Archive for the ‘Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons’ Category
Shine Her Light: “The Midnight Special” Box Set Arrives In September with Fleetwood Mac, Bee Gees, ELO, More
Between August 1972 and May 1981, late night television was a little more rockin’. Producer Burt Sugarman’s The Midnight Special followed Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show on Friday evenings, welcoming viewers with Johnny Rivers’ rousing rendition of the traditional tune (a Top 20 hit for Rivers in 1965). Over the course of 450 episodes, The Midnight Special presented a staggering array of music’s top talent on network television with most songs performed live for the majority of its run. The program, featuring announcer Wolfman Jack and a variety of guest hosts, premiered as a one-off special in August 1972 but was promoted to full-time status in February 1973. It first arrived on DVD in 2006 with episodes available as mail order exclusives, heavily promoted via infomercials. On September 9, however, StarVista/Time Life will make The Midnight Special more widely available for the first time with 11-DVD, 6-DVD and 1-DVD releases. With the resurgence in many of the ‘70s’ greatest pop hits thanks to the hit Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack the time couldn’t be better! (Indeed, many of the Star Lord’s favorite songs were performed on The Midnight Special and will be included on these DVDs.)
The 11-disc Midnight Special Collectors’ Edition is now available to order exclusively online at MIDNIGHTSPECIALDVDS.COM for just under $100.00; while it’s expected that this set may eventually arrive to general retail (in the tradition of other StarVista sets for The Carol Burnett Show, Mama’s Family and The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts), it will remain a website exclusive for the foreseeable future. This edition features roughly 10 hours of musical performances plus 5 hours of newly-produced bonus material and a 32-page booklet. The single-disc and 6-disc versions will be released on September 9 to stores everywhere. The Midnight Special played host to artists from the many genres that occupied the Top 40 slots on the Billboard Hot 100 during the 1970s, including Fleetwood Mac, The Bee Gees, Linda Ronstadt, The O’Jays, Dolly Parton, David Bowie (who broadcast his final television appearance as Ziggy Stardust on the program), Alice Cooper, Electric Light Orchestra, Neil Sedaka, Barry Manilow, Alice Cooper, frequent host Helen Reddy, and countless others who are featured on StarVista’s new sets. The Midnight Special also gave the spotlight over to the era’s top comedians like Richard Pryor, Billy Crystal, George Carlin, Andy Kaufman, Steve Martin and Freddie Prinze.
After the jump: a look at what you can expect to find on these collections! Read the rest of this entry »
Bob Marley, Legend: 30th Anniversary Edition (Tuff Gong/Island/UMe)
The best-selling reggae album of all time is back with two unreleased studio rarities and, on Blu-ray, a new 5.1 surround mix.
Pink Floyd, The Division Bell: 20th Anniversary Edition (Parlophone)
The 20th anniversary of the last Pink Floyd album means an Immersion-level box set with a new 5.1 surround sound mix on Blu-ray and bonus vinyl pieces.
Bon Jovi, New Jersey: Deluxe Edition (Mercury/UMe)
The New Jersey rockers celebrate the 25th anniversary of their fourth album (and their 30th anniversary as a band) with an expanded edition of the record that gave us “Bad Medicine,” “I’ll Be There for You” and others. Rarities include a bonus disc of demos and a DVD of rare video content.
Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, The Classic Albums Box / Frankie Valli, Selected Solo Works / Various Artists, Audio with a G: Sounds of a Jersey Boy – The Music of Bob Gaudio (Rhino)
Following up the release of the soundtrack to the Jersey Boys film last week, Rhino is releasing two box sets of The Four Seasons’ complete albums and most of Valli’s solo efforts (his Motown works are omitted), plus a compilation of the best of Four Seasons member/co-writer Bob Gaudio’s lengthy discography.
The Jayhawks, Sound of Lies / Smile / Rainy Day Music: Expanded Editions (American Recordings/UMe)
The alt-country group’s full studio discography from 1997 to 2003 is remastered and expanded on CD with rare and unreleased bonus tracks.
Jethro Tull, A Passion Play: An Extended Performance (Chrysalis/Rhino)
Jethro Tull’s sixth album, released in 1973, get the deluxe treatment with new stereo and surround mixes from Steven Wilson plus unreleased sessions and video content.
Spanky & Our Gang, The Complete Mercury Singles / Lulu, The Atco Sessions 1969-1972 / Gal Costa, Gal Costa / Ronnie Dove, The Complete Original Chart Hits 1964-1969 / X, More Fun in the New World: Expanded & Remastered Edition / The New York Community Choir, Make Every Day Count: Expanded Edition / Grateful Dead, Dick’s Picks Vol. 17 — Boston Garden 9/25/91 (Real Gone Music)
The latest Real Gone slate features a little something for everyone, from harmonic ’60s pop (Spanky & Our Gang) to ’70s R&B (The New York Community Choir) to ’80s punk (X) – and some Grateful Dead, for good measure.
