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"Self Control" is the name of an international hit song recorded in 1984 by Laura Branigan, as well as the album on which it appears. The song was recorded that same year with the same English lyrics by Italian singer Raf, who co-wrote the song with Giancarlo Bigazzi and Steve Piccolo. Branigan's version first hit #1 in Germany on June 15, 1984. Raf's version first hit #1 in Italy on June 23, 1984. Branigan's version was the most popular song across Europe during much of the summer of 1984 and was the song of the year in Switzerland.

The song has been recorded by dozens of artists around the world in the years since, notably including Puerto Rican singer Ricky Martin in 1993, a hit dance remake by Branigan in 2004 and two 2006 versions that hit the Top 5 in various European enclaves, by Danish dance group Infernal and Spanish singer Soraya Arnelas. The song has become something of a dance classic, with a number of remakes recorded each year.

History

Branigan's first major hit had also been co-written by Bigazzi. "Gloria" (1982) was an English-language song written over a 1979 Italian song recorded by Umberto Tozzi. The following year Branigan recorded another new English song written over a Tozzi and Bigazzi song, "Mama", which was an album track on 1983's Branigan 2. Branigan chose two more Italian songs for her third album: one, "Ti Amo", featured new lyrics by Diane Warren over a song originally written by Tozzi and Bigazzi that had been a 1977 single for Tozzi. The other would become the title track to the album and her biggest international hit. "Self Control" was the only one of the four Italian songs recorded by Branigan which had been written with English lyrics, and Branigan chose to record the song as written. Also unlike the other songs, Branigan's version was contemporaneous with that of its co-writer.

The Branigan recording was arranged by Giorgio Moroder protege Harold Faltermeyer with Robbie Buchanan and produced by Buchanan with Jack White in Germany and Los Angeles. A keyboard hook in the Raf version was changed to a guitar riff for Branigan's version and a vocal break from the Raf version was repeated and paired with a sharper and repeated percussive element.

Music video and television performances

Branigan was one of the first artists of the video era to work with an Academy Award-winning film director on a music video when William Friedkin (The French Connection) directed the clip. Filmed in New Jerseymarker and New York Citymarker, the video was produced by Fred Caruso and first aired in April 1984. The video ultimately drew controversy when it was one of the first by a major artist to be refused airplay by MTV unless edits were made for what the network saw at the time as objectionable content. Entertainment Tonight aired a segment on the network's reaction to the clip, which was being played in late-night slots on other networks. Though Branigan resisted at first, her record company convinced her to allow a minor alteration and the video was aired on MTV, though by this time the single had peaked on the charts. Branigan would go on to be nominated for a 1985 American Music Award for Favorite Pop/Rock Female Video Artist. Branigan's fellow nominees were Tina Turner and Cyndi Lauper, who won the award.

Branigan performed the song live in her debut on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson on April 27. She also promoted the song during appearances on The Merv Griffin Show, Solid Gold (May 12), Dick Clark's American Bandstand (June 9) and the syndicated Dick Clark television special Rock Rolls On, which she also co-hosted.

Worldwide chart success

Branigan's recording was a worldwide multi-format hit. In the U.S. the song became Branigan's fourth consecutive Top 10 hit on a Billboard chart in a year and a half, following "Gloria", "Solitaire" and "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You". "Self Control" peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot Dance/Disco chart and the ARC Top 40 Singles chart, #4 on the Hot 100 and #5 on the Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart. In Canada it hit #1 on both the pop and AC charts. Both the Raff original and the Branigan version of "Self Control" entered the German Top Twenty in May 1984: on 15 June the Branigan single assumed the #1 position where it remained for six weeks while the the Raf version was relegated to a #2 peak. The Branigan version also reached #1 in Austria, Swedenand South Africa. It peaked at #2 in Norway and Ireland, #3 in Australia and #5 on the UK Singles Chart. Branigan's album Self Control went Silver, Gold or Platinum in several countries and further hit singles from the album, though not as big as the title track, included "The Lucky One", "Ti Amo" and "Satisfaction".

Branigan's record was featured on a November 1984 episode of the hit NBC series Miami Vice and was featured in the fact-based 1989 TV movie The Preppie Murder and a 2007 episode of the series Cold Case. In 2002 the Branigan recording was used as a track from fictional radio station Flash FM on video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and it appears on the CD collection Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Official Soundtrack Box Set as well as numerous other hits collections. It was often used as bumper music by late night radio talk show host Art Bell when he hosted Coast to Coast AM in the 1990s.

