Musical Director Ivor Raymonde once wrote ‘Unless you live in outer Mongolia (and they may even sell records there for all I know) you must have heard of The Bachelors.’ I’ve never seen a Mongolian pressing of their work, but from my own collection I can confirm that The Bachelors released records in the following countries;
USA, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Guatemala, Chili, Australia, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Philippines, Japan, South Africa, Rhodesia, India, Turkey, Greece, Czechoslovakia, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Holland, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and, of course…Ireland. This list is probably not complete, so I’d be pleased to include more, should they come to light.
Most of the foreign releases were issued under the name of ‘Decca’ or, in the case of the America’s and Japan…the US arm of Decca … ‘London Records.’ Some of the UK’s ‘Galaxy’ label singles were also issued in Belgium on the ‘Panky’ label.
USA/Canadian releases kept pace with UK issues, although album name, covers and track listings were sometimes different. This threw up some interesting comparisons. Decca didn’t release The Bachelors in stereo (in the UK) until 1966, but were pressing ‘London’ releases for the USA in stereo from their first album (Presenting The Bachelors) in 1964.
Several tracks popped up on USA albums (and 45 rpm ‘B’ sides) that were never released in the UK… these were;
The Bachelors Back Again – London LL3393/PS393
Pagan Love Song (appeared 30 years later on a UK CD compilation)
The Bachelors No Arms Can Ever Hold You – London LL3418/PS418
I’m Getting Sentimental Over You
The Bachelors Marie – London LL3435/PS435
Light A Candle in the Chapel
Bachelors ’68 – London LL3528/PS528
Begin To Love
The Rose Of Tralee
What Do I Want For Tomorrow
(This album as PS 528, contains the ONLY stereo issue of ‘In The Chapel in the Moonlight’and is a different mix to the UK single)
The USA ‘London’ 45 ‘Can I Trust You’ (45- Lon 20010) 1966; has a ‘B’ side ‘My Girl’ which has never appeared anywhere else before or since.
The USA/Canadian A and B side pairings were sometimes different and not everything released in the UK was issued in the USA and vice versa.
The US had ‘Juke Box EP’s’ containing three tracks each side (33rpm) which would mirror an album release. I’ve one such pressing for ‘Bachelors Back Again’ but have never seen any more.
The Australian and New Zealand output was prolific and, oddly, a mixture that followed both UK and USA releases. The majority of Decca issues were pressed by EMI (Australia), their version of the UK album ‘Bachelors Girls’ was ‘ A Decca recording released exclusively in Australia by World Record Club.’
The UK Philips album ‘Bachelors 74’ was issued by Phonogram in Australia as ‘Sing out your Love Songs.’
The boys were very popular in Japan, where their issues tended to follow the American catalogue, although some album covers/names were different (see gallery). Con recalls they did have a No.1 single there, but for the life of him, can’t remember which one it was (I’m fairly certain it was ‘Love Me With All Of Your Heart.’ Any further information on that would be welcome as would a discography).
South African and European releases tended to follow the UK, although 45’s were usually issued in picture sleeves, which are nice to collect (see gallery).
I’d heard recordings of ‘Charmaine’ and ‘Marie’ sung in German (on acetates owned by Con), but had no idea if they were pressed and released to the public. The internet gave me an answer when browsing one night in 2006. It WAS released as a single in Germany in October 1965. I finally managed to secure a mint copy in 2016, it was the highest price I’d ever paid for a piece of Bachelors vinyl!
One more absolute rarity appeared in Germany in 1967 as the ‘B’ side to ‘Oh How I Miss You’ (Ariola 19 578 AT)…’As Long As Forever.’ I only discovered this in 2008 ! When I played it to Dec he has no recollection of recording it all, although he said:
“The harmonies are great and from the timbre of Cons voice I’d say it was recorded around the same time as ‘Diane.’”
Italy and San Remo
Whilst Decca were releasing standard Bachelors material in Italy, their Management felt they could be much bigger there. Their appearance at the San Remo song festival in 1967 is covered elsewhere (Stage History) but the group went to the expense of recording some songs in Italian to publicise their visit and raise their profile after the contest.
Italian label DischiRicord issued their Italian language output, across three 45’s and one album.
SIR 20-023 – La TuaImmagine/O Mio Dolce Amore
SIR 20-041 – Proposta /Per VedereQuanto E’ Grande Il Mondo (Song Contest Numbers)
SIR 20-051 – Io Punto Su Di Te/Contropietre
The Album, ‘The Bachelors’ MIR 23-07 contained all of the above (apart from O Mio Dolce Amore) and two further tracks L’unicaCosa and QuelPochoChe Ho.
The Italian language tracks were pressed on Side 1 and a selection for the UK/USA album ‘Hits of the 60’s’ occupied side two. The 45’s and album were only ever issued in Italy (Mono only) and count among the rarest of Bachelors releases on vinyl.
In 1973, the boys made their first appearance behind the ‘Iron Curtain’ when they sang at the Bratislava song festival in what was then Czechoslovakia.
Unknown to them, the Czechoslovakian label ‘Opus’ released a 45rpm disc with ‘Bring Me Sunshine.’ as the ‘a’ side and ‘I Believe’ as the ‘b.’ Both tracks had been pulled from their stage performance at the festival and credit their own MD, Stuart Atkins, as Director of The Festival orchestra. Opus 90 43 0288 turns up on auction sites or dealers listings occasionally and it definitely one of their rarities.