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Reissue Theory: Bruce Hornsby and The Range, “The Way It Is”

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Welcome to another installment of Reissue Theory, where we look back at notable albums and the reissues they could someday see. Exactly 25 years ago today, a classic pop album was released, with a sound that was totally different from what was the norm at that time. Now, we look back at the debut of Bruce Hornsby, and why a deluxe version would be a good idea.

There were plenty of great songs to top the Billboard┬ácharts in 1986, but only one had any sort of conscious reflection behind it. Only one dared to look past your giving love a bad name, your extra time and your kiss, your rocking Amadeus, your sledgehammers and your invisible touch. That one was “The Way It Is,” the first single by Bruce Hornsby and The Range, which topped the Hot 100 for one week in December 1986.

“The Way It Is,” regardless of its heavy lyrical content (a look at America’s advancements – or possibly, lack thereof – since the advent of civil rights), was already sonically different than much of the radio fare of the year. Its main ingredient wasn’t a cutting-edge synth or howling guitar, but a bright, shiny piano melody, backed by a crystal-clear rhythm track and only garnished tastefully with keyboards instead of awash in them. It was the beginning of something a little bit different in pop music – and that beginning in fact started 25 years ago today, with the release of Hornsby and The Range’s first LP, The Way It Is, on RCA Records.

We at Second Disc HQ have a few good friends who are perhaps even better-versed in Hornsby lore – but it felt right to reflect upon the album and its impact, some 25 years later, not to mention the viable bonus material that could make for a decent reissue someday. Some things won’t ever change – but after the jump, you’ll find out how they could, in the form of an idea for a deluxe edition of the album.

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Written by Mike Duquette

August 1, 2011 at 11:36