Tuesday, November 2, 1993

Bryan Adams released So Far So Good compilation

First posted 9/11/2020.

So Far So Good

Bryan Adams


3.840 out of 5.00
(average of 6 ratings)

Released: November 2, 1993

Recorded: 1983-1993

Peak: 6 US, 1 UK, 1 CN, 114 AU

Sales (in millions): 5.0 US, 0.9 UK, 15.9 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: classic rock

Tracks: (1) Summer of ’69 (2) Straight from the Heart (3) It’s Only Love (with Tina Turner) (4) Can’t Stop This Thing We Started (5) Do I Have to Say the Words? (6) This Time (7) Run to You (8) Heaven (9) Cuts Like a Knife (10) Everything I Do I Do It for You (11) Somebody (12) Kids Wanna Rock (13) Heat of the Night (14) Please Forgive Me

Total Running Time: 62:28


A Brief History:

Born November 5, 1959, in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, Bryan Adams started his career in the mid-‘70s. At only 15 years old, he became the lead singer of Sweeney Todd, a pub band. In 1978, he met Jim Vallance from the rock band Prism. The two formed a songwriting partnership which produced dozens of hits throughout Adams’ career.

Adams released his first solo album in 1980 and another followed in 1981. His third album, 1983’s Cuts Like a Knife, proved to be his breakthrough, giving him his first top-10 hit in the U.S. His 1984 Reckless album was a multi-platinum smash, as was his 1991 Waking Up the Neighbours, which gave Adams the biggest hit of his career with “Everything I Do (I Do It for You).”

So Far So Good captures tracks from Adams’ four studio albums released between 1983 and 1991. Links go to dedicated DMDB pages, but these albums are all spotlighted on this page.

Songs featured on So Far So Good are noted below in the album snapshots. Following the song titles the date of the song’s release or first chart appearance, and its chart peaks are noted in parentheses. Click for codes to singles charts.

Cuts Like a Knife (1983):

After two solo albums, Adams third effort, Cuts Like a Knife, proved to be his breathrough. The album gave him his first top-ten hit in the U.S. and brought him attention on the album rock chart with the title cut.

  • Cuts Like a Knife (2/12/83, 15 US, 6 AR, 12 CN, 55 AU)
  • Straight from the Heart (3/12/83, 10 US, 32 AR, 51 UK, 20 CN, 98 AU)
  • This Time (8/13/83, 24 US, 21 AR, 32 CN)

Reckless (1984):

Reckless proved to be a monster success, producing six top-20 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, including Heaven, his first #1 hit. Five of those songs are featured on So Far So Good. “One Night Love Affair” is omitted in favor of the less well-known, minor album rock hit Kids Wanna Rock.

  • Heaven (1/28/84, #1 US, 9 AR, 12 AC, 38 UK, 11 CN, 4 AU, airplay: 2 million)
  • Run to You (11/3/84, 6 US, 1 AR, 11 UK, 4 CN, 4 AU)
  • It’s Only Love (with Tina Turner) (11/24/84, 15 US, 7 AR, 29 UK, 14 CN, 57 AU)
  • Summer of ‘69 (12/8/84, 5 US, 40 AR, 42 UK, 11 CN, 3 AU, airplay: 1 million)
  • Kids Wanna Rock (12/15/84, 42 AR)
  • Somebody (1/19/85, 11 US, 1 AR, 35 UK, 13 CN, 76 AU)

Into the Fire (1987):

While Into the Fire didn’t meet with near the success of Reckless, it was still a platinum-selling, top-ten album. Only one song is represented on the So Far So Good collection although the album did produce the top 40 hits “Hearts on Fire” and “Victims of Love.” All three songs were top-10 album rock hits.

  • Heat of the Night (3/28/87, 6 US, 2 AR, 50 UK, 7 CN, 25 AU)

Waking Up the Neighbours (1991):

After the relative disappointment of Into the Fire compared to the success of Reckless, one wouldn’t be off base to assume Adams’ career was on the down slide. However, he roared back with the huge #1 hit Everything I Do (I Do It for You) and a follow-up album which produced seven songs which made appearances on various charts. It’s surprising only three of those make appearances here. “Thought I’d Died and Gone to Heaven” was a top-20 hit and “There Will Never Be Another Tonight” hit the top 40.