Spanky & Our Gang: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Lulu: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Gal Costa: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Ronnie Dove: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
X: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
The New York Community Choir: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
The Grateful Dead: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Brain Salad Surgery: 40th Anniversary Edition (U.S. Release) (Razor and Tie)
Reissued some time ago in the U.K., ELP’s show that never ends is a three-disc affair featuring the remastered album in stereo, and alternate album assembly plus a DVD of old and new stereo mixes. (Amazon U.S.)
The Beatles, A Hard Day’s Night: The Criterion Collection (Criterion)
The first Beatles film gets the luxe treatment for its 50th anniversary – sounds pretty fab!
Iconoclassic remasters and expands the debut album from the band fronted by Danny Hutton, Chuck Negron and Cory Wells! Bonus tracks include two mono single sides and “Time to Get Alone” written and produced by Brian Wilson. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
This fun little release features brand-new bossa nova recordings backing some great original R&B vocals, including Bill Withers’ “Lovely Day,” Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing,” The Isley Brothers’ “It’s Your Thing” and more. A perfect summer party album!
Jersey Boys: Music from the Motion Picture and Broadway Musical (WaterTower Music/Rhino)
The hit Broadway play is now a film, directed by Clint Eastwood, and the soundtrack features both original hits by Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons plus new versions recorded for the film itself. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
The Lion King: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack – The Legacy Collection (Walt Disney Records)
Disney’s exciting new “Legacy Collection” line of expanded soundtracks to their classic films kicks off with a 20th anniversary edition of the soundtrack to The Lion King, featuring all the songs you love from Elton John and Tim Rice, over 30 minutes of unreleased score and demo material and striking new artwork created just for this package. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
Who Loves You: Rhino Celebrates “Jersey Boys” With Box Sets For Frankie Valli and Four Seasons, First Bob Gaudio Anthology
Next Friday, June 20, marks the highly-anticipated opening of director Clint Eastwood’s film adaptation of the smash 2005 Broadway musical Jersey Boys. With John Lloyd Young reprising his Tony Award-winning performance as Frankie Valli opposite a cast of theatre and film veterans including Christopher Walken as Jersey mobster Gyp DeCarlo, Eastwood’s film promises to bring the gritty story of Valli and The Four Seasons (Nick Massi, Tommy DeVito and Bob Gaudio) to an even wider audience than ever. Rhino is marking the occasion of the film’s release with four sets covering every aspect of the group’s immense legacy: an original soundtrack recording featuring new and vintage recordings alike; two career-spanning album collections for The Four Seasons and the solo Frankie Valli, respectively; and the first-ever compendium of the songs of songwriter-producer and founding Season Bob Gaudio. The soundtrack arrives on June 24, while the remaining three collections hit stores the very next week, on July 1.
Most exciting might be The Classic Albums Box from Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. This 18-CD box set includes nearly all of the group’s original albums released between 1962 and 1992:
- Sherry & 11 Others (1962)
- Big Girls Don’t Cry And Twelve Others (1963)
- The 4 Seasons Sing Ain’t That A Shame And 11 Others (1963)
- Folk-Nanny (1963)
- On Stage With The Four Seasons (1965)
- Dawn (Go Away) And 11 Other Great Songs (1964)
- Born To Wander (1964)
- Rag Doll (1964)
- The 4 Seasons Entertain You (1965)
- The 4 Seasons Sing Big Hits By Burt Bacharach… Hal David… Bob Dylan (1965)
- Working My Way Back To You (1966)
- New Gold Hits (1967)
- The Genuine Imitation Life Gazette (1969)
- Half & Half (1970) – one side of the Four Seasons, one side of Valli solo
- Who Loves You (1975)
- Helicon (1977)
- Streetfighter (1985)
- Hope + Glory (1992)
The Classic Albums Box is the first time the group’s catalogue has been available in one package. It contains all of the group’s core albums with the exception of 1962’s The Four Seasons’ Greetings (also known as The Four Seasons’ Christmas Album), the 1968 compilation Edizione d’Oro (which features unique stereo mixes and alternate takes), 1972’s Motown-controlled release Chameleon and 1981’s Reunited Live. (Of these, Edizione is still awaiting a definitive compact disc reissue.)
