Somewhere in the mid- 1980s, the foundations were laid with the melodious rock group 'Streets' for what would soon develop into Ten Sharp. After some live radio-appearance, Kapteijn and Hermes, playing with bass player Ton Groen, drummer Wil Bouwes and guitarist Martin Boers were able to sign a contract with CBS. The first single 'When The Snow Falls' (84) was 'tipped for the top', while its successor, 'Japanese Lovesong', hit number 30 on the charts. The next two singles ('Last Words' en 'Way Of The West') flopped. Disappointed, the group fell apart shortly afterwards.
On a roll, Niels Hermes (as composer) and Ton Groen (as lyricist) continued to make songs, basically for others. As soon as the new pieces were put on CD, 'You' was released as a single in 1991 and the track ultimately charged through all the major European charts and several beyond Europe as well. To this day, 'You' can be heard world-wide and has sold over 20 million copies. The mini CD 'Under The Waterline' released at the time was embellished with a number of new songs to a fully-fledged album which earned Ten Sharp the Dutch Export Prize in 1992.
In 1993, they released their second album 'The Fire Inside'. The singles 'Dreamhome' en 'Rumours In The City' made it to the charts in the Netherlands and proved all the more that Ten Sharp was not of passing interest. There was great demand for live shows. In 1994 and 1995, Hermes, Kapteijn and Groen went on tour with four additional musicians: first along the theatres, later to major festivals such as the World Liberty Concert in Arnhem, Parkpop in The Hague or the Uitmarkt in Amsterdam. The cooperation was so successful that it was decided to record the third album with the entire band. 'Shop of Memories' brings what the title suggests: musical influences are incorporated in their own polished, mature songs. Ten Sharp developed into a pure album group, with the addition of: Bennie Top on drums, Ton Groen on bass, Nick Bult on keyboard,Hubert Heeringa on saxophone, violin and magic horn and Yelle Sieswerda on guitar. When they were asked for the first show of the Marlboro Flashback Tour in 1996, it blended well with the course they had set. The group was requested to play tracks from their heroes, their major influences. The series of concerts, in which the duo and their musicians played songs from groups such as The Eagles, Steely Dan, Crowded House, Hall & Oates, E.L.O., Steve Miller, The Rolling Stones and The Beatles, was a resounding success. To record the moment for posterity, 'Roots Live' was recorded during the tour. The two years that followed were spent on the 'Roots' promotional tour, a second Flashback tour in which they only played works from the Finn brothers (Crowded House, Split Enz), and a 35 theatre tour. The plans for a new studio record were therefore postponed. To keep the flame burning, it was decided to release a 'Best of'. They added five new songs to presage the studio record that was still on hold. It was quickly clear that they had not forgotten how to write when the hit single 'Beautiful' made it as far as number one on the Argentinean charts. This was also the moment in which Hermes and Kapteijn became acquainted with arranger Tom Bakker. He provided string arrangements to the five new songs on 'Everything & More'. Niels and Marcel also wanted nothing more than to cooperate with Tom again for their next record. This ultimately resulted in the album 'Stay', in which Tom Bakker was responsible for a major part of the compositions.
To this very day, Marcel Kapteijn and Niels Hermes are still working on spreading their musical past in the Netherlands and abroad. But, in addition to Ten Sharp, they are also passionately involved in music in their own right.
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