national anthem and St. George bank. The former due to her habit of performing it at every second sporting event ever held in this country and the latter for her memorable television commercials. I knew that Julie had a very successful singing career in the 1970s but I had no idea it continued well into the 80s and never, ever pictured her belting out a Hi-NRG cover of Irene Cara's "Fame" or ABBA's "The Winner Takes It All"!

One Of Julie's Iconic St. George Bank Commercials

Released in 1982, "Here I Am" mainly consists of faithful renditions of modern pop hits with a couple of standards and one original track (at least I think it is) thrown in for good measure. The production is fairly formulaic but all 18 songs are lovingly performed and hold up remarkably well more than 20 years later. Part of what makes the album so interesting is the eclectic tracklist. There are a couple of obvious choices ("Some Enchanted Evening" from South Pacific, Elton John's "Blue Eyes" and Cliff Richard's "We Don't Talk Anymore") but the majority of "Here I Am" is weird and rather wonderful. Julie's version of "Have You Ever Been In Love" gives Leo Sayer a run for his money, while a cheerful rendition of "Arthur's Theme" sits happily next to an outrageous cover of The Carpenters' "Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft" - complete with a lisping alien, no less! That is probably my favourite track on the album along with Julie's aforementioned take on ABBA's oft covered "The Winner Takes It All". As much as I love Kylie & Dannii's recent attempt, Julie's dramatic version is infinitely better. Check out Julie's stunning interpretations below:

Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft

Winner Takes It All

Other memorable moments include accomplished interpretations of Sheena Easton's "For Your Eyes Only", Stevie Wonder's "Lately" and Michael Jackson's "One Day In Your Life" - as well as a very cute rendition of Joey Scarbury's "Believe It Or Not" and a toe tapping cover of "Why Do Fools Fall In Love". The track that I think might be an original is a pretty ballad called "China Blue" (it's definitely NOT a cover of Fancy's similarly titled Eurodance classic) but hopefully someone will let me know if I'm mistaken. You can hear short clips of most of the tracks in the amazing television promo below. I'm so grateful to the person who stuck this gem on youtube. Julie's outrageous outfits, stunning perm and glamorous eye make-up deserve to be preserved for posterity! "Here I Am" was only one of several cover version heavy albums Julie released in the early 80s. All of them are highly recommended and can probably be found lying at the bottom of a bargain bin near you.


John said...

That's some crazy stuff! They should give her the Brenda Dickson treatment on YouTube!

Mike said...

Jill from Y&R? LOL!

I received quite a few e-mails from ABBA fans asking to hear Julie's version of "The Winner Takes It All", so I've uploaded it as well as her ultra classy rendition of "Calling Occupants". Enjoy!

Jamie_movietrip said...

Oh I love, Mike! Julie looks so classy, like a 1980's permed Kathie Lee Gifford! I simply must hear For Your Eyes Only.

Tommy said...

This is great!! That cover, those songs, the advertisement! You know an album's pure class when the cover has "As Advertised on TV" printed right at the top! Thanks for posting the songs as well, I'll take her ABBA cover over anything in Mamma Mia.

discodevil said...

Her 1977 album A Part Of Me is a great one too. My favorite track from that is Winter In America.