|Last updated 11/27/2020.|
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Dirty Dancing (soundtrack)
Released: September 1, 1987
Peak: 118 US, 4 UK, 114 CN, 18 AU
Sales (in millions): 11.0 US, 2.44 UK, 32.0 world (includes US and UK)
Song Title (ACT) (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.
Total Running Time: 39:25
4.048 out of 5.00 (average of 18 ratings)
Awards: (Click on award to learn more).
About the Album:
The fall of 1987 marked the onset of my junior year in college. One of the hottest movies around was Dirty Dancing. I wasn’t interested, but ended up going – with five women. Hey, who would turn that down? Well, I thought the movie was cheesy and eye-rolling, but my movie companions loved it. They swooned over Patrick Swayze and practically danced in the aisles to the music.
Ah, yes. The music. As popular as the movie was and as much as women loved Patrick Swayze, the driving force was the music. The soundtrack was an unlikely blockbuster. In the mid-‘80s, soundtracks to Flashdance, Footloose, and Top Gun became huge sellers on the strength of well-crafted pop songs by known commodities. Each album mustered a couple of top ten hits and at least one #1 each and filler artists deemed unfit for their own albums.
Dirty Dancing opted for new songs by artists with decades-old hits. Eric Carmen (Hungry Eyes) hit #2 in 1975 with “All By Myself” while Bill Medley (I’ve Had the Time of My Life) had huge hits as part of the Righteous Brothers duo in the 1960s (“You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’”, “You’re My Soul and Inspiration”, “Unchained Melody”). The best known commodity was Medley’s duet partner, Jennifer Warnes, who had topped the charts in 1982 with “Up Where We Belong,” a duet with Joe Cocker from the movie An Officer and a Gentleman. Sure, she’d had a #1 hit, but who would’ve gambled she had more chart-toppers in her?
And who would have guessed Patrick Swayze had a top 10 hit in him? In a move that seemed like it could be cringe-worthy, the soundtrack opted to give its lead – not known for singing – a shot at tackling lead vocals on She’s Like the Wind. Swayze’s foray into music ended up being the album’s third (new) top ten hit.
The distinction that it was a “new” hit is important considering that the album is also sprinkled with well-known hits from the ‘50s and ‘60s like the Ronettes Be My Baby and Stay by Maurice Williams & the Zodiacs. They certainly fit the setting of the movie, but it didn’t seem like a winning formula for a successful soundtrack. Somehow, though, it worked – primarily because these are well-done slices of pop music from the present and the past that, unlike many soundtracks, often tie in well with scenes in the movie. “While this may not be ‘the time of your life,’ as the album cover advertises, it is a fun collection.” TH Hey, it’s hard to beat going to a movie with five women who want to dance in the aisles because of the music.
Notes: The soundtrack was so successful it spawned a sequel – More Dirty Dancing – in 1988. It was dominated by instrumentals and more oldies, but led to The Contours’ “Do You Love Me” recharting – and peaking at #11 – more than 25 years after its original debut.
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