A complementary box is being released for the solo albums of Frankie Valli, and includes all of his studio LPs with the exception of the Motown release Inside You (1975) and his most recent LP, Romancing the Sixties (2007). Frankie Valli’s 8-CD Selected Solo Works box set includes:
- The 4 Seasons Present Frankie Valli Solo (1967)
- Timeless (1968)
- Closeup (1975)
- Our Day Will Come (1975)
- Valli (1976)
- Lady Put The Light Out (1977)
- Frankie Valli…Is The Word (1978)
- Heaven Above Me (1980)
After the jump, we have more details including the full scoop on Bob Gaudio’s Audio with a G and pre-order links and more for all titles! Read the rest of this entry »
Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye): Final “The Complete Motown Singles” Volume Bows
Nearly nine years after the first volume in Hip-O Select’s The Complete Motown Singles box set series was released, the 14th and final entry in the series, Volume 12B: 1972, will be released on December 10, just in time for the holidays.
The year 1972 marks, for many, the end of the “classic Motown” period. Label founder Berry Gordy moved label operations from Detroit to Los Angeles, and many of his most treasured acts were in periods of transition. Diana Ross was long a solo artist away from The Supremes, while Smokey Robinson would part ways with The Miracles in 1972 – the same year both The Four Tops and Gladys Knight & The Pips would break off from the label. At the same time, though, several of the label’s acts were coming in to their own, from The Temptations’ psychedelic soul styles, the increasing independence and experimentation of Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye and even the shine of the spotlight on solo members of The Jackson 5, namely frontmen Michael and Jermaine.
Included in the 100 tracks across five discs are some choice rarities, including Marvin Gaye’s beautiful (but long-lost) holiday single, “I Want to Come Home for Christmas” b/w “Christmas in the City,” an unissued solo single from longtime label songwriter Valerie Simpson, a duet by G.C. Cameron and Willie Hutch that never made it to an album with Hutch’s vocal, and even rare sides by several pop acts who made their name away from the Motown roster, including Lesley Gore, Bobby Darin and Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons.
Packed, as always, with a bonus replica 7″ single (The Temptations’ classic “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone”), The Complete Motown Singles Vol. 12B is loaded with notes and essays from Abdul “Duke” Fakir of The Four Tops, Susan Whitall of The Detroit News, journalist Bill Dahl and compilation producers Keith Hughes and Harry Weinger, who “contribute series postscripts that offer back stories of the Motown tape vault, session logs and tape cards.”
The Second Disc has, of course, spent most of its existence lightly prodding Harry, UMe’s vice-president of A&R, for information on the TCMS series; when we set up shop in 2010, the series had seemingly stalled at Vol. 11 the year before. Vols. 12A and 12B would not materialize until this year, though I certainly speak for both Joe and myself (not to mention countless readers and fans around the world) that the work has been well worth the wait.
On December 10, that wait is finally over. After the jump, you can pre-order your own copy of the set.
In his 85th year, Burt Bacharach has kept a pace that would wear out many a younger man. In addition to performing a number of concert engagements, the Oscar, Grammy and Gershwin Prize-winning composer has released a memoir, continued work on three musical theatre projects, co-written songs with Bernie Taupin and J.D. Souther, and even penned a melody for Japanese singer Ringo Sheena. Though Bacharach keeps moving forward, numerous releases this year have looked back on his illustrious catalogue. Universal issued The Art of the Songwriter in 6-CD and 2-CD iterations to coincide with the publication of his memoir, Real Gone Music rescued his three sublime “lost” 1974 productions for Dionne Warwick from obscurity, and Warner Music Japan reissued the near-entirety of Warwick’s Scepter and Warner Bros. tenures under the umbrella of Burt Bacharach 85th Birth Anniversary/Dionne Warwick Debut 50th Anniversary. Two more titles have recently been added to that Japanese reissue series: The Atlantic Sound of Burt Bacharach and The Warner Sound of Burt Bacharach. These 2-CD anthologies are both packed with rarities and familiar songs alike for a comprehensive overview of the Maestro’s recordings on the Warner family of labels.
The Warner Sound of Burt Bacharach is the more wide-ranging compilation of the two, drawing on recordings made not just for Warner Bros. Records but for Valiant, Festival, Elektra, Reprise, Scepter, and foreign labels like Italy’s CDG and Sweden’s Metronome. This 2-CD set is arranged chronologically, with the first CD covering 1962 (Dionne Warwick’s “Don’t Make Me Over,” her only appearance on the set) to 1978 (Nicolette Larson’s “Mexican Divorce”), and the second taking in 1981 (Christopher Cross’ Oscar-winning chart-topper “Arthur’s Theme”) to 2004 (Tamia and Gerald Levert’s “Close to You”).
