On December 8, Dan Hartman would have turned 73. Sadly, the singer-songwriter-producer-musician-engineer's life was cut short by an AIDS-related brain tumor on March 22, 1994. He was just 43. The immense musical legacy of the "I Can Dream About You" hitmaker hasn't been forgotten, though. On his birthday, Iconoclassic Records will bring his 1981 solo album It Hurts to Be in Love to CD for the very first time. This newly remastered, expanded edition adds a pair of rare outtakes from the album sessions.
A musician's musician, Hartman refused to be pigeonholed in just one style or genre. Upon hearing his demo tape, Blue Sky Records founder Steve Paul introduced him to brothers Edgar and Johnny Winter. Edgar soon invited him to become a full-fledged member of the newly-christened Edgar Winter Group, and the band released their debut, They Only Come Out at Night, in November 1972. Dan was off and running. He had written or co-written six of the LP's ten songs in addition to contributing vocals, acoustic and electric guitar, ukelele, bass, maracas, and percussion. Of the three singles pulled from They Only Come Out at Night, Hartman wrote "Free Ride" and co-wrote "Hangin' Around" with Winter. (The third single, the chart-topping instrumental showcase "Frankenstein," was a Winter solo composition.) "Free Ride" displayed Dan's knack for a pop hook even within the framework of a fist-pumping, arena-ready rocker, and rewarded him with his first hit record when it reached No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100. Dan continued to work with both Winter brothers through 1975 at which time he went out on his own.
Dan's first solo album, Images, arrived in 1976 as an expansive statement of his musical vision. Produced and almost entirely written by Hartman with guests including Edgar, their Winter Group bandmates Ronnie Montrose and Rick Derringer, Utopia's John "Willie" Wilcox and John Siegler, Clarence Clemons, and Randy Brecker, Images impressively fused rock, pop, soul, jazz, and reggae. But it was the disco boom that would set Hartman on the path to his first solo No. 1. 1978's Instant Replay merged his rock sensibility with the dance boom; the title track featuring Edgar Winter rose to No. 1 Dance and No. 29 Pop. The 1979 follow-up Relight My Fire was no mere carbon copy of its predecessor, though it again deployed some heavy hitters of rock including Edgar Winter, guitarist G.E. Smith, and drummer Hilly Michaels, to bring its lush dancefloor grooves to life. Its disco epic "Vertigo/Relight My Fire" featured Salsoul Records star Loleatta Holloway on vocals, with a lavish orchestration from MFSB and Salsoul Orchestra veteran Norman Harris. Mixed by John Luongo, "Vertigo/Relight My Fire" (paired with a dazzling reinvention of "Free Ride") went to No. 1 Dance, peaking there on January 12, 1980 and remaining atop the chart for six weeks.
Though Relight My Fire had survived the so-called "disco backlash," Dan chose not to repeat himself. Instead, in 1981, he released his most personal album: It Hurts to Be in Love. Other than the title track (a faithful cover of the Helen Miller/Howard Greenfield song first recorded by Dan's good friend Neil Sedaka and turned into a hit by Gene Pitney in 1964), the material was all Hartman. Erik Cartwright (guitar), Jeff Bova (synthesizer), John Pierce (bass), Art Wood (drums), and Blanche Napoleon (vocals) joined him in the studio for a set of romantic, yearning, aching, and deeply-felt songs that spoke profoundly about love in its various incarnations. Side One featured radio-friendly pop anthems including "Heaven in Your Arms" and "All I Need," while the second side indulged Dan's more experimental side while reassuring his disco fans with the floor-filling "I Still Remember." Overflowing with melodic invention, moving lyrics, and expressive vocals, It Hurts to Be in Love captured Hartman's most authentic self.
Iconoclassic's worldwide CD premiere adds two outtakes. "Rejection" and "Go-Go" also make their CD debuts, having only previously appeared on a rare vinyl publishing sampler. Vic Anesini has beautifully remastered the audio for this release from the original master tapes, and the booklet, superbly designed by Chris Eselgroth, features new liner notes by TSD's Joe Marchese drawing on archival quotes from Dan Hartman and his collaborators.
It Hurts to Be in Love is a remarkable musical statement from one of pop's greatest multi-hyphenates. Look for it on December 8 from Iconoclassic Records at the links below!
- It Hurts to Be in Love
- Heaven in Your Arms
- My Desire
- Forever in a Moment
- All I Need
- Pick It Up
- I Still Remember
- Positive Forces
- Letter in a Song
- Hello Again
- Rejection (Bonus Track)
- Go-Go (Bonus Track)
Tracks 11-12 from April Music publishing sampler APR 1000, 1981