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Still Here: Elaine Paige Celebrates Career On New “Ultimate Collection” With Previously Unreleased Songs and Rare Singles

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Elaine Paige - Ultimate CollectionThough her appearances on the Broadway stage have been rare, Elaine Paige remains one of the reigning first ladies of musical theatre around the world. Paige has been a fixture in London’s West End since her debut there in the 1968 production of Hair, rising to fame as the first actress to portray Eva Peron onstage in Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Evita in 1978. Paige went on to introduce the role of Grizabella and the song “Memory” in Cats, and subsequently starred in such musicals as Chess, Anything Goes, Sunset Boulevard, The King and I, The Drowsy Chaperone, and most recently in New York, Follies. What might be less well-known (in the U.S., at least!) is that Paige has also recorded a number of U.K. hit albums and singles.   The May 12 release from Rhino U.K. of The Ultimate Collection draws on Paige’s remarkable body of recordings between 1978 and 2011, and the standard edition premieres a couple of unreleased songs as well as a new club remixThe 2-CD Special Edition adds 20 more tracks, all culled from Paige’s singles discography and featuring 4 new-to-CD tracks.

The Ultimate Collection recognizes Paige’s acclaimed 50 years in show business, beginning with her professional debut onstage in 1964. The chronologically-sequenced set begins, of course, with “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina,” which was already familiar to listeners thanks to Julie Covington’s performance on the Evita concept album. Paige made the song her own, however, and began her collaboration with composer Andrew Lloyd Webber who is also represented here with “Memory” from Cats, the two key songs from Paige’s star turn in Sunset Boulevard, and a studio rendition of “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” from Jesus Christ Superstar. Paige didn’t portray Mary Magdalene onstage in the show, but recorded the song for her 1983 studio album and third solo LP, Stages. Produced by David Bowie’s famed collaborator Tony Visconti, Stages was a phenomenon in Paige’s native United Kingdom. It remained on the British album chart for 48 weeks, garnering a 2x Platinum certification by the BPI (The British Recorded Music Industry) for U.K. sales. From that collection of theatre music, The Ultimate Collection also reprises its songs from A Chorus Line, Dreamgirls and Nine. “Be on Your Own,” from Nine, is heard not in its original version, but in the radio edit of its new Almighty Remix.

Visconti and Paige reunited for the follow-up to Stages. Instead of Broadway showstoppers, Cinema took aim at the songs of Hollywood. The result was another Top 20 Platinum-seller, from which the standard “Unchained Melody” and the song “Sometimes,” from the films Unchained and Champions, respectively, have been culled. 1985’s Love Hurts showed off Paige’s pop side, which she previously visited on albums including 1981’s Warner Music debut Elaine Paige. That album featured new songs from Paul McCartney (“Hot as Sun”), Barry Gibb (“Secrets”) and Vangelis (“The Second Time”); though none are featured here, The Ultimate Collection offers three Love Hurts tracks: Elton John and Bernie Taupin’s “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word,” Judie Tzuke’s “For You” and a little song from the musical Chess which became one of Britain’s biggest-selling singles of 1985. “I Know Him So Well” was penned by Tim Rice and ABBA’s Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus. Paige’s duet with Barbara Dickson sold over 900,000 copies, and the Love Hurts album went Top 10.

Hit the jump for more on The Ultimate Collection, including the complete track listing with discography!

The period between 1985 and 1994 (during which time the versatile Paige remained active onstage and on record, with a Queen tribute set, pop and Broadway albums, and an Olivier-nominated performance captured on disc in Anything Goes) is overlooked here, but The Ultimate Collection resumes with tracks from Piaf, Sunset Boulevard and Follies, as well as a duet with Barry Manilow from 2011’s Phil Ramone-produced duets album Elaine Paige and Friends. That LP, too, with performances also by Dionne Warwick, Neil Sedaka, Paul Anka, Sinead O’Connor and Johnny Mathis, achieved Gold status.  Two previously unissued outtakes round out the set, both originally produced by Tony Visconti. “It’s Raining on Prom Night” from Grease was originally recorded for Stages, and “What a Feeling” from Flashdance was covered for Cinema.

The Special Edition adds 20 more songs on a second disc.  These tracks, also drawn from the worlds of both pop and theatre, have been derived from Paige’s A &B sides released between 1980 and 2010.  Four tracks make their first-ever appearance on CD: 1981’s “Oh Major” and My Knight in Black Leather,” 1982’s “Rocking” and 1986’s “He’s a Dream.”  Other tracks come from songwriters Phil Spector and John Prine (“If You Don’t Want My Love”), Paul Simon (“How the Heart Approaches What It Yearns”), Stephen Sondheim (“Losing My Mind”),  and Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice (“Another Suitcase in Another Hall”).  This disc concludes with Paige’s duet with Sinead O’Connor, “It’s Only Life,” as released on a Rhino promotional single in 2010 and on the Elaine Paige and Friends album.

Elaine Paige’s Ultimate Collection is due on May 12 in the U.K. and one week later in the U.S.!  You can pre-order the collection at both Amazon U.K. and U.S. at the below links!

