In this chapter, some lesser known Sparks songs will be shared. They can be demos, outtakes, different mixes, live recordings or songs that didn't appear on any regular release. All songs have been officially released, in some form or another but are not always easy to find.
The Calm Before The Storm
This extended, different mix of the song from Balls appeared on a pre-release of the album. The other songs are virtually identical to the official album version.
Music That You Can Dance To (Extended Club Mix)
This version appeared on the UK release of the 12" single and is completely different from any other mixes which were officially released.
My Brains and Her Looks
This demo was recorded by Ron and Russell only in London, in the Summer of 1973 when they had just arrived from Los Angeles and had attracted the interest of Island Records. They had no useable songs yet and wrote a series of new songs to convince Island to go ahead. This demo didn't make it to any formal album but did appear on the bonus disc of the 40th Centry Anniversary release of Kimono My House on vinyl only.
Dancing Is Dangerous (I Ought To Know)
Not to be confused with the song of the same title by Nöel, this song was probably written around the same time (1978) and only recorded as a demo. It appeared as a bonus track on the Japanese cd release of Angst In My Pants in 2009.
The Great Leap Forward
This instrumental, based on a Chinese theme was released as part of the CD single "This Town Ain't Big Enough For Both Of Us", with Faith No More; the Plagiarism version. It might not be that familiar outside the UK, where it was released on Roadrunner Records on December 13, 1997.
This song appeared as the B-side of the 10" picture disc single "Two Hands One Mouth", which was sold during the tour of the same name. Thank you very much Tony Foh for the lyrics, which turned out to be the titles of the movies made by Jacques Tati.
Suburban Home Boy (Extended "Ron Speaks" version)
B-side of the UK cd single Suburban Home Boy from 2003.
This song was written for the movie Where The Boys Are, a 1984 remake of a movie of the same title from 1960. It appeared the same year on the soundtrack but has never been included on any of Sparks' albums or compilation albums.
National Crime Awareness Week (Perkins Playtime)
This instrumental version of the 1993 single only appeared on the UK 12" release as a B-side. It did not appear on any of the CD versions of the single, which held different mixes.
Your Fandango (instrumental)
After Ron and Russell met Todd Rundgren during the filming of Edgar Wright's The Sparks Brothers documentary, they worked on a new project again. The first collaboration since the recording of Halfnelson in May 1971. "Your Fandango" was released as a 7" single in three different colours in 2021 and an excellent video was published on YouTube. This is the instrumental B-side, which did not appear on YouTube.
Change (Extended Club Mix)
Change was a genre-defining single that appeared in 1985 in several European countries and in Australia. The construction, build-up and narrating has a strong reminence to "Is That All There Is" by Peggy Lee, which Ron Mael once said was one of his favourite songs. The B-Side was an acoustic guitar version of "This Town Ain't Big Enough For Both Of Us". Many believe that it's Ron himself playing guitar on this recording, whilst it actually is Bob Haag and his friend Robert Mache. The 12" version had an Extended Mix. The Advance DJ Copy had an additional mix: the Extended Club Mix. This is the mix posted here.
Bon Voyage (live version 2006)
This recording was taken from the second set of their performance at The Avalon in Hollywood, on May 20, 2006. The first set consisted of the complete "Hello Young Lovers" album, as was the case at most gigs they played that year. "Bon Voyage" was officially released as part of the "Dick Around" cd single in the USA, together with two other songs from that concert: "Happy Hunting Ground" and "In The Future". The US 7" single had a live version of "Hospitality On Parade" as the B-side.
Brenda's Always In The Way
This song was recorded during the Exotic Creatures of the Deep sessions and is probably an outtake as it did appear on the Japanese edition of the album, as a bonus track. In Europe, it was released as the B-side of the 7" single "Lighten Up, Morrissey". The promo cd single had "I Can't Believe That You Would Fall For All The Crap In This Song" on the B-side. It was not released as a regular cd single. Sources close to Ron and Russell informed me that Brenda is actually a real-life cousin of the brothers but whether the song is really about her is unconfirmed.
This song was recorded especially for a German project from 2001, where the Bavarian Radio/Radio Play and Media Art had set up an electronic music project where different artists were asked to take only one word and one sound as the basis for a new song to be written. They were allowed to give their own interpretation and elaboration. In Sparks' case, the cover letter sent along with the sound and word was read to a new piece of music. I have a strong suspicion that this narrative was done by Tammy Glover. Listening to the song very well explains the whole project.
This song from the "Balls" album was released in Germany only as a cd single with two different mixes as it appeared on the album. This one, mixed by Brian Reeves with Sparks, was the A-side and is fairly different from the album version. It was released in 2000.
A song, written by Ron Mael and Nick McCarthy, that was to be recorded for the FFS album, with Franz Ferdinand but wasn't finished in time. It was later released on YouTube but never played live during the FFS tour.
Back in 1997 "This Town Ain't Big Enough For Both Of Us", with Faith No More from the Plagiarism album was released by Roadrunner Records as two separate cd singles in the UK. The first one had the instrumental "The Great Leap Forward" included. The second cd had this instrumental as an extra track.
Beat The Clock (Wide Mix)
In 1998, Columbia records released a promotion only 12" single with the Plagiarism version of "Beat The Clock". It was part of the Y2K electronica collection. A radio edit of the song was released the year after as a cd single. Both releases had a song by Fatboy Slim on the backside. However, the 12" single also had a "Wide Mix"of the song, which is a totally different version from any other releases of "Beat The Clock".
Rosebud (Extended Dance Mix)
This version of "Rosebud" from the "Music That You Can Dance To" album was released as a British 12" single, in 1987. There is also a version of this mix on the "Hell Collection" cd, but that one is about one minute shorter than the one published here.
Now That I Own The ABC
This was an Australian release on cd-r in a very limited promo-only edition with a wink to the Australian Broadcasting Cooperation. It was never released commercially, instead Festival Records, the local company distributed it amongst radio stations. The lyrics are similar to the original version with the changing of "BBC" to "ABC". There were four mixes on this release. The tune of the radio station was also incorporated into the song.
Armies Of The Night (Alternate Version)
"Armies Of The Night" was originally recorded for the movie Fright Night, from 1985. It appears on the album Music That You Can Dance To, at least, on the European versions. The versions released in the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand had the song "Change" instead.
This version is an alternate recording that appeared on the French compilation CD "The Hell Collection" and is different from the official release.
Kidnap (Demo Version)
"Kidnap" is, along with the song "Keep Me", an outtake from the album Introducing Sparks, from 1977. Formally these songs were never released, but a demo of "Kidnap" appeared as a bonus track on the Japanese cd-reissue of "Angst In My Pants", in 2009. The final version gives way to Ron, who clearly sings along in the chorus. That is not the case on this demo version.
Just Got Back From Heaven (Heaven Knows Mr. Allison mix)
This version appeared on the 12" single from the 1988 US release. This single contains five different mixes, including the single edit, all of which differ from the version that appeared on the LP "Interior Design". There was also a CD single of this song, with only three mixes, two of which were different from the mixes on the 12" single.