Kim Wilde

Blondie, Kim Wilde, Madonna, undoubtedly fake blondes have more fun as Rod Stewart puts it so well. In 1981, when the success of Blondie fades and the explosion of Madonna has not yet taken place, to save the American myth of Marilyn, it is from England that the revelation comes to us, with the beautiful sulky ingenuous Kim Wilde. Not offended, the Lolita of the 80s celebrates in rock’n’roll the “Kids in America”. A logical reaction when you are a baby boomer of British rock.

Kim Wilde was born in Chiswick in Hertfordshire (England) on November 18, 1960. She is a little scorpion! Kim Smith, her real name, is the oldest of a family of four children, with her brother Ricky (born in 1961), her sister Roxanne (born in 1980) and the youngest Marty Junior (born in 1981). Their father, Marty Wilde, was often compared to Elvis Presley, between 1957 and 1962, when or as a rock singer he recorded hits like “Endless Sleep” and “Teenager In Love”, until the day it was swept away, like many others, by the arrival of the Beatles. An eviction from the front of the English music scene which will not prevent him from keeping a foot in the show busines and having projects full head. In 1967, the Wilde family moved. Kim is seven years old, she starts taking piano lessons, very quickly followed by Ricky. Music is omnipresent among the Wildes and Marty’s idea is to make his children stars of pop music. But for now, the young Kim seems more attracted to the arts and more particularly to painting, at the start of the 1970s.

In 1973, his brother Ricky Wilde recorded his first album, as a composer and performer. Between twelve and seventeen years he made several records, all produced by his father Marty who took the opportunity to push Kim towards the song by making him perform the choirs. Immediately her voice becomes very interesting and she records her first model at the age of nineteen years. Supported by his father and brother, the trio offers the band to the famous producer Mickie Most (cf. Animals, Donovan), boss of RAK Records. Without hesitation, the latter made her sign her first contract. Ricky becomes her composer and producer, and Marty her lyricist. As for her mother Joyce, she takes care of management. This is called a real family business.

In 1980, Kim entered the studio to record her first album. She is only twenty years old and she is far from suspecting the success it will bring. In the meantime, Marty Wilde is wondering how the audience will react to this first record. For his part, Ricky is more confident, even if he has a certain apprehension, and for good reason, since it is his money that is at stake, the one he has won on the five albums he has made and which was waiting on a blocked account until he would become an adult.

Marty and Ricky put all their know-how, all their experience and their love in order to make a custom disc for Kim. Finally, on January 26, 1981, the single “Kids In America” was distributed, a month before the release of her album. Immediately “Kids In America” works very hard, all the radios broadcasting it all day long. The public cracks on the cover that represents the luscious Kim Wilde, blonde hair and mouth with swollen lips, dream creature for some, sexy rock baby for others. The photo is in black and white, it will be the only one not in color, with the exception of the British single “View From A Bridge”. Immediately “Kids In America” finds itself at the top of the English, German, Dutch, Swedish and of course French hitparades, in competition with another Kim … Carnes and his famous “Bette Davis eyes”. The 33 rpm, it is called simply ‘Kim Wilde’ and it makes us discover in ten titles the true face of the nymphet. On the cover our pretty pouting pouting blonde appears in the company of three rascals all dressed in black. It is the only cover where Ricky appears in the presence of his sister. This record is excellent, each of the songs is a musical bomb. The sound is clean and new. We are already impatient to hear the rest. The second single from this album “Chequered Love” is released in April, it is taken at the same tempo as “Kids in America”, and its rhythm is enough to wake up a dead man, and even several! The particularity of this second single is the original title of side B “Shane”. A bonus for the collector who will reproduce fairly regularly over the releases.

The principle of new B sides should also be the primary vocation of the single, to accompany the hit, for the greatest joy is without to quench their thirst for new titles. A very good and too rare commercial sense, unfortunately, among other artists. In this little game, the English are always more fortunate than the others, and for the third 45 rpm by Kim Wilde “Water On Glass” they are entitled to another unprecedented opposite B “Boys” that we can find later on compilations.

