Then & Now
My first reaction to Then & Now, a new K-Tel “hits plus” compilation from The Jets was, “why do we need another one?” — The Jets’ last disc was a greatest hits set and they’ve been silent in the Top 40 ever since. Well, then I read the small print — This 12-song album does include most of the band’s poppy ‘80s hits like “Crush on You,” “Rocket 2 U,” “You Got It All” and “Cross My Broken Heart.” But these songs have all been re-recorded since MCA’s 1990 Best of The Jets album. The revisions aren’t actually bold enough to notice until you play the new versions back to back with the originals (I did) and then it’s obvious that some of the synthesizers are a little different and singers Elizabeth Wolfgramm and Moana Wolfgramm’s ranges have deepened and lost that girlish squeak which was part of The Jets’ original pubescent appeal.
Then & Now includes a couple new songs taken from good sources, including one close to home — there’s a cover of “The Truth,” a 1991 hit for Chicago’s sadly defunct TAMI Show. The Jets don’t quite inject the energy crunch that TAMI Show did, but it’s a dancy cymbal and synth percolating arrangement nonetheless. They also cover a song from one-time Kansas singer-turned-Christian artist John Elefante. “That’s Why God Made The Moon” is a gentle well crooned piano ballad about “lonely hearts” and dreams of “all eternity.”
It’s been 10 years since The Jets top 40 string of hits ended with “Make It Real,” but this album shows that they still could be a viable pop force with a little push (and probably a better label!).
Remember Kenny Loggins’ “Footloose” and “I’m Free”? How about Shalamar’s “Dancing In The Sheets” or Deniece Williams’ “Let’s Hear It For The Boy.” What about Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out For A Hero” or Mike Reno and Ann Wilson’s duet “Almost Paradise”?
Well, they were all big hits 15 years ago, and they all came from the same album, the hugely popular soundtrack to the Kevin Bacon movie Footloose. Now Columbia/Legacy Records have re-released the soundtrack on CD as a 15th Anniversary Collectors’ Edition with four bonus tracks — a remix of Shalamar’s “Dancing in the Sheets” and three other songs that were in the movie but not included on the original soundtrack: John Mellencamp’s “Hurts So Good,” Quiet Riot’s “Bang Your Head” and Foreigner’s “Waiting For A Girl Like You.”
Columbia isn’t the only label pushing 15th anniversary hit movie soundtracks though. Motown has just released the classic soundtrack album to The Big Chill. There are no bonus tracks on this disc, which does include the oldie hits “I Heard it Through The Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye, “My Girl” from The Temptations, “Good Lovin’” from The Rascals, “Joy To The World” from Three Dog Night and more.
They’re not all oldies — The soundtrack to A Night At the Roxbury on Dreamworks offers disco dance grooves both old and new. Bamboo’s “Bamboogie” is the perfect example of this, mixing the club groove of Haddaway’s recent hit “What Is Love” into a rave version of K.C. & The Sunshine Band’s “Get Down Tonight.” The CD is set up like a hot dance mix in a club — each song segues right into the next without breaking. Cyndi Lauper remakes “Disco Inferno,” but doesn’t instill any fresh fire to the session. 3rd Party however, take M’s “Pop Muzik,” and strip out the robotic Robin Scott vocals in favor of a sultry female voice to turn it into a sensual dance grind and Tamia injects some cool additional urban soul into Wham!’s “Careless Whisper.” Also included is La Bouche’s hit from a year or two ago “Be My Lover,” Haddaway’s “What Is Love” and Ace of Base’s “Beautiful Life.”
K-Tel is hoping to recapture its market share on “hits” collections this fall with a handful of new discs. Among them are a new wine and low lights romance album, The Greatest Love Songs 16 Soft Rock Favorites. That disc offers Foreigner’s “Waiting For A Girl Like You,” Atlantic Starr’s “Always,” Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville’s “Don’t Know Much,” Christopher Cross’ “Arthur’s Theme,” Kool & The Gang’s “Cherish” and more. For a more upbeat night, try The Greatest Rock - All-Time Classics, a three-CD set that offers Fleetwood Mac’s “Hold Me,” “Roundabout” from Yes, “Love Hurts” from Nazareth, “Thunder Island” from Jay Ferguson and “Show Me The Way” from Peter Frampton. The third disc is a “bonus” CD that includes eight huge ‘60s hits - The Turtles’ “Happy Together” and The Trashmen’s “Surfin’ Bird” among them.
VH-1 has been doubling as a record company lately, releasing a string of live recordings from its live concert programming. The latest pulls together Mariah Carey, Shania Twain, Aretha Franklin, Celine Dion and Gloria Estefan performing under the monicker Divas Live with special guest Carole King. There’s a lot of combined power in these popular vocalists and they use it to good effect individually on their own hits “My All,” “Turn The Beat Around,” “You’re Still The One,” Titanic theme “My Heart Will Go On,” “Chain of Fools” and in combination on Carole King’s cozy “You’ve Got A Friend,” Aretha-led classic “A Natural Woman,” and new song for Celine Dion, “The Reason.” There are 14 songs from the program showcased on the Divas Live album, now available through Epic/VH1.
Julio Iglesias has scored a plethora of hits in two different languages around the globe, and his new set My Life The Greatest Hits offers a CD for each of them. The English side contains his duets with Willie Nelson (“To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before”), Diana Ross (“All of You”), Stevie Wonder (“My Love”), Sting (“Fragile”), and Frank Sinatra (“Summer Wind”), among others. The Spanish side offers songs like “Momentos,” “Un Canto A Galicia,” and “Amor.”