Introducing Sparks

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Introducing Sparks
Introducing Sparks - Sparks.jpg
Studio album by Sparks
Released October 1977
Recorded 1977
Genre
Length 35:58
Label Columbia (US), CBS (UK)
Producer Terry Powell, Ron Mael, Russell Mael
Sparks chronology
Big Beat
(1976)
Introducing Sparks
(1977)
No. 1 in Heaven
(1979)
Alternative cover
Introducing Sparks alt cover.jpg
Singles from Introducing Sparks
  1. "Over the Summer" b/w "Forever Young"
    Released: August 1977 (US)[1]
  2. "A Big Surprise" b/w "Forever Young"
    Released: 30 September 1977 (UK)[2]
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2/5 stars[3]
Robert Christgau B [4]

Introducing Sparks is the seventh album by the American rock band Sparks released in 1977. The release was their second and final album for Columbia Records. At the time of its release it was a commercial failure and received very negative reviews claiming that the band had adopted a new East-Coast 'American sound' despite the fact that the Mael brothers are indeed Americans. (The title is also rather ironic since Introducing Sparks was not only not their first album, it wasn't even the first for their label, Columbia.)

Release[edit]

Introducing Sparks was no more a success in terms of chart performance than their previous album Big Beat. It did not chart in the UK or US. The singles "Over the Summer" and "A Big Surprise" each backed with "Forever Young" were released singles but failed to gain any significant sales or radio play.

The Mael brothers next would team-up successfully with Giorgio Moroder in 1978 to record a very different album from Introducing Sparks.

Re-release[edit]

Apart from its initial release in 1977 Introducing Sparks was unavailable for many years. For a time it was previously the only Sparks album only released on vinyl (though bootlegs were available on CD). This was in part because Columbia Records held the rights, and while they had released Big Beat, that album had been released by Island Records in the UK and they had since taken up the option of re-releasing it in 1994. Therefore, there was little impetus for Columbia to release just one album rather than a number which could benefit the sales of one another like Island had.

Due to its commercial and critical failure, Introducing Sparks faded into obscurity. This was rectified in November 2007, when the album was officially re-released on CD on Sparks own record label; Lil' Beethoven Records. However, the CD was not remastered from the original studio master tapes owned by Sony, but was mastered from a vinyl LP. When the album was later re-released again in Japan on SHM-CD, which is marketed as being a superior sounding CD format, the same vinyl remaster was used.

In 2014, a fan had posted online that they had inadvertently discovered a quadrophonic master tape of 'Introducing Sparks', which revealed a possible early incarnation of the album. The tape contained 8 songs, which included two fully produced unreleased songs ('Kidnap' and 'Keep Me') and excluded three songs from the final album release ('Forever Young', 'Girls On The Brain' and 'Over The Summer'). All songs had countdown intros and cold stops instead of fade outs. Also, the album appeared to be an early mix, as some sounds were either missing from the songs or mixed differently. In the case of the song 'Goofing Off', there is the addition of background conversation opening, closing, and running throughout the song.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Ron Mael and Russell Mael.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "A Big Surprise" 3:42
2. "Occupation" 5:17
3. "Ladies" 3:06
4. "I'm Not" 3:26
5. "Forever Young" 3:27
Side two
No. Title Length
6. "Goofing Off" 4:26
7. "Girls on the Brain" 3:41
8. "Over the Summer" 3:50
9. "Those Mysteries" 5:03

Personnel[edit]

Release details[edit]

Country Date Label Format Catalog
United Kingdom 1977 CBS Records Vinyl CBS 82284
2007 Lil' Beethoven Records CD LBRCDRON Slipcase with Ron Mael on the front
2007 Lil' Beethoven Records CD LBRCDRUS Slipcase with Russell Mael on the front
United States 1977 Columbia Records Vinyl PC 34901
Netherlands 1977 CBS Records Vinyl CBS 82284

References[edit]

  1. ^ "45cat - Sparks - Over The Summer / Forever Young - Columbia - USA - 3-10579". 45cat. Retrieved 2014-12-14. 
  2. ^ "45cat - Sparks - A Big Surprise / Forever Young - CBS - UK - S CBS 5593". 45cat. Retrieved 2014-12-14. 
  3. ^ Introducing Sparks (Review) at AllMusic. Retrieved December 14, 2014.
  4. ^ "CG: Sparks". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 2014-12-14.