29 years ago today, Madonna released what would prove to be the final single from her Like a Virgin album, and while some at the time might’ve argued that it was merely a case of milking the last ounce of commercial worth out of the seven-month-old album, Sire Records got the last laugh when the song went on to be the singer’s sixth consecutive top-five single in America.
Written by Andrea LaRusso and Peggy Stanziale, “Dress You Up” was the last track to be included on Like a Virgin, and it almost didn’t make the cut at all, as LaRusso and Stanziale – who had other projects going on at the time and clearly had no way of knowing how huge the album would ultimately end up being – took longer than intended to finish the lyrics. Although producer Nile Rodgers was ready to set the song aside, Madonna liked the lyrics and pressed for the song’s inclusion.
One of Great Britain’s great comedic exports left us 34 years ago today, leaving behind a wealth of wonderful film work, including Lolita, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, Being There, and the Pink Panther films, but he also recorded several albums and singles during his lifetime which – despite many of them charting quite highly in the UK – have been woefully underappreciated here in the States.
With that said, however, if you’ve ever been a fan of The Dr. Demento Show, then you’ve probably heard at least a few of Sellers’ songs, the most likely of them being his unique takes on a couple of the Fab Four’s greatest hits. The most commercially successful of the bunch was “A Hard Day’s Night,” which hit #14 on the UK singles chart in 1965, but we’ve always been quite partial to his versions of “She Loves You” and “Can’t Buy Me Love” as well, and if you dig deep, you can also find his currently-out-of-print cover of “Help!”
Flautist fans! We bet you are dying to get your hands on an Ian Anderson-autographed copy of Jethro Tull's A PASSION PLAY: AN EXTENDED PERFORMANCE, the original 1973 album and Chateau d' Herouville Sessions, remixed to 5.1 surround. Don't think about it, just enter to win already.
Awesome hair: check. Killer threads: check. Sam Cooke-inspired vocals: check. I think we have everything we need to take a quick jaunt through Rod’s back nine. Fore!
Yes, there have been ZZ Top greatest-hits collections in the past, and, yes, they’ve all been rather solid, but now the band is bringing you not only the baddest of their material but also the very baddest. Okay, so maybe the differentiation between the two is predominantly that one’s a single-disc compilation and the other’s a two-disc set. Either way, they’re both pretty darned bad…by which, of course, we mean that they rock pretty darned hard.
In the press release which accompanied the news of this release, Billy Gibbons – who, along with Dusty Hill and Frank Beard, founded the band in 1969 – observed from beneath his beard that he and his bandmates were “glad that material originally issued by three different labels over the course of all these years will now be housed under one ‘roof,’ to so speak,” calling it “kind of a big, bad family reunion on some level.” By that, of course, Gibbons means that, in addition to their tremendous back catalog on Warner Brothers, these collections also feature inclusions from their more recent albums on RCA and Universal.
New this week in the Rhino Room at iTunes:
Foghat, The Essentials: Interested in investigating the back catalog of Foghat but feeling like our Hi-Five look into their career just isn’t in-depth enough? You’re in luck: this compilation offers just enough of an exploration of their hits and classic album tracks to provide an education without being too overwhelming.
The Unforgiven, The Unforgiven: This self-titled artifact from 1986 may be best known because one of the band’s members, Johnny Hickman, went on to team up with former Camper Van Beethoven frontman David Lowery to form Cracker. If you can imagine a bunch of kids raised on Ennio Morricone soundtracks making roots rock…well, you probably still wouldn’t really have the sound of The Unforgiven down, since their songs also featured “gang vocals,” with everyone singing together. It’s a fun listen, though.