  • Everything I Do (I Do It for You) (6/29/91, 1 US, 1 UK, 10 AR, 1 AC, sales: 3 million, airplay: 3 million)
  • Can’t Stop This Thing We Started (9/14/91, 2 US, 12 UK, 2 AR, 40 AC, sales: ½ million)
  • Do I Have to Say the Words? (8/1/92, 10a US, 30 UK, 5 AC)

So Far So Good (1993):

This collection includes one song, the top-ten ballad Please Forgive Me. Originally, the album was supposed to have another new song entitled “So Far So Good,” but it was dropped. WK Overall, this hits package does a decent job of capturing the past decade of Adams’ career, but it could easily have included three or four more songs given that the running time is just over the hour mark.

  • Please Forgive Me (10/23/93, 7 US, 2 UK, 1 CN, 1 AU)

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Tuesday, August 10, 1993

Billy Joel’s River of Dreams released

First posted 5/9/2011; updated 9/22/2020.

River of Dreams

Billy Joel

Released: August 10, 1993

Peak: 13 US, 3 UK, 6 CN, 14 AU

Sales (in millions): 5.0 US, 0.3 UK, 10.1 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: pop/rock singer-songwriter


Song Title (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. No Man’s Land (8/7/93, 18 AR, 50 CN, 71 CN)
  2. The Great Wall of China
  3. Blonde Over Blue
  4. A Minor Variation
  5. Shades of Grey
  6. All About Soul (11/6/93, 29 US, 6 AC, 32 UK, 9 CN, 34 AU)
  7. Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel) (3/26/94, 77 US, 18 AC, 27 CN)
  8. The River of Dreams (7/19/93, 3 US, 1 AC, 3 UK, 2 CN, 1 AU)
  9. Two Thousand Years
  10. Famous Last Words

Total Running Time: 49:10


3.186 out of 5.00 (average of 12 ratings)

About the Album:

“Billy Joel had never taken as much time to record an album as he did with River of Dreams, and its troubled birth is clear upon the first listen.” AMG “His marriage in peril – he and Brinkley would divorce the following year – Joel sounded, not surprisingly, cranky and disillusioned on his final pop album.” DB

“Out of the strife came a few highs (the doo-wop world beat of the title track and the rocking swipe at consumerist culture, No Man’s Land), along with plenty of grating lows (way too much white-soul grunting).” DB “Never before had he recorded an album that sounded so labored, as if it was a struggle for him to write and record the songs.” AMG

He “surrounded himself with ace studio musicians and star producer Danny Kortchmar, all of whom have the effect of deadening an already self-consciously serious set of songs. There are no light moments on the album, either lyrically or musically -- all the songs are filled with middle-age dread, even the two best moments, the gospel-inflected ‘title track’ and his song to his daughter, Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel). Those two songs have the strongest melodies, but they’re not as natural as his best material.” AMG

“Everywhere he tries too hard – the metaphors of The Great Wall of China, the bizarre vocal intro to Shades of Grey, minor-key melodies all over the place. He may be trying different things, but he doesn’t sound comfortable with his detours, and by the end of the record, he sounds as exhausted as the listener feels. By that point, the closing track, Famous Last Words, seems prophetic – River of Dreams feels like a sad close to an otherwise strong career…It’s an unworthy way to depart.” AMG

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Monday, June 14, 1993

Aha released Memorial Beach

First posted 1/18/2009; updated 9/10/2020.

Memorial Beach


Released: June 14, 1993

Peak: -- US, 17 UK, -- CN, 132 AU

Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US and UK)

Genre: synth pop


Song Title (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Dark Is the Night for All (5/24/93, 19 UK)
  2. Move to Memphis (10/14/91, 47 UK)
  3. Cold as Stone
  4. Angel in the Snow (9/6/93, 41 UK)
  5. Locust
  6. Lie Down in Darkness
  7. How Sweet It Was
  8. Lamb to the Slaughter
  9. Between Your Mama and Yourself
  10. Memorial Beach

Total Running Time: 49:33

The Players:

  • Morten Harket (vocals, guitar)
  • Magne Furuholmen (keyboards, guitar, bass)
  • Pål Waaktaar-Savoy (guitars, drums, percussion)


3.200 out of 5.00 (average of 5 ratings)

About the Album:

“For its fifth album, a-ha varies its style somewhat, trying for a U2 approach on lead-off track Dark Is the Night for All. This is a long way from the peppy appeal of ‘Take on Me,’ but just as far from an improvement.” AMG

“An earlier version of Move to Memphis appeared on the compilation, Headlines and Deadlines ,” WK released in 1991.

