Thursday, February 21, 2008

The “Fame ’90” 90

It’s the laziest form of musical cannibalism: take an old hit, remix or re-record it, and stamp a new expiration date on the thing. Hence the Police’s “Don’t Stand So Close to Me ’86,” David Bowie’s forgettable “Fame ’90,” and the parade of exploitation that stretches from “Walk, Don’t Run ’64” to “Billie Jean 2008.” The irony is that these cheap updates have the shortest shelf-life of all.

Here are some memorable or unmemorable examples, which I submit as a public list of offenses against music. My rules in compiling this are: (1) the new date must be part of the title, not simply a descriptive suffix like “In the Air Tonight (’88 Remix)”; (2) with a few exceptions, the songs must be by the original artists (i.e., German trance mixes of “I Will Survive” do not qualify); and (3) it must be an update of an older song, thus “Freedom! 90” doesn’t count because it was actually released in 1990 (although the live version, “Freedom ’93,” does).

Suggestions are welcome: I hope to make this list as infinite as there are versions of “Rhythm Is a Dancer.”

  • The Ventures, “Walk, Don’t Run ’64,” “Walk, Don’t Run ’77,” “Walk, Don’t Run 2000” (catalog exploitation at its most unapologetic: the Ventures re-did their classic 1960 instrumental in 1964, 1968, 1977 [disco], 1986 [metal?] and 2000 [with sax])
  • Sandy Nelson, “Teen Beat ’65” (remake of 1959 hit by bubblegummer drummer; see also “Honky Tonk ’65,” “Let There Be Drums ’66”)
  • Johnny and the Hurricanes, “Red River Rock ’67”
  • Capitols, “Cool Jerk ’68”
  • Bo Diddley, “Bo Diddley 1969” (“I’m back and I’m feelin’ fine/Bo Diddley 1969”)
  • Michael Rabon & the Five Americans, “I See the Light ’69”
  • Shadows of Knight, “Gloria ’69” (supposedly released without the band’s knowledge, with guitar and bass overdubbed by studio scabs including Peter Cetera, later of Chicago*)
  • The Arrows, “Apache ’73” (as in Davie Allan and the Arrows, as in “Apache ’65”)
  • Bobby Hebb, “Sunny ’76” (discosploitation version of 1966 hit)
  • Kiss, “Strutter ’78” (compsploitation cut for Double Platinum)
  • Residents, “Santa Dog ’78,” “Santa Dog ’84,” “Santa Dog ’88” (original 1972 EP considered the first significant Residents release)
  • Alice Cooper, “Generation Landslide ’81” (livesploitation)
  • Hawkwind, “Utopia 84”
  • Sugarfoot, “Fire ’85” (solo re-do of 1970s hit by Ohio Players singer)
  • The Sequence, “Funk It Up ’85” (re-do of 1979 Sugar Hill classic “Funk You Up”; pretty much the same song)
  • The Police, “Don’t Stand So Close to Me ’86” (compsploitation/aborted-reunion-spoitation/egosploitation perfect storm for Every Breath You Take: The Singles; delayed full Police return by 20 years)
  • Wham!, “Wham! Rap ’86” (possibly even lamer/gayer than original 1982 single: “Hey everybody, take a look at me/I’ve got street credibility”)
  • Pet Shop Boys, “West End Girls ’86”
  • Whitesnake, “Here I Go Again 87
  • Ritchie Valens, “La Bamba ’87” (Lou Diamond Phillips-ploitation)
  • New Order, “Blue Monday 1988” (remix by Quincy Jones; No. 3 on Brit chart), “Blue Monday-95” (remix EP)
  • Petula Clark, “Downtown ’88”
  • Thompson Twins, “In the Name of Love ’88”
  • Depeche Mode, “Strangelove ’88” (oh yes that is its official title)
  • Art of Noise, “Dragnet ’88” (Aykroydsploitation)
  • Art of Noise, “Paranoima ’89”
  • Bananarama, “Cruel Summer ’89” (“new jack”-sploitation)
  • Real Life, “Send Me an Angel ’89” (charted higher than 1983 original)
  • Frankie Goes to Hollywood, “Relax 89,” “Relax MCMXCIII” (special citation for “Relax [‘Classic’ 1993 Version]”)
  • Diana Ross, “Love Hangover 89”
  • Grandmaster Melle Mel & the Furious Five, “White Lines ’89 Part II”
  • Wendy and Lisa, “Waterfall ’89”
  • Bill Withers, “Harlem ’89” (re-whatever by “Lean on Me” singer)
  • David Bowie, “Fame ’90” (remix for ChangesBowie, itself an inferior compsploitated digest of ChangesOneBowie [1976] and ChangesTwoBowie [1981])
  • Anthrax, “I’m the Man ’91” (odds-’n’-sods-ploitation)
  • Ian Dury, “Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick ’91” (Stiffsploitation)
