Friday, February 27, 1987

Some Kind of Wonderful soundtrack released

Some Kind of Wonderful

Various artists


Released: February 27, 1987


Charted: March 21, 1987


Peak: 57 US, -- UK, -- CN, -- AU


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


Genre: alternative rock


Tracks:

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

  1. Pete Shelley “Do Anything
  2. Furniture “Brilliant Mind” (1986, 21 UK, 15 CO)
  3. Blue Room “Cry Like This
  4. Flesh for Lulu “I Go Crazy” (1987, --)
  5. Stephen Duffy “She Loves Me
  6. The Jesus & Mary Chain “The Hardest Walk
  7. The Apartments “The Shyest Time
  8. The March Violets “Miss Amanda Jones
  9. Lick the Tins “Can’t Help Falling in Love
  10. The March Violets “Turn to the Sky


Total Running Time: 36:20

Rating:

4.008 out of 5.00 (average of 4 ratings)


Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

John Hughes was the master of the teen movie in the 1980s, including Sixteen Candles (1984), The Breakfast Club (1985), and Pretty in Pink (1986). His 1987 movie Some Kind of Wonderful didn’t reach the commercial levels of any of those, nor did it become as iconic, but personally I’ve watched it more than any movie except for Star Wars.

The story line was largely a reversal of Pretty in Pink. This time the boy (Eric Stoltz) from the working-class family is swooning over the popular girl (Lea Thompson) who hangs out with the rich people, all the while unaware of the crush his long-time best friend (Mary Stuart Masterson) is harboring for him.

The soundtrack didn’t feature a monster hit like Simple Mind’s #1 hit “Don’t You Forget About Me” from The Breakfast Club or O.M.D.’s top-5 hit “If You Leave” from Pretty in Pink. Instead it featured “a large number of unknown artists for the day.” SK Flesh for Lulu’s I Go Crazy was featured several times in the movie and, given its upbeat, catchy nature was the right choice for a first single, but sadly it went nowhere. Furniture’s Brilliant Mind had been a minor hit in the UK the previous year. Lyrically, the song perfectly captures Keith’s trepidation in acting on his unrequited love for Amanda.

Throughout the movie, songs were “chosen with meticulous precision” SK to capture the moods of particular scenes. She Loves Me is a swirling, upbeat track which accompanies the scene when Watts helps Keith practice the perfect kiss. Cry Like This mirrors the dagger-to-the-heart feeling Watts experiences when Keith tells her he’s going on a date with Amanda.

There were a couple of intriguing covers on the soundtrack. The March Violets redid the Rolling Stones’ Miss Amanda Jones, which was the name of Thompson’s character. The other two main characters were named after Stones’ members – Keith (Stoltz) as in guitarist Keith Richards and Watts (Masterson) as in drummer Charlie Watts. The Stones’ original version of the song, while not on the soundtrack, was used during a montage in which Keith and Amanda prepare for their date.

Lick the Tins turned in a snappy, toe-tapping, flute-infused cover of Elvis Presley’s Can’t Help Falling in Love that resembles an Irish jig. The song runs over the closing credits, matching the movie’s feel-good ending as Keith and Watts walk off into the not-quite sunset.

In addition to the Stones’ “Miss Amanda Jones,” there are other songs featured in the movie which weren’t used on the soundtrack, including Billy Idol’s “Catch My Fall,” Charlie Sexton’s “Beat’s So Lonely,” the Psychedelic Furs’ “Pretty in Pink” and the movie’s opening song “Dr. Mabuse” by Propaganda. It’s a shame the soundtrack couldn’t jump start with the same propulsive beat that kicks off the movie.

Resources and Related Links:


First posted 10/3/2020; last updated 8/22/2021.

Saturday, February 14, 1987

Bon Jovi hit #1 with “Livin’ on a Prayer”

Livin’ on a Prayer

Bon Jovi

Writer(s): Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, Desmond Child (see lyrics here)


First Charted: October 25, 1986


Peak: 14 US, 14 CB, 13, 12 AR, 4 UK, 12 CN, 3 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 3.4 US, 0.6 UK, 4.3 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 666.0 video, 721.0 streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

Bon Jovi started in 1983, releasing two albums over the next couple of years and building a following as a platinum-selling hair band. For their third album, they brought in producer Bruce Fairbairn because, as Jon Bon Jovi said, “he just had that same Jersey gutter attitude as us.” BR Fairbairn noted that “while their previous record had been good, …the songs weren’t as strong as they could be. Specifically, they didn’t have songs on their records that were radio-oriented.” BR