“Some lyrics from Locust were reused on the Savoy single ‘Whalebone.’” WK Savoy was a side project launched by guitarist Pal Waaktaar and keyboardist Magne “Mags” Furuholmen during aha’s hiatus. Aha wouldn’t release another album until 2000.

Resources and Related Links:

Tuesday, June 1, 1993

Ace of Base’s The Sign released

First posted 11/15/2010; updated 9/9/2020.

Happy Nation/The Sign

Ace of Base

Released: December 1992 HN,
June 1, 1993 TS

Peak: 12 US, 12 UK, 113 CN, 9 AU

Sales (in millions): 9.0 US, 0.6 UK, 23.0 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: dance pop

HN Happy Nation
TS The Sign

Tracks on Happy Nation: (Click for codes to singles charts.)

  1. Voulez-Vous Danser
  2. All That She Wants (5/8/93, 2 US, 1 UK, 22 AC, 17 MR, platinum single)
  3. Just Chaos *
  4. Happy Nation (11/13/93, 40 UK)
  5. Waiting for Magic
  6. Fashion Party *
  7. Wheel of Fortune (8/28/93, 20 UK)
  8. Dancer in a Daydream
  9. My Mind
  10. W.O.F. (original club mix) *
  11. Dimension of Depth *
  12. Young and Proud
  13. All That She Wants (Banghra Version)

* not on The Sign

Tracks on The Sign:

  1. All That She Wants (5/8/93, 2 US, 1 UK, 22 AC, 17 MR, platinum single)
  2. Don’t Turn Around ** (5/7/94, 1a US, 5 UK, 7 AC, gold single)
  3. Young and Proud
  4. The Sign ** (1/1/94, 1 US, 2 UK, 2 AC, platinum single)
  5. Living in Danger ** (10/22/94, 16a US, 18 UK, 35 AC)
  6. Dancer in a Daydream
  7. Wheel of Fortune (8/28/93, 20 UK)
  8. Waiting for Magic
  9. Happy Nation (11/13/93, 40 UK)
  10. Voulez-Vous Danser
  11. My Mind
  12. All That She Wants (Banghra Version)
** not on Happy Nation


3.872 out of 5.00 (average of 15 ratings)


About the Album:

Tracking the development of these two albums (of which each has at least two versions) is confusing. First, this was “released in Europe as Happy Nation in 1992” WK with Wheel of Fortune being the lead single in Scandanavia in the summer of 1992. However, the album didn’t really take off until All That She Wants was a #1 hit in the U.K. in the spring of 1993.

Then the album was “re-issued with a different track listing in the US as The Sign September 25, 1993.” WK Four songs were left off Happy Nation and replaced with three songs that became major hits – The Sign, Don’t Turn Around, and Living in Danger. “It’s easy to see why they were hits – the beat is relentless and the hooks are incessantly catchy.” STE

However, “Ace of Base’s strong point is not versatility – all of their hit singles have exactly the same beat. But that doesn’t matter.” STE Ace of Base “managed to create a piece of melodic Euro-disco that was a huge hit all over the world, appealing to both dance clubs and pop radio.” STE

As far as the albums go, matters were confused even more when the album was released again in Europe as The Sign and the bonus track ‘Hear Me Calling’ was added. As if this didn’t muddle the waters enough, now this new version of The Sign was then released again in the U.S. as Happy Nation: U.S. Version.

In the end, the album that really is responsible for generating multi-million in sales worldwide is the original U.S. album entitled The Sign. It featured three top 5 hits in the U.S., another top 20 hit, and two more songs that were minor hits in the U.K. Only true fans need to seek out the original Happy Nation album.

