It’s nearing the end of International Women’s Day (3.8.2016) here on the right side of the U.S., and the first song I thought of to highlight today was the incredible Liquidator Mix of “Galbi,” by the late, great Tel Aviv, Israel-born Ofra Haza.
Ofra Haza had released nearly 25 albums between 1979 and 2000, and was once referred to as the “The Madonna of the East.” It’s kinda funny how she followed suit and actually turned up on the roster for Sire Records in the late 80s, the same label (back then) as “The Queen Of Pop” herself.
Westerners who don’t know a lot about Ofra Haza might have heard her music, most notably her 1984 / 1987 hit, “Im Nin’alu,” heavily sampled on a very popular Coldcut remix (sub-titled “Seven Minutes of Madness”) for rappers Eric B. & Rakim, and their 1987 hit, “Paid In Full.”
“Paid In Full” reached No. 2 in New Zealand, No. 5 in Holland, No. 12 in Germany and No. 15 in the U.K., plus it made people outside of the Middle East aware of this amazing Israeli music treasure. “Im Nin’alu” was also sampled on the 1987/1988 M|A|R|R|S dance classic, “Pump Up The Volume.”
Both “Im Nin’alu” and “Galbi” originally appeared on Ofra Haza’s 1984 album, YEMENITE SONGS, released on Shanachie Records, and would also appear in remixed form on her next album, SHADAY, released in 1988 on Sire Records.
“Im Nin’alu” was a huge global hit, spending 8 weeks at No. 1 in Germany, 6 weeks at No. 1 in Switzerland, 4 weeks at No. 1 in Norway, 2 weeks at No. 1 in Spain, plus a No. 1 ranking in Finland, and Top 10 peaks in another 3 countries. Here in the U.S., the double-sided 12” single for “Im Nin’alu” and “Galbi” reached No. 15 on BILLBOARD’s Dance chart. “Galbi” on its own would go on to hit the Top 20 in Austria, Germany and Italy.
“The Playout Mix” version of “Galbi” was the first remix to be issued in Israel in 1984, but the version I fell in love with appeared on the second volume of the excellent Sire Records’ JUST SAY YES sampler series – 1988’s JUST SAY YO. The “Liquidator Mix,” as I would learn it was called (I learned that today actually, nearly 30 years later) was commissioned by Sire Records to be remixed by Pascal Gabriel.
A longtime London musician and producer, Pascal Gabriel has worked on songs for S’Express, Kylie Minogue, Marina and the Diamonds, Andy Bell, Peter Murphy, Bebel Gilberto, Dido, Goldfrapp and even had a BILLBOARD Top 40 hit back in 1997 with the band Peach, and a wonderful song called “On My Own,” which was featured in the 1998 Gwyneth Paltrow film, SLIDING DOORS.
Ofra Haza sadly passed away on February 23, 2000, at the young age of 42, due to AIDS-related pneumonia, most likely due to a blood transfusion she received in a Turkey hospital. Her music and her legacy live on, and to this day, I remember her most for “Im Nin’alu,” her cool vocal contribution to the 1992 version of “Temple Of Love” by The Sisters Of Mercy, and for the kick-ass Liquidator Mix of “Galbi.”
“Welcome to the complete sample library, volume one…”