Very happy with their success, the Wildes get back to work and return to the studio, in order to simmer one of their recipe of which they have the secret. As the public of Kim is more and more addicted and wanting more, in November 1981 a new single is in the stores of record stores. It is about “Cambodia”, in preview of her next LP, with once again a new B side “Watching For Shapes”. Listening to “Cambodia” announces the musical color of the future album, the sound has evolved and the hit “Cambodia” pings you in the head as if you were there, like a burst of the machine gun. It is in France that Kim receives her first platinum record for “Cambodia” which remains her biggest hit with more than a million copies sold in our country alone.

Suffice to say that this is the favorite song of all the fans, including me! In France, the comic strip on the front of the English cover is reversed with the photo on the back. Then 1982 was the year of truth for Kim Wilde. Firstly how will her second album be received and behave in the charts after the huge success of the first. Secondly, what will be the reaction of its public on the occasion of its first tour. This year Kim confirms her position and promises to be the best. Besides the result is not expected with the release of her second LP “Select” at the beginning of the year. And what a selection! All titles are potential hits. The cover makes us discover Kim’s new look, the spiky hair on the head and more sensual than ever. Barely recovered from our emotions appears the simple “View From A Bridge” / “Take Me Tonight” but nothing new since the two songs are taken from the album, as well as for the cover, except in England or the cover is different, in France this photo illustrates the back of the 45 rpm. During the recording sessions of “Select” Ricky Wilde composes so many good songs that they cannot all be included on the album, they will therefore act as a reserve in anticipation of the third 33 rpm. In Great Britain another single “Bitter Is Better” is then marketed, while with us it will be necessary to wait until 1984 so that it finally arrives in the crates of the record stores.

Kim Wilde’s first tour began on October 5, 1982 at Colston Hall in Bristol. After England she landed in France, unfortunately for very few dates. It is the people of Nice who are delighted to discover the first before arriving in Paris on Monday November 8, 1982 for a memorable concert at the Olympia. Tickets are quickly sold out, but on the evening of the show, to the amazement of the fans, the two shows originally scheduled turn into a single series of technical problems. Imagine 4000 people in a room with 2300 seats, it was madness but what an atmosphere. Kim, on stage as on record, demonstrates professionalism and offers us a most captivating concert, accompanied by six musicians, including her brother Ricky on keyboards. She interprets her songs with such magnetism that the whole room is greatly admired. On music supported by synthesizers, she presents “Child Come Away” her next single, available at record stores a week later. A very interesting disc for collectors because it is the only one whose two sides are not included on an original album, with the exception of the compilations. Unfortunately the single “Child Come Away” / “Just Another Guy” does not achieve the expected success, perhaps because of its slower pace compared to her previous successes.

In early 1983, Kim took a well-deserved rest period. So we have to wait until June 20 to discover her new single “Love Blonde” / “Can You Hear It”. The cover photo already speaks volumes when revealing Kim in a pin-up girl wearing a very sexy leather dress. She takes the opportunity to add to the subject of this cover that she had a lot of fun doing this session playing vamps but that she is by no means like that in life. The fact remains that “Love Blonde” hangs well and becomes a hit. To reward buyers of maxi 45 laps, a poster is offered to fans as a bonus. Musically “Love Blonde” sounds more retro than Kim’s previous work, finding a Fifties / Sixties spirit that suits him very well. It is one of the rare pieces in her repertoire where the synths and sequencers have remained in the closet, which at the time surprised many. Between the release of the single and that of the upcoming album, during the summer Kim Wilde participated in the recording sessions of Stephen Bishop’s next disc as a backing vocalist. In October the album “Catch As Catch Can” is distributed. With the exception of “Love Blonde” the content is very electronic, with very beautiful and very melodic compositions like “Stay Awhile” or “Shoot To Disable”, full of emotions, or the very high “Dream Sequence” which you transport to another galaxy. An album of high quality but which partially confuses many of the first fans, preventing it from obtaining a success comparable to the two previous LPs. Nevertheless Kim Wilde still attracts as many people in concerts during her second tour, as evidenced by her triumph in Paris at the Pavillon Baltard on November 27, 1983 in a packed hall. Over an hour late, the crowd greets Kim with great warmth. During this show she gives us a dazzling demonstration of her charm, while ensuring her show with maximum efficiency. This time Ricky is no longer on stage but behind the mixing console to ensure with a master’s hand all the synchronization of the concert.