On the Elektra label, Love scored a hit with “My Little Red Book,” presented here in its mono single version. The composer didn’t care for the band’s melodic liberties, but the Sunset Strip rockers’ version is today better known than the Manfred Mann original. From the Reprise catalogue, you’ll hear the great arranger Marty Paich with a swinging instrumental version of “Promise Her Anything,” a genuine Bacharach and David rocker originally recorded by Tom Jones. Trini Lopez’s groovy “Made in Paris” is also heard in its mono single version. Morgana King is sultry on a Don Costa arrangement of “Walk On By.” Buddy Greco delivers a hip “What the World Needs Now,” and Tiny Tim makes the same song his own. Ella Fitzgerald puts her stamp on “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again,” produced like Tiny Tim’s “World” by Richard Perry. Another production great, Wall of Sound architect Jack Nitzsche, brings a touch of class to the Paris Sisters’ dreamy “Long After Tonight is All Over.”
Numerous tracks on the first CD come from the worldwide Warner vaults. The two stars of the original Italian production of Promises, Promises – Catherine Spaak and Johnny Dorelli – are heard in their beautiful, low-key performance of “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again” as released on the CDG label. The Sweden Metronome label yields Svante Thuresson’s “This Guy’s In Love with You,” Siw Malmkvist’s “I Say a Little Prayer,” and one of the strangest songs in Bacharach and David’s entire catalogue, “Cross Town Bus” as sung by the Gals and Pals in English. Australia’s Festival label – the original home of the Bee Gees – has been tapped for Noeleen Batley’s “Forgive Me (For Giving You Such a Bad Time)” and Jeff Phillips’ “Baby It’s You.” The treasures on the Warner Bros. label proper are just as eclectic, from Liberace’s gentle “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” to The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band’s torrid “I Wake Up Crying.” Harpers Bizarre’s “Me Japanese Boy (I Love You),” with an atmospheric Nick DeCaro arrangement, is another highlight. The Everly Brothers truncated Bacharach’s melody to “Trains and Boats and Planes” but their harmony blend is at its peak in a 1967 recording.
The second disc of The Warner Sound emphasizes latter-day R&B as Bacharach branched out with a variety of lyricists. Chaka Khan is heard on “Stronger Than Before” by Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager; Earth Wind and Fire on “Two Hearts” co-written with Philip Bailey and Maurice White; Tevin Campbell on “Don’t Say Goodbye Girl” co-written with Narada Michael Walden and Sally Jo Dakota; and Randy Crawford on “Tell It To Your Heart” from Bacharach and Tonio K. Mari Ijima’s original version of “Is There Anybody Out There” – penned by Bacharach, John Bettis, James Ingram and Puff Johnson – is a welcome surprise; the song was recorded in 2012 by Dionne Warwick on her Now album. Ingram is also heard with “Sing for the Children.” On the 1993 track, co-producer/arranger Thom Bell channeled Bacharach’s classic flugelhorn sound to great effect. Old favorites are also revisited and reinterpreted on this disc via Everything But the Girl’s “Alfie,” The Pretenders’ “The Windows of the World,” Linda Ronstadt’s “Anyone Who Had a Heart,” Anita Baker’s “The Look of Love,” guitarist Earl Klugh’s “Any Old Time of Day” and frequent Bacharach collaborator Elvis Costello’s “Please Stay.” With big hits (“Arthur’s Theme”) alongside rarely-anthologized gems (the George Duke-produced “Let Me Be the One” performed by Marilyn Scott), there’s something for everybody here.
After the jump: check out The Atlantic Sound of Burt Bacharach! Plus: track listings with discography and order links for both titles! Read the rest of this entry »
This five-disc set includes every single side released by Motown during the first half of 1972, a time of transition for the company. Berry Gordy had already moved his Detroit-based media empire westward to Los Angeles, leaving some of his flagship groups in a transitional period. The Jackson 5 still had their hits, but not with the blinding intensity of their earliest years (though Michael still enjoyed hits off of his solo debut Got to Be There). Marvin Gaye released a one-off single, “You’re the Man,” in between two masterpieces (1971’s What’s Going On and 1973’s Let’s Get It On), while Stevie Wonder began his journey as a fully in-control adult artist with “Superwoman (Where Were You When I Needed You)” from Music of My Mind. Both Smokey Robinson & The Miracles and Martha & The Vandellas released their farewell singles in this era, while a new up-and-coming band named The Commodores released their first.
It was certainly a unique time there, and now, it’s coming home, The Complete Motown Singles-style. That means gorgeous book packaging with a bonus 45 (devoted MoWest’s The Blackberries, whose single “Somebody Up There” actually was never issued as a 45), multiple essays (including by Motown engineers Russ and Ralph Terrana, Susan Whitall of The Detroit News), and track-by-track notes by Bill Dahl and producers Keith Hughes and Harry Weinger.
The box ships from Select on May 31 and from all retailers June 11. Hit the jump for a full track list and Amazon pre-order link!