Elaine Paige, The Ultimate Collection (Warner Music UK, 2014)

Standard Version:  Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Special Edition: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

CD 1

  1. Don’t Cry for Me Argentina [1978 Version] (From Evita)
  2. Memory [1981 UK Single Version] (From Cats)
  3. Ave Maria
  4. I Don’t Know How to Love Him (From Jesus Christ Superstar)
  5. What I Did for Love (From A Chorus Line)
  6. One Night Only (From Dreamgirls)
  7. Sometimes (The main theme from Champions)
  8. Unchained Melody (From Unchained)
  9. I Know Him So Well [1984 UK Single] Duet with Barbara Dickson (From Chess)
  10. Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word
  11. For You
  12. La Vie en Rose (From Piaf)
  13. I Dreamed a Dream [Live] (From Les Miserables)
  14. As If We Never Said Goodbye (From Sunset Boulevard)
  15. With One Look (From Sunset Boulevard)
  16. The Prayer – Duet with Barry Manilow
  17. I’m Still Here (From Follies)
  18. It’s Raining on Prom Night [Outtake from “Stages”] (From Grease)
  19. What a Feeling [Ted Carfrae Mix] [Outtake from “Cinema”] (From Flashdance)
  20. Be On Your Own [Almighty Remix – Radio Edit] (From Nine)

CD 2 (Special Edition only)

  1. If You Don’t Want My Love
  2. How the Heart Approaches What It Yearns
  3. Far Side of the Bay
  4. Oh Major (previously unreleased on CD)
  5. The Second Time (Theme from Bilitis)
  6. My Knight in Black Leather (previously unreleased on CD)
  7. Rocking (previously unreleased on CD)
  8. Running Back for More (from Blondel)
  9. Losing My Mind (from Follies)
  10. Be On Your Own (Original Version) (from Nine)
  11. Another Suitcase in Another Hall (from Evita)
  12. The Windmills of Your Mind (from The Thomas Crown Affair)
  13. He’s a Dream (from Flashdance) (previously unreleased on CD)
  14. Walking in the Air (from The Snowman)
  15. On My Own (from Les Miserables)
  16. All Things Considered
  17. A Winter’s Tale
  18. Hymne A L’Amour (If You Love Me) (from Piaf)
  19. The Perfect Year (from Sunset Boulevard)
  20. It’s Only Life – duet with Sinead O’Connor

CD 1, Track 1 from Evita: Original London Cast Recording, MCA 3069, 1978
CD 1, Track 2 from Polydor single 2059 364, 1981
CD 1, Track 3 from WEA single X 9939, 1982
CD 1, Tracks 4-6 and original version of Track 20 from Stages, WEA LP 240228-1, 1983
CD 1, Tracks 7-8 from Cinema, WEA LP 240511-1, 1984
CD 1, Tracks 9-11 from Love Hurts, WEA LP WX28, 1985
CD 1, Track 12 from Piaf, WEA CD 4509-94641-2, 1994
CD 1, Tracks 13-15 from Encore, WEA CD 0630-10476-2, 1995
CD 1, Track 16 from Elaine Paige and Friends, Rhino (U.K.) CD 5249828742, 2010
CD 1. Track 17 likely from Follies: Original Broadway Cast Recording, PS Classics CD PS 1105, 2011
CD 1, Tracks 18-19 previously unreleased
CD 2, Tracks 1-2 from Arista (U.K.) single ARIST 381, 1980
CD 2, Tracks 3-4 from WEA single 18842, 1981
CD 2, Track 5 from WEA single 18932, 1981
CD 2, Track 6 from WEA single 19186, 1981
CD 2, Track 7 from WEA single X 9939, 1982
CD 2, Tracks 8-9 from WEA single X 9530, 1983
CD 2, Tracks 10-11 from WEA single X 9670, 1983
CD 2, Track 12 from WEA single YZ 25, 1984
CD 2, Track 13 from WEA single YZ 52, 1986
CD 2, Track 14 from WEA single YZ 94, 1986
CD 2, Track 15 from Atlantic (U.S.) single 7-89212, 1987
CD 2, Track 16 from WEA single YZ 163, 1987
CD 2, Track 17 from WEA single YZ 167, 1987
CD 2, Track 18 from WEA single YZ 899, 1995
CD 2, Track 19 from Warner Music U.K. single LC 4281, 1995
CD 2, Track 20 from Rhino U.K. promotional single, 2010

Written by Joe Marchese

May 6, 2014 at 13:17

One Response

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  1. A GREAT singer that I did not discover until she was chosen as one of the primary singers for “Chess.” As an avid ABBA fan, I was very interested in Bjorn and Benny’s move into a more theatrical presentation. I wish that Elaine’s solo piece, “Nobody’s Side,” was also presented on this compilation in its single remix, but I’m hoping that the rumored expanded and remastered 30th anniversary “Chess” comes true. Bravo Elaine!

    Charles Klaus

    May 6, 2014 at 22:37


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