Yello

Yello was a Swiss electro/art-pop combo from Zürich that emerged on Ralph Records with the 1980/81 albums Solid Pleasure and Claro que Si. In 1983, they scored a crossover hit with “I Love You” from their Stiff release You Gotta Say Yes to Another Excess. Trimmed to the duo of Boris Blank and Dieter Meier, they charted worldwide with their 1985 album Stella and its single “Oh Yeah,” heard in the 1986 teen comedy Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Members: Boris Blank (electronics, vocals), Dieter Meier (vocals), Carlos Perón (effects, tapes, 1979-83)


Yello formed in Zürich in 1978 when keyboardist/composer Boris Blank teamed with tape technician Carlos Perón. Their name is a portmanteau of “yell” and “hello.”

Blank (b. 1952) first worked with tapes loops and sound effects as a teenager. While working as a truck driver, he made new age recordings comprised of water sounds and flute melodies. He eventually met Perón (b. 1952), who also worked with tapes and affects. They founded TRANCEONIC studio in Zürich, where they devised the Yello sound.

In 1978, the pair flew to California to pitch their concept to record companies, including mega-label RCA and the independent Ralph Records. The latter, primarily known for cryptic conceptualists The Residents, signed Yello as part of its expanding international roster (Snakefinger, Nash the Slash).

Back in Zürich, Yello added vocalist Dieter Meier (b. 1945), a millionaire private banker and gambler who’d worked as a performance artist during the 1960s. Yellow issued its first single, the 12″ “I. T. Splash” (b/w “Glue Head”), on local small-press Periphery Perfume in January 1979.


Solid Pleasure

Yello released their debut album, Solid Pleasure, on October 15, 1980, on Ralph.

1. “Bimbo” Boris Blank, Dieter Meier (3:38)
2. “Night Flanger” Blank, Meier (4:53)
3. “Reverse Lion” Blank, Meier (1:21)
4. “Downtown Samba” Blank, Meier (2:37)
5. “Magneto” Blank (2:47)
6. “Massage” Blank (1:37)
7. “Assistant’s Cry” Blank, Meier, Carlos Perón (1:40)
8. “Bostich” Blank, Meier (2:13)
9. “Rock Stop” Blank, Meier (2:31)
10. “Coast to Polka” Blank (1:55)
11. “Blue Green” Blank, Perón (5:26)
12. “Eternal Legs” Blank (4:16)
13. “Stanztrigger” Blank, Perón (2:49)
14. “Bananas to the Beat” Blank, Meier (3:03)

Studio Yello Studio, Zürich; Platinum One Studio, Zürich
Producer Yello, Ursli Weber

Dieter Meier – vocals
Boris Blank – keyboards, sampling, vocals on “Eternal Legs”
Carlos Perón – tape effects

with:
Chico Hablas – guitar
Felix Haug – drums
Walt Keiser – drums

“Bimbo” / “I.T. Splash”
Released: 1980

“Night Flanger”
Released: 1980

“Bostich” / “She’s Got a Gun”
Released: 25 September 1981


Claro que Si

Yello released their second album, Claro que Si, in 1981 on Ralph.

1. “Daily Disco” Boris Blank, Dieter Meier 4:32
2. “No More Roger” Boris Blank, Dieter Meier 3:18
3. “Take It All” Boris Blank, Dieter Meier 1:48
4. “The Evening’s Young” Boris Blank, Dieter Meier 4:53
5. “She’s Got a Gun” Boris Blank, Dieter Meier 3:40
6. “Ballet Mecanique” Boris Blank, Dieter Meier 3:44
7. “Quad el Habib” Boris Blank, Dieter Meier 3:24
8. “The Lorry” Boris Blank, Dieter Meier 3:35
9. “Homer Hossa” Boris Blank, Dieter Meier 5:16
10. “Pinball Cha Cha” Boris Blank, Dieter Meier 3:40)

Studio Yello Studio, Zürich; Powerplay Studio, Maur, Switzerland
Producer Boris Blank, Ursli Weber

Boris Blank – electronics, backing vocals
Dieter Meier – vocals
Carlos Perón – tapes

Additional personnel
Beat Ash – drums
Chico Hablas – guitars
Zine el Abedine – vocals on “Ouad el Habib”

Cover Design / Illustration
Jim Cherry

“She’s Got a Gun” / “Bluehead”
Released: January 1982

“Pinball Cha Cha” / “Smile On You”
Released: 28 May 1982

Non-album single
“Zensation” (UK-only release)


You Gotta Say Yes to Another Excess

Yello released their third album, You Gotta Say Yes to Another Excess, in June 1983 on Stiff (UK), Vertigo (Europe), and Elektra (US).

