a global tribute to SPARKS
CvB Software/Fan Mael Records CD1999/01
Stijntjesduinstraat 25, 2202 LA, Noordwijk, The Netherlands
FanMael.Net (April 1999)
site Now at

    CD 1 (quieter)

01. Steve Murray (UK) Propaganda 0:22
02. Derek Paice (UK) Girl From Germany 2:23
03. Wednesday Week (NL) Slowboat 3:18
04. R. STEVIE MOORE (US) Fletcher Honorama 2:58
05. Steve Murray (UK) Beat The Clock 3:42
06. The Squirrels (US) With All My Might 3:25
07. Steve Murray (UK) The No. 1 Song In Heaven - part I 3:03
08. The Quackle (NL) This Town Ain't Big Enough... 3:10
09. Rafael Wynn (AU) La Dolce Vita 6:02
10. Karen J. Walsha (UK) Never Turn Your Back On Mother Earth 2:27
11. Peter König (DE) Popularity 3:36
12. God/Monster (UK) The No. 1 Song In Heaven 3:53
13. Steve Murray (UK) Something For The Girl With Everything 2:05
14. Egnekn's Daughter (US) Those Mysteries 4:59
15. Murdoch (UK) Pineapple 2:34

    CD 2 (heavier)

01. Cuban Boys (UK) A Song That Sings Itself 4:16
02. The WayOutz (US) A Fun Bunch Of Guys From Outer Space 3:04
03. John Sunderland (US) Suzie Safety 4:05
04. Peter König (DE) Reinforcements 2:41
05. Wednesday Week (NL) It's A Knock Off 3:46
06. Wonder Boys (UK) The No. 1 Song In Heaven 3:35
07. Collider (US) I Predict 2:48
08. AAIIEE (US) Happy Hunting Ground 3:15
09. Peter König (DE) So Important 3:49
10. AAIIEE (with Rob Morgan) (US) At Home, At Work, At Play 3:05
11. Wonder Boys (UK) When Do I Get To Sing "My Way" 4:00
12. R. STEVIE MOORE (US) Here Comes Bob (vcl Krys O) 4:06
13. Collider (US) Something For The Girl With Everything 2:12
14. Klepto Maniac Zoo (US) Moon Over Kentucky 6:32

Compilation produced by Carl van Breukelen, Stef Streur and Ruud Swart

In 1975, Peter de Wit started a Dutch fanzine, dedicated to the brothers Ron and Russell Mael, better known as Sparks. This fanzine was first named Propaganda, but during the years the name changed to "Fan Mael".

Peter isn't with us anymore, but his fanzine (and spirit) still exists.

In 1998, we took the initiative to invite Sparks fans from all over the world to pay homage to Ron and Russell Mael by contributing one or more songs for a tribute CD.

When this was also announced on the Internet, the number of people who liked to contribute increased so fast, that one CD wasn't sufficient anymore, and so we decided to move to a double CD.

Given the extra available bits and bytes, we could also add a local browsable copy of our website, and with the kind help of Steve Pond and Larry Graves we could add their (former and current) websites as well, so apart from being a tribute album only, this CD also contains large pieces of Sparks history and trivia.

We wish to thank Ron and Russell Mael for writing all these catchy tunes and witty lyrics, and all participants for their contributes. We hope you like the result as much as we do.

After having visited Brad Day in Atlanta, who showed him a cd of Gary Numan fans covering his songs, Ruud Swart came up with the same idea for Sparks.

As an initiative from Fan Mael, we have prepared the release of a cd full of Sparks songs recorded by their fans. For that purpose, we invited anybody remotely involved in playing music, who thought they could add something to this cd, or just wanted to share their interpretation of a Sparks song, to send us one or two songs, previously recorded by Sparks.

As a bonus we have also added an as-complete-as-possible copy of this website, which you can browse off-line.

ExtraAdditional Bonus track:
Also Larry Graves has given us permission to include an as-complete-as-possible copy of his "Sparks In Cyberspace" website as well (which we did) !!! (including anything about Sparks' main competitor "Cowboy Dung"!)

ExtraTerrestrial Bonus track:
Steve Pond has given us permission to include an as-complete-as-possible copy of his (first and original) (former) Sparks website as well (done also) !!! This is the site Sparks' use of bandwidth started with !!!

Something Hidden!!!
See if you can find it... (what's really hidden is something called "oops.jpg" - but that seemed to be on purpose...)

Review by Carl Caprioglio - director of Oglio Records: Well done Sparks fans! I was very impressed at the range of musical styles represented on the Sparks tribute: Amateur Hour. Sparks fans certainly do have a wide range of interpretations most of which are anything but amateur. Overall this two CD set was a fun listen. If you are a Sparks fan this CD will make you appreciate Sparks and their songwriting at another level. Buy it and enjoy!

Stephane Kurtz wrote us: It is quite wonderful, even my non-Sparksian spouse liked it. We had a little game of "the tribute CD from my music list is better than the tribute CD from yours (his being the Rolling Stones)" And he highly agreed. Thank you once again for your efforts; it has been a blast to listen to.

Les Birchall wrote us: May I congratulate you and all those involved in producing the CD. The quality of the packaging and content is superb.

Dave Roberts wrote us: I received the CDs yesterday, heard it all last night and I was actually a little disappointed when it ended... It's marvellous. I could've listened to many more CDs like that.... Congratulations on a fantastic product and brilliant, professional quality.