Notes: To really confuse matters, this album has been released in several variations. However, The Sign featured all the singles noted above, whereas those noted with an asterisk (*) did not appear on the original album Happy Nation.

After The Sign was released in the U.S., it was also “re-issued in Europe with the same track listing as The Sign plus the previously unreleased track ‘Hear Me Calling.’” WK In the U.S., that album was then released “at the end of 1993 as Happy Nation U.S. Version.” WK

Information on this page refers primarily to the U.S. version of The Sign, unless noted otherwise.

Resources and Related Links:

Tuesday, April 20, 1993

Aerosmith released Get a Grip

First posted 4/2/2008; updated 9/11/2020.

Get a Grip


Released: April 20, 1993

Peak: 11 US, 2 UK, -- CN, -- AU

Sales (in millions): 7.0 US, 0.3 UK, 20.0 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: classic rock

Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.)

  1. Intro (Tyler, Perry, Jim Vallance) [0:24]
  2. Eat the Rich (Tyler, Perry, Vallance) [4:11] (5/1/93, 34 UK, 5 AR)
  3. Get a Grip (Tyler, Perry, Vallance) [3:59]
  4. Fever (Tyler, Perry) [4:15] (9/4/93, 5 AR)
  5. Livin’ on the Edge (Tyler, Perry, Mark Hudson) [6:07] (4/10/93, 18 US, 19 UK, 1 AR)
  6. Flesh (Tyler, Perry, Desmond Child) [5:57]
  7. Walk on Down (Perry) [3:39]
  8. Shut Up and Dance (Tyler, Perry, Jack Blades, Tommy Shaw) [4:56] (7/2/94, 24 UK)
  9. Cryin’ (Tyler, Perry, Taylor Rhodes) [5:09] (6/5/93, 12 US, 17 UK, 1 AR, gold single)
  10. Gotta Love It (Tyler, Perry, Hudson) [5:58]
  11. Crazy (Tyler, Perry, Child) [5:14] (5/21/94, 17 US, 23 UK, 7 AR)
  12. Line Up (Tyler, Perry, Lenny Kravitz) [4:03]
  13. Amazing (Tyler, Richard Supa) [5:57] (10/30/93, 24 US, 57 UK, 3 AR)
  14. Boogie Man (instrumental) (Tyler, Perry, Vallance) [2:17]

Total Running Time: 62:17

The Players:

  • Steven Tyler (vocals, keyboards, harmonica, percussion)
  • Joe Perry (guitar)
  • Brad Whitford (rhythm guitar)
  • Tom Hamilton (bass)
  • Joey Kramer (drums, percussion)


3.563 out of 5.00 (average of 14 ratings)


About the Album:

Aerosmith released their first seven albums, from 1973 to 1982, with Columbia Records. Their last effort, 1982’s lackluster Rock in a Hard Place, saw the band splintering as neither Steven Tyler and Brad Whitford was involved in the making. The original lineup returned for 1985’s Done with Mirrors, but the magic seemed like it might be, well, done.

When Run-D.M.C. recorded a remake of Aerosmith’s classic “Walk This Way,” they tapped Steven Tyler and Perry for guest spots. The song served not only as one of the most important songs for establishing rap music as a commercial entity that was here to stay but signaled that Aerosmith was far from done.

The band roared back on 1987’s Permanent Vacation in one of rock’s great comeback stories. Just to prove it wasn’t a fluke, they followed it up with the even bigger Pump. The rockers seemingly had nothing left to accomplish, but their next album, 1993’s Get a Grip, gave the band yet another milestone – their first #1 album.

It also became their best-selling studio effort with 20 million sold worldwide. WK “Janie’s Got a Gun,” from the previous album, had snagged the band its first Grammy – for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group. They repeated the feat not once, but twice, with Livin’ on the Edge and Crazy from Get a Grip.

Surprisingly, the album which produced seven charting hits on various charts, including four top-40 hits on the Billboard pop chart, was sent back to the drawing board after originally being planned for release in the third quarter of 1992. John Kalodner thought the album lacked a radio-friendly song. He’d pushed the band to work with outside songwriters like Desmond Child and Jim Vallance on Permanent Vacation and Pump. The band went to Child, who helped write Flesh and “Crazy.”