Swiss hit

Raf's version exceeded the success of Branigan's only in his native Italy. The only other territory where Raf topped the charts was in Switzerland. His single debuted in the Swiss Top 30 at #7 on June 17, the same week Branigan's version debuted at #24. The following week, Raf's single had climbed to #2. Branigan's single, however, had leapt to #1. In their third week, Raf's version supplanted Branigan's at #1, but she regained the top spot in the fourth week and the two versions would remain there, Branigan at #1 and Raf at #2, for three more weeks. In their seventh week on the charts, Raf fell to #3, below "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" by Wham!, while Branigan held at #1. Their eighth week on the charts saw Raf regain the #2 spot behind Branigan. The following week the Wham! single moved back to #2 and Raf fell three spaces, but Branigan held firm. In their tenth week on the charts, Wham! fell to #5, Raf fell two more spots, and Branigan maintained pole position. Finally on the week of August 26, "Such a Shame" by Talk Talk moved Branigan out of the #1 spot, though she would remain in the Top 5 for another three weeks. In all Branigan's record was in the Swiss Top 30 for 16 weeks, including 12 weeks in the Top 5 and eight weeks at #1. It was joined by her follow-up single, "The Lucky One (Like a Wild Bird of Pray)", as it was erroneously subtitled in Europe, which charted in the Top 30 for seven weeks. Raf's version spent 14 weeks in the Top 30, including eight in the Top 5 and one at #1.

Laura Branigan's version was most successful single of 1984 in Switzerland, earning Branigan the #1 spot on the year-end charts.

Theme

The song narrates the singer's slip into the world of nightlife, the allure of which has her "livin' only for the night" and deeming herself to "live among the creatures of the night". Rather than actually invoking control over herself, the singer repeatedly declares to a phantom protagonist that "you take my self, you take my self control".

Track listings

7" single
  1. "Self Control" — 4:08
  2. "Silent Partners" — 3:58


12" maxi
  1. "Self Control" (extended version) — 5:00
  2. "Silent Partners" (extended version) — 4:10


Charts

Chart (1984) Peak

position
Australian Singles Chart 3
Austrian Singles Chart 1
Canadian Singles Chart 1
Canadian Adult Contemporary Chart 1
Dutch Top 40 7
Eurochart Hot 100 1
French SNEP Singles Chart 13
German Singles Chart 1
Irish Singles Chart 2
Italian Singles Chart 15
Norwegian Singles Chart 2
South African Singles Chart 1
Swedish Singles Chart 1
Swiss Singles Chart 1
UK Singles Chart 5


Chart (1984) Peak

position
U.S. ARC Weekly Top 40 2
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance/Disco 2
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 4
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks 5
U.S. Cash Box 5


End of year chart (1984) Position
Austrian Singles Chart 5
Canadian Singles Chart 15
Eurochart Hot 100 3
German Singles Chart 2
South African Singles Chart 5
Swiss Singles Chart 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 20


Certifications

Country Certification Date Sales certified
Germany Gold 1984 150,000
UK Silver September 1, 1984 250,000


Re-releases

Branigan's "Self Control" was paired with follow-up single "The Lucky One" for an "oldies series" release in the U.S. In the UK a similar release paired the song with her earlier hit, "Gloria". In 1992, the original single mix of "Self Control" was re-released on CD single and 12" vinyl by Atlantic/WEA in Germany featuring two new remixes. One of those appeared on a European greatest hits album that year, The Very Best of Laura Branigan. In 1999, four new remixes of "Self Control" were commissioned for a South African collection called Back in Control, on Atlantic/Gallo. "Self Control '99" was released as a CD single there. In the mid 2000s, several trance music remixes featuring samples of various length from the 1984 Branigan original surfaced from various entities including Crooklyn Clan, Imperial Machine, and SK featuring Laura Branigan. None of these mixes were done with Branigan's participation.

As of 2009, the Self Control album remains in print and the original version can also be heard on The Best of Branigan (1993), and in remastered versions on The Essentials: Laura Branigan (2002) and The Platinum Collection (2006).




Laura Branigan 2004 version

Branigan sought to reclaim her career after years away from the music industry first to take care of her ailing husband and then to mourn his loss. She re-recorded her two biggest club hits for the 20th anniversary of "Self Control" and they were released in a slew of remixes as "Gloria 2004" and "Self Control 2004". The latter track hit the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot Dance Singles Sales chart following Branigan's sudden death from an aneurysm in August of that year.

Track listings

CD maxi single
  1. "Self Control 2004" [Mindworkers Radio Mix] 3:21
  2. "Self Control 2004" [Flip & Fill Remix] 6:45
  3. "Self Control 2004" [Mindworkers Remix] 7:07
  4. "Self Control 2004" [Force Four Remix] 7:45
  5. "Self Control 2004" [Kenny Hayes Club Mix] 6:07
  6. "Self Control 2004" [Mindworkers Instrumental] 7:05


Charts

Chart (2004) Peak

position
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Singles Sales Chart 10


Raf version

Born and later known as Raffaele Riefoli, Raf co-wrote the song with Giancarlo Bigazzi and Steve Piccolo. A contemporaneous version of the song by Laura Branigan was the more popular around the world except in Raf's home country of Italy, where his version hit #1 the week of June 23, 1984, two weeks after Branigan's version had topped the charts in Germany. Raf's version also notably edged into #1 in Switzerland between runs at the top spot by Branigan, and Raf peaked at #2 in Germany, #7 in Austria and at #40 in France. Like Branigan, Raf released an extended dance mix of the song, but Raf's version featured a rap, relatively rare for a white artist at the time. Released in the U.S. and the UK, it did not make any chart there.

