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“Pin Ups” In Reverse: Ace Explores The Roots of Ziggy Stardust With “Bowie Heard Them Here First”

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Bowie Heard Them Here First

David Bowie did the unthinkable in this media-obsessed age when, on the date of his sixty-sixth birthday (January 8, 2013), he managed to catch the world off-guard to announce his first new album in a decade.  Bowie and his cohorts had kept The Next Day a secret, proving that the iconoclastic artist could still do things his way.  In six decades, from the 1960s through the present, David Bowie has kept his fans guessing what might come next.  And while Bowie’s sound is one of the most distinctive in popular music, it was shaped from a myriad of influences.  Many of those artists are represented on Ace Records’ recent release Bowie Heard Them Here First.  Following similar volumes for Ramones, Elvis Presley, Cliff Richard, The New York Dolls, and Dusty Springfield, this compilation features the original versions of songs recorded by Bowie over the years.

Bowie’s status as a songwriter par excellence has rarely been in doubt, so it’s no surprise that he’s felt comfortable enough to pay tribute to his colleagues over the years.  The songs on Bowie Heard Them Here First are presented in the sequence which Bowie recorded them.  The earliest pair of songs on the compilation, however, date from the period before Bowie had blossomed as a songwriter.  The opening cut, Paul Revere and the Raiders’ honking garage rocker “Louie, Go Home,” appeared on the B-side of Bowie’s very first record with his R&B group Davie Jones and The King Bees.  It’s followed by Bobby Bland’s torrid original recording of “I Pity the Fool,” which he had recorded with his second band, The Manish Boys – named, like The Rolling Stones, after a Muddy Waters song.

From there, Bowie Heard Them Here First surprises by addressing just how many of Bowie’s albums have featured cover songs in integral roles.  Though his first three albums – the 1967 self-titled Deram debut, 1969’s David Bowie a.k.a. Space Oddity and 1970’s The Man Who Sold the World – all eschewed others’ songs, Bowie surprisingly opened the second side of his 1971 LP Hunky Dory with a song by Biff Rose and Paul Williams.  The latter had already achieved major fame with smash hits like “We’ve Only Just Begun” and “Rainy Days and Mondays” (both via The Carpenters) when Bowie interpreted “Fill Your Heart” which co-writer Rose had recorded in 1968.  Rose’s recording is included here, but Tiny Tim also recorded the sweetly twee ballad in 1968 for his debut album and the B-side of “Tip-Toe Thru the Tulips.”

Bowie’s glam breakthrough The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars had one choice cover version, too, closing its first side with singer-songwriter Ron Davies’ ‘It Ain’t Easy” (also covered by Three Dog Night, Shelby Lynne and Dave Edmunds.)  Davies’ A&M single from 1969 is featured here.  The cover tradition continued on the Ziggy follow-up Aladdin Sane with The Rolling Stones’ “Let’s Spend the Night Together,” which likely was unavailable for licensing to Ace.  Hence, Bowie Heard Them Here First continues with a brace of five tracks representing Bowie’s first and only all-covers album, 1973’s Pin Ups.  Bowie intended the album to celebrate the period of 1964-1967 in London when pop, rock and roll and R&B all merged into a whole thanks to groups like The Kinks (“Where Have All the Good Times Gone”), The Mojos (“Everything’s Alright”), The Pretty Things (“Rosalyn”), The Easybeats (“Friday on My Mind”) and The Merseys (“Sorrow”).  The B-side of Bowie’s single release of the catchy “Sorrow” was from the same period but in a very different style: Jacques Brel’s 1964 chanson “Port of Amsterdam.”  Brel’s French original is included by Ace.  Brel’s louche story-songs also inspired another prime influence on Bowie, the romantic balladeer-turned-avant garde hero Scott Walker.  It took Bowie until 1993 to get around to recording one of Walker’s songs; the dark disco-styled “Nite Flights” from The Walker Brothers’ final album in 1978 is reprised on this collection.

Don’t miss a thing – hit the jump for more including the complete track listing with discography! Read the rest of this entry »

From Miss Ross to a Friend of the Boss: Legacy’s Latest Wave of “Playlists” Offer Hits and Deep Cuts

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Playlist - Diana RossPlaylist, 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.

Playlist - Donna SummerThe 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.

Playlist - Billy OceanThough 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 »

Soundtrack Round-Up: More Kong, Eastwood, Zimmer Highlights from Intrada, La-La Land

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If you thought Film Score Monthly’s reissue of the score to King Kong (1976) was as big as it gets for soundtracks lately, allow us to show you the newest releases from Intrada and La-La Land – one of which features the giant ape himself!

Ten years after toppling off the World Trade Center to his apparent death, King Kong Lives - also produced by Dino de Laurentiis and directed by John Gullermin – reveals the giant ape is in fact alive, kept under a medically-induced coma while scientists search in vain for another ape to offer a blood transfusion to power an artificial heart made for the beast. As luck would have it, a female ape is found and offered to revive Kong – but when both animals escape captivity, it’s a race for two scientists to find them before the army does.

