Friday, 9 September 2011

You Think I'm Psycho, Don't You?

Hello everybody. Well, we’ve spent a lot of time in America and in the UK, and have so far visited Spain, Canada, Liberia, Germany and France in the search for the World’s Worst Record. Our travels are far from over, but today we take a trip to Greece, an island of culture, history and extraordinarily good food (except doner kebabs, of course), to catch up with one of the most atrocious examples of 80s synth pop foolishness it’s ever been my misfortune to possess.

The Greek band Psycho was formed in early 80s by vocalists Dora Antoniadi and Stefanos Kotatis, the pair releasing their first album, Montage Fatal, in 1982. The album was preceded by a single – and the track I present for you today – their ‘unique’ version of the Talking Heads classic Psycho Killer.

Not an obvious choice for a cover, the duo struggle with the English lyrics, and when it comes to the French section poor Dora fails miserably, her efforts much like those of Joey from Friends.


The group’s odd mix of European rock music, ethnic Greek instrumentation, 80s keyboards and operatic vocals did little to stimulate sales, although the single was also released in a few other European countries, including Portugal and Holland: I picked up my copy, a Dutch pressing, in around 1984. As Talking Heads’ original had just missed the top ten in that country it’s hardly surprising that someone in the record company thought they could have a minor hit on their hands. Sadly, they didn’t.


Almost all of the instruments on the album – including both acoustic and electric guitars, bass, drums, electric piano, bouzouki, mandolin, synthesizer and autoharp – were played by Stamatis Spanoudakis, who went on to have a phenomenally successful career in New Age/Classical music and who has written the scores for several TV and movie projects in his native country. The one exception seems to have been veteran musician Gary Wright, former member of Spooky Tooth, who played keyboards on the track The Prisoner. Gary has had his own illustrious career: he’s the man who played piano on Nilsson’s version of Without You; he appears on George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass album and, more recently, has toured (in 2008 and 2010) with Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band. He also enjoyed a couple of US top five hits of his own, most notably Dream Weaver.


Psycho followed Montage Fatal with a second album, 40 days, in 1987. Unfortunately I know little else about them apart from the fact that Stefanos Kotatis later went into the business side of the music business, working as a sales manager for Warner Music Greece before moving to EMI Greece as a marketing manager. He’s currently the marketing and sales manager for the company Lights International. Still, for now, enjoy their unbelievable version of an incredible song.

8 comments:

  1. Now that is a *classic* cover version!!!

    Reminds me of The Flying Lizards--though their covers were *intentionally* humourous--i think! ;)

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  2. I have to say that this was quite a hit in local greek radio back in the early '80s ;-) ... although it sounds as sung by a decapitated chicken ...

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  3. mind-blowingly shitty.I dont care for the original either.

    Btw,Greece is not an island.

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  4. You are, of course, right; I should have said 'land', not 'island'. I'd like to call it a typo, but in all honesty I should own up to ignorance!

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  5. Dora sounds like Cathy Berberian!

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  6. Dora Antoniadou died in a car accident in 1987.

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  7. I bought the vinyl some 25 years ago on the back of a friend's recommendation. After listening to it a few times, it started growing on me to become one of my favorites of all times. The psycho killer version is a masterpiece in its own right - it's so different from the original you can hardly call it a version.

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  8. This is a magnificent record. It has had a tremendous impact in Greek underground culture and is still remembered and played in relevant clubs and parties. David Byrne himself praised the cover of "Psycho Killer". I am very sorry for those who can't appreciate it.

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