Looking back from a vantage point thirty years on, there’s no denying the special place that the 1980s have in the history of popular music. It was a decade that surveyed past musical ground while simultaneously advancing the art form further, making an indelible mark on music to come. With dancefloor grooves, yearning ballads, infectious pop, and more, it was a decade of great music. Now, Rhino has announced a new collection that reimagines some of the smash hits from the decade: 80s Symphonic.
The album, which arrives to CD and digital on November 9, and double-vinyl on December 7, blends 15 original ’80s tracks from across Warner’s celebrated catalogue and blends them with brand-new, symphonic arrangements performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. Among the tracks given the symphonic treatment are The Cars’ “Drive,” Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” and a-ha’s “Take On Me.” The latter is available now as a single on all digital music services.
All but one of the tracks on the new collection were recorded in the legendary Studio 2 at Abbey Road Studios and created under the guidance of Andy Wright, the producer and arranger whose impressive resume includes Simple Minds, Eurythmics, Jeff Beck, and Massive Attack, among others. He worked with orchestrator-arranger-conductor Sam Swallow to augment the performances by judiciously incorporating the 48-piece orchestra in their reimagined versions.
Meanwhile, the reworking of David Bowie’s iconic track, “Let’s Dance,” was the brainchild of Nile Rodgers, who produced the original smash hit. For this new version, Rodgers handled the production, arranging, and orchestration. He recorded the London Symphony Orchestra at Studio 1 at Abbey Road Studios, where he currently works as Chief Creative Adviser.
Remarking on his orchestral arrangement, Rodgers said, “My work with David Bowie and specifically ‘Let’s Dance’ is sacrosanct to me so when I was asked by David’s family and Warner’s to add orchestration to the original recording I approached it with extreme trepidation. In fact, my only concern was to protect David’s artistic vision and integrity. In the end, I’m very grateful that we did this, as I believe anyone who loves the original will be excited by it. I’m certain David would approve from above.”
The collection will be available on CD and as a digital download, available November 9. A double-LP configuration will follow on December 7. We will update this post with Amazon pre-order links as they become available. You can check out the full track listing below.
Various Artists (with The London Symphony Orchestra), 80s Symphonic (Rhino, 2018)
- David Bowie – Let’s Dance*
- a-ha – Take On Me
- Simple Minds – Alive & Kicking
- Ultravox – Vienna
- Echo & The Bunnymen – The Killing Moon
- Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy
- Howard Jones – What Is Love?
- Tina Turner – What’s Love Got To Do With It
- Simply Red – Holding Back The Years
- Chris Rea – Josephine
- Chicago – Hard Habit To Break
- Roxette – It Must Have Been Love
- Foreigner – I Want To Know What Love Is
- The Cars – Drive
- Pretenders – 2000 Miles
Original version of Track 1 released on Let’s Dance, EMI America AML 3029, 1983
Original version of Track 2 released on Hunting High and Low, Warner Bros. Records 925 300-1, 1985
Original version of Track 3 released on Once Upon a Time, Virgin 2364, 1985
Original version of Track 4 released on Vienna, Chrysalis 202 701, 1980
Original version of Track 5 released on Ocean Rain, Korova KODE 8, 1984
Original version of Track 6 released on The Age of Consent, Forbidden Fruit BITLP 1, 1984
Original version of Track 7 released on Human’s Lib, WEA/Elektra 9 60346, 1984
Original version of Track 8 released on Private Dancer, Capitol ST-12330, 1984
Original version of Track 9 released on Picture Book, Elektra 960 452-1, 1985
Original version of Track 10 released on Shamrock Diaries, Magnet MAGL 5062, 1985
Original version of Track 11 released on Chicago 17, Warner Bros. Records - 9 25060-1, 1984
Original version of Track 12 released on “It Must Have Been Love (Christmas for the Broken Hearted)” single, EMI 1362887, 1987
Original version of Track 13 released on Agent Provocateur, Atlantic 7 81999, 1984
Original version of Track 14 released on Heartbeat City, Elektra 60296, 1984
Original version of Track 15 released on Learning to Crawl, Sire 9 23980, 1983
Producer: Andy Wright (unless indicated*)
Orchestrated, Arranged and Conducted: Sam Swallow (unless indicated*)
Performed by the London Studio Orchestra
Recorded at Abbey Road Studios
*Produced, arranged and conducted by Nile Rodgers