The Great Music of Dirty Dancing
Bruce Von Stiers
It has been 25 years since the hit film Dirty Dancing came out. There has been a lot written about the film and its stars. But not only was this an iconic film, it had a tremendous soundtrack. There are a couple of songs from the film that got a lot of attention, but the overall soundtrack is just as important.
In honor of the 25 th anniversary of the film, RCA and Legacy Recordings has gotten together to re-release the sound track album. The title for this re-release is Dirty Dancing: The Deluxe Anniversary Edition. It is available in stores now.
This edition comes with a few extras that I will detail later.
Before I get into the album, I want to mention something about the film. I never thought that I'd like it, but it has become one of my favorite films. Two of the film's stars, Patrick Swayze and Jerry Orbach, have died which is a shame. They were both terrific actors. And Jennifer Grey has gone on to star in both film and television, even competing for and winning the mirror ball trophy on Dancing With The Stars. And before appearing in Dirty Dancing, most people only knew Jennifer as the annoying sister who ends up making out with Charlie Sheen in Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
Back to the album. It has thirteen songs and a play time of about forty minutes.
The first song on the album is (I've Had) The Time of My Life. Franke Previte wrote the song along with John DeNicola and Don Markowitz. Previte had been the front man for Franke And the Knockouts, who had hits with songs like Sweetheart and Without You. DeNicola was a member of Previte's band and a good friend of Markowitz. The song won an Oscar for the Best Original Song in 1987, a Grammy in 1988 for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals and even a Golden Globe award for Best Original Song. It gained the number one spot on the Adult Contemporary set for the Billboard Top 100. Internationally, the song got the number one position on both the Australian and Dutch charts and hit the top 5 in several countries, even gaining the number 6 position on the British singles charts. The song has been used in other films like Crazy Stupid Love and even in television shows like New Girl. The song was sung by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes. Aside from a thriving solo career, Medley was also in the duo The Righteous Brothers. He continues to tour, usually performing with daughter McKenna Medley. Warnes had an earlier hit duo with Joe Cocker doing Up Where We Belong for the soundtrack to the film An Office And A Gentleman. Warnes continues to record and tour.
Up next is Be My Baby. This was the 1963 hit single from the Ronettes. The song is so iconic that Time magazine added it to its list of top 100 songs of all time as did Rolling Stone in their 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
The third entry on the album is She's Like The Wind. The song was co-written by Patrick Swayze and Stacy Widelitz. The two of them had written the song to be used in an earlier Swayze film but never did. Swayze then thought it would be a perfect fit for this new film. The song earned a number 3 spot on the Billboard Top 40 charts and helped propel the soundtrack album to sell over 11 million copies.
Another song that Previte and DeNicola wrote was Hungry Eyes. It was sung by Eric Carmen and earned a number 4 spot on the Billboard Top 100 charts. Carmen had been a member of the Raspberries and a solo career with hits like All By Myself.
Stay is the fifth song on the album. Performed by Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs, this song hit the number 1 spot on the Billboard charts shortly after its release in the fall of 1960. The song was reported to have been written by Williams when he was 15 as a response to a girlfriend wanting to go home and not break curfew. I love the high pitched chorus that fit right into the songs of that era.
Merry Clayton provided the vocals for the pop flavored song Yes. Best known as a background vocalist, Merry did the backing vocals for the Rolling Stones song Gimme Shelter. Also an accomplished actress, Merry has appeared in several films and television shows.
You Don't Own Me has been used in commercials and a few films. The British pop band Blow Monkeys provided their version of the song for Dirty Dancing.
Then there is Hey Baby. Bruce Channel sang this song, which was a number 1 hit for him back in 1962.
The song Overload was written and performed by Canadian pop rock artist Zappacosta. I liked the song but it sounded a bit Robert Palmer's Addicted To Love.
Originally released in 1957, the great duet Love Is Strange is the tenth song on the album. It was featured in a fun, yet intimate scene in the film. It was sung by Mickey & Sylvia.
Where Are You Tonight was written by Mark Scola, who also provided music the soundtrack of the film The Five Heartbeats. The song was performed by Tom Johnston whose voice is easily recognizable from his time as a lead singer and guitarist with the Doobie Brothers.
An all time classic is the song In The Still of The Night. This song is from The Five Satins and supposedly coined the phrase “doo-wop.” It is a very fitting conclusion for the album.
But just when the album might have been over, they added a second helping of (I've Had) The Time of My Life. This one was remastered in 2003. The remastering placed a bit more horns and other music into it, adding about 2 minutes to the song.
Now that I've covered all of the songs, it's time to talk about the extras in this edition. First of all, there is a hardbound booklet that has liner notes from the executive producer Jimmy Lenner, along with producers Michael Lloyd and Leon Medica and performer / producers Eric Carmen and Zappacosta. The booklet lists each song and all pertinent information about it. It also has a couple of pages about how the album, and various songs, placed on selected hit music charts. The inside front cover of the booklet houses the CD disc.
But probably the next best thing about the hardcover booklet can be found inside the back cover. There you will find six art cards featuring classic scenes from the film. There is also a shiny Dirty Dancing sticker. Included with the booklet are three coaster sized stickers featuring a classic still picture from the film.
The film Dirty Dancing was great. But above all of the terrific acting and plot, the music was excellent. There were period specific songs and others that perfectly fit the film. As I noted, various songs from the soundtrack album won top slots on the music charts when the soundtrack album was originally released. This new special anniversary edition of the soundtrack album should be on the want list for not only fans of the film but anyone who enjoys great ‘60's music.
Dirty Dancing: The Deluxe Anniversary Edition is out in stores and available online.
To learn more about this album, and others available from Legacy Recordings, visit their web site at www.legacyrecordings.com .
© 2012 Bruce E Von Stiers