Then RAK publishes the single “Dancing In The Dark” with the aim of conquering the American market, but it is a commercial failure marked in part by the fact that Kim does not like this song. She then has other ideas in mind such as moving into her new apartment in the heart of London. In addition, as she did not appreciate certain constraints imposed by her record company, she decides to leave RAK and signs with MCA / WEA at the beginning of 1984. For her next album she also wants to get her hands on the dough and tackle to the composition by writing a few pieces with her brother, and in order to be able to enjoy; greater freedom, she chooses to invest the money from the royalties of her hit “Cambodia” in the creation of a recording studio called Select Sound Recording Studio, located in north London, in Knebworth. Kim does not look at the expense by offering the most efficient equipment with a 24-track studio which is among one of the best in England.

Her change of record company is an opportunity for her former company to release a single “House Of Salome” from the album “Catch As Catch Can”. In France, we are entitled to 45 rpm bringing together for our country the new “Bitter Is Better” and “Boys”, to the delight of the fans. Two very good tracks which would not have gone out of place on her first or second album. In England, Kim Wilde’s first videotape containing her first six clips “Kids In America”, “Checkered Love”, “Cambodia”, “View From A Bridge”, “Child Come Away” and “Love Blonde” also appeared. Six wonderful little films with a Kim to chew on. But it was not until October 16, 1984 to finally be able to listen to her new single “The Second Time” in preview of her next LP “Teases And Dares” distributed on November 10. A very surprising album which disappoints a fringe of its public which does not find here the Kim Wilde of the beginnings while consoling itself with pieces like “The Touch”, “Janine” or the superb intro of “Is It Over”. Without forgetting to tip a hat for the first two compositions signed by the hand of our Miss “Shangri-La” and “Fit In”. Then, blow by blow, her old label RAK gratifies us with two compilations, first of all the “Very Best Of Kim Wilde” followed by the French box in the collection “Trio” grouping together the first three albums. These are the first of a long series, but who would complain about it, especially not the collectors who are always happy to discover new covers illustrated with beautiful new photos.

The year 1985 begins with the publication of a new single from the album “Teases And Dares”; “Rage To Love” with on side B a new cover of “Putty In Your Hands” which in the sixties before already made the happiness of Sylvie Vartan then of the Yardbirds. Listening to this 45 rpm one realizes fully the musical upheaval that took place in the repertoire of Kim Wilde while keeping the spirit of her first records, the sound no longer has any relation with that of the 30 cm “Select” to evolve in the English rockabilly style, undoubtedly reminding of the beginnings of her father Marty Wilde as singer of rock ‘n’ roll in the fifties. The clip for “Rage To Love” was produced in a London club, the Electric Ballroom, and it lasted sixteen hours, which is relatively quick. Kim then undertakes the “Rage To Rock” tour which takes her to Paris on March 29, 1985 for a concert at Zenith. The room is packed to overflowing with an exuberant audience, the atmosphere is overheated and Kim Wilde obtains a triumph. Over seven thousand fans flock to applaud him and feast on songs from the LP “Teases And Dares” which, performed in public takes another dimension, without forgetting her first hits and the impact of his first show at Olympia in 1982. Shortly after, the soundtrack of the film “Weird Science” appeared, which featured an original by Kim Wilde “Turn It On”, full of freshness and very pleasant to listen to. There is also “Is It Over” from the album “Teases And Dares” on the soundtrack for the film “Fletch”. We are then entitled to two new compilations of her first successes, always with the same songs, but in different orders, these are the 33 laps “Top 16 Kim Wilde” and “Kim Wilde Gold Record”, all two with great cover photos.