He would release several more tracks in English and re-release his debut 1984 album Raf in 1987 under the title Self Control featuring two of these tracks, but after failing to make any chart in an English-speaking country, after a five-year lapse between original albums, Riefoli began a steady stream of well-received releases in his native Italian language.

Charts

Chart (1984) Peak

position
Austrian Singles Chart 7
French SNEP Singles Chart 40
German Singles Chart 2
Italian Singles Chart 1
Swiss Singles Chart 1


Ricky Martin version

In 1993 Ricky Martin recorded a Spanish-language cover of "Self Control", titled "Que dia es hoy". With lyrics by producer Juan Carlos Calderon and Mikel Herzog, the song was released as single off Martin's second solo album, Me Amarás, in 1993. The single featured a remixed version of the track.

Charts

Chart (1992) Peak

position
U.S. Billboard Hot Latin Chart 26


Royal Gigolos version

In 2005, the German dance band the Royal Gigolos recorded a cover of the song. It appeared on a maxi CD along with their cover of the 1984 Rockwell hit "Somebody's Watching Me". The song's most notable success were Top 20 chartings in Denmark and Finland.

Track listings

CD maxi
  1. "Self Control" (D.O.N.S. single mix) — 3:42
  2. "Self Control" (single version) — 3:46
  3. "Self Control" (extended version) — 5:05
  4. "Self Control" (D.O.N.S. remix) — 6:18
  5. "Self Control" (Swen G° remix) — 6:32
  6. "Somebody's Watching Me" (single version) — 3:17
  7. "Somebody's Watching Me" (extended version) — 4:27
  8. "Somebody's Watching Me" (DJ Tyson club mix) — 6:36
  9. "Self Control" (video)


Charts

Chart (2005-2006) Peak

position
Austrian Singles Chart 42
Danish Singles Chart 17
Dutch Mega Top 100 49
Finnish Singles Chart 14
German Singles Chart 67
Swiss Singles Chart 90


Infernal version

In 2006, the Danishmarker dance band Infernal, best known for the club hit "From Paris to Berlin", released a cover of the song on November 6 in the UK. The song debuted in the chart at #61 based on downloads only. The track was also released in Australia, as a Double A-side with "I Won't Be Crying", though it did not chart there. Their recording was notably Top 10 in Finland and their native Denmark.

Formats and track listings

2-track CD single
  1. "Self Control" [Radio Edit] - 3:40
  2. "From Paris to Berlin" [DJ Aligator Remix] - 6:37


7-track enhanced promo single
  1. "Self Control" [Radio Edit] - 3:40
  2. "Self Control" [Extended Version] - 6:00
  3. "Self Control" [Soul Seekerz Remix] - 7:40
  4. "Self Control" [Robbie Rivera Juicy Mix] - 6:14
  5. "Self Control" [Europeanz Remix] - 7:09
  6. "Self Control" [Weekend Wonderz Club Mix] - 6:13
  7. "Self Control" [Video] - 3:48


12" single
  1. "Self Control" [Soul Seekerz Remix] - 7:41
  2. "Self Control" [Extended Version] - 6:00
  3. "Self Control" [Robbie Rivera Juicy Mix] - 6:14


Charts

Chart (2006) Peak
Danish Singles Chart 3
Finnish Singles Chart 6
Irish Singles Chart 14
UK Singles Chart 18


Other versions

The song was covered by many artists, including, in chronological order :

  • Carol Bailey (1994, "Feel It" contained samples of Branigan's version),
  • Carmen Grace (1995, released in Germany),
  • Umberto Tozzi (1996, live performance, album, Royal Albert Hall),
  • The Hoodys (1996, album D-Day, an EP was released with several rap mixes and a video was shot),
  • Foolish Mind featuring Ellice (12" single),
  • Sheila, ex Sheila B Devotion (1999, released in France, album Dense, French and english versions)
  • Paralysed Age (2002, gothic cover, album Into the Ice),
  • Fun Factory (2002, rap version, album ABC of Music),
  • Vengeance featuring E-La (2002, remixes),
  • Crooklyn Clan featuring Laura Branigan (2004, rap version with samples featuring Branigan's vocals in the chorus),
  • SK presents Laura Branigan (2004, Vincent Thomas mix featuring samples including Branigan's original vocals),
  • Imperial Machine (2004, trance remix with samples of the classic Branigan version),
  • Replicant featuring Marc Almond (EP titled Face Control),
  • DJK (2005, male-sung version released),
  • Digimind (2005, three trance mixes on an EP released),
  • Syn-Tonic (2005, techno-dance version released with female vocals),
  • Soraya Arnelas (2006, first single from the album Ochenta's, #2 in Spain, Gold disc),
  • Cardenia (2006, album Memory),
  • Amber White (2006, 2 Step version),


