DEAR JERRY: I have seen references made to three soundtracks originally released in the 1980s and '90s, and now available as limited editions on vinyl. But how limited are the editions?
They are “Pretty in Pink,” “The Breakfast Club,” and “Empire Records.”
I know the “Empire Records” film featured far more songs than put on the CD, so I'm hoping the vinyl version has some of the previously unavailable tracks, such as ones by Dire Straits and AC/DC.
Are these still available, and if so for how much?
Frank O'Kelly, Boston
DEAR FRANK: New vinyl editions of all three soundtracks each being a collection of cuts by various artists rather than true film scores came out in conjunction with National Record Store Day, April 21, 2012.
“Pretty in Pink” (A&M 16652) is a single disc, appropriately on pink vinyl; “The Breakfast Club” (A&M 16615) is a “dandruff white vinyl” LP; and “Empire Records” (A&M 16609) a gold vinyl two-disc package.
Each is individually numbered with a total run of 5,000 made.
This marks the first time on vinyl for “Empire Records,” a 1995 film, but “The Breakfast Club” (A&M 5045) and “Pretty in Pink” (A&M 5113) came out on vinyl, in 1985 and '86 respectively.
You're right about the “Empire Records” soundtrack, with both LP and CD having the same 15 tracks, providing only a fraction of the music heard in the movie.
Besides Dire Straits (“Romeo and Juliet”) and AC/DC (“If You Want Blood [You've Got It]”), here are the other artists that didn't make it onto the soundtrack:
Adolescents; Ass Ponys; Billy White Trio; Buggles; Daniel Johnston; Dead Hot Workshop; Dirt Clods; Dishwalla; Fig Dish; Fitz of Depression; Flying Lizards; Full Tilt Gonzo; Gwar; Loose Diamonds; Maxwell Caulfield; Mouth Music; Noah Stone; Peg Boy; Poster Children; Queen Sarah Saturday; Quicksand; Sacrilicious; Sponge; Suicidal Tendencies; Sybil Vane; The The; and Throwing Muses.
All three of these National Record Store Day numbered edition soundtracks are still available on the secondary market, and usually with a $20 to $30 price tag.
DEAR JERRY: One of the great stories in music is Conway Twitty's incredible swing from big time rock star to even bigger time country star.
I know there were a few transition years in the early 1960s when he had no hits in either field, and it's one of those obscure, almost doo-wop, tunes I'm after.
One line that still sticks with me, sung in Conway's unmistakable growl, is “write a letter tonight.”
Taking the hint, I am indeed writing you a letter tonight. Help me locate this record, which is not on any of his albums, 'cause I have them all.
Grace Morehouse, Fort Worth, Texas
DEAR GRACE: You're right about portions of this song, titled “Drop Me a Line,” being in Conway's unmistakable growl. Only problem is it's not Conway doing the growling.
The singer of this obviously Twitty-inspired tune is Karl Hammel Jr., the same fellow who had the 1961 hit, “Summer Souvenirs” (Arliss 1007).
But the similarity on “Drop Me a Line” (Laurie 3170) goes far beyond the occasional growls. Karl sounds like Conway from start to finish, enough to fool even a staunch Twitty Bird like you.
Issued in June 1963, in the midst of a five-year dearth of hits for Conway, Hammel's sound-alike homage undeservedly met the same fate, and failed to chart.
In the summer of '65, Conway departed MGM and signed with Decca Records, and plunged into the rapidly growing country scene.
His first single for them, “That Kind of Girl” (Decca 31833), may have been overlooked by country programmers, but the next one, “Guess My Eyes Were Bigger Than My Heart” (Decca 31897), made the Top 20, and he was off and running until June 5, 1993.
Stricken with abdominal pain while performing in Branson, Mo., he was rushed to a hospital in nearby Springfield where he died of an aortic aneurysm. He was 59.
IZ ZAT SO? In the 27 years after Conway Twitty morphed to country, he amassed 55 No. 1 hits on one or more of the national weekly charts more than anyone except George Strait, who this year (2012) scored his 59th.
For his entire career (1957-1993), 110 of Conway's singles made the charts.