It's a Fine Day

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"It's a Fine Day" is a song written by English poet and musician Edward Barton. It was originally recorded a cappella in 1983 by Jane, and later by Opus III for whom it was a major international hit in 1992.

Original recording by Jane[edit]

"It's a Fine Day"
It's a Fine Day (Jane).jpg
Single by Jane
A-side "It's a Fine Day"
B-side "Of All Leaves Were Falling"
Released 1983
Format 7-inch single
Label Cherry Red Records
Songwriter(s) Edward Barton

Barton wrote the lyrics as a poem when living in the Hulme area of Manchester.[1] It was originally sung unaccompanied by, and credited to, Jane – that is, Jane Lancaster, Barton's girlfriend.[2][3] They recorded and released it independently, and it was played by radio DJ John Peel. It was then heard by Iain McNay of Cherry Red Records, who obtained the rights to the record and released it more widely on his label in 1983.[4] It reached number 5 on the UK Indie Chart, and later appeared, credited to Jane and Barton, on their eponymous mini-album Jane and Barton. This version of the song appeared on the 2013 indie-pop compilation album Scared to Get Happy: A Story of Indie-Pop 1980-1989.

Jane's unaccompanied vocal version of the song was given a backing track by A Guy Called Gerald in 1992.

Charts[edit]

Chart (1983) Peak
position
UK Indie (The Official Charts Company)[5] 5

Opus III version[edit]

"It's a Fine Day"
It's a Fine Day (Opus III).jpg
Single by Opus III
from the album Mind Fruit
B-side "Evolution Rush"
Released February 1992
Format
Length 3:36
Label PWL International
Songwriter(s) Edward Barton
Opus III singles chronology
"It's a Fine Day"
(1992)
"I Talk to the Wind"
(1992)
"It's a Fine Day"
(1992)
"I Talk to the Wind"
(1992)
Music video
"It's a Fine Day" on YouTube

Also in 1992, the song was covered by Opus III, whose lead vocalist was Kirsty Hawkshaw.

Release[edit]

The two chief differences from Jane's original were that this version was not recorded a cappella but with a full instrumental accompaniment, and that it used only the first verse and chorus of the original song's lyrics. This version reached number 5 in the UK charts, and number 1 on the US Hot Dance Club Play Chart. In Greece the single peaked at number 1 and at number 2 in Spain. The song's video featured Hawkshaw (with her standout shaved head and bodysuit) performing and dancing against a backdrop of what is supposed to be a fine day.

Critical reception[edit]

Billboard wrote about the song: "Quirky dance act has already topped the U.K. pop charts with this near-perfect, radio-friendly ditty. Track is empowered with a potent blend of, ethereal female vocals, a hypnotic hook, and an eleetro-hip beat. Should have little trouble duplicating its success at several levels here. Look for the act's full-length debut album this summer."[6]

The Gavin Report wrote: "Lead vocalist Kirsty is the only name we know because the producers who put this British Dance sensation together can't legally reveal themselves. Supposedly, Kirsty was singing in her garden while this mysterious group was recording the sounds of birds. A likely story. In any case, it was a fortunate meeting that gave life to this hot track.[7]

Network 40 wrote in their review: "This huge British Dance smash came about when the boys behind the group — whose identity must remain anonymous for contractual and legal reasons — were out in the Hertfordshire woods recording bird noises to sample for a new track and stumbled on Classically-trained vocalist Kirsty. Opus III approaches their music committed to a pure English vocal crossed with the backdrop of organic Dance rhythm. The overall effect is a powerful ambient concept of style and character which can't be ignored. Like nothing else out there, this track is simultaneously spacey and driving, bordering on the current Euro-Rave movement."[8]

Track listings[edit]

CD single[edit]

  1. "It's a Fining Day" (edit) – 3:40
  2. "It's a Fine Day" – 5:30
  3. "Evolution Rush" – 6:11
  4. "It's a Fine Day" (accapella version) – 3:42

7" single[edit]

  1. "It's a Fine Day" (edit) – 3:40
  2. "Evolution Rush" (edit) – 4:21

12" maxi[edit]

  1. "It's a Fine Day" (club remix) – 6:45
  2. "It's a Fine Day" (club remix) – 6:45

Charts[edit]