For the summer of 1985, a surprise mini-tour takes place in August in France, but only on the French Riviera, with three concerts in Nimes, Fréjus and Toulon, in the company of Téléphone. For other cities, it will be necessary to wait… In parallel, Laurent Voulzy releases his single “Les Nuits Sans Kim Wilde” on which we can hear the latter in the choirs on the last lines of the song. Kim, in addition to participating in the recording of this hit, is also present on the video of “Les Nuits Sans Kim Wilde” made on Saturday October 28, 1985 at the Arcueil studios. On the other hand, the English version of this title, initially planned, never saw the light of day. Finally, to end the year on a high note, Kim performs on December 7, 1985 at Le Bourget as part of a concert against racism. Unfortunately most of her fans miss this performance following a deficient promotion on this event. This does not prevent him from giving a superb show lasting an hour and a half.

1986 arrives and fans of Kim Wilde begin to get impatient seriously because here is more than one that she has not released a new record. The latter is regularly announced but its publication date is constantly extended. We even mention the publication of a double album with 21 songs but without the rumor being confirmed. Finally her new single “School Girl” is distributed, it is a song dedicated to her little sister Roxanne which is timely to remind us that Kim Wilde is still on the track, pending the release of the next album. However it is still necessary to wait a few months before the LP “Another Step” is actually marketed with the new single “You Keep Me Hangin ‘On” resumption of the sixties hit of Diana Ross’ Supremes. Kim says that it was her brother Ricky who had the idea of ​​taking over this classic Tamla Motown by explaining to her that if she did not want to do it, he would produce this version with another singer because this achievement was particularly important to her. And we understand it. Suddenly, Kim lets herself be convinced and records “You Keep Me Hangin ‘On”. Thanks to this title, we rediscover the Kim Wilde of the beginnings, such as she appeared to us five years ago with her hit “Kids In America”. “You Keep Me Hangin On” is a hit in the charts and allows Kim Wilde to return to second place in the hit parades in Great Britain, while in her country it was until then more or less shunned by the public. The album “Another Step” is very fun and more in the spirit of her first productions, unlike the previous 30 cm “Teases And Dares” without reaching the quality of the LP “Select” which for all fans remains her best album whose success has never been equal so far. Besides, when Kim is asked what is her favorite song from her repertoire, she always answers “View From A Bridge”.

Then for the promotion of the album “Another Step”, she starts a great tour, the fourth and longest of her career, she performs among others, in France for ten dates which had never happened to her before . On November 11, 1986, she returned to Paris on the Zenith stage, surrounded by five excellent musicians. Her fans are very happy to find a Kim Wilde in great shape with a sin to shake the foundations of the room. What a joy to hear Kim address her audience in French, in the style: “You did well to come here this evening because it is the most trendy place in Paris this evening”. And then it must be recognized, for all fans of Kim Wilde, this show is worthy of its first visit to the Olympia in 1982. A reference. Debut 1987 appears a new simple extract from the album, it is “Another Step (Closer To You)” with in front B the new “Hold Back” duet with Junior, without forgetting the different versions of “You Keep Me Hangin On” published on the maxi. Unquestionably the quality of the 33 rpm “Another Step” marks a new stage in the career of Kim Wilde, with not only her return to the charts in the foreground but above all the confirmation that she is more than a sexy idol for teenagers. In the spring of 1987, she provided the choirs in the version of “Let It Be” recorded for the benefit of the parents of the victims of the Zeebrugge disaster, with Paul McCartney, Boy George, Kate Bush, Frankie Goes To Hollywood and The Alarm, before returning to Paris on May 15 to perform at Nuit de l’Essec at Cargy Pontoise. An ascent in the form of a real fairy tale, concretizing the fact that Kim Wilde has made himself indispensable for her fans who have since, like me, a “rage to love” for Kim. Not you?