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Friday, February 15, 2013

Rosetta Stone - Latter Years (1980-1982)

The Post-Private Stock Era.

Singles Discography '80-'82 (Primary releases listed):
"If You Could See Me Now (Loving Arms)"/"Boys in Action"/"It's All Been Done Before" (Ariola, ARO 203.  U.K. 1980)

"I Don't Like School"/"When I Get Back to You" (Ariola 102055-100.  Germany 1980)

"Hiding From Love"/"When You're Standing There" (Limo Records, LIMO 1.  U.K. 1981)
"Remember"/"London Girls" (Limo Records, LIMO 5.  U.K. 1981)
"Goodbye Guitarman"/"When You're Standing There" (King Record Co./Ariola, K075-7019.  Japan 1981).  WAS THERE EVER A U.K. RELEASE FOR THIS ONE?  IF ANYONE KNOWS DROP ME A LINE...AND A SCAN.
"Straight From the Heart"/"Too Bad (You Won't Be Back)" (Sire 929935-7.  U.K. 1982)
"Hiding From Love" - Extended 5 Song EP (Ready Records, ER 021.  Canada 1982)
Tracklisting: "Hiding From Love"/"When I Saw You Standing There"(sic)/"Goodbye Guitarman"/"Remember"/"Too Bad (You Won't Be Back)"
When Ian Mitchell left Rosetta Stone in 1979, after their second album "Caught in the Act" had been issued only in Japan, he was promptly replaced by one Paul Lerwill (AKA "Flash").  Consequently, the band's contract with Private Stock also ran its course.
In early 1980, a new look (schoolboy), a new sound (slightly new wave-ish) and a new label (Ariola) were all premiered on the oddly chosen single "If You Could See Me Now (Loving Arms)", a cover of an early '70s Country & Western song previously recorded by Elvis Presley, Dobie Gray amongst others.  

Next single "I Don't Like School" was the first and only original composition of theirs to be issued as a single A-side.  It's also one of their rawest and almost under-produced pieces of work - as well as one of the lesser known.  It was also their last Ariola release in the U.K. it seems.
Enter Limo Records...and Bryan Adams.  A somewhat softer image was also developed (See top pic).  Furthermore, seasoned pop producer Peter Collins (Alvin Stardust) was roped in for Rosetta Stone's debut 45 on Limo Records (Cat. # LIMO 1, no less), a cover of then virtually unknown Bryan Adams' almost impossibly catchy "Hiding from Love".
Next single "Remember" was another Bryan Adams composition (both "Remember" and "Hiding from Love" had originally appeared on Adams' first self titled solo album in 1980), and so was its B-side "London Girls", which seems to have been penned exclusively with Rosetta Stone in mind.

However commercially viable these singles sounded, they were all dead in the water chartwise.  And so, it seems, was Limo Records (Also, equally briefly, the home of Atack - Brothers Tim and Keith Atack formerly of Child).
So re-enter Ariola.  Rosetta Stone's next single "Goodbye Guitarman" seems to have been issued only in certain European territories (Holland, Germany) as well as in Japan, and then only backed up with recycled B-sides from their Limo Records era.  Nonetheless, it's an interesting and entertaining revamp of Cherrie Vangelder-Smith's 1973 Nederglam classic...

Naively enough (or perhaps not) I, for the longest time, always thought this was Rosetta Stone's big kiss-off to Ian Mitchell.  With the "Big smoke city" reference in particular.  However, draw your own conclusions.
But, ironically enough, this was actually the last thing they ever did with Ian's replacement, guitarist Paul Lerwill. 
Poor old Paul, he apparently became so traumatized after his two year stint with Rosetta Stone that in order to distance himself from this period in his life he reappeared as Gregory Gray in the early '80s with indie band Perfect Crime (they supported both O.M.D. and U2 at one time or another) before entering into a largely unsuccessful '80s and '90s solo career later on...
Several years ago I can recall reading somewhere on the almighty www quotes from Paul/Gregory about his time with Rosetta Stone.  How he "hardly knew how to play the guitar (at the time)" and, afterwards, how he tried to distance himself from it 'cause he had thought it was "Naff".  His words, not mine.
Lerwill's/Gray's replacement Enda Walsh (later an associate of Van Morrison amongst others) entered the picture just in time for Rosetta Stone's swansong of a single, Bryan Adams' "Straight from the Heart" (1982).  Apparently Adams wrote the song in his teens.  The original version of it was recorded in 1980 by raspy-voiced Canadian singer Ian Lloyd (Ex-Stories).  The Rosetta Stone version appeared on Sire Records world wide, and it was issued in November 1982.  A mere month later Adams issued his own version of the song as a single and it duly became his first worldwide bona fide hit, reaching the U.S. Top 10 in the process.  Tough luck, guys...
And that was it, I think, for Rosetta Stone.  But if anyone, anywhere, knows otherwise, feel free to leave a comment and/or drop me a line.  Would love to hear from band members, in particular, or anyone associated with them.
(All featured scans are from my private collection)

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