The FIRST 10: Dreamland Records (1980-1981)

Mike Chapman and his partner Nicky Chinn had been writing and producing popular British acts like Mud, (The) Sweet, Suzi Quatro, and Smokie throughout the Seventies under their Chinnichap banner before Chapman and engineer Peter Coleman came to America and produced four chart-topping hits in a twelve-month period:
With their decade-long track record of success now extended to both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, Chapman and Chinn secured a boutique label deal from Robert Stigwood, whose RSO Records would manufacture and market the new Dreamland Records. In a Billboard story about the label's launch party in March 1980, it was reported that Shandi, Nervus Rex, Spider, Holly Penfield, Consenting Adults and Michael Des Barres were signed to the label.
The article also stated that Suzie Quatro would leave RSO after just one album for Dreamland following her recent Top 5 hit "Stumblin' In" with Smokie singer Chris Norman. "Commander" Mike Chapman (as he often referred to himself in liner notes and interviews) also said he would restrict his outside productions to "friends" such as The Knack and, possibly, Blondie while Stigwood said Chapman and Chinn, as well as their Dreamland acts, would be "cross-pollinated" into RSO's "theatre, motion picture, and television activities." Below are the first dozen US singles released on Dreamland Records, complete with matrix numbers, approximate release dates and B-sides where available:

DL 1004/80New Romance (It's A Mystery)Spider
DL 1011980Nobody Loves You BetterShandi
Mine ( Mine, Mine, Mine)
DL 1027/80Only His NameHolly Penfield
Eyes Behind Your Eyes
DL 1037/80Everything Is AlrightSpider
Shady Lady
DL 1041980Rock HardSuzi Quatro
State Of Mind
DL 10511/80Little Darlin'Spider
What's Going On
DL 1061980I'm Only HumanMichael Des Barres
DL 1071/81LipstickSuzi Quatro
Woman Cry
DL 1081980Nothing's Too HardMichael Des Barres
DL 1091981The Only One Who KnowsConsenting Adults
What's A Matter
DL 1101980SouvenirsHolly Penfield
DL 1115/81It Didn't Take LongSpider
I Love
Initial releases came in custom sleeves (like the one pictured above) or picture sleeves. Want to know a secret? The twelve singles above represent the entire singles discography of Dreamland Records, excluding radio station promo only singles with the same song on both sides of single with one side being Mono for play on AM stations and the other being Stereo for FM stations. (My research indicated that 106, 108 and 110 were only released as promos.) In their admirable efforts to promote the fledgling label, RSO distributed two Dreamland Records samplers in 1980. The first is a ten-inch disc intended for AOR radio with two different artists and songs on each side:
The same four artists appear on the second sampler, a full-sized twelve-inch disc labeled IN-STORE PLAY with two artists and six tracks per side:
Three Dreamland acts - Spider, Holly Penfield, and Shandi - each had twelve-inch AOR Special three song samplers serviced to radio outlets. Spider's disc came out in 1981 in support of their second album on Dreamland while the other two were issued in 1980. Additional twelve-inch singles were shipped to AOR stations for Spider's "New Romance (Mystery To Me)" and Suzi Quatro's "Rock Hard", which appeared on her Dreamland album of the same name and on the RSO-released soundtrack to Times Square
One thing that immediately stands out looking at the two samplers and the list of singles above is the lack of any Nervus Rex 45s here in the States though the group's self-titled album (above) was the second album released here in the US on Dreamland. What follows is a list of the eleven Dreamland Records singles released in the UK. Please note Nervus Rex right there with the third single of the bunch.

2090 4415/30/80New Romance (It's A Mystery)Spider
DLSP 28/8/80Nobody Loves You BetterShandi
Mine ( Mine, Mine, Mine)
DLSP 38/15/80There She GoesNervus Rex
The Incredible Crawling Eye
DLSP 48/29/80Everything Is AlrightSpider
Shady Lady
DLSP 59/26/80Only His NameHolly Penfield
Eyes Behind Your Eyes
DLSP 610/3/80Rock HardSuzi Quatro
State Of Mind
DLSP 71/16/81I'm Only HumanMichael Des Barres
Catch Phrase
DLSP 81/30/81Glad All OverSuzi Quatro
Ego In The Night
DLSP 93/27/81Someone, Somewhere In The NightMichael Des Barres
Five Hour Flight
DLSP 105/81LipstickSuzi Quatro
Woman Cry
DLSP 116/81Better Be Good To MeSpider
I Love

Other notes from researching this post:
  • Mike Chapman produced four Blondie albums, from 1978's Parallel Lines through 1982's The Hunter, as well as the first two albums from The Knack;
  • Pete Coleman, Chapman's long-time engineer, the Admiral to Chapman's Commander, shared production duties on several albums with Chapman before flying solo with Spider's self-titled debut;
  • Dreamland Records came to an end less than 24 months after launching when staff cuts at RSO triggered a lawsuit;
  • The Chinnichap partnership was dissolved "amicably" late in 1981;
  • Mike Chapman and Spider songwriter and keyboard player Holly Knight reportedly developed a certain chemistry and ran off to Los Angeles to write and record;
  • The Knight-less Spider changed their name to Shanghai and recorded a self-titled album for Chrysalis in 1982 before splintering;
  • Shandi went on to write and record "He's A Dream" for the Flashdance soundtrack in 1983;
  • Just prior to recording his solo album I'm Only Human for Dreamland, Michael Des Barres was in the band Detective and appeared as Dog, lead singer of Scum of The Earth, in the fourth episode of WKRP In Cincinnati titled "Hoodlum Rock" in 1978;
  • post-Dreamland, Des Barres was lead singer of Chequered Past, featuring former members of Sex Pistols and Blondie before filling in for Robert Palmer as Power Station vocalist in Summer of 1985, including their widely-viewed appearance at Live Aid;
  • Consenting Adults, who only had the one 45 released on Dreamland, were formerly known as Thieves;
  • Mike Chapman produced Suzi Quatro's first post-Dreamland album, Main Attraction, in 1982 though it failed to find a US label for distribution;
  • Michael Des Barres & Holly Knight would write and record with Mike Chapman producing the original version of "Obsession" in 1983 for the soundtrack to A Night In Heaven. Animotion covered it the following year and scored a Top 10 hit;
  • two songs from Spider's second album Between The Lines later became hits for other artists: "Change" for John Waite and "Better Be Good To Me" for Tina Turner


  1. Chapman also produced three tracks on Pat Benatar's In the Heat of the Night album, including the title track (which was a Smokie cover). And Michael Des Barres was only of the kids in To Sir With Love. For what that's worth.

  2. Great tracks by Suzi Quatro. Her "Rock Hard" album is very solid indeed.