While the belated Lives received indifferent reviews, fans have lauded the heroic soundtrack by John Scott, which ignores any stigma of low-budget action in favor of active, expressive, big music. MCA released a thorough LP in 1986 (not coincidentally, the same year they introduced their Audio-Animatronic Kong on the Universal Studios Tour), but it only ever saw release on CD by the Victor label in Japan – a pressing somewhat marred by “bonus tracks” consisting of Kong’s various roars and grunts. Intrada’s new edition – featuring two collectible covers in one package, including the above modification of the original LP sleeve – omits those roars, making it once again all about the music.

And what else is new with Intrada and La-La Land, too? Hit the jump to find out!

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

October 2, 2012 at 12:55

First Name Basis: Ozzy, Willie, Janis, Iggy Among Legacy’s Offerings For Record Store Day

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Here at Second Disc HQ, we’re eagerly anticipating April 21, or Record Store Day, the industry-wide celebration of all things vinyl (and a few CDs, too!).  Record Store Day, now in its fifth year, gives shoppers the chance to interact with big crowds of fellow music enthusiasts in the brick-and-mortar retail environment cherished by so many of us.  Legacy Recordings has announced its impressive line-up of limited edition releases that will line the shelves of your favorite independent music store on that Saturday, including titles from the 2012 Record Store Day Ambassador, Iggy Pop, and the 2011 Ambassador, Ozzy Osbourne!  Joining those two rock heroes on the Legacy slate are familiar faces such as Paul Simon, Willie Nelson and Lou Reed, and gone-but-not-forgotten legends like Miles Davis and Janis Joplin!

Hit the jump for the full list of Legacy’s diverse offerings, and don’t forget to visit our full (and ongoing) round-up of the reissue-related Record Store Day limited editions for 2012! Read the rest of this entry »

Release Round-Up: Week of May 17

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Queen, Queen / Queen II / Sheer Heart Attack / A Night at the Opera / A Day at the Races: Deluxe Editions (Hollywood)

No, you’re not seeing double. The first batch of 40th anniversary Queen expanded editions, available in the U.K. since March, make their stateside debuts. There’s an Amazon-exclusive box with all of them included, too. Dear readers: any big box retailers carrying these? The only one I imagine that is would be Best Buy. (Official site)

The Go-Go’s, Beauty and the Beat: 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (Capitol/EMI)

The first time this seminal album has ever been reissued and remastered! One disc full of hits (“Our Lips Are Sealed,” “We Got the Beat”), another of a previously unreleased vintage live show in Boston. (Official site)

The Supremes, Let Yourself Go: The ’70s Albums, Vol. 2 1974-1977 – The Final Sessions (Hip-o Select/Motown)

The last three Diana Ross-less Supremes records, expanded with a heaping helping of rare and unreleased bonus content. (Hip-o Select)

Iggy Pop, Roadkill Rising: The Bootleg Collection 1977-2009 (Shout! Factory)

Four disc of rock’s most wiry frontman in concert from all across his solo career. (Shout! Factory)

Queens of the Stone Age, Queens of the Stone Age: Deluxe Edition (Rekords Rekords)

This one’s been moved around a lot on the release calendar, but it looks like its time has finally come. QotSA’s first album from 1998, newly expanded with several unreleased tracks. (Official site)

The Hollies, The Clarke, Hicks and Nash Years: The Complete Hollies April 1963-November 1968 (Capitol/EMI)

The earliest years of the Manchester band, including some rarities and unreleased stuff, as a budget-minded, imported box set. (Amazon)

The Waterboys, In a Special Place: Piano Demos for This is the Sea (Capitol/EMI)

The first big hit record by the Scottish folk/rock band, in demo form. Another import from across the pond. (Official site)

Written by Mike Duquette

May 17, 2011 at 19:05

Iggy Pop, Live and in a Box

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2010 had no shortage of reissues from The Stooges. All three of their classic studio LPs were reissued – The Stooges in a new deluxe edition from Rhino Handmade, Fun House through the repressed 1970: The Complete Fun House Sessions box set also from Rhino Handmade and Raw Power as part of Sony’s Legacy Edition series – and Handmade released a live set, Have Some Fun: Live at Ungano’s. There was even a reissue of frontman Iggy Pop and guitarist James Williamson’s Kill City. Not a bad batch of catalogue tributes to an influential band.

But 2011 is shaping up to be a nice year for fans of Iggy, as well. Shout! Factory just announced a four-disc box set at the end of last weekend that will showcase the singer’s live history from past to present. Roadkill Rising: The Bootleg Collection 1977-2009 collects performances from all over the world, including Pop originals, Stooges classics and a few covers as well. These “newly remastered bootleg tracks” are part of the label’s ongoing commitment to quality “official” bootlegs, so fans can likely expect a nicely packaged box. The first 400 pre-orders will also get a bonus disc – one of the early concerts from 1979 presented in full, unavailable anywhere else.

The box drops on May 17. Pre-order it here and check out the track list after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

February 21, 2011 at 11:34

Posted in Box Sets, Iggy Pop, News

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