In April 1984 Sandra and Michael Cretu, romantically involved, released a first single together, “Japan ist weit”, a German cover of the Alphaville song “Big in Japan” which had been released in January of that year and which was equally the debut single for the German synth-pop band. If you listen closely you’ll hear that the timing of the song was influenced by “The Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats, but that’s another story. While the Alphaville original sold over 250.000 copies in Germany, the German cover by Sandra failed to chart with only a miserable 125 copies sold.
The duo understood that they should do things differently and by 1985 Sandra gained international success with the song “(I’ll Never Be) Maria Magdalena” and the follow-up singles, “In the Heat of the Night” and “Little Girl”. Also the next album sparked a string of successful singles such as “Innocent Love”, “Hi! Hi! Hi!”, “Loreen” and “Midnight Man”. In 1987, the duo released a cover version of “Everlasting Love” which became a major success. The rest is history. Sandra sold over thirty million records in the 1980’s and topped the charts in twenty one countries in a career that began for her at the age of thirteen.
Here’s Sandra’s “Japan ist weit”, which remained quite loyal, musically then, to the original.
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