Child was just one of many outside songwriters. While Tyler and/or Perry is credited on every song on the album, the only song written by just the two of them is Fever, a song which became a top-five album rock track and, interestingly, was covered by Garth Brooks, who took it to the top 40 of the country chart. Otherwise, the album featured Vallance lending his pen to a few songs, including a couple of “trademark raunch-rock” AMG songs such as the title cut and Eat the Rich, another top-five album rock track, which kept “adolescent fans in their corner.” AMG

The group also worked with Lenny Kravitz (Line Up) and the duo of Tommy Shaw and Jack Blades (Shut Up and Dance), who’d respectively worked with Styx and Night Ranger before working together in Damn Yankees. The latter was a minor hit in the UK. Mark Hudson, the uncle of actress Kate Hudson, also co-wrote a couple of songs, including “Livin’ on the Edge,” the album’s lead single. He would continue to work with the band, most notably as a producer on the band’s 2001 album Just Push Play.

The presence of so much outside help can make the album feel like it’s trying to hard to be everything. “Crazy,” Cryin’, and Amazing are “radio-ready hit ballads” AMG all of which feature actress Alicia Silverstone in their videos. Meanwhile, songs such as the latter and “Livin’ on the Edge” can feel like studied efforts to make “a stab at social commentary.” AMG Of the song “Amazing” and the title cut, Tyler said they reflected on the band’s history with drug abuse. “We ere saying you can point ot back to some of those old beliefs about the crossroads and signing up with the devil, that you can look at the drugs as that: It can be fun in the beginning but then it comes time to pay your debt, and if you’re not sharp enough to see that it’s taking you down, then it really will get you.” WK

All Music Guide’s Stephen Thomas Erlewine said, “it’s a studied performance – it sounds like what an Aerosmith album should sound like. Most of the album sounds good; it's just that there isn’t much beneath the surface.” AMG While “fitfully entertaining, Get a Grip pales against its predecessor’s musical diversity.” AMG Famed rock critic Robert Christgau, however, called it the band’s best album since Rocks. WK

Notes: “Can’t Stop Messin’” was added to the UK version.

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Saturday, April 17, 1993

Radiohead charted with "Creep": April 17, 1993

Originally posted April 17, 2012.

By the close of the ‘90s, Radiohead was hailed as one of rock’s most experimental bands, loved by critics and a loyal fan base. However, when the group’s maiden single, “Creep,” was released in 1992, it initially landed with a thud. The singles “Anyone Can Play Guitar” and “Pop Is Dead” followed, but then DJ Yoav Kutner started playing “Creep” on Israeli radio. WK The song was re-released and became what has been called “one of the great loser anthems of our time” HL and a “potent outsider anthem,” MC hitting the top 40 in the U.S. and top 10 in the UK. Its “ironic self-loathing” CR tapped into the same disenfranchised Generation X vibe of the grunge movement even though the group fell more in line with the likes of XTC and R.E.M. CR

Still, lead singer Thom Yorke saw himself as a misfit in much the same way as Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain and the song bore the “loud-soft dynamics and bleak lyrical sentiments” similar to songs by Nirvana and The Pixies. TB Regarding the former, guitarist Jonny Greenwood infused the song with blasts of guitar noise which he added because he didn’t like how quiet the song was. WK As bandmate Ed O’Brien said, “That’s the sound of Jonny trying to fuck the song up…And it made the song.” WK


Yorke wrote “Creep” about a drunk guy following a woman to whom he is attracted. WK The song captures what Guy Capuzzo called “the self-lacerating rage of an unsuccessful crush.” WK As he says, “the lyrics strain toward optimism...[but then] the subject sinks back into the throes of self-pity.” WK

The song first surfaced for Radiohead during the recording of their first album. According to bassist Colin Greenwood, Yorke wrote the song during his days at Exeter University in the late 1980s. During rehearsal, Yorke described it to the producers as “our Scott Walker song,” leading them to assume it was a cover. WK While it was original, its similarities to The Hollies’ “The Air That I Breathe” led to Albert Hammond and Mike Hazlewood, who wrote “Breathe,” receiving co-credit. WK


Resources and Related Links:

Wednesday, March 31, 1993

March 31, 1943: Oklahoma! debuted on Broadway

Originally posted June 28, 2010. Last updated September 3, 2018.