Chart (1992) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[9] 54
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[10] 14
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[11] 24
Europe (Eurochart Hot 100)[12] 16
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[13] 10
France (SNEP)[14] 14
Germany (Official German Charts)[15] 18
Greece (Virgin)[16] 1
Ireland (IRMA)[17] 6
Italy (FIMI)[18] 9
Netherlands (Tipparade)[19] 4
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[20] 51
Spain (AFYVE)[21] 2
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[22] 22
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[23] 24
UK Singles (The Official Charts Company)[24] 5
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play[25] 1
U.S. Billboard Modern Rock Tracks[25] 30
Preceded by
"Strobelite Honey" by Black Sheep
Billboard Hot Dance Club Play number-one single
August 29, 1992
Succeeded by
"Rhythm Is a Dancer" by Snap!

Later versions[edit]

The song was also the basis of Orbital's 1993 track, "Halcyon + On + On", on their second eponymous album – the "la la la" section of the chorus was backmasked and sampled throughout the song.

A Cantonese-language version of this single, "Can lalalalali at night only," was recorded by Hong Kong singer Yolinda Yan in 1992.

A further version was released in 1998, credited to Miss Jane. This was produced by Italian producers David Carlotti and Carmine Sorrentino. The remake does feature vocals from the original Jane version. Luise Gard provided the on-stage image for the touring version of Miss Jane, but did not contribute to the recordings.[26] Various remixes of this version were issued, including one by ATB.

Other versions have been recorded by Dallas Superstars and the Barcode Brothers. Norwegian artist Erlend Øye also covered the song on his album that was part of the DJ-Kicks series.

Opus III vocalist Kirsty Hawkshaw has remade the song in both 2002 with Mike Koglin and in 2008 with Kinky Roland.

The American electropop/hip-hop act Far East Movement used the song's background as the basis for their single "I Party" from their 2009 album "Animal."

The Jane version was used in a 1986 commercial for Kleenex tissue in Japan, which itself has attracted attention as a Japanese urban legend.[27]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1] Archived March 3, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ Mojo magazine, March 2008, p.76
  3. ^ "Albums by Jane and Barton: Discography, songs, biography, and listening guide". Rate Your Music. Retrieved August 8, 2014. 
  4. ^ [2] Archived October 3, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ Lazell, Barry (1997) Indie Hits 1980-1989, Cherry Red Books, ISBN 0-9517206-9-4
  6. ^ "Billboard: Single Reviews" (PDF). Billboard magazine. Retrieved January 25, 2018. 
  7. ^ Sholin, Dave (July 17, 1992). "Gavin Picks > Singles" (PDF). Gavin Report. p. 52. Retrieved April 16, 2018. 
  8. ^ "Hot Crossover: Music Meeting" (PDF). Network 40 (June 10, 1992, page 42). Retrieved February 21, 2018. 
  9. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988-2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing. 
  10. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Opus III – It's a Fine Day" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  11. ^ "Ultratop.be – Opus III – It's a Fine Day" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  12. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100" (PDF). Music & Media. Retrieved March 6, 2018. 
  13. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2006). Sisältää hitin - levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972 (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Tammi. ISBN 978-951-1-21053-5. 
  14. ^ "Lescharts.com – Opus III – It's a Fine Day" (in French). Les classement single.
  15. ^ "Musicline.de – Opus III Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  16. ^ "Top 10 Greece" (PDF). Music & Media. Retrieved February 26, 2018. 
  17. ^ Irish Single Chart Irishcharts.ie Archived October 12, 2011, at WebCite (Retrieved April 10, 2008)
  18. ^ "Italiancharts.com – Opus III – It's a Fine Day". Top Digital Download.
  19. ^ "Opus III - It's A Fine Day" (in Dutch). top40.nl. Retrieved April 5, 2018. 
  20. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Opus III – It's a Fine Day" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  21. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. 
  22. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Opus III – It's a Fine Day". Singles Top 100.
  23. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Opus III – It's a Fine Day". Swiss Singles Chart.
  24. ^ UK Singles Chart Chartstats.com (Retrieved April 10, 2008)
  25. ^ a b Billboard Allmusic.com (Retrieved August 12, 2008)
  26. ^ "Miss Jane Discography at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved August 8, 2014. 
  27. ^ "Cursed Kleenex commercial ~ Pink Tentacle". pinktentacle.com.