As colder temperatures begin to appear everywhere, we thought we might take a look at a collection where some of the material harkens back to the warmer, summer months: Cherry Red imprint Cherry Pop's recent release of Remixes and Rarities by singer-songwriter Billy Ocean. This 2-CD set gathers up 23 tracks from the period of 1976-1993.
The Trinidad and Tobago native Ocean was raised in Romford, London. He got his professional start in the late 1960s recording singles as part of bands such as Scorched Earth and as a solo artist (sometimes under his birth name of Les Charles). In the mid-1970s, he signed with GTO Records and released his self-titled debut album. It contained what would be his first hit, the No. 2 U.K./No. 22 U.S. "Love Really Hurts Without You." But Ocean did not find consistent success after that. While hitting the charts more often in the U.K., he would switch labels to Epic in the U.S. (their parent company CBS also owned GTO). But it would be nearly a decade before Ocean would truly break out when he signed with Clive Calder's Jive Records (which, ironically, would also one day be owned under the same Sony umbrella as Epic).
Produced by Keith Diamond, Ocean's debut album for the label, Suddenly, contained the smash hit "Caribbean Queen (No More Love on the Run)" which top the U.S. charts and made the Top 10 in Britain. The Ocean/Diamond co-write is heard on this collection as both "European Queen" and "African Queen" as different versions were released to different territories. The follow-up single, "Loverboy" would go to No. 2 in the U.S. (heard here in Extended and Dub versions). The next album, Love Zone, featured "When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going," a U.K. No. 1/U.S. No. 2 single. 1988's Tear Down These Walls would contain Ocean's only hit to top both the U.S. and U.K. charts: "Get Out of My Dreams, Get Into My Car" (also featured in the film License to Drive).
Ocean would depart Jive Records in 1993 with presciently-title album Time To Move On. Since then, he has only recorded two other full-length studio albums: 2009's Because I Love You and 2013's Here You Are, both on his own Aqua label. (Here You Are got a wider airing from Sony as part of a package with the new recordings and his greatest hits.) There is word that he is working on a new album and he continues to tour. Ocean has won a Grammy, an Ivor Novello Award, a MOBO Lifetime Achievement Award and been awarded a honorary Doctorate.
Cherry Pop's new collection features a 16-page full-color booklet containing an in-depth 12-page essay by Justin Kantor. The booklet also has pictures of various singles. The remastering has been done by Oli Hemingway at The Wax Works with the press release stating the sourcing has come from "the original master tapes where possible." While this 2-CD might not be for the casual Ocean fan as it lacks some major hits such as "There'll Be Sad Songs (To Make You Cry)," it is nice to have all of these rarities in one place and a must for Ocean fan who wants a deeper look at his career.
If you would like to revisit the dancefloor with these Billy Ocean's Remixes and Rarities, we've got the full tracklisting and order links below.
- When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going (Extended Version) *
- European Queen (No More Love On The Run) (Special Mix) *
- City Limit (Alternative Version)
- Love Really Hurts Without You (1986 Dance MIx)
- Mystery Lady (Club Mix) *
- Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car (Extended Version)
- Loverboy (Dub Mix) *
- Are You Ready (12" Version)
- Licence To Chill (Extended Version)
- Pressure (U.K. 12" Extended Mix)
- When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going (Instrumental) *
- Love Zone (Extended Version)
- African Queen (No More Love On The Run) (New Extended Mix) *
- American Hearts (12" Version)
- Dance Floor (Extended Mix) *
- When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going (Club Mix)
- I Sleep Much Better (In Someone Else's Bed) (Extended Version)
- Love Really Hurts Without You (Dub Mix)
- Bittersweet (Extended Version)
- Pick Up The Pieces (Put It Back) (Reese Club Riot Mix)
- Loverboy (Extended Club Mix)
- Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car (Instrumental)
- When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going (7th Heaven Club Mix)
Disc 1, Tracks 1 and 11 from Jive U.S. 12" JD-1-9431, 1985/Jive U.K. 12" T-114, 1986
Disc 1, Track 2 from Jive U.K. 12" T-55, 1984
Disc 1, Track 3 from B-side to "Calypso Funkin'" - Epic U.S. single 14-02942, 1982
Disc 1, Track 4 and Disc 2, Track 6 from Supreme Records U.K. 12" T-110, 1986
Disc 1, Track 5 from Jive U.K. 12" B-side T-98, 1984
Disc 1, Track 6 from Jive U.K. 12" BOS T-1, 1988
Disc 1, Track 7 and Disc 2, Track 9 from Jive U.K. 12" T-80, 1984
Disc 1, Track 8 from GTO U.K. 12" GT 12.259/GTO U.S. 12" promo PT-02, 1979
Disc 1, Track 9 from Jive U.K. 12" BOS T-5, 1989
Disc 1, Track 10 from Jive U.K. 12" BOS T-6, 1993
Disc 1, Track 12 from Jive U.K. 12" T-124, 1986
Disc 2, Tracks 1 and 3 from Jive U.K. 12" T-77, 1984
Disc 2, Track 2 from GTO U.K. 12" GT 12.244/Epic U.S. 12" promo AS-693, 1979
Disc 2, Track 4 from Jive U.K. 12" R-114, 1986
Disc 2, Track 5 from Jive U.S. 12" JD-1-1311, 1989
Disc 2, Track 7 from Jive U.K. 12" T-133, 1986
Disc 2, Track 8 from Jive U.K. 12" BOS T-7, 1993
Disc 2, Track 10 from Jive U.S. 12" JD-1-9679, 1988
(*) denotes track previously unreleased on CD