The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for August 12th, 2013

Cherry Red Watch: Naked Eyes and “Born to Be Alive” Spotlighted on New Reissues

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Born to Be AliveThe Cherry Pop label is certainly the only place you’ll find expanded CDs by a French-Italian disco sensation and one of the more notable synthpop duos of the ’80s. The debut album by Patrick Hernandez and the final album by Naked Eyes have recently been bought to CD by Cherry Pop with an armful of bonus tracks.

You might not recall Patrick Hernandez’s name, but you’ve doubtlessly heard his biggest disco hit: “Born to Be Alive.” Its urgent tempo, stirring arrangement and strong vocal performance made it one of the genre’s biggest anthems, a Billboard dance chart-topper that crossed over into the pop Top 20. (The single topped the charts in 11 other countries.) Hernandez’s success was short-lived in America, but the Born to Be Alive album was certified gold – and countless licensing opportunities and the odd spin on radio or in clubs ensures the song will still live on. Cherry Pop expands the original LP, released in the States on Columbia Records, with three bonus tracks, including a European A-side, “Back to Boogie,” and the hit single and dance mix versions of “Born to Be Alive,” as commissioned for U.S. play.

Fuel for the FireCherry Pop also has on the roster the premiere CD release of Fuel for the FIre, the final album by British pop duo Naked Eyes. Fresh off the stateside success of debut album Burning Bridges, which had a synth-tastic Top 10 cover of Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s “Always Something There to Remind Me,” Fuel featured production from Bridges producer Tony Mansfield as well as dance whiz Arthur Baker, who helmed lead single “(What) in the Name of Love.” But the track merely dented the U.S. Top 40 and went nowhere in Europe. Naked Eyes split shortly thereafter, with Pete Byrne getting into session work and Rob Fisher recording as a duo with British songwriter Simon Climie (the aptly-named Climie Fisher) in the ’80s and ’90s. Fisher passed away in 1998.

For the first-ever release of Fuel for the Fire, Cherry Pop has appended several bonus tracks, including two B-sides (including an early version of “(What) in the Name of Love” released on the flipside of U.S. Top 20 single “Promises Promises”), remixes of “(What) in the Name of Love” and second single “Sacrifice” (remixed by Baker but unreleased until a 2002 compilation) and – as a real treat for Naked Eyes devotees – three unreleased demos from the album sessions.

Born to Be Alive is available in U.K. shops today, while Fuel for the Fire streets August 26. (Thanks to super reader Zevonsky for the tip!) After the jump, you’ll find the usual track lists and Amazon U.K. links.

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Written by Mike Duquette

August 12, 2013 at 13:35

Tom Petty, The Clash, Dire Straits, Pat Benatar Featured On “The Best of Fridays”

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The Best of FridaysWhen ABC-TV’s Fridays premiered on April 11, 1980, its agenda was not a hidden one: to grab a piece of the lucrative late-night comedy pie from NBC’s Saturday Night Live.  Less than a year later, on March 10, 1981, The New York Times was trumpeting in a headline, “How ‘Fridays’ Beat ‘Saturday Night.’”  Of course, Fridays’ domination didn’t last, and the program was off the air after just three seasons.  The series has mainly lived on due to the infamous incident in which Andy Kaufman and Michael Richards got into a mock brawl on the air…that soon turned into a real brawl with other cast and crew members unaware of Kaufman’s planned hijinks.  Shout! Factory hasn’t forgotten Fridays, however, and has just released sixteen full episodes of the series as The Best of Fridays, a new 5-DVD set.  It should be of special interest to readers of The Second Disc for its eclectic musical performances.  The new collection includes appearances by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Kenny Loggins, The Cars, KISS, and many other famed classic-rock artists.

Of Fridays’ core cast of comedians, two names stand out: Michael Richards and Larry David.  The future Kramer and co-creator of Seinfeld both made a splash as part of the Fridays ensemble.  Richards and Davis were joined by Melanie Chartoff (Rugrats), Mark Blankfield (Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Dracula: Dead and Loving It), Maryedith Burrell (Parenthood), Bruce Mahler (Police Academy, Seinfeld), Darrow Igus, Brandis Kemp and John Roarke.  Though musical guests were a part of the show since the very first episode, with Kenny Loggins, guest stars weren’t a part of the series until its second season.  The Best of Fridays includes appearances by the aforementioned Kaufman as well as Valerie Harper, Billy Crystal, William Shatner, Karen Allen, Valerie Bertinelli, Shelley Duvall, Peter Fonda, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Tab Hunter and Anthony Geary.

Each musical guest usually contributed a couple of songs per episode.  On the new DVD set, you’ll find highlights from Loggins (“Keep the Fire”), Petty and the Heartbreakers (“American Girl”), The Clash (“London Calling”) Graham Parker and the Rumour (“Empty Lives”), The Cars (“Shake It Up”), Dire Straits (“Romeo and Juliet”), Devo (“Whip It”), Pat Benatar (“Hit Me with Your Best Shot”), former Eagle Randy Meisner (“Hearts on Fire”), Kim Carnes (“Miss You Tonight”), Stray Cats (“Rock This Town”) and KISS (“A World Without Heroes”). The Stray Cats and The Clash both made their American television debuts on Fridays.  AC/DC, The Beach Boys, Jimmy Buffett, Bonnie Raitt, Def Leppard, Heart, Ian Hunter, Jefferson Starship, Warren Zevon, Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney all made appearances on Fridays before the show’s demise in 1982.

Besides the off-the-wall (and frequently topical) sketch comedy performed by the main ensemble, Fridays also premiered a number of films directed by the once and future Monkee Mike Nesmith.  His “Police Gynecologist” and “Bite the Bullet” can be found on The Best of Fridays.

After the jump, we have more details – including a list of episodes and guests – plus an order link! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 12, 2013 at 12:50