Archive for the ‘Billy Ocean’ Category
From Miss Ross to a Friend of the Boss: Legacy’s Latest Wave of “Playlists” Offer Hits and Deep Cuts
Playlist, Legacy Recordings’ series of single-disc anthologies spotlighting “The Hits plus the Fan Favorites,” keeps on rollin’ with a new, typically eclectic group of artists covering a wide swath of genres and styles. Today, May 21, Legacy releases volumes in the series dedicated to the best of R&B (Diana Ross, Donna Summer), pop (Billy Ocean), country-and-western (Chet Atkins, Patty Loveless, Restless Heart, Mindy McCready), Latin jazz (Tito Puente) and the many strains of rock (Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, Warrant, Jeff Buckley, Switchfoot, Iggy Pop). All Playlist titles are now housed in traditional jewel cases, and each title includes a booklet with a historical essay and discographical annotation. Some of the titles even include new-to-CD and previously unissued rarities.
Playlist: The Very Best of Diana Ross kicks off with three seminal tracks from Miss Ross’ late period at Motown: “Love Hangover” from her second eponymous album in 1976, and “Upside Down” and “I’m Coming Out” from 1980’s CHIC-helmed smash diana. (Don’t miss a loving and truly comprehensive tribute to diana from one of our favorite scribes, Christian John Wikane, over at Popmatters.) Following that Motor City appetizer, the set kicks into high gear with eleven tracks from the legendary singer’s oft-overlooked tenure at RCA, released between 1981 and 1985. Highlights such as “Chain Reaction” and “Eaten Alive” are derived from the Barry Gibb production Eaten Alive, with the latter track providing a reunion between Ross and Michael Jackson. Four songs have been taken from 1981’s Why Do Fools Fall in Love, including Ross’ solo version of “Endless Love.” Silk Electric, Ross and Swept Away are also represented, with every track in pristinely remastered sound from Mark Wilder. The No. 2 AC hit “All of You” with Julio Iglesias is among the Swept Away tracks you’ll find in this tasty survey of Ross at RCA.
The late Donna Summer gets feted with Playlist: The Very Best of Donna Summer. Unlike most entries in Legacy’s series, this Playlist volume isn’t derived from the superstar diva’s original recordings but rather from a concert performance. Summer’s blazing 1999 show at New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom was previously captured on disc as VH1 Presents Donna Summer Live and More Encore, but Playlist premieres four previously unissued tracks from that concert (“Is There Music There,” “Riding Through the Storm,” “Don’t Wanna Work” and “Nobody”). It adds up to a live summary of the legendary vocalist’s hit-filled career, with “MacArthur Park,” “On the Radio,” “No More Tears (Enough is Enough)” (with Tina Arena filling in for Barbra Streisand), “She Works Hard for the Money,” “Bad Girls,” “Hot Stuff” and the inevitable “Last Dance” all making appearances. Vlado Mellor has remastered at Sony Studios New York. Those who already own Live and More will likely wish to grab this for the four newly-released songs and the remastered sound, but both discs are essential for the full program. “My Life,” “Love is the Healer” and “I Will Go with You (Con te partirò)” are absent from the new Playlist. The latter two songs were studio recordings added to the Live and More CD; Grammy nominee “I Will Go with You” was a No. 79 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and fared even better in the U.K., with a No. 44 chart berth. In addition, both of the studio tracks reached the top spot on the U.S. dance chart.
Though he’d been charting hits in the U.K. for nearly a decade prior, the Trinidad-born singer made his first major splash on the U.S. Hot 100 when “Caribbean Queen (No More Love on the Run)” shot to No. 1, the same berth it occupied on the R&B chart. The song began a hot streak for Ocean, the results of which are captured on Playlist: The Very Best of Billy Ocean. The non-chronologically-sequenced 14-track set kicks off with “Caribbean Queen,” and also finds room for “When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going” (No. 2 Pop/No. 6 R&B), “Loverboy” (No. 2 Pop/No. 20 R&B), “Suddenly” (No. 4 Pop/No. 5 R&B) and “Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car” (No. 1 Pop/No. 1 R&B). In all, six albums are represented, and every track has been remastered by Tom Ruff.
After the jump: details on Jeff Buckley, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, Chet Atkins, Iggy Pop and the rest – plus full track listings with discography and order links for each and every title! Read the rest of this entry »
If you’re sharing the same dream to see Billy Ocean’s catalogue get some deluxe treatment, next Tuesday is your day: Cherry Pop is reissuing two of Ocean’s mid-’80s pop smashes with bonus content. These will be the Cherry Red label group’s second and third reissues for Ocean, following Big Break’s expansion of 1982′s Inner Feelings back in March.
