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Muscle Beach Party - The United Artists Sessions

3.8 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 26, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

Frankie's late-'50s/early-'60s recordings practically define an era in pop music. But while there have been countless reissues of his much-loved Chancellor hits, his later recordings have had sand kicked in their face when it comes to the CD era...including many performances that offer solid evidence of Frankie's blossoming maturity as a vocalist. That's why Real Gone Music is releasing Frankie Avalon: Muscle Beach Party--The United Artists Sessions -- 20 tracks recorded in 1964 and 1965. The centerpiece of the set is Frankie's album, Muscle Beach Party and Other Movie Songs, which features fresh versions of songs from Beach Party and Muscle Beach Party films (notably, a dynamite version of "Runnin' Wild," his spotlight solo in the latter movie) and superb renditions of "Days of Wine and Roses," "Moon River" and other Hollywood standards, all in stereo. In addition, we've included his rare UA singles -- "New Fangled, Jingle Jangle Swimming Suit from Paris," "Here to Stay," "Don't Make Fun of Me" and "Every Girl Should Get Married" -- plus his tracks from the soundtrack of I'll Take Sweden, a Bob Hope comedy in which Frankie co-starred. The missing piece of Frankie's recording legacy, with notes and photos!

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Muscle Beach Party
  2. Surfer's Holiday
  3. A Boy Needs a Girl
  4. Beach Party
  5. Don't Stop Now
  6. Runnin' Wild
  7. Nevertheless (I'm in Love with You)
  8. More
  9. Days of Wine and Roses
  10. Moon River
  11. The Stolen Hours
  12. Again
  13. Don't Make Fun of Me
  14. Every Girl Should Get Married
  15. New-Fangled, Jingle-Jangle Swimming Suit from Paris
  16. Here to Stay
  17. I'll Take Sweden
  18. There'll Be Rainbows Again
  19. Would Ya Like My Last Name
  20. The Bells Keep Ringin'


Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 26, 2012)
  • Original Release Date: March 26, 2012
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Real Gone Music
  • Run Time: 46 minutes
  • ASIN: B0073GQX1E
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,096 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Along with Bobby Rydell and Fabian, Frankie Avalon was one of the "Golden Boys of Bandstand" - handsome, talented teen idols whose appearances on the original Philadelphia-based American Bandstand provided a ticket to pop crooning stardom. Avalon's biggest hits (including two chart-toppers, "Venus" and "Why") were recorded for the Chancellor label from 1958 through 1960, but in that latter year he began an acting career that led to starring roles in a string of beach party movies, including 1964's Muscle Beach Party. The beach party films innovated on the surf-theme of the Gidget series by adding original music, including songs by Avalon, his co-star Annette Funicello and guest stars that included Donna Loren.

Unlike today's consolidated marketing, in which soundtracks are developed in parallel with a film's marketing plan, actual soundtracks to the beach party films weren't typically issued at the time. The only full soundtrack was Wand's issue of How to Stuff a Wild Bikini, and a few film tracks turned up on Annette Funicello's solo albums. Instead, Avalon, Funicello and Loren re-recorded songs from the films for their respective labels (Avalon for United Artists, to which he'd signed after leaving Chancellor, Funicello for Disney's Buena Vista and Loren for Capitol), often in very different arrangements. Most notably, several songs sung as duets in the films were re-sung as solos on the artists' respective albums.
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By the early Sixties, the heyday of the teen idol was over. The British invasion had begun and the careers of Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello were saved by an unexpected smash hit low budget movie called BEACH PARTY.

I was never much of a Frankie Avalon fan (I was probably jealous) but I loved Annette. It's not that Frankie wasn't a good singer, in fact, Frankie was a trained musician (the Trumpet) and he had a pleasant light baritone that served him well on ballads like his number one hit "Venus". Up-tempo numbers really didn't suit Frankie. Remember "Dee Dee Dinah" or "Gingerbread"?

All of Frankie's early hits were recorded on the Chancellor label. MUSCLE BEACH PARTY was released by United Artists. Like Annette's Beach Party Albums, this is what was called a "Studiotrack", i.e., it contains all the songs from the movie, but they have all been re-recorded by Frankie whether he sang them in the movie or not.

The main problem here has to do with production. Frankie didn't have Tutti Camarata, who always made Annette sound better than she really was. These tracks are all in stereo, but instead of enhancing these songs, Frankie's voice seems to be coming out of the left speaker. He is accompanied by a girl-group backup (Totally unnecessary) and lots of electric guitars. It's all rather noisy, distracting and somehow, insincere.

Frankie is much better with the ballads like the classic "Nevertheless" and the theme from the Susan Hayward "Stolen Hours" which I have never heard outside the movie before now.
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CONTENT:

“Muscle Beach Party: the United Artists Sessions” by Frankie Avalon, released by Real Gone Music from US in 2012, contains 2 rare albums plus bonus single tracks. I have compiled a detailed song listing (including album and singles label & number and debut date):

LP “MUSCLE BEACH PARTY AND OTHER MOTION PICTURE SONGS” (Frankie Avalon)(United Artists UAL-3371)(1962):
01 Muscle Beach Party
02 Surfer’s Holiday
03 A Boy Needs A Girl
04 Beach Party
05 Don’t Stop Now
06 Runnin’ Wild
07 Nevertheless (I’m In Love With You)
08 More
09 Days Of Wine And Roses
10 Moon River (United Artists UA 800)(b-side, December 1964)
11 The Stolen Hour
12 Again (United Artists UA 728)(b-side, June 1964)
SINGLES:
13 Don’t Make Fun Of Me (United Artists UA 728)(uncharted a-side, June 1964)
14 Every Girl Should Get Married (United Artists UA 800)(uncharted a-side, December 1964)
15 New-Fangled, Jingle-Jangle Swimming Suit From Paris (United Artists UA 748)(a-side)(CB Pop 133/1964)(July 1964)
16 Here To Stay (United Artists UA 748)(b-side, July 1964)
LP “I’LL TAKE SWEDEN SOUNDTRACK” (United Artists UAL-4121)(1964):
17 I’ll Take Sweden (United Artists UA 895)(uncharted a-side, July 1965)
18 There’ll Be Rainbows Again (United Artists UA 895)(b-side, July 1965)
19 Would Ya Like My Last Name
20 The Bells Keep Ringin’

POSITIVE POINTS:

1 This current set, with one complete album “Muscle Beach Party” plus part of the rare album “I’ll Take Sweden”, is a collector’s dream come true. The rare singles (As & Bs) are also included. All the songs in this set are making their CD debut.
2 The sound is very well remastered, as per usual high standards at Real Gone Music (US).
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