As I’ve mentioned numerous times over, before I packed up my shit and headed for Japan, I made sure that I had high-quality recordings of as many vinyl-only releases as possible. Because I needed to be ready to listen to an obscure Depeche Mode remix at a moment’s notice no matter what continent I happened to be on! To me this was as high a priority task as “selling my house” and “getting my work visa in order.”
The first step of this process was to manually go through all of my records and make two piles. One was “I hope I can record this again if I have time” pile, while the other was the “I NEED HIGH QUALITY VERSIONS OF THESE SONGS NOW” pile.
On top of that pile where the soundracks to both Breakin‘ films. Because…look, if I need to explain to you WHY I need high-quality vinyl rips of the soundtracks to both Breakin‘ films then I don’t know why the fuck you’re reading my blog.
The following tracks are all the tracks from both Breakin‘ films that AREN’T available on CD or digitally. So sorry, no “Ain’t Nobody.” Plenty of choice cuts though!
Ollie & Jerry
Breakin’…There’s No Stopping Us
Ollie & Jerry are Ollie E. Brown and Jerry Knight. In addition to performing several tracks on the soundtracks to each Breakin‘ film (including the title tracks), they also produced and wrote many of the other songs on both albums. Jerry released a few solo albums in the 80s, and was also in Raydio with Ray Parker Jr., but both he and Ollie found much of their success as producers and songwriters, working with artists such as The Jets, Gloria Gaynor and Howard Johnson. These tracks are all pretty fantastic, but my fav of the bunch has to be “Showdown,” which is pure old-school electro at its finest.
I can’t find much on Hot Streak. From what I can tell, the group never released a proper album. In fact, I’m fairly certain that this was the only song they ever released. It’s a fun tune, but forgettable, and I’m sure no one in the group ever did anything of note, but let me check to be sure…
Holy shit. Hot Streak wrote “Holiday.”
Yeah, “Holiday.” As in Madonna’s first hit single “Holiday.”
Okay, that was random.
Carol Lynn Thomas
Believe In The Beat
Carol Lynn Thomas found her first success thanks to the Breakin‘ soundtrack with “99 1/2,” which was a hit dance and R&B single when it came out. Makes sense too – because the song is fucking DOPE. It’s a great combination of pop and electro , complete with a Stacy Q “Two Of Hearts” vocals-turning-into-synth-track bit that’s totally rad. And if that wasn’t enough, it features a completely metal Van Halenesque guitar solo that’s seemingly thrown in for no reason other than that “Beat It” did it first.
“Believe In The Beat” is good too, although it kind of sounds like something the Pointer Sisters would have rejected.
Heart Of The Beat
The second mind-blowing revelation of the Breakin’ soundtracks – 3-V is Charlie Midnight and Dan Hartman – two people whose names you may not recognize but music you surely do. Charlie Midnight is a songwriter and producer who worked with acts like Joe Cocker and James Brown. His biggest hit is probably Brown’s tune from Rocky IV, “Living In America.” He also worked on the one song that you probably know Dan Hartman for, ”I Can Dream About You” from the Streets Of Fire soundtrack.
Relevant side-note: Streets Of Fire is the third-greatest movie about music ever made.
Okay, I take back what I said about “Believe In The Beat”- these tracks sound like Pointer Sisters rejects. Firefox was a soul/pop duo who only released one album – which was produced by Ollie of Ollie & Jerry. They really didn’t take off and it’s pretty obvious why. The songs are catchy enough and fun, but their forgettable nature really isn’t helped by the completely flat vocals by the two lead singers, neither of which did much after the group called it quits.
Synth-pop also-ran whose one hit, “The Politics Of Dancing” has sadly fallen through the cracks of time. I thought they were a one-and-done group but apparently there is a six CD Re-Flex box set out there. Pretty impressive for a band that only released one album.
“Cut It” is no “The Politics Of Dancing” but it’s okay.
Chris “The Glove” Taylor and David Storrs (Featuring Ice-T)
Wikipedia calls Chris “The Glove” Taylor a “West Coast DJ pioneer” and I don’t see a reason to argue with that. David Storrs was apparently a semi-prolific name in the early rap/electro scene, and contributed to a few albums and singles under the alias The Alien Wizard, which is a totally awesome stage name.
And, oh yeah, Ice-T, you probably heard of him. He’s on Law & Order. He apparently loves cops.
Gotta Have The Money
This is a bad song. Very bad. Not good. Steve Donn can’t sing. Sorry Steve.
Set It Out
Above-average electro by session guitarist Bruce Nazarian and DJ Duane Bradley. Nazarian played guitar on Was (Not Was)’s debut LP, so he’s all right with me.
I Don’t Wanna Come Down
This is the best not Michael Jackson song of 1984! Seriously, I don’t know who Mark Scott is, but he really wants to be MJ with this track, complete with a pseudo MJ falsetto and faux MJ ‘oohs!’ It’s a blatant rip-off.
And I totally love it! This song is great! If they would have actually gotten Michael Jackson to record this it would have been a hit single, no question. Great track.
Rags & Riches
Spanish-flavored electro? Sure, why not. I have no idea who Rags & Riches are though. According to Discogs they only released a handful of singles, one of which was a 22-minute medley based on “Land Of 1,000 Dances.”
I can’t decide if I never ever want to hear that or if I want to hear that right now.