Rod Faulkner wrote us: I thought I would just let you know that I have received the Amateur Hour C.D. I'm not quite sure what I expected but it is absolutely fantastic ! Not only is the quality and variety of the music superb but the whole package is so professional, well done !

Alan Phaur wrote us: If there really is anybody on the list who hasn't got their own copy, it is wonderful and you must be off your trolley. The cds are an incredible feat and must represent an enormous amount of work and effort. I am sure you must have been told a hundred times that it was definitely worth it. I know that you would probably appreciate some sort of acknowledgement from R&R and I hope you get this. Thank you very much Carl and Ruud and whoever.

From the Telex Information Service: This a a very professional set. Both packaging and sound quality are of a very high standard. Forget your preconceptions about amateur tribute albums. This CD set breaks the mould! Professionally recorded and mixed and professionally printed, pressed and produced.

John Dignan wrote us: Before I disappear to sunny Barcelona for 10 days or so, I had to congratulate everyone involved in the Amateur Hour project. What a brilliant result!! The time and effort put into it couldn't have been better spent. It shows talent and dedication that Ron and Russell should be extremely proud of. Ruud, CvB, Carl Oglio, all contributors - you deserve medals!

Rob Morgan from Poplust Magazine wrote: Like everyone else, I must say that I'm mighty impressed! This CD is truly something every Sparks fan will thoroughly enjoy & would be proud to have in their collections. Seriously, ORDER THIS LP- I SWEAR you'll enjoy it!!! REALLY!! Go right now to for info... and tell 'em The CAPTAIN sent ya.... WOOOOO!!!!!!!! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

Tom Francis wrote us: There are too many Sparks fans out there who don't own this, and it's a crime. This compilation is just such a shockingly *good* one that it's impossible to do it justice in text without it sounding like some tacky sales pitch.

From Jimmy Possession's "Robots and Electronic Brains" website: The label has probably given it away already but, if not, welcome to a Sparks tribute double album featuring bands from the Sparks internet list, mainly from the UK and US but also Australian, German and Dutch. Robots.. faves the Cuban Boys pop up on disc 2 ("heavier") doing "A song that sings itself" pretty straight (no surprise when you know a bit about their murky past!) and God/Monster cover "The No.1 song in heaven" on disc 1 ("quieter") but, beyond that, they're all new to me and I don't particularly like Sparks, so you know you're getting a fair review...this time, at least haa ahahahahah...Highlights: The Quackle tackles "This town ain't big enough for both of us" faithfully enough and with a bit of a spark but can't hold a candle to Egnekn's Daughter who play toys and kitchenware as an 8-year-old sings the eminently suitable lyrics to "Those mysteries" in her own sweet time. The Wonder Boys clatter through "When do I get to sing my way" in a Glitter Band meets Mud rush and, best of the lot, Collider's gabba theatricality, Lydonesque sneer and Casio camp steal the show on "Something for the girl with everything" which is pretty much the only track on here that captures the archly eccentric edge and abandon that Sparks displayed at their peak. It's over the top, kitchen sink pop and so much more than a respectful cover. As new reviewer Jyoti might say: buy it if you're a Sparks fan, don't buy it if you're not.

R.Stevie Moore and Krystyna Olsiewicz wrote us: My box got here, safe and sound. Thanks very very much!!!! They look and sound terrific... Haven't found the hidden track. Tell me what it is! Lemme know if you get any reactions from R & R > > >

Jay Bond wrote us: I got mine in the mael today, and although I only had time to listen to tracks 1-8 on the first disc before coming back to work, I must say that it is uniformly EXCELLENT and if you don't have it, get it. Who would have imagined an acoustic version of Beat the Clock? (ans.- Steve Murray, that's who) That so many different musical styles work so well with the music of the brothers Mael is proof of two things: 1) The songwriting is peerless in pop music, and 2) Sparks fans are the most intelligent and talented (definitely an asset) fans in the world. A personal thank you to all the contributors and organizers. Thanks!!!!!

Colin Black wrote us: I would also like to express my thanks to you for the time and effort of everyone at Fanmael for this excellent project. I think the whole CD (i.e. contents and packaging) is supremely impressive, and have really enjoyed listening to it repeatedly.

Ingrid Hambuch wrote us: Hi, today morning I finally received my desperately waiting for "Amateur Hour". I thought, I'll play it once, that'll be ok for it. I expected something, but nothing special. NO! I really NEVER expected THAT!! WOW! I'm playing it over and over the whole day now! Really great work! The songs are ALL excellent!

Steve Whitehead wrote us: This double cd is going to stay in my machine for a long time: I love it

Andreas Huene wrote us: Hi there, just-in-time to my birthday I got my copy of the Tribute CDs and can't tell how much I enjoy them! They are so much fun!! Thank you so much to all the contributors and to all who made them possible! I am so very happy about them - thank you all!

Dave Styles wrote us: Hi CDs arrived this morning - BRILLIANT !!!!! They are really good. Well done, and thank you. I love all of the tracks. Only one comment - in the next one (!) can you do a version of "Marry Me" please :)

Rob Pel wrote us: Afgelopen zaterdag viel jullie CD bij mij op de deurmat. Het duurde nog even voor ik tijd had om er eens uitgebreid voor te gaan zitten. Ik heb er nu een paar keer naar geluisterd en ik kan niet anders zeggen dan dat het wachten meer dan de moeite waard was. Echt hartstikke leuk, mijn complimenten! En zonder anderen te kort te willen doen: Cuban Boys, Collider en R. Stevie Moore (Here Comes Bob) zijn wat mij betreft TOP.