Today, Cherry Red imprint Cherry Pop begins its exploration of Sheena Easton's time at EMI with the release of The Definitive Singles 1980-1987, a 3-CD, 51-track collection bringing together her A-sides for the label including both 7-inch and 12-inch singles.
Easton was born in North Lanarkshire, Scotland in 1959. She attended the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow where one of her tutors encouraged her to audition for the BBC program The Big Time which chronicled subjects' attempts to break into their respective industries. The show chronicled the recording process for her debut single on EMI, "Modern Girl." It was released before the program aired to middling success. However, after the program was shown, EMI released "9 to 5," which shot to No. 3 on the British charts. "Modern Girl" was re-released, climbing to No. 8. With two debut hits in the Top 10, Sheena broke a record for the British charts which had held for 25 years. Her career would soon skyrocket.
Several months later, Easton would break into the U.S. market when "9 to 5" (retitled as "Morning Train" to avoid confusion with Dolly Parton's smash hit of the same name) would top the Billboard Hot 100 and AC charts. Her success in the U.S. began to grow greater than her U.K. fortunes and a period of career highs would soon come. Sheena would sing the title song to the James Bond film For Your Eyes Only and appear in its title sequence. The Oscar-nominated song by Bill Conti and Mike Leeson skyrocketed to No. 4 in the U.S. and No. 8 on the U.K. Singles Chart.
Sheena went on to score a further five top 10 singles through 1987 including her duet with Kenny Rogers of Bob Seger's "We've Got Tonight" which also topped the Country chart. She became the only artist in Billboard history to have top 5 hits on each of Billboard's primary charts (Hot 100/AC/Country/R&B/Dance) when "Sugar Walls" (written by Prince) topped the Dance chart and hit No. 3 on the R&B survey in 1984. During her time at EMI, Sheena worked with several top producers including Christopher Neil, David Foster, Greg Mathieson, Narada Michael Walden, Shep Pettibone, and Nile Rodgers, among others. She also had further collaborations with Prince, but that work is outside the purview of this collection. After Easton left EMI, she moved to MCA in 1988 and then to Universal. Her last album to date was 2000's Fabulous. She also diversified with theatrical appearances on Broadway and in the West End including Man of La Mancha, Grease, and 42nd Street.
The Definitive Singles 1980-1987 features Easton's single A-sides from her tenure at EMI. While all in the pop vein, various styles are evident as Sheena grows as an artist and reacts to the changing landscape of trends in 1980s music. The compilation also features some songs which were intended as singles but were never released in that format such as the 12-inch mixes of "Ice Out In the Rain." Two wholly unreleased songs make their premiere here: "Anything Can Happen" and "Sweet Talker," each heard in two different mixes. In all, there are eight previously unreleased tracks and a further eight making their CD debuts. So as not to have several versions of the same song in a row, the 7-inch mixes are presented on all of the first disc and then the first seven tracks on Disc 2. The 12-inch mixes then follow for the rest of the disc and continue on for the first six cuts on Disc 3. Nine dub or instrumental mixes then round out the compilation. Another thing to note is that two songs, "Modern Girl" and "You Could Have Been With Me," may have matched their album versions on the single, but they are presented here in the edited forms taken from the 1989 compilation For Your Eyes Only - The Best of Sheena Easton. Also taken from that compilation is the 7-inch version of "Ice Out in the Rain," but that single was initially shelved and the edit made its first appearance there.
Housed in a digipak, the set has been produced by Adam Mattera who has also provided liner notes for the 24-page full-color booklet. An introduction by Sheena is extracted from a longer piece which will appear in Cherry Pop's forthcoming box set of all her work for EMI (which has not been formally announced or scheduled yet but should leave fans hotly anticipating). The full-color booklet for The Definitive Singles also includes annotations with catalogue numbers, chart positions, and release dates for each track and a representation of the picture sleeve for each single. The set has been remastered from the original U.S. and U.K. master tapes by Simon Murphy at Another Planet Music.
Out today in the U.K. and next Friday in the U.S., Sheena's Easton's The Definitive Singles 1980-1987 provides a thorough overview of her time at EMI. It should be of interest to her fans as well as fans of 1980s pop. If you would like to get a copy, we've got the full tracklisting and ordering links below.
- Modern Girl (Edited Version)
- Morning Train (9 To 5)
- One Man Woman
- Take My Time
- When He Shines
- For Your Eyes Only
- Just Another Broken Heart
- You Could Have Been With Me (Edited Version)
- Are You Man Enough
- I Wouldn't Beg For Water
- We've Got Tonight (Duet with Kenny Rogers)
- Telefone (Long Distance Love Affair)
- Almost Over You
- Devil In A Fast Car (Single Version)
- Back In The City
- Sugar Walls
- Do It For Love (Single Version)
- Jimmy Mack (Edited Version)
- Magic Of Love (Edited Version)
- So Far So Good
- Anything Can Happen (Single Version) *
- It's Christmas All Over The World
- Sweet Talker (Shep Pettibone Short Version) *
- No Sound But A Heart (7" Version) *
- Eternity (Single Version)
- Ice Out In The Rain (7- inch Remix)
- Telefone (Long Distance Love Affair) (Club Mix)
- Strut (Dance Mix)
- Sugar Walls (Dance Mix)
- Swear (Dance Mix) †
- Do It For Love (Extended Dance Mix)
- Jimmy Mack (Extended Version)
- So Far So Good (The Red Mix) †
- So Far So Good (Extended Dance Mix) †
- Anything Can Happen (12" Extended Version) *
- Sweet Talker (Shep Pettibone Long Version) *
- No Sound But A Heart (12" Version) *
- Eternity (Shep Pettibone Mix) †
- Ice Out In The Rain (12" Remix) *
- Telefone (Long Distance Love Affair) (Dub Mix)
- Strut (Dub Mix) †
- Sugar Walls (Red Mix)
- Swear (Dub Mix)
- Do It For Love (Instrumental Mix)
- Jimmy Mack (Instrumental Mix) †
- So Far So Good (Dub Mix) †
- Eternity (Dub) †
- Ice Out In The Rain (Instrumental Remix) *
† Previously unreleased on CD