  • Mötley Crüe, “Home Sweet Home ’91”
  • Soft Cell, “Tainted Love ’91,” “Say Hello, Wave Goodbye ’91,” “Memorabilia ’91” (compsploitation)
  • Godflesh, “Wound ’91”
  • Salt-N-Pepa, “Expression ’92”
  • KC and the Sunshine Band, “Please Don’t Go ’92”
  • Ultravox, “Vienna 92”
  • Cabaret Voltaire, “Kino ’92” (B-sidesploitation re-whatever of 1980s B-side)
  • George Michael, “Freedom ’93” (livesploitation)
  • Sodom, “Skinned Alive ’93”
  • Time Frequency, “Real Love ’93,” “Real Love 2002”
  • Commodores, “Brick House ’93” (from a Lionel-less comeback bid entitled No Tricks)
  • Kurtis Blow, “The Breaks ’94,” “The Breaks 2004” (oldschool-sploitation)
  • New Order, “True Faith-94” (remix of ’87 track)
  • Bronski Beat, “Tell Me Why ’94,” “Smalltown Boy ’94” (reunionsploitation)
  • Pet Shop Boys, “Paninaro ’95” (odds-’n’-sods-ploitation)
  • Joy Division, “Love Will Tear Us Apart ’95” (compsploitation/necrophilia remix by Arthur Baker)
  • Stone Roses, “Fools Gold ’95” (remix/reissue/out of ideas EP), “Fools Gold ’99” (still out of ideas)
  • Styx, “Lady ’95”
  • Roxette, “The Look ’95” (compsploitation remix of 1989 hit)
  • Snap!, “Rhythm Is a Dancer ’96,” “Rhythm Is a Dancer 2002,” “Rhythm Is a Dancer 2003,” “Rhythm Is a Dancer 2004”
  • Snap!, “The Power ’96” (honorary mention: “The Power [of Bhangra]” from 2003)
  • TLC, “Creep ’96”
  • Sting and the Police, “Roxanne ’97” (Puffysploitation remix featuring Pras, for The Very Best of Sting & The Police)
  • Elton John, “Candle in the Wind 1997” (memoriamsploitatus Dianae)
  • Wham!, “Everything She Wants ’97”
  • George Michael, “The Strangest Thing ’97” (there’s some perverted compulsion here; isn’t this around the time he was caught jacking off in a public bathroom?)
  • Sheena Easton, “Modern Girl ’97”
  • T’Pau, “Heart and Soul ’97
  • Mötley Crüe, “Shout at the Devil ’97” (flabsploitation)
  • Jay-Z, “Friend or Foe ’98”
  • Jungle Brothers, “I’ll House You ’98”
  • Blondie, “Atomic ’98” (compsploitation remix by some douchebag or other)
  • Savage Garden, “I Want You ’98”
  • DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, “Summertime ’98”
  • Metallica, “Nothing Else Matters ’99” (Kamensploitaton)
  • Black Oak Arkansas, “Hot ’n’ Nasty ’99” (also “Jim Dandy to the Rescue 1999,” “Mutants of the Monster ’99,” “Happy Hooker ’99”) (reunionsploitation)
  • Front 242, “Headhunter 2000”
  • Violent Femmes, “Blister 2000” (Grosse Pointe Blank-sploitation)
  • Mary J. Blige and Jadakiss, “Back 2 Life 2001” (DJ Clue update of 1989 Soul II Soul hit; strictly speaking this is ineligible, but brazen theft counts or something, and besides, Soul II Soul ain’t doing it)
  • Ghostface Killah featuring Raekwon, “C.R.E.A.M. 2001” (Wu-sploitation by DJ Clue)
  • Culture Club, “Victims 2002,” “Love Is Love 2002” (box-sploitation)
  • KRS-One, “South Bronx 2002,” “The Message 2002” (oldschool-sploitation)
  • Rob Zombie with Lionel Richie, “Brick House 2003” (remake of Commodores hit for House of 1,000 Corpses soundtrack)
  • The Farm, “Alltogether Now 2004” (“official anthem of the England National Football Team at Euro 2004”)
  • Chicane with Bryan Adans, “Don’t Give Up 2004”
  • Laura Brannigan, “Gloria 2004,” “Self-Control 2004” (supposedly her final re-recordings before dying of a brain aneurysm; promptly deathsploitated)
  • P. Diddy, “Victory 2004” (Biggiesploitation-sploitaion)
  • George Michael, “Freeek ’04” (album update of 2002 single)
  • Phantom Planet, “California 2005” (second-season-sploitation)
  • M.I.A., “Galang ’05” (pazz-n-jopsploitation)
  • Seal, “Killer 2005”
  • Mary J. Blige, “My Life ’06”
  • Moby, “Go 2006” (compsploitation)
  • Right Said Fred, “I’m Too Sexy 2007” (why-won’t-you-die-sploitation)
  • Michael Jackson, “The Girl Is Mine 2008” and “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) 2008” with; “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ 2008” with Akon and; “Beat It 2008” with Fergie; “Billie Jean 2008” with Kanye West (all for 25th anniversary edition of Thiller)


