maandag, augustus 13, 2012

AmeriKayak (Part 2: nearly famous)

In january 1978, Janus takes a couple of tracks from “Last Encore” and “Starlight Dancer” and releases them on LP (and on cassette and 8-track). The title is “Starlight Dancer”, but the sleeve is  from “Last Encore”. The album includes “Ballad For A Lost Friend” which was not on any LP in Holland. And the versions of “Irene” and “Want You To Be Mine” are different (demo?) recordings. The mish-mash album becomes a nice collector’s item in the years before Compact Disc. It also impresses the USA audiences at least a little bit: the LP makes it to the 117th spot, and the single “I Want You To Be Mine” surprisingly becomes a minor hit in june 1978. It reaches nr. 55 in Billboard, and even gets to the top 50 in Cashbox!
Cashbox, 17 june 1978 (Click to enlarge)

Once again, Billboard seems to like a Kayak album. I guess the band must take it as a compliment that they are taken for "English"...

Radio stations also pick up on Kayak, so with a little exaggeration one could say that America is getting to know about Kayak. Hirschland even convinces Record World Magazine to pronounce Kayak ‘Most Promising Band’ in 1978, but nobody knows how much money that cost him… Of course, more USA tours are announced, but never materialise.
Janus also releases “Phantom Of The Night”, again with a different sleeve design. Within their limited budget, Janus tries to promote Kayak again. A promo picture disc is released, and several other promotional items are made.

News about the promotional activities

As a single, they choose “Keep The Change”, which doesn’t set the charts alight.

The promo-single 'Keep The Change'

The album enters the Billboard charts at nr. 176 in march 1979, and eventually reaches a modest nr. 145. Slowly, Kayak gets better known, but bad luck strikes when Janus folds in 1979. And yet another “100% certain” American tour is shelved, because of the line-up changes in the band and the following uncertainty.