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Stars On/Starsound

The brainchild of Jaap Eggermont and Willem van Kooten, a pair of Red Bullet Productions execs who got miffed when a bootleg turned up using “Venus” in a medley.  Kooten owned the rights to “Venus” but instead of trying to sue the bootleggers, he employed Eggermont to assemble a group of session musicians and create their own medley.  The “group”, as it were, was billed as Stars On in the States and Starsound just about everywhere else.

Eggermont knew a bit about copyright law and managed to negotiate fractional royalty fee so they didn’t break the bank writing massive checks to the likes of Jeff Barry, Andy Kim, John Lennon, and Paul McCartney.  As it turned out, everyone involved got a handsome payout.  The resulting “Medley:  Intro ‘Venus’ – Sugar Sugar – No Reply – I’ll Be Back – Drive My Car – Do You Want to Know a Secret – We Can Work it Out – I Should Have Known Better – Nowhere Man – You’re Going to Lose That Girl – Stars on 45” went to #1 in the Netherlands and U.S. and #2 in the U.K.  It also holds the distinction of being the song with the longest title to hit the Billboard top 100.

Eggermont tapped Bas Muys to sing John Lennon’s bits—he had produced Muys’ band, Smyle—and Okkie Huysdens to imitate Paul McCartney.  Additional original material, written by Martin Duiser and Eggermont, was performed by Jody Pijper.  A longer version of the song appears on the album, Stars on Long Play, and features some of George Harrison’s compositions, voiced by Hans Vermeulen of Rainbow Train.  The album went to #1 in Australia and the U.K. and cracked the top ten in the United States.

A follow-up medley, also using Beatles songs, reached a meager #67 in the U.S.  Stars on Long Play II yielded a couple of hits:  an ABBA medley, with Claudia Hoogendoorn doing double duty as Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Agnetha Faltskog, went to #2 in Great Britain, and a Motown medley went to #55 in the States.  Likewise, a Stevie Wonder medley from Stars on Long Play III, voiced by Tony Sherman, went to #14 in Great Britain and #28 in the States.  “Stars on 45:  The Greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll Band in the World”, a medley of Rolling Stones songs, went to #14 in The Netherlands.  In 1987, they released Stars on Frankie, a Sinatra tribute album:  It went to #59, and its title track to #16, on the Dutch charts.  This was Eggermont’s swan song with the Stars On/Starsound franchise.

Although a number of re-issues and best-of compilations were released throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s, there was not much of anything new to hear on these CDs, aside from re-mixes.  Stars on 45, however, remains a staple at parties, weddings, and other social occasions:  Eddie Garr, a bassist and vocalist, is the headmaster of this live attraction, and their repertoire has grown considerably, and is in no way, shape or form, limited to medleys.  Their song list covers a variety of genres, including contemporary, ethnic, and jazz.  A website is listed below.

Peter Douglas
Ingrid Ferdinandusse
Eddie Garr
Okkie Huysdens
Yvonne Keeley
Bas Muys
Patricia Paay
Jody Pijper
Tony Sherman
Sylvana van Veen
Peter Vermeij
Hans Vermeulen

Stars on 45 recordings
Medley:  Intro “Venus” – Sugar Sugar – No Reply – I’ll Be Back – Drive My Car – Do You Want to Know a Secret – We Can Work it Out – I Should Have Known Better – Nowhere Man – You’re Going to Lose That Girl – Stars on 45 (Jeff Barry/Martin Duiser/Jaap Eggermont/Andy Kim/Robbie van Leeuwen/John Lennon/Paul McCartney)
Stars on 45 (Martin Duiser/Jaap Eggermont)