That was no longer a problem with the resulting Slippery When Wet album. On the strength of three top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 the album sold 20 million copies and gave Bon Jovi international fame. The first single, “You Give Love a Bad Name,” was a #1 hit, but the follow-up – “Livin’ on a Prayer” eclipsed it, becoming the band’s signature song. It was the only song in 1987 to spend more than three weeks atop the Billboard charts and Cashbox named it song of the year. In an online poll in 2006, VH1 viewers named it the greatest song of the ‘80s. WK

Lyrically, the song focuses on a working-class couple struggling to make ends meet. Tommy and Gina were inspired by real people who Jon Bon Jovi and Desmond Child, a co-writer on the song, knew. WK Initially, Jon didn’t like the song, thinking they might pawn it off on a soundtrack. BR Fairbairn fought for including it on the album and after they re-recorded the song with the inclusion of a talk box – an effect featured prominently on Peter Frampton’s “Show Me the Way” a decade earlier – the band thought they had a single on their hands. BR

The song experienced an unusual revival in 2013. A video shot at a Boston Celtics’ game showed basketball fan Jeremy Fry enthusiastically dancing to “Livin’ on a Prayer.” When it went viral and drew millions of views worldwide, the song the re-charted, hitting #25. SF


Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Bon Jovi
  • DMDB page for parent album Slippery When Wet
  • BR Fred Bronson (2007). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (4th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 660.
  • SF Songfacts
  • WK Wikipedia

First posted 11/1/2019; last updated 4/28/2021.

Saturday, February 7, 1987

Alan Parsons Project Gaudi released

Gaudi

Alan Parsons Project


Released: February 7, 1987


Peak: 57 US, 66 UK, 53 CN, 61 AU


Sales (in millions): --


Genre: progressive rock lite


Tracks:

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

  1. La Sagrada Familia [8:44] v: John Miles
  2. Too Late [4:34] v: Lenny Zakatek
  3. Closer to Heaven [5:54] v: Eric Woolfson
  4. Standing on Higher Ground [5:02] v: Geoff Barradale (1/24/87, 3 AR)
  5. Money Talks [4:23] v: John Miles
  6. Inside Looking Out [6:19] v: Eric Woolfson
  7. Paseo De Gracia (instrumental) [3:43]

All tracks written by Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson. The ‘v’ after the song listing indicates who does lead vocals.


Total Running Time: 38:39


The Players:

  • Alan Parsons (production, engineering, assorted instruments)
  • Eric Woolfson (vocals, keyboards, piano)
  • Ian Bairson (guitar)
  • Stuart Elliott (drums, percussion)
  • Laurie Cottle (bass)
  • John Miles, Chris Rainbow, Lenny Zakatek, Geoff Barradale (vocals)
  • Andrew Powell (orchestral arrangements)

Rating:

3.273 out of 5.00 (average of 14 ratings)


Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

This was the last Alan Parsons Project studio album, although Parsons would continue to work with Eric Woolfson and release albums under his own name. “True to form, they took on one last big theme;” DV this time the album draws inspiration from the unfinished Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona which was designed by Catalan architect Antonio Gaudi, who died in 1926.

Unfortunately, the album “lack[s] the assertiveness or the instrumental endowments that usually occur within the Alan Parsons Project's work.” AMG “The songs…have difficulty supporting any imagery or symbolism concerning the album’s main character, which was done masterfully more than ten years earlier with Tales of Mystery and Imagination, a musical voyage through Edgar Allen Poe’s work. Here, the songs stand up well individually, but Parsons is a conceptual virtuoso who usually ties together his main idea through the use of each separate song. Although Gaudi isn't without some minor merit, its lasting impression doesn’t leave much regard for its central character.” AMG

One plus: “unlike the previous two Project discs (Stereotomy and Vulture Culture), Gaudi has an orchestra again, arranged by Andrew Powell, and it grabs the center stage…early and refuses to let go. This results in a disc that really sounds like Parsons again: rich, sweeping, cinematic, and really, really well produced.” DV

“The usual lineup of Miles, Woolfson, Zakatek, and Rainbow share the singing duties, with Geoff Barradale taking over on Standing on Higher Ground.” AMG “With a leaner, edgier sound” AMG this “straight-ahead power rock piece [is] driving and upbeat” DV and the best representation of “the easiness and touch that should have enveloped this album.” AMG

La Sagrada Familia is a magnum opus with powerful vocals by John Miles.” DV The song ranks as one of the Project’s best non-singles ever crafted.

