Beginner’s guide to Yello

The professional gambler and deep voiced vocalist Dieter Meier and multi-instrumentalist Boris Blank are better known as Yello. Except to many people they’re really not well known at all. One of the most important duos in the world of electronic music, and they barely have a UK hit to their name. But there’s no good reason not to get to know them now.

Key moments

Oh Yeah, released in 1985 and 1987, and very firmly embedded in popular culture ever since. Their one and only top ten hit The Race, which has appeared on every car racing TV show since it originally hit the charts in 1988. They were even the first of many electronic acts to duet with Shirley Bassey for the minor hit The Rhythm Divine.

Where to start

It’s difficult to know which compilation to start with, between Essential (1992) and Yello by Yello (2010) – the latter is more recent, but the former is a more definitive collection of their early years. Go with Essential.

What to buy

The digipak remaster series of the early albums are by far the best versions. Start with One Second (1987) for the most complete of the early years, then see how they blended their sound with contemporary beats with Zebra (1994). For a final sonic adventure, try Pocket Universe (1997).

Don’t bother with

Motion Picture (1999) is largely forgettable, and debut Solid Pleasure (1980) isn’t too great either.

Hidden treasure

Track down every version you can of Lost Again – they’re all great. Get On from Motion Picture is one of their best tracks to date, and their most recent one-off Mean Monday (2011) is excellent too.

For stowaways

5 thoughts on “Beginner’s guide to Yello

  1. Not wishing to be pernickety, but debut album was “Solid Pleasure”. Also, you chose to ignore the almighty one-two of 83’s “Stella” and ’85’s “…Excess”. Really?

    • Thanks, I corrected the error. And unfortunately there’s only room for a finite number of releases in a “beginner’s guide”! The rules I invented were: one album to get people started, then three to give them a fair overview of their career. How should we best squeeze those two in?

  2. I love “One Second”, but reckon “Stella” is the perfect early-ish snapshot (and very accessible). The superb compilation “80-85 – New Mix In One Go” is also worth a mention. It pains me, but there is really little after the excellent “Zebra” to get excited about, although “Touch” was a nice (final?) surprise.

  3. Pingback: The complete beginner’s guide | Music for stowaways

  4. Pingback: Yello – Zebra | Music for stowaways

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