The Trinidad-born, England-raised Ocean enjoyed early success in the late ’70s on the GTO label. His first single, 1976′s “Love Really Hurts Without You,” peaked at No. 2 in the U.K. and was a Top 40 hit in the U.S. as well. Three more Top 20 singles were spun off his eponymous debut in England, but things were largely quiet from there, save for a Top 10 R&B and Dance chart hit in the U.S. in 1981 with “Nights (Feel Like Gettin’ Down).”
All that changed in 1984, when Ocean released “European Queen,” a pulsating, sensual club track that initially stiffed upon release. When one line was re-recorded for the U.S. market and the single was released overseas, however, “Caribbean Queen (No More Love on the Run)” was a chart-topper. Ocean enjoyed international success and crossover appeal after nearly a decade on the scene, enjoying two more U.S. Top 5 hits with the ballad “Suddenly” and “Loverboy.” (Ultimately, all three songs were Top 20 singles in Ocean’s adopted home country.)
But the winning streak wasn’t over. With revered pop/rock producer Robert John “Mutt” Lange at the helm, Ocean’s “When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going” became another No. 1 hit in the U.K. (and a U.S. No. 2) when it was included on the soundtrack for The Jewel of the Nile in 1985. The following long-player, Love Zone (1986), featured yet another U.S. chart-topper, “There’ll Be Sad Songs (to Make You Cry)” and Top 20 singles in “Love is Forever” and the title track.
Each newly-remastered release is appended with four non-LP remixes each, most of which are making their debut on CD in England. (Interestingly, Suddenly features the hit U.S. version of “Caribbean Queen,” rather than either the original “European Queen” or its equally semi-obscure “African Queen” version.) The discs will also feature liner notes with detailed discographies and pictures of the original single sleeves. Each will be available in the U.K. on July 11, and you can order them through the links after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »
Our friends at the U.K.-based Big Break label haven’t given much thought lately to a break! A recently-announced slate of March releases bring the label’s total catalogue to nearly 50 titles since its inception in 2009, and covers a wide and diverse swath of soulful artists. Some are returning to the label (The Pointer Sisters, Deniece Williams, Billy Ocean) and others are making their label debuts (Dennis Edwards, Ashford and Simpson, The Originals).
Deniece Williams is recipient of her third Big Break reissue. My Melody was her 1981 triumph co-produced by Thom Bell, who also contributed as a writer, arranger and conductor. Bell, an architect of the Philadelphia sound, brought out the best in Williams, and My Melody spawned the hit single “What Two Can Do” and the lush “Silly,” now one of the songs most associated with the singer. My Melody will feature two bonus tracks, the single versions of “Silly” and “It’s Your Conscience.” The Pointer Sisters also receive their third Big Break release. Contact was the group’s first record for the RCA label after their successful tenure on Richard Perry’s Planet label; Special Things and So Excited, both for Planet, were BBR’s first two releases from the Pointers. 1985′s Contact was also produced by Perry, and went platinum. “Dare Me” charted on the R&B and Pop charts in addition to placing atop the Dance chart, while “Freedom” and “Twist My Arm” also had impressive placings. Contact also features songwriting contributions from 1980s chart-toppers Mr. Mister. Contact boasts an incredible nine bonus tracks, including B-sides, dance mixes and single versions.
Billy Ocean returns to BBR with 1982′s Inner Feelings from the Epic label. Nigel Martinez brought his production skills to the table, and Inner Feelings paved the way for his hugely-successful hits like “Caribbean Queen” and “When the Going Gets Tough.” Inner Feelings will include two single versions and one 12″ dance remix. Also from 1982 is Ashford and Simpson’s Capitol Records debut, Street Opera. Written and produced by the famous hitmaking team, Street Opera scored with R&B hit “Street Corner.” That song is included among the bonus tracks in both single and dance versions, with the ballad “Love It Away” also included in its single version.
While Ashford and Simpson spent many of their early years at the Motor City’s biggest label, Big Break’s next two releases actually hail from the famed Motown library. Dennis Edwards’ Don’t Look Any Further (1984) was produced by Dennis Lambert, who ironically gave The Four Tops their biggest non-Motown hits with songs like “Ain’t No Woman (Like the One I’ve Got).” The former Temptation and “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” vocalist duetted with Siedah Garrett (duet partner on Michael Jackson’s “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You”) and enjoyed the vocal support of Paulette Williams, formerly of Rufus, on this long-lost LP. Four bonus tracks have been added, including both the U.S. and U.K. 12″ mixes of the title track. The Originals’ California Sunset has an even more legendary pedigree, as the 1975 LP was produced by Lamont Dozier, who arranged its tracks with Jimmie Haskell and Paul Riser. This smooth soul classic has been expanded by one bonus cut, the single version of “Good Lovin’ is Just a Dime Away.”
All titles are due in the U.K. in March. Hit the jump for the full track listings, pre-order links and discographical information! Read the rest of this entry »