Focus On |
Releases in former communist countries.
Boney M. were very popular all over the world, none more so than in Europe. However, whilst it was relatively easy to purchase Boney M recordings
in Western Europe, it was a very different story in Eastern Europe, Russia and other former communist countries. This was due to the limited budget available
for the purchase of western pop music.
In Western Europe and most of the world, virtually very country had many different record labels and Frank Farian / Hansa did deals with these lable to release
Boney M. material, and once the deal had been struck and sales started coming in, it was just matter of letting the record companies know what the next single
or album release by Boney M. was and they would start selling it in the countries they had the right to release in. For Frank Farian this meant he had a
guarenteed percentage of the sales income.
However when it came to doing deals with a former communist country such as Poland or Russia, rather than being able to pick and choose which record label Frank Farian
and Hansa wanted to release on, they had to deal with the state owned record label. This meant that there was a budget for buying western pop music, which had to be
stuck too, and shared between the western artists the label wanted to buy. I'm told that in 1976 Poland spent all of it's westen pop music budget on Abba recordings, and I am given to understand that this caused supply problems
as the Polish people wanted to purhcase more than was made with the limited budget. This situation did not bode well for Boney M. as it became a possibility that in some former communist
countries there would be a supply and demand problem. In order to circumvent this as much as possible many former communinst countries purchased different releases, to
save money so that they could make more copies to sell to the general public. An example of this is in Poland in 1979 instead of releasing the Oceans Of Fantasy album
on LP, they released a single, with the same cover and 2 tracks, Oceans of Fantasy and Bahama Mama
LP Cover Polish Cover
Another example is the first LP released by Boney M. in Russia, comprising 9 tracks, all from the first 2 albums, but with only one single hit track Sunny,
due to the licensing costs.
Also a different picture of Boney M. is used, and again this cut the cost of making the LP. Then when Russia came to release their 2nd
Boney M. album, Nightflight to Venus,
there were only 8 tracks included on the album, no Boney M. logo was used, instead the Nightflight LP picture was used in a
circle surrounded by zodiac images, and only 1 of thei hit tracks from Nightflight - Brown Girl In The Ring was included, along with Hooray! Hooray! It's A Holi-Holiday
Again this was all to save money, so that they could make more copies to sell to the public. I understand that for these releases Frank Farian preferred to be paid
in fur, as apparently it was worth more than cash.
Another good thing about the releases in former communist countries is the fact that different versions of some of the songs where used, for example the
Czechxlovakian relase of Gotta Go Home on 7" has a different version of Gotta Go Home on the single - a non remixed version of the 1988 remix. Today this is good
for fans of Boney M. as it gives collectors a chance to hunt for and purchase these rare releases, making good additions to collections.