  • E.U., “Da Butt ’89”
  • Peter Schilling, “Major Tom ’94,” “Major Tom 2000,” “Major Tom 2003” (Bowiesploitationsploitation)


  • R.E.M., “Pop Song 89”
  • George Michael, “Freedom! ’90” (the date-stamp is not wholly superfluous: it distinguishes the track from one by Wham! also called “Freedom”)
  • George Michael, “The Strangest Thing ’97”
  • The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu (a.k.a. the JAMs, a.k.a. the KLF), 1987 (What the Fuck Is Going On?) (LP)
  • Souls of Mischief, “93 ’Til Infinity”
  • John Cougar Mellencamp, “Justice and Independence ’85”
  • Bon Jovi, “Prayer ’94”
  • Soul II Soul, 1990: A New Decade (LP)
  • Neu! ’75 (LP)
  • Kraftwerk, “Expo 2000” (1999 single) (millenniumsploitation)
  • Eminem, “ ’97 Bonnie & Clyde”
  • Jay-Z feat. Beyoncé Knowles, “ ’03 Bonnie & Clyde”
  • Alice Cooper, “Teenage Lament ’74”
  • Wang Chung, “Space Junk (Wang Chung ’97)” (trip-hoppy compsploitation new track)
  • Ruben Studdard, “Sorry 2004” (“Girl, this is my sorry for 2004/And I ain’t gonna mess up no more this year”)
  • House of Love, “D Song ’89”
  • 2Pac, “Representin’ 93”
  • Mario, “Just a Friend 2002”
  • The Exploited, “UK 82”
  • The New 2 Live Crew, Back at Your Ass for the Nine-4 (LP)


  • David Bowie, “John, I’m Only Dancing (Again)” (1974 funk re-working of ’72 track; B-side retroactively date-stamped “John, I’m Only Dancing [1972]”)

* Cetera shamelessly re-recorded numerous Chicago hits after leaving the band, though he did not renew them with a date stamp. Perhaps he intended to erase the memory of the originals altogether. If only he had.


Anonymous said...

I haven't seen anything like this since your notorious vanity license plate compilation (a/k/a "Vanity License Plate Compilation '93").

rudylandsam said...

damn, I can't think of any good ones...

Deepa said...

geez ben, is this what you've been doing all those nights that you claimed to be "working"?

Anonymous said...

Here's a favorite of mine: a whole dated album. Scritti Politti's "Cupid and Psyche '85."

Anonymous said...

Oh, another one: you forgot New Order's "Temptation '98." ANOTHER one by those sonsa bitches.

B. said...

Hiro had a good one: "Rydeen 79/07" by Yellow Magic Orchestra.