Oklahoma! (cast/soundtrack)

Richard Rodgers/Oscar Hammerstein II (composers)

Opened on Broadway: March 31, 1943

Cast Album Recorded: October 20, 1943 to May 24, 1944

Cast Album Released: December 4, 1944

Soundtrack Released: August 1, 1955

Sales (in millions):
US: 3.0 c, 2.0 s
UK: --
IFPI: --
World (estimated): 5.0 c+s

US: 4 C, 18-S
UK: 13-S
Canada: --
Australia: --

Quotable: “Often called Broadway’s greatest ever” – Joel Whitburn, Pop Memories 1890-1954

Genre: show tunes

Album Tracks – Cast Album:

  1. Overture
  2. Oh, What a Beautiful Morning (ALFRED DRAKE)
  3. The Surrey with the Fringe on Top (ALFRED DRAKE)
  4. Kansas City (LEE DIXON/ MALE CHORUS)
  5. I Cain’t Say No (CELESTE HOLM)
  6. Many a New Day (JOAN ROBERTS)
  7. It’s a Scandal! It’s a Outrage! (JOSEPH BULOFF) *
  8. People Will Say We’re in Love (ALFRED DRAKE/ JOAN ROBERTS)
  10. Lonely Room (ALFRED DRAKE) *
  11. Out of My Dreams (JOAN ROBERTS)
  12. The Farmer and the Cowman (BETTY GARDE/ RALPH RIGGS)
  13. All Er Nothin’ (LEE DIXON/ CELESTE HOLM)
  14. Oklahoma! (ALFRED DRAKE)
* Songs not on soundtrack version.

Album Tracks – Soundtrack:

  1. Overture
  2. Oh, What a Beautiful Morning (ALFRED DRAKE/ GORDON MacRAE)
  3. The Surrey with the Fringe on Top (ALFRED DRAKE/ GORDON MacRAE/ SHIRLEY JONES)
  7. People Will Say We’re in Love (GORDON MacRAE/ SHIRLEY JONES)
  8. Pore Jud Is Daid (GORDON MacRAE/ ROD STEIGER)
  9. Out of My Dreams (SHIRLEY JONES)
  10. The Farmer and the Cowman (GORDON MacRAE/ CHARLOTTE GREENWOOD)

Singles/Hit Songs:

People Will Say We’re in Love
Bing Crosby (1943) #2
Frank Sinatra (1943) #3
Hal Goodman (1943) #11

Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’
Frank Sinatra (1943) #12
Bing Crosby (1944) #4

The Surrey with the Fringe on Top
Alfred Drake (1944) #22

As was common in the pre-rock era, multiple versions of a single song from a Broadway show would become hits. All chart positions are from the U.S. Billboard pop charts.


“The Broadway opening of Oklahoma! in 1943 is remembered as a landmark in American musical theater. The show was the first written by the team of composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist/librettist Oscar Hammerstein II, though both were theater veterans. Rodgers & Hammerstein turned out an exuberant, tuneful score in which all the songs grew out of the characters and the situations, an unusual approach in musical theater, where songs often had little relationship to the action. The point was made right at the start, when the choral number that opened most musicals was eschewed in favor of an off-stage leading man coming on and singing Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’.” RC

“It ran over five years, becoming the longest running musical in Broadway history up to its time. The score threw off several hits and standards, including ‘Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’,’ The Surrey with the Fringe on Top, People Will Say We’re in Love, and the stirring title tune.” RC

Oklahoma! “also made history as the first album…to become a major chart hit, and the first significant original-cast album.” JW “Although there had been a tradition of recording music from stage works in their original form with the stage performers in Great Britain, such recordings were only occasional in the U.S., and the idea of putting together an album of several 78 rpm records containing a show’s major songs as performed on-stage was relatively new. On the day that Oklahoma! opened, the American record industry was closed down by a musicians strike but shortly after Decca Records settled with the union, company president Jack Kapp brought the Oklahoma! principals together in the recording studio and cut 12 of the show’s songs…The result…was a commercial smash that forever changed the record business and led to the domination of record sales by the cast and soundtrack albums for the next 20 years.” RC

