Calibre was a Pye label started in 1980, in the final few months of the Pye group. Having had success with the Pye Disco Demand series, they decided to go for a full-out disco label, run by famed DJ David McAleer.
It was a wise move, as they were just about to lose the rights to the Pye name, and were able to take Calibre over to Pye’s successor, PRT. The label references to PRT and Pye switch: Hot Love in 1979 is marked PRT, but Calibre releases in 1980 have ‘PRT’ plus ‘Distributed by Pye.’
Kelly Marie was their first successful artist, and her records are overstamped +PLUS+. The first one, Feels Like I’m In Love, had a PLUS 1 catalogue number, on a Pye International label, with a PRT logo on it. This was released in August 1979. By the time it became a hit, a full year later, it was on the Calibre label, still with the PLUS 1 catalogue number.
How a Scottish disco singer came to be on Pye International is a question. Kelly Marie had won Opportunity Knocks four times, aged sixteen, before signing with Pye in 1976. Her first record, Who’s That Lady With My Man, had been number one in France and sold half a million, then she had major hits in Ireland, South Africa, Australia and the Netherlands. Make Love To Me had been a #2 hit in South Africa and #5 in Australia, but in England she wasn’t selling anything.
Feels Like I’m In Love was written by Ray Dorset of Mungo Jerry, and had been a major international success over eighteen months without denting the UK Top Fifty, and the word spread through British discos, leading to the re-release on Calibre. Mungo Jerry had relegated it to a Belgian B-side.
I wrote Feels Like I’m In Love in 1977 with Elvis Presley in mind and even recorded it Elvis-style on my demo. My producer, Barry Murray, was about to send it to Elvis when he got a phone call saying Elvis had died. After that, I kinda put it to bed for a while. Kelly Marie had a few minor hits in France and had been hanging around our office a bit. I thought she had a good voice, so I asked her if she wanted to record the song.
Kelly Marie’s version spent 46 weeks on Billboard’s ‘Dance / Club Play’ chart, the longest any record ever stayed on there.
Osibisa were also shifted from Pye International to Calibre. The Real Thing stopped in at Calibre for a couple of singles between the Pye Disco Demand series and the main PRT label. Edwin Starr, resident in Britain, was on a plethora of labels, recording Smooth for Calibre in 1983.
Calibre released the first legal dance music “cut up” single in 1980. It was Morgan Kahn’s idea. They made a montage of Calibre / PRT releases, and the 12 inch version contained extracts from three dozen tracks. DJs complain that the BPM (beats per minute) are all over the place. Cut ups had been done before and were wowing the dance floors, but they had always been illicit compilations.
The Four Tops Your Song was recorded by Don Davis while they were between labels, and released as a single in the UK only in 1984. Fans say that the 7″ mix beats the 12″ mix. Rare Record Guide lists it as withdrawn and gives a mint value of £100. Discogs gives a median value of £45, and a highest of £65. It was advertised as I wrote thois at £80.
Your Song: The Four Tops 1984
I Yi Yi Yi Yi YI I Like You Very Much: Gina Lamour 1983
I’m Gonna Make You Want Me: Gina Lamour, 1985 , p/s and blue Calibre label
They don’t seem to have had a company sleeve for 45s, but did for 12″ singles. Singles tended to picture sleeves.
12 inch …
Calibre became 12″ single specialists in the mid-80s disco boom. They used a variety of 12″ sleeves, few seem to come in the Calibre sleeve above.
12″ singles … click to enlarge
Hold Me Tight: Robert White
Lover to Lover: Joe Yellow
Smooth: Edwin Starr
I’ve Got To Find A Way: Zena Dejonay
The other 12″ … albums
The Real Thing Saints or Sinners from 1979 and Kelly Marie’s Do You Like It Like That? appear in Calibre and PRT labels.
Saints or Sinners: The Real Thing, 1979
Do You Like It Like That? Kelly Marie 1979
Feels Like I’m In Love: Kelly Marie 1980
Wonderin’ : Roller Coaster, 1980
One Bite: Street Angels 1985
Mystic Energy: Osibisa, 1980
It’s In The Mix compilations
These take from any Pye distributed label, and include disco, electronic and rap selections.
Double albums, 1982
|Kelly Marie||Feels Like I’m in Love||1980||1|
|Freeez||Keep In Touch||1980||49|
|Kelly Marie||Loving Just For Fun||1980||21|
|Baby O||In The Forest||1980||46|
|Osibisa||Oreba (Magic People)||1980||–|
|Various Artists||Calibre Cuts (montage)||1980||75|
|Real Thing||She’s A Groovy Freak||1980||52|
|Kelly Marie||Hot Love||1981||22|
|The Four Tops||Your Song||1983||–|
|Robert White||Hold Me Tight||1984||–|
|Gina Lamour||I’m Gonna Make You Want Me||1985||–|