  • Marian Dacal (2006, acoustic guitar version, album Art Ensemble of the World Presents),
  • Caramelle (2007, R&B/hip Hop remixes with female vocals, released in Germany),
  • Caramelle featuring Nitro,
  • Rageneo (2007, rap version, album Palm Beach Syndicate Enterprise),
  • Shizuko Overdrive (2007, goth rock version, album Shizuko),
  • Tommy Gold (2007, album Sunny Guitar Dreams),
  • German duo 2Shine (2007, album Twins),
  • Jamx & deleon (2007, entitled "Can U Dig It (Self Control)"),
  • Brothers Incognito featuring Eve Justine (released in September 2007),
  • The Garland Cult (2007, electro cover with male vocals, album Protect Yourself from Hollywood),
  • Dave Sinclair (2008, subtitled "The Annual Remake 2008", album 80s Club Hits Reloaded, Vol. 2),
  • Thomas Gold & Dim Chris (2008, cover of Raf's version),
  • Slot Machine (2008, cover of Raf's version),
  • Hi-NRG (2008, album Best of Italo Dance),
  • The Magic Time Travelers (2008, album 1984 Greatest Hits),
  • The Garland Cult (2008, new mix, album Glitterazzi),
  • Graham BLVD (2008, album Divas of the 80s Vol. 2),
  • The Bloodsugars (2008, indie rock version, compilation Guilt by Association Vol. 2,
  • Paffendorf (2009, five hard trance mixes on an EP).


References

  1. http://www.mvdbase.com/video.php?id=4364
  2. Rockonthenet.com rockonthenet.com (Retrieved February 15, 2009)
  3. http://www.johnnycarson.com/carson/search.do?singleDateMonth=04&singleDateDay=27&singleDateYear=1984
  4. http://www.tv.com/marilyn-mccoo-show-32-guest-host-air-supply/episode/379928/summary.html?q=Laura%20Branigan%20Self%20Control&tag=search_results;title;2
  5. http://www.tv.com/laura-branigan--deniece-williams-video/episode/223653/summary.html?q=Laura%20Branigan%20Self%20Control&tag=search_results;title;1
  6. Billboard allmusic.com (Retrieved January 5, 2009)
  7. German Singles Chart [1] (Retrieved April 14, 2009)
  8. Irish Single Chart Irishcharts.ie (Retrieved January 5, 2009)
  9. UK Singles Chart Chartstats.com (Retrieved January 5, 2009)
  10. http://hitparade.ch/weekchart.asp?cat=s&year=1984&date=19841021
  11. http://www.swisscharts.com/year.asp?key=1984
  12. German Singles Chart Charts-surfer.de (Retrieved January 5, 2009)
  13. http://www.rock.co.za/files/sa_number_1s_69_89.html
  14. http://austriancharts.at/statistic_1984.asp
  15. http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/rpm/028020-119.01-e.php?&file_num=nlc008388.9638&volume=41&issue=17&issue_dt=January%2005%201985&type=1&interval=24&PHPSESSID=oopvjn35kv7gae781ulj5jfim0
  16. http://www.rock.co.za/files/sahits_1984.html
  17. http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/esearch/chart_display.jsp?cfi=411&cfgn=Year-end+Singles&cfn=The+Billboard+Hot+100&ci=3077245&cdi=9015195&cid=12%2F31%2F1984
  18. German certifications musikindustrie.de (Retrieved January 5, 2009)
  19. UK certifications Bpi.co.uk (Retrieved January 5, 2009)
  20. http://eil.com/shop/moreinfo.asp?catalogid=139529
  21. http://www.it-charts.150m.com/numeriuno-1980.htm
  22. http://hitparade.ch/showitem.asp?interpret=Raf&titel=Self+Control&cat=s
  23. http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/bio/index.jsp?pid=182257
  24. "Self Control", in various singles charts Lescharts.com (Retrieved February 15, 2009)
  25. "Self Control" (by Royal Gigolos), in various singles charts Lescharts.com (Retrieved January 5, 2009)
  26. "Self Control" (by Royal Gigolos), Dutch Mega Top 100 Lescharts.com (Retrieved January 5, 2009)
  27. "Self Control" (by Infernal), in various singles charts Acharts.us (Retrieved January 5, 2008)



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