There’s something gloriously entertaining about 1980s (and early 1990s) europop – the sheer dedication to empty-headed fluffiness, the cheerfully sexy performers and music videos and the infectious tunes that might seem dreadful but which are immediately hummable and earwormish. It’s the sort of thing that is sneered at by the British music industry, either as throwaway pop (which, frankly, is what pop should be) or as sexist and exploitative. But we love it, and will be bringing you more examples of the art form from time to time.
Centerfold were a Dutch group made up of three women – Laura Fygi, Rowan Moore and Cecilia de la Rie – who rose to fame in the Netherlands during the second half of the 1980s, while having little impact elsewhere. As the name (possibly lifted from the then-recent J. Geils Band hit) might imply, the group were initially sold on their sex appeal – their TV performance of debut single Bad Boy is a feast of lingerie and cleavage, with barely contained breasts and glamour-model poses. They performed ‘naked’ (though strategically covered by props) on the TV show TopPop and posed in the Dutch Playboy.
Interestingly, by 1986, the overt sexuality of the TV performances was toned down, possibly to reach a wider audience, as the group did Europop covers of songs like Golden Earring’s Radar Love, their signature song Dictator (Centerfold Song) and even a track written for them by Benny and Bjorn of Abba called Bitch When I See Red. Their debut LP, Man’s Ruin, was a moderate success.
In 1988, Cecilia de la Rie left the group, and was replaced by Sandra Noach – but after one more single, Noach committed suicide, and this was the final straw for a group that had already outlived the alloted lifespan for an act like this. In later years, Laura Fygi would become a serious jazz singer while Rowan Moore became a TV presenter.
Here are a selection of videos and TV performances – enjoy.