1. “I Love You” 3:14
2. “Lost Again” 4:18
3. “No More Words” 3:58
4. “Crash Dance” 2:08
5. “Great Mission” 2:56
6. “You Gotta Say Yes to Another Excess” 2:08
7. “Swing” 3:26
8. “Heavy Whispers” 3:56
9. “Smile on You” 3:09
10. “Pumping Velvet” 3:18
11. “Salut Mayoumba” 4:40
12. “Two Worlds” (bonus track on some cassette releases) 4:12)

Producer Boris Blank

“You Gotta Say Yes to Another Excess”
Released: 22 October 1982

“I Love You” / “Rubber West”
Released: 30 May 1983
reached number 41 in the United Kingdom[2] and number 16 on the Billboard Dance Club songs chart.

“Heavy Whispers”
Released: 1983

“Lost Again” / “Base for Alec”
Released: 18 October 1983
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[3] 10
Germany GfK Entertainment charts[4][5] 26

“Pumping Velvet”
Released: 22 October 1983

Switzerland Swiss Hitparade[2] 13
Germany GfK Entertainment charts[3] 26
Netherlands Dutch Charts[4] 36


Stella

Yello released their fourth album, Stella, on January 28, 1985, on Elektra (UK), Vertigo (Europe), and Mercury (US).

1. “Desire” – 3:42
2. “Vicious Games” – 4:20
3. “Oh Yeah” – 3:05
4. “Desert Inn” – 3:30
5. “Stalakdrama” – 3:02
6. “Koladi-ola” – 2:55
7. “Domingo” – 4:30
8. “Sometimes (Dr. Hirsch)” – 3:33
9. “Let Me Cry” – 3:34
10. “Ciel Ouvert” – 5:20
11. “Angel No” – 3:06)

Recorded 1983–1984
Studio Yello Studio, Zurich

Boris Blank – keyboards, programming, lead vocals on “Koladi-ola”, background vocals on “Desire”, “Oh Yeah”, “Domingo”, “Sometimes (Dr. Hirsch)” and “Let Me Cry”
Dieter Meier – lead and background vocals

Additional personnel
Beat Ash – hi-hat on “Desire” and “Angel No”
Chico Hablas – guitar on “Desire”, “Vicious Games”, “Desert Inn”, “Koladi-ola” and “Domingo”
Annie Hogan – piano on “Blue Nabou”
Rush Winters – vocals on “Vicious Games” and “Angel No”
Petia Kaufman – glass harp (cut from final mix)

Production
Produced by Boris Blank and Yello
Recorded and engineered by Tom Thiel and Yello
Mixed by Ian Tregoning

“Let Me Cry”
Released: 9 August 1983

“Vicious Games” / “Blue Nabou”
Released: 27 February 1985
Switzerland (Swiss Hitparade)[2] 5
US Dance Club Songs[3] 8
Germany GfK Entertainment charts[5] 15

“Desire” / “Oh Yeah (Indian Summer)”
Released: 4 June 1985 (Europe)
Germany GfK Entertainment charts[4] 16
Switzerland Swiss Hitparade[3] 19
19 August 1985 (UK)

“Oh Yeah”
Released: 11 July 1985 (US),
28 September 1987 (Europe)

Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[24] 1
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[22] 6
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[21] 23
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[23] 26


Discography:

  • “I.T. Splash” / “Glue Head” (1979)
  • Solid Pleasure (1980)
  • Claro que Si (1981)
  • You Gotta Say Yes to Another Excess (1983)
  • Stella (1985)
  • One Second (1987)
  • Flag (1988)

Sources:

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