Ten Sharp is a Dutch band, sometimes labeled as a one-hit wonder group, because they are best known for their early 1990s hit song “You”, a hit in some European countries in 1991 and in others (such as the United Kingdom, where it peaked at number 10) in 1992. The two band members are Marcel Kapteijn (vocals) and Niels Hermes (keyboards).
Niels Hermes also worked with Attie Bauw on the first single by Esther Amadea.
Streets was a local band formed in the beginning 1982, when the two rival bands Prizoner and Pin-Up came together in the same room. Influenced by Thin Lizzy, they started writing symphonic rocksongs and played mainly in Purmerend and around.
The first gig was at the Hutspop festival on March 3, 1982. The band at this stage was Marcel Kapteijn on vocals and guitar, Niels Hermes on keyboards, Martin Boers on leadguitar, Ton Groen on bass and Joop van de Berg played the drums. In the summer of ’82, Joop van de Berg was replaced by Wil Bouwes from Neon Graffiti. This would be the line-up until the break-up in 1987.
In October 1982, the group was invited to record three songs at Vara’s Popkrant, which resulted in national airplay. In April 1983 they played live at KRO Rocktempel which brought them to several record companies, but no one seemed to be interested. Around the summer of 1983, Niels Hermes’ good old Fender Rhodes and ARP monophonic synthesizer were stolen. This resulted in buying the polyphonic Roland JX-3P and Yamaha DX7 synthesizers which caused a big change in sound.
Driven by this new impulse, they locked themselves in Fort Spijkerboor to write new songs to impress the record companies. When they got out in February 1984 with a brand-new demo, finally there was interest at CBS Records. In September 1984 they recorded three songs in Studio Spitsbergen with Michiel Hoogenboezem including a demo-version of “When The Snow Falls”. The plans were there to release the first single, until the record company found out there was already another band in the USA called Streets. The band had to change its name in October 1984. Ten Sharp was chosen because of the sound of the name.
“When The Snow Falls” was the first single, released in January 1985. The song ended up in the Tip-parade and Vara’s Verrukkelijke 15. It gave the band a lot of attention on radio and television. The second single “Japanese Lovesong” ended up in the charts (number 30) in July 1985, while having a busy schedule with live-performances through the club-circuit in the Netherlands. The next single “Last Words” failed to hit the charts and ended up in the Tip-parade in January 1986. The band shot their first video for the song.
After a year of recording demo’s and touring through the Netherlands, they recorded their fourth single “Way Of The West” in February 1987, a guitar-heavy rocksong which failed immediately. CBS Records was not happy with the song and dropped the band. On October 17, 1987 they played their last show in Hazerswoude as a 5-piece band.
Niels Hermes and Ton Groen did continue writing songs for other artists. In 1989 they contributed two songs for the National Songcontest, without success, and Niels played in the band of Conny Vandenbos.
After two years of songwriting, they asked Marcel Kapteijn to sing on the demos that already included “You” and “Ain’t My Beating Heart”. When Sony Music heard the demos they were very interested in the songs sung by Marcel, who was still fed up with the music business. Ten Sharp would be Marcel Kapteijn on vocals, Niels Hermes on keys and songwriting, and Ton Groen who provided the lyrics.
It was the end of 1990 when they recorded 6 songs for “Under The Water-Line” at Studio Spitsbergen with producer Michiel Hoogenboezem. The name “Under The Water-Line” was chosen because of the way they liked to work: in the background.
The album was released on April 13 from 1991, together with the single “You”. The song became a national hit rapidly, and so did the album. By the time the single “Ain’t My Beating Heart” was released, the 7-track album was expanded to a 10-track full album. Also for release in other countries. After the singles “When The Spirit Slips Away” and the re-release of “When The Snow Falls” they released the song “Rich Man” in March 1992, which resulted in their third hit from the album. At this time, “You” was just released across Europe, enjoying a lot of success. The band toured through Europe to promote the single on TV and radio stations. Because of the line-up, live performances were done only with piano and vocals, sometimes joined by Tom Barlage on saxophone. This continued until the fall of 1992.
Under The Water-Line is the debut album from the Dutch band Ten Sharp and contains the hit singles “You”, “Ain’t My Beating Heart” and “Rich Man”. The album was released in March 1991 with 7 tracks, but by the time “You” became a national hit the album was expanded in April of the same year with three new songs to make it a full 10-tracks album. The album itself entered the top ten in Norway, Sweden, Austria and Switzerland.
The LP version of this album plays an early version of “Rich Man”. This version is half a minute longer.
The song “When the Snow Falls” was previously released as a single in January 1985. The version that appears on the album contains the single version combined with the atmospheric intro of the extended version. (by wikipedia)
I watched the Ten Sharp’s single from this album, YOU in 1992 at MTV. This dutch band has created an amazing album which has surprisingly not broken records, inspite of songs like “Ain’t my beating heart” and the mesmerising “When the spirit slips away”. Wish their record label Epic / Columbia invested more in marketing this album. We would have perhaps heard more of this group. (by Anurag Pathak)
I guess, this album is more for romantic women, but not for me … even I´m a romantic guy, too.
Niels Hermes (all instruments, programming)
Marcel Kapteijn (vocals)
Tom Barlage (saxophone)
Martin Boers (guitar on 09.)
Wil Bouwes (drums on 09.)
Hugo de Bruin (guitar on 03.)
Ton Groen (bass on 09.)
Rob Jansen (drums on 03. + 10.)
Stylus Horns (horns on 03.)
01. You (Hermes/Groen) 4.34
02. When The Spirit Slips Away (Hermes/Groen) 4.45
03. Rich Man (Hermes/Groen) 4.14
04. Ain’t My Beating Heart (Hermes/Groen) 4.15
05. Lonely Heart (Hermes/Groen/Kapteijn) 4.55
06. Who Needs Women (Hermes/Groen) 4.41
07. Some Sails (Hermes/Groen) 4.16
08. Ray (Hermes/Groen) 4.01
09. When The Snow Falls (Hermes/Kapteijn) 5.15
10. Closing Hour (Hermes/Groen) 3.58
Ten Sharp is still alive and well … here´s a screenshot from the website in 2019: