Within my vast collection of music, one of my fetishes is the the 80s 12″ Mix. It really is a lost art form. Mainly because club DJs would want to keep the beats going, special remixes were pressed up since around the disco era where a song would be taken from its single length format and extended anywhere for 5 to 10 minutes. Extra unused pieces were added, bass line breakdowns, sometimes added vocals or percussion or just zany sound effects. It varied from song to song. While originally these were more of a promotional item issued to DJs, around the mid 80s the singles became a bigger deal in retail stores. People who weren’t even considered dance music like Bruce Springsteen, Huey Lewis, and Chicago had remixes of their hits in racks seen alongside those who perfected 12″ mixes, like Prince, Madonna, Pet Shop Boys and more.
Many of these tracks have slowly trickled their way into the digital age, being added onto remastered CDs of their parent albums from the time. A recent UK collection called So80s curated by Blank and Jones is a great place to look in fact. Also UK remasters on the Cherry Pop and Edsel labels have been excellent sources of these. But the majority of these tracks remain only on vinyl. Because the mixes weren’t as popular many times as the regular versions, these records are rarer and hard to find. In may cases, the artists probably don’t have very fond memories of these mixes either, viewing them as an artifact of the 80s.
I was looking one night on the web for a song to add into my 1985 chart hits playlist that I didn’t have by Eric Carmen of all people, and stumbled upon one of the best sites I have ever found, called Burning The Ground. The site, named after an excellent Duran Duran 12″ Megamix, is a vast treasure trove of rare 12″ singles. The project is run by DJPaulT. The project is treated with extra special loving care. DJPaulT has taken these records one by one, cleaned them professionally, ripped them to High Definition digital files, painstakingly delicked the surface noise, and posted each 12″ Single in full. Not only that, but he carefully scanned and cleaned up the full artwork for each record. The tracks are available in 24bit FLAC digital, as well as 320kbps MP3.
I cannot stress enough what an excellent job and service this guy has done for those of us who are fascinated by the art and history of the 12″ single for those of us who especially thing the 80s was such a great decade for dance music. Do yourself a favor and spend some time over there, and I’m sure you’ll find something you like or didn’t know existed. And be sure to drop a donation his way if you like what you find so that he can maintain the equipment and keep providing such a great service to us all. Thank you DJPaulT.
Now go check out BURNING THE GROUND…