Gruppo Sportivo – (This Is A) Normal Song

The Netherlands are only a small country and apart from dance acts, not many Dutch bands have been successful outside the Lowlands (not to mention outside Europe). Gruppo Sportivo from The Hague are one of those bands. Although they didn’t exactly achieve world domination, they had considerable success in Great Britain and even the United States in the late ’70s and early ’80s of the last century.

Songs like Hey Girl, Beep Beep Love, Tokyo (I’m On My Way), Disco Really Made It and Rock ‘n’ Roll went down very well abroad, and you may also recognise Mexican Radio and She Was Pretty. One even funnier and catchier than the other, they made feel-good music at its best. In 2004, Gruppo Sportivo released their last studio album Topless 16 and in 2013 they stopped touring altogether.

Five years on, the band are apparently out of money, full of ideas, or both. And that’s good news. Hans Vandenburg (lead vocals, guitar), Peter Calicher (vocals, keyboards), Max Mollinger (drums), Tim Barning (bass), and Lies Schilp & Inge Bonthond (lead vocals, percussion) have gone back into the studio for a new, crowdfunded album: Great! Release: 20 April. The first single came out today, and contrary to the rest of their repertoire This Is A Normal Song. Instantly hummable, that’s Gruppo Sportivo for you. It sounds like a mash-up of ABBA’s Summernight City and Stevie Wonder’s Superstition, but deserves to become a classic in its own right!

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