The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for June 2nd, 2010

Back Tracks: WHAM!

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The great thing about most reissues over the past few years is that labels seem to want to follow one rule: if they can reissue it, they will do their best. Of course there are people out there who like, say, Cutting Crew or a-ha – but who could have seriously predicted that labels would be open to the idea of reissuing those records with bonus cuts and all that?

Of course, this rule makes some of the great bands without reissues – Prince, The Go-Gos, that one Buckingham Nicks album – look like crazy oversights. That goes for any successful band, regardless of how much people openly like them. One prime example: WHAM!, the U.K. pop duo that today comes off as a novelty act but had a rather solid if short stint in the pop music world – one that would benefit from a more thorough review on CD.

WHAM!, comprised of George Michael and perennial “other guy” Andrew Ridgeley, were eager to make music by and for young people, with lyrics of fun, carefree nights out and having fun with fine ladies. (Stop laughing!) Thanks to a lucky break on U.K. music program Top of the Pops (they filled in for a last-minute cancellation), the pair became superstars in their native land. Success in other parts of the world wasn’t far off, thanks to their good looks, pop-soul sound and flashy MTV clips. Matter of fact, it was this month in 1984 that one of their most popular hits, “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” hit No. 1 around the world.

In honor of that landmark, you can get the rest of the WHAM! story, and how rights holders Legacy have and could treat the WHAM! discography, after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

June 2, 2010 at 16:05

Posted in Compilations, Features, Reissues, WHAM!

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In Defense of Playlist

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In today’s radically-changed music climate, it should come as no surprise that record labels are trying many different series and business models to figure out just what the heck will sell. These releases aren’t necessarily aimed at the audience reading this site, most often targeting the casual music buyer. As such, these greatest hits series – whether Sony’s The Essential…, Universal’s 20th Century Masters or EMI’s Classic Masters, just to name a few – tend to be scorned by many collectors as mere budget-priced rehashes with a paucity of tracks and liner notes to match the low price point. While I, too, have been known to utter “Another Elvis compilation?” or something similar in mock disgust, there are some worthwhile additions to these budget lines.  Our friends at Sony/Legacy with little fanfare have been making their Playlist series one worth watching.

Playlist is squarely aimed at the iPod generation, boasting on the front cover sticker that each collection’s 14 tracks make “the perfect Playlist for you!” with all liner notes and photos on an enhanced CD, and the packaging a simple, chintzy “100% recycled” digipak. My local indie – which stocks everything – doesn’t carry these releases, and they’re usually found at the likes of Borders, Barnes & Noble or Wal-Mart for somewhere between $5.99 and $7.99. (Amazon, of course, also carries the full line, and New York’s J&R Music World actually has offered them for $4.99, or roughly the price of a Venti coffee!) But Legacy has been sneaking some rarities onto many of the titles in the collection, as they’ve done with a few entries in their Essential series as well. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 2, 2010 at 12:31