Two days of nice weather in a row – especially after the kind of winter the northeast U.S. has had – will make you think of warmer climates really quickly. Music always seems to go well with higher temperatures (i.e.: barbecues, school dances, anything The Beach Boys sang about) – and one of the best pop cultural examples of this idea would be Miami Vice.
The genesis behind the 1980s police show is the stuff of legend; NBC exec Brandon Tartikoff allegedly penned a memo that simply said “MTV cops.” Whether it’s true or not, those two words defined the show to the letter. The color pallette, the flashy editing and the overall visual aesthetic of Miami Vice are now synonymous with the time period.
And the music. Not only was Vice an early offering in full stereo, but it cherrypicked the hippest tunes of the moment for inclusion into the show. These tracks, including a healthy amount of originals (including that unforgettable opening theme by synth master Jan Hammer), became as much of the fabric of the ’80s as anything else the show had to offer.
There were three Miami Vice LPs released on MCA Records during the show’s five-year run, as well as a few collections of Hammer’s instrumental score. But the best release has to be that original album. With songs by Glenn Frey, Tina Turner, Phil Collins and Grandmaster Melle Mel, it’s easily one of the best ’80s party mixes money can buy. And there’s actually a fair amount of hard-to-find material that could justify one of those sweet Universal Deluxe Editions. Perhaps with the show’s 25th anniversary coming up, there might be a shot at such a set in the near future. You know where to find the track list.
Various Artists – Miami Vice: Music from the Television Series (MCA Records MCA 6150, 1985)
Disc 1: Original LP
- Jan Hammer – The Original Miami Vice Theme – 1:03
- Glenn Frey – Smuggler’s Blues – 3:51
- Chaka Khan – Own the Night – 4:51
- Glenn Frey – You Belong to the City – 5:51
- Phil Collins – In the Air Tonight – 5:29
- Jan Hammer – Miami Vice (Instrumental) – 2:28
- Grandmaster Melle Mel – Vice – 5:02
- Tina Turner – Better Be Good to Me – 5:11
- Jan Hammer – Flashback – 3:20
- Jan Hammer – Chase – 2:40
- Jan Hammer – Evan – 3:07
Disc 2: Remixes and Rarities
- Jan Hammer – Miami Vice (Remix) – 4:32 (12” B-side – MCA Records MCA-23575, 1985) *
- Glenn Frey – Smuggler’s Blues (Long Version) – 4:17 (12” promo A-side – MCA Records L33-1281, 1984)
- Chaka Khan – Own the Night (Extended Version) – 6:27 (12” A-side – MCA Records MCA-23604, 1985)
- Jan Hammer – Miami Vice (Extended Remix) – 6:52 (12” A-side – MCA Records MCA-23575, 1985) *
- Tina Turner – Better Be Good to Me (Extended Version) – 7:40 (12” A-side – Capitol V-8609, 1984)
- Jan Hammer – Crockett’s Theme (Extended 12” Mix) – 5:48 (U.K. 12” A-side – MCA Records MCAT-1193, 1986) *
- Jan Hammer – New York Theme – 3:53 (from Miami Vice II – MCA Records MCA-6192, 1986)
- Jan Hammer – Miami Vice Theme (U.K. Extended Remix) – 6:52 (U.K. 12” A-side – MCA Records MCAT-1000, 1985) **
- Jan Hammer – Miami Vice Theme (12” Edit) – 4:30 (U.K. 12” B-side – MCA Records MCAT-1000, 1985) **
* – Remixed by Francois Kevorkian and Ron St. Germain
** – Remixed by Louil Silas, Jr.