"Well well well"
45,0 sec. - 88 Kb.
song : J. Leyers, P. Michiels
Producer : Chris Lord-Alge
Year : 1990
Record co. : EMI
43,0 sec. - 82 Kb.
Produced by : David Werner
Year : 1992
Record co. : EMI
Jan Leyers is one of the "Boechout-Beatles" (Bart Peeters
- See Radios, Hugo Matthysen,
Mark Kruithof) and was active in a lot of smaller bands before joining forces
with Paul Michiels (who had experience in the band Octopus
and as a solo artist under the name P.P.Michiels).
Under the name "The Soul Sisters", these two gentleman debut
in 1986 with "You get to me", a soulful and classy single which opens
them a lot of doors and provides them with plenty of airplay. "Talk about
it" and "Like a mountain" confirm their reputation as first-class
singers and songwriters.
After a first change of name, this time to "Soulsister", the group
hits the jackpot with "The way to your heart" of 1988, a fresh
and very Motown-sounding song. It is released as an A-side-only single and becomes
a huge hit in Belgium, Holland and Germany and even climbs up to the middle of
the US hot-100.
In the slipstream of the single, the album "It takes two"
sells very well and another four singles are taken off it. They sign a deal with
manager Michael Lang (the organizer of the Woodstock-festival and later on manager
for the likes of Joe Cocker etc.) and change their name again, this time to "Leyers,
Michiels and Soulsister" in 1989.
In 1990 they record the album "Heat" in the Dutch Wisseloord
Studio's, which prolongs their success, with Chris Lord-Alge as producer and the
cooperation of Steve Winwood (Spencer Davis Group, Traffic ...), who played the
Hammond on the track "Sweet Dreamer". Best known songs from this album
became "Through before we even started" and "Well Well Well".
They work steadily towards another international breakthrough with the album
"Simple Rule", recorded together with the likes of David Werner,
Jules Shear and Bob Clearmountain. The album certainly wasn't Humo's cup of tea
: "Leyers & Michiels are modern men who like to tear down walls between
pop and soul, between slick rhythm & blues and even slicker AOR. In the past
their work has led them to beautiful singles as "downtown" and "the
way to your heart", but ever since these gentlemen have smelled the sweet
scent of the hitparades, they've lost track somewhat. "Simple rule",
their third attempt at double platinum contains 11 pieces of digitally recorded
civilized music, dipped in aftershave ... meticulously timed standard guitar-licks,
standard drumbeats, standard voice-bends (what a dull critique, but they began)
and floating synthesizer curtains. Painlessly flowing from one ear to the other,
double-breasted pop tunes. ... If you can find comfort in notions such as style,
class and craftsmanship, if a subtle combination of Paul Young, Hall & Oates,
Steve Winwood and some stale Motown-sounds can be of some meaning in your fast
life, we won't stop you." Some singles from this album became "Promises",
"Locks & Keys", "Broken" and "Ain't That Simple".
The general public still approves the group, whose trademark has become a
series of genuine popsongs and terrific compositions centered mainly around the
soulful and mature voice of Paul Michiels. They have a very good live reputation
(captured on the album "Live Savings") although the band has
undergone a lot of changes in personnel.
When in 1997 a compilation album is released, the group announces that this
will be the last Soulsister record. Instead of Soulsister however, two new groups
emerge : Paul Michiels goes solo with the same kind
of music (melodic soulpop) as Soulsister did, Jan Leyers forms a trio and makes
rockmusic with My Velma. Jan Leyers is also an established
producer (e.g. Clouseau) and writer of film-music (Blueberry Hill) and even musicals.
Eric Melaerts is also Belgium's best known session-guitarist who has made records
with about every Flemish artist available (eg. Yasmine,
Isabelle A, Clouseau ...).
In 1999 there was again a compilation of Soulsister tracks for the Christmas-trees
in the form of a double CD "Try Not To Cry - the singles collection".
2000, both Jan Leyers & Paul Michiels scored big hits here in Belgium with
songs for the soundtrack to the Jan Verheyen movie "Team
Spirit". Jan Leyers, who was in charge of the soundtrack, went to
a surprising n°2 spot in the charts with the self-written song "Only
Your Love Will Do" ,
while Paul Michiels scored with a cover of the Alphaville song "Forever
In the near future, Jan Leyers would also be of aid to Paul Michiels with his
planned album full of covers.
Band members :
- Jan Leyers (vocals, guitar)
- Paul Michiels (vocals, keyboards)
- Eric Melaerts (guitar)
- Jan Cuyvers - Hervé Martens - Paul Poelmans (keyboards)
- Edi Conard (percussion, backing vocals)
- Henri Ylen - Billy Overloop (saxophone)
- Evert Verhees - Marc Van Puyenbroeck - Marc Rosso (bass)
- Walter Mets - Graham Ward - Jan Cuyvers - Joost van den Broeck (drums)
Buy CD's of this band at
- It takes two (EMI - 1988)
- Heat (EMI - 1990)
- Simple Rule (EMI - 1992)
- Live savings (EMI - 1993)
- Swinging like big dogs (EMI - 1994) Compilaties :
- The Way to your heart (EMI - 1997)
- Try not to cry - the singles collection (EMI, 1999)
- a web-site devoted to Soulsister can be found here.
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