It would more than a dozen years after the Broadway debut before the movie version emerged. Rodgers and Hammerstein were giving enough power over the production that they “assured that it would be more faithful than most Hollywood treatments. Only two songs, Lonely Room and It’s a Scandal! It’s a Outrage!, were excised from the stage show for the two-and-a-half-hour film, for which conductor Jay Blackton and Robert Russell Bennett's orchestrations were retained.” RS

“The casting responded more to musical values than to box office clout, with Gordon MacRae, best known for several cinematic pairings with Doris Day, taking the male lead role of Curly and 20-year-old Shirley Jones, a Rodgers and Hammerstein discovery, making her film debut as Laurey, the female lead. The two, along with Gloria Grahame in the showcase role of lusty Ado Annie, brought a vocal assurance to their singing that allowed them to be intimate and conversational, giving detail to an otherwise lavish (and possibly oversized) production.” RS

“These qualities come off especially well on the soundtrack album, as do Bennett’s arrangements, which really shine in the stereo separation denied them on the original Broadway cast album. The result is an outstanding rendering of the score that gives it a bigger, broader interpretation and has continued to sound impressive over the decades, which may be one reason why the album, which topped the charts upon release and sold more than two million copies, has remained in print continually since it first appeared.” RS

Review Sources:
  • RC William Ruhlmann, All Music Guide (review of cast album)
  • RS William Ruhlmann, All Music Guide (review of soundtrack)
  • JW Joel Whitburn (1986). Pop Memories 1890-1954 (page 341). Record Research: Menomonee Falls, WI.


Related DMDB Link(s):

Saturday, March 6, 1993

Harry James hit #1 with “I’ve Heard That Song Before” for first of 13 weeks 50 years ago today (3/6/1943)

First posted 1/6/2013; updated 1/26/2020.

I’ve Heard That Song Before

Harry James and Helen Forrest

Writer(s): Jule Styne/Sammy Cahn (see lyrics here)

First Charted: January 16, 1943

Peak: 113 US, 14 HP, 11 RB (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, -- video, -- streaming



Composer Jule Styne and lyricist Sammy Cahn launched a successful musical writing partnership with this song TY about how musical numbers aid listeners in strolling down memory lane and thinking about lost loves. It was featured in the 1942 film, Youth on Parade and landed an Academy Award nomination. The pair went on to write together for numerous films and Broadway musicals, winning an Oscar for the title song of 1954’s Three Coins in the Fountain. Both are Songwriters Hall of Fame inductees.

Bob Crosby introduced the song in Youth on Parade, but it was the version by the Harry James’ Orchestra with Helen Forrest on vocals which became the hit. They recorded the song on July 31, 1942, one day before the Musician Union’s ban. WK Their rendition charted in January of 1943 and became the biggest song of the year WHC-62 and one of the biggest #1 hits in history. In the pre-rock era, only Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” and Francis Craig’s “Near You” spent more weeks atop the charts.

James was a trumpeter who’d played with Ben Pollack and then Benny Goodman before starting his own band in 1938. For several years, he charted only with instrumentals. However, in 1941-42, his hits tended to feature vocalists, including Forrest on the #1 song “I Don’t Want to Walk without You.” PM When the Musician Union’s ban disrupted the release of new recordings, Columbia dipped into their vaults and released older recordings by James. The most significant was a 1939 recording of “All or Nothing at All” which featured a then largely-unknown Frank Sinatra. PM

Before working with James, Forrest recorded with bandleader Artie Shaw (“They Say,” “Thanks for Everything;” both #1’s) from 1938-39 and then had her own stint with Goodman (“Taking a Chance on Love”, #1) from 1939 to 1941. After working with James from 1941-43, she also had success recording with Dick Haymes (“Long Ago and Far Away”, #2).

Other artists to record the song included Pat Boone, the King Cole Trio, Steve Lawrence, Vera Lynn, Al Martino, Frank Sinatra, Mel Tormé, and Margaret Whiting. WK The song has also been featured in the 1986 Woody Allen movie, Hannah and Her Sisters.

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