Sunday, 12 December 2010

World Popular Song Festival - Dollar

Dollar are a pop vocal duo from the UK, consisting of David Van Day and Thereza Bazar. The duo were successful in the late 1970s and 1980s in the UK and Japan.

Thereza Bazar and David Van Day met at 17 when they successfully auditioned for the Guys 'n' Dolls. The group enjoyed a number of hit singles in the mid 1970s and during this time David Van Day became romantically involved with Thereza Bazar. By 1977 the group was in decline and the pair complained about the choice of material and musical direction. David decided to quit the band to embark on a solo career while Thereza would continue with Guys n' Dolls to earn a living for them both. The group's management were unhappy with the situation and sacked Thereza with the reasoning that a six-piece group consisting of three couples would now look odd with five members. With the change in circumstances, the pair decided to begin a career as a duo. They were picked up by French label Carrere Records, going under the name Dollar.

Dollar's first single, Shooting Star, was released in late 1978 and, after a slow climb, reached number 14 in the UK Singles Chart. The follow-up, Who Were You With In The Moonlight?, was released in early 1979 and also reached number 14. After two hit singles featuring David on lead vocals their third, the ballad Love's Gotta Hold On Me was sung by Thereza. It became Dollar's first self-penned hit as it entered the Top Ten and was one of their biggest, climbing to number 4 in the UK chart. Encouraged by this steady run of success, the group released their debut album, Shooting Stars, which made the top 40. In a change of pace, the band released a cover of The Beatles' song I Want to Hold Your Hand, which reached number 9. At the same time, Dollar had their first (and only) US hit with Shooting Star, which made No.74. By February 1980, the group had scored four UK Top 20 hits, but this was not to last.

In 1980 Dollar moved to WEA Records. Buoyed by the success of Love's Gotta Hold On Me, the pair decided to write and produce all the songs for their second album. Attempting a move towards a rockier sound, the album, along with its singles, failed to sell well. In a bid to generate sales, Van Day and Bazar announced their engagement, but this was later revealed to be a publicity stunt.

In 1981, Thereza approached record producer, Trevor Horn, whom she had met during her days in Guys n' Dolls, and asked if he would work with them. He agreed, and produced their 1981 and 1982 material. Horn's production work gave Dollar a more distinctive sound, and their four Horn-produced singles represented the high point in the band's career. It gave them another two Top Ten singles (Mirror Mirror and Give Me Back My Heart) and two more Top Twenty hits (Videotheque and Hand Held in Black and White). The production on these four hit singles had brought Horn to the attention of other bands, notably ABC, and it was not long before he was too busy to continue working with the duo.

Give Me Some Kinda Magic, a Top 40 hit Dollar had written and produced themselves was the lead-in single to their final studio album, The Dollar Album, which was a mixture of Horn's and the duo's own efforts. It became the biggest of their three albums, peaking at No. 18 in the UK and was certified Silver by the BPI.

In 1982 they represented the UK at the World Popular Song Festival in Japan with the song Two Hearts which didn't reach the final. Originally Dollar want to sing the song Give Me Some Kinda Magic at the Festival but the song was released too early and was disqualified. They had to write the new song in only one day.

During a promotional trip to Japan in February 1983, relations between the duo had become increasingly tempestuous and David Van Day quit the band. Their latest single (Two Hearts) went unreleased in the UK and Dollar split.

David had ambitions to be a solo artist after he and Thereza split. He released the single Young Americans Talking, which was written and produced by the people behind Bucks Fizz. Meanwhile Thereza recorded an album, The Big Kiss, with producer Arif Mardin, and a theme song for the US film Gotcha! with composer Bill Conti. This was released as a single. But neither of them enjoyed the same kind of success as solo artists as they had had as Dollar.

By 1986 they had reformed, and released the singles We Walked In Love and Haven't We Said Goodbye Before. Neither of these met with much success and soon the group were looking for another record contract. In late 1987, the group covered the hi-NRG-style Erasure song O L'amour. In early 1988 the song became one of their biggest hits and peaked at No.7. The group then hit a stumbling block in deciding on a follow-up and past ill-feeling between the pair was rising again. Six months later they finally released another single, It's Nature's Way, but it was to be their last release as the single flopped and work on a possible album had been long delayed. In late 1988, Dollar disbanded again.

David Van Day again attempted to launch a solo career, but to no avail. Thereza Bazar decided to finish with the music industry and moved to Australia where she concentrated on raising her family. During the 1990s David Van Day teamed up with a succession of female singers for a touring version of Dollar. In the latter half of the decade he joined a rival variation of the group Bucks Fizz with original member Mike Nolan. Two versions of Bucks Fizz were touring the UK and another Bucks Fizz original member, Bobby G brought a case in the High Court against Van Day. In 2001, a judge refused to grant a court injunction against Van Day as he had been operating in Bucks Fizz for five years at the time, while also famously running a burger van in Brighton.

In the early 2000s David Van Day persuaded Thereza Bazar to rejoin him in Dollar for a reunion tour. In 2002 they took part in the Here And Now tour, a series of arena-sized concerts featuring other singers and bands from the 1980s. They followed this up by appearing on the reality television show Reborn in the USA in 2003. This show involved a number of formerly successful chart acts touring together in America with the public voting off a different act each week. They quickly became the centre of attention when they were involved in an argument with pop star Sonia, which was televised and reported in the newspapers. Dollar were the first act to be voted off and they returned to the UK.[14] Dollar made another live appearance in 2004, in a show celebrating the career of Trevor Horn. It took place at Wembley Arena and Dollar appeared alongside ABC and Pet Shop Boys, amongst other acts who had worked with Horn over the years.

In July 2008 Dollar reformed again to take part in a UK reality television programme entitled Pop Goes the Band, in which a number of former pop stars were remodelled and restyled to try to recapture their former glory. The programme aired on Living TV on 23 February 2009. In December 2008 Van Day came fourth in I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! on ITV1. The show saw Van Day co-write a new song, Biff Baff Boff, with 1980s television presenter and broadcaster Timmy Mallett. It was released as a download only single in December 2008 but failed to chart. His appearance on this show angered Bazar, who subsequently refused to work with him again.

On 15 February 2010 Cherry Red Records re-issued remastered and expanded editions of The Dollar Album and The Paris Collection for the first time on CD.

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