Too Late is an oddly bittersweet song about unfinished love.” DV

Money Talks “is the closest to hard rock the Project ever got, and includes at least one amusing dig at the music industry (‘Billboard, Cashbox / Money talks...’).” DV Like “In the Real World” on 1986’s Stereotomy, this song has the feel of a shoulda-been-album-rock hit.

“The two Requisite Eric Woolfson-Voiced Attempts At American Soft Rock Chart Success (Closer to Heaven and Inside Looking Out) fall somewhat flat.” DV

“The album does reveal some passion with the last track, Paseo de Gracia, a finely orchestrated instrumental done exquisitely in full Parsons style” AMG and featuring “a lovely piece of flamenco guitar.” DV

Gaudi would be the last heard from Alan Parsons…until 1993. It was an interesting way to go out, and leaves one wondering, once again, what would have happened if Arista Records had stopped meddling. Like Gaudi’s cathedral, it’s a work of art that has to be experienced to be enjoyed.” DV


Notes: The 2008 remaster included alternate versions of “Too Late,” “Standing on Higher Ground,” “Money Talks,” “Closer to Heaven,” “Paseo de Gracia,” and “La Sagrada Familia.”

Resources and Related Links:


Other Related DMDB Pages:


First posted 3/24/2008; last updated 9/23/2021.

Thursday, February 5, 1987

“Someone to Watch Over Me” charted 50 years ago today (2/5/1927)

First posted 2/5/2016; updated 2/2/2020.

Someone to Watch Over Me

Gertrude Lawrence

Writer(s): George Gershwin/ Ira Gershwin (see lyrics here)


First Charted: February 5, 1927


Peak: 2 US, 5 GA (Click for codes to singles charts.)


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


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

Awards:

Review:

A rag doll which George Gershwin found in a toy store ended up as a featured prop during 1926’s Oh, Kay! It stayed in the show for the entire run of 246 performances – the longest-running Gershwin musical up to that point. British star Gertrude Lawrence appeared alone on the stage in the second act, touchingly singing “Someone to Watch Over Me” to the doll. SS

The “plaintive Gerswhin love song” MM was initially conceived by George as a “fast and assertive” melody, but he wasn’t satisfied with it until he slowed down the tempo. Then he gave it to his brother Ira, who penned lyrics around “contradictory proverbs, sayings, and clich├ęs.” TY Deena Rosenberg wrote that it is “a song of wanting and seeking” SS and that “the yearning for someone to watch over us changes from childhood…[to] old age, but it is always there.” SS

Lawrence would introduce the commercial recording as well, peaking at #2 on the charts in 1927. That year also saw charted versions from George Olsen (#3) and George Gershwin himself (#17) PM “as one of his few piano solos.” JA Lawrence would also perform it in the 1942 film Young at Heart, the first of many screen appearances for this Gerswhin classic. It was also featured in the 1945 Gershwin biopic Rhapsody in Blue. JA

The song has “become a cabaret favorite and one of Gershwin’s most often performed songs.” JA with versions from such diverse artists as Barbara Carroll, Dennis DeYoung, Willie Nelson, Sinead O’Connor, Linda Ronstadt with the Nelson Riddle Orchestra, Rod Sewart, Sting, Art Tatum, Sarah Vaughn, Brian Wilson, and Amy Winehouse.


Resources and Related Links:

  • Gertrude Lawrence’s DMDB Encyclopedia entry
  • George Gershwin’s DMDB Encyclopedia entry
  • Ira Gershwin’s DMDB Encyclopedia entry
  • JA Jasen, David A. (2002). A Century of American Popular Music: 2000 Best-Loved and Rememberd Songs (1899-1999). Routledge: Taylor & Francis, Inc. Page 178.
  • MM Max Morath (2002). The NPR Curious Listener’s Guide to Popular Standards. New York, NY; Penguin Putnam Inc. Page 182.
  • SS Steve Sullivan (2013). Encyclopedia of Great Popular Song Recordings (Volume I). Scarecrow Press: Lanham, Maryland. Page 468.
  • TY Don Tyler (1985). Hit Parade 1920-1955. New York, NY: Quill. Page 37.
  • PM Record Research’s Pop Memories 1890-1954 (1986). By Joel Whitburn. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc. Pages 269 and 342.