Today, we’re rounding up a host of releases from Cherry Pop from recent months!
Early this year, Cherry Pop released a 2-CD expanded edition of The Big Kiss from the Canadian-born British singer Thereza Bazar. Formerly of Guys ‘n’ Dolls (“There’s a Whole Lot of Loving,” “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me”) and Dollar (“Mirror, Mirror,” “Give Me Back My Heart”), Bazar released her solo debut in 1985 for MCA Records with legendary producer-arranger Arif Mardin (Dusty Springfield, Aretha Franklin) at the helm. Mardin signed onto the project on the strength of Bazar’s demos, and the international nature of the project was underscored when he recorded the tracks in Surrey and the vocals in New York City. Thereza was inspired by the sound of Madonna and Cyndi Lauper, while Mardin was interested in channeling the spirit of Trevor Horn’s contemporary productions. Dollar’s U.K. top five success “Give Me Back My Heart,” co-written and produced by Horn, was even re-recorded in an attempt to break Bazar into the lucrative American market. The title track, suggested by Mardin’s son Joe, had been previously recorded by Cindy Valentine before it was reworked to fit comfortably within the album’s New Wave/pop-rock framework. Cherry Pop’s expanded edition of this lost ’80s gem has been overseen by Bazar, and includes 19 bonus tracks including Bazar’s original demos, various singles and remixes, and even the pre-album track “Gotcha!” produced by Mike Chapman (Blondie) for a film soundtrack. The 16-page booklet contains reissue producer Alan Connor’s essay, track-by-track recollections from Bazar, lyrics, and the artist’s MCA discography. Tom Parker has remastered. It’s available at Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada.
German pop-rock band Münchener Freiheit, often known simply as Freiheit, is the subject of another expanded double-disc reissue from Cherry Red. Their second English language studio album Fantasy (1988) featured re-recordings of the songs originally sung in German on their fifth and highest-charting German album, Fantasie. The title track, “Keeping the Dream Alive,” became a top five hit on the U.K. Singles Chart and earned the band “one-hit wonder” status. But that’s far from accurate, as Freiheit has recorded eighteen albums and sold over five million records in Europe. With all its songs written by the band, Fantasy showcases many of the group’s influences including The Beach Boys (singer Stefan Zauner explains in the liner notes, “We are not interested in happy party pop songs a la ‘Surfin’ USA,’ but more subtle, catchy tunes like ‘God Only Knows.’), Genesis, ELO, and Queen – in other words: big, melodic, hook-filled rock. This deluxe edition includes the original 10-track album as well as a whopping 23 bonus cuts including the original German language versions and various extended versions, alternates, and remixes originally released in conjunction with the album. Michael Silvester has provided new liner notes within the 16-page booklet, and Nick Watson has remastered. You can purchase at Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada.
Cherry Pop has also brought together the soundtracks to the films Breakdance (known in the U.S. as Breakin’ and in certain territories as Break Street ’84) and Breakdance 2: Electric Boogaloo (or Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo) on two CDs. The productions from the notorious Cannon Films company were hardly critically acclaimed, but the first film in particular was a financial success and both have gone on to claim cult status as early depictions of the urban hip-hop culture. (A third film in the series was entitled Rappin’.) Part of the films’ appeal was their authenticity; several participants including rapper-actor Ice-T (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit) had appeared in a prior documentary, Breakin’ ‘n’ Enterin’, about the breakdancing phenomenon. Somewhat ironically, nascent hip-hop wasn’t too prevalent on the accompanying soundtrack album for Breakdance, which yielded hits including Ollie and Jerry’s electro-funk-styled “Breakin’…There’s No Stoppin’ Us” (No. 9 Pop/No. 3 R&B in the U.S.; No. 9 Pop in the U.K.), The Bar-Kays’ “Freakshow on the Dance Floor” (No. 2 R&B, U.S.), Carol Lynn Townes’ “99-1/2” (No. 2 R&B, U.S.), and perhaps most notably, Rufus and Chaka Khan’s “Ain’t Nobody” (No. 1 R&B, U.S./No. 8 Pop, U.K.). “Heart of the Beat” from studio group 3-V was the work of producer-writers Dan Hartman and Charlie Midnight, and Firefox’s “Street People” featured vocals by Toi Overton and Johnny Mathis’ onetime duet partner Paulette McWilliams. Ice-T added a rap to “Reckless” from Chris “The Glove” Taylor and David Storrs.
Ollie and Jerry returned to oversee the soundtrack to Breakdance 2 (rush-released just seven months after the original film), contributing the title track and “When I.C.U.” Firefox and Carol Lynn Townes were also back, but the soundtrack failed to match the success of the original. Though Ice-T appeared in the second movie, as well, he wasn’t heard on its soundtrack. The 20-page booklet contains an introduction by Paul Fishman and essay by Charles Waring; Fishman has also remastered both discs. (Note that there is a mastering error which affects two songs on Breakdance 2, Steve Donn’s “Gotta Have the Money” and Rags & Riches’ “Oye Mamacita.” Cherry Red is aware of the problem, and we will report back if there are any updates as to how the label is handling the situation.) You can order the Breakdance collection at Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada!