Blue Virgin Isles was the fifth album and the international debut from Swedish singer/songwriter Ted Gärdestad, released in late 1978 on the Epic Records label in the UK and Polar Music in Scandinavia.
The Blue Virgin Isles album was mainly recorded in Hollywood, California with a large number of noted American and English musicians, among them Jim Keltner, Jay Graydon, Lee Ritenour, Fred Tackett, James Newton Howard, Dr. John, John Mayall, Chuck Domanico, Mike Melvoin, four of the future members of Toto; Jeff Porcaro, Steve Porcaro, David Hungate and Steve Lukather, and backing vocals by David Cassidy, Venetta Fields and Sherlie Matthews. The album was produced by Norwegian-American Eirik W. Wangberg, also known as Eirik The Norwegian, a nickname given to him by Paul McCartney during the sessions for McCartney’s 1971 album Ram. The Blue Virgin Isles recordings began in the United States in the autumn of 1977 and were completed with some additional overdubs made in Stockholm in the summer of 1978.
The album spawned two single releases, “Take Me Back To Hollywood” and “Love, You’re Making All The Fools”. “Take Me Back To Hollywood” was a re-recording of Swedish hit single “Chapeau-Claque” from the preceding album Franska Kort, produced by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, Michael B. Tretow and Gärdestad himself. The Blue Virgin Isles album was promoted by a guest appearance on ABBA’s BBC TV special ABBA in Switzerland a.k.a. Snow Time Special, filmed in Leysin and broadcast worldwide in April 1979. Despite this and a number of other personal appearances in West Germany, The Netherlands, the UK, the US and the Scandinavian countries in the winter of 1978 and the spring of 1979 and generally favourable reviews by music critics, Blue Virgin Isles was only a moderate commercial success; in Sweden the album peaked at #29 and only spent two weeks on the chart.
After having won the 1979 Melodifestivalen, the Swedish pre-selections for the Eurovision Song Contest, with the song “Satellit”/”Satellite” in February 1979 the Blue Virgin Isles album was re-released both internationally and domestically to include this track. The second Polar Music edition of the album features both the Swedish and English language versions of the song. “Satellit” received a disappointing eight points in the contest, held on March 31, 1979 in Jerusalem, Israel, and finished seventeenth out of nineteen participating entries, making it Sweden’s second lowest placing in the contest up until that point. Despite the added Eurovision exposure, the second attempt to promote the Blue Virgin Isles album consequently met with the same result as the first, both internationally and in Sweden.
When Gärdestad made his comeback on the music scene in 1993 he re-recorded a Swedish language version of the title track “Blue Virgin Isles”, entitled “Himlen Är Oskyldigt Blå” (“The Sky Is Innocently Blue”), for career retrospective Kalendarium 1972-93, then using the original backing track.
1 Satellite (Ted Gardestad) 4:09
2 505 To Casablanca (Ted Gardestad) 3:51
3 Blue Virgin Isles (Ted Gardestad) 5:02
4 Love, You’re Makin’ All The Fools (Ted Gardestad) 3:24
5 Baby Blue Eyes (Ted Gardestad) 2:38
6 Take Me Back To Hollywood (Ted Gardestad) 4:20
7 Back In The Business (Ted Gardestad) 3:45
8 Puddle Of Pain (Ted Gardestad) 3:18
9 Love Lies Free (Ted Gardestad) 4:17
10 Just For The Money (Ted Gardestad) 4:34
11 Satellit (Bonus Track) (Ted Gardestad) 4:15
12 Chapeau-Claque (Bonus Track) (Ted Gardestad) 3:41
13 Himlen Är Oskyldigt Blå (Bonus Track) (Ted Gardestad) 4:35
14 Wanna Live – Got To Give (Ted Gardestad) 4:18
|Percussion||Paulinho Da Costa|
|Banjo & Ukelele||Al Hendrickson|
|French Horn||David Duke|
|French Horn||Bob Henderson|
|Background Vocals||Alix Wangberg|
|Background Vocals||Anita James|
|Background Vocals||Bili Thedford|
|Background Vocals||David Cassidy|
|Background Vocals||Mac Rebennack|
|Background Vocals||Jackie Ward|
|Background Vocals||Jai Winding|
|Background Vocals||Jean King|
|Background Vocals||Jim Haas|
|Background Vocals||Jim Keltner|
|Background Vocals||John Baylor|
|Background Vocals||John Mayall|
|Background Vocals||Jon Joyce|
|Background Vocals||Mitch Gordon|
|Background Vocals||Sally Stevens|
|Background Vocals||Sherlie Matthews|
|Background Vocals||Stan Farber|
|Background Vocals||Tere Mansfield|
|Background Vocals||Venetta Fields|
|Guitar||Paul Jackson Jr|
Producer – Eirik W. Wangberg
Engineer – Armin Steiner, Eirik W. Wangberg, Ron Hitchcock, Val Garay
Engineer (Assistant) – Bob Mocler, Cecil Jones, Christer Berg, Dennis Cook, Don Henderson, Ed Perry, Lennart Karlsmyr, Linda Tyler, Olle Ramm, Ake Grahn
Mastered By – Wally Traugott
Art Direction – David Larkham
Photography By (Front & Back Cover) – Yoshi Ohara
Photography By (Inner Sleeve) – Barry Levine, Torbjorn Calvero
Concertmaster – Harry Bluestone
Contrabass – Arni Egilsson, Chuck Domanico
Contractor (Musical) – Frank DeCaro
Cello – Armand Kaproff, Dennis Karmazyn, Jesse Ehrlich, Julianna Buffum, Ray Kramer
Viola – Allah Harshman, Dave Schwartz, Gary Nuttycombe, Pam Goldsmith
Violin – Anatol Kaminsky, Arnold Belnick, Bernie Kundell, Betty La Magna, Don Palmer, Erno Neufeld, Harry Bluestone, Henry Roth, Isabelle Daskoff, Israel Baker, Jack Shulman, Jake Krachmalnick, Joe Stepansky, Marshall Sosson, Nat Ross, Ronald Folsom, Stan Plummer, Bill Hymanson
Recorded at: Sound Labs Inc., Hollywood; Bastun Studios AB, Stockholm; Marcus Music AB, Stockholm; Capitol Studios, Hollywood; KMH Studios AB, Stockholm; Whitney Studios, Glendale; Western Recorders, Hollywoods; Hollywood Sound Recorders, Hollywood.
Mastered at Capitol Studios, Hollywood.