As mentioned in the Story Of Xanadu mega-piece in this web site, the music of Xanadu didn’t end with the release of the soundtrack
and movie. Xanadu co-producer Joel Silver conceived a project with record producer Richard Perry (who recorded hits with the likes of
The Pointer Sisters, Harry Nilsson, Carly Simon & Barbara Strisand) that was inspired by the film’s big band/rock musical sequence
‘Dancin’. The result was this 1981 record called Swing on Perry’s label, Planet Records.
Swing consisted of top studio musicians like Tom Scott (who also was the musical director for Olivia Newton-John’s 1983 Physical
touring band), Victor Feldman, Ira Newborn (who played the big band leader in the Dancin’ scene), James Newton Howard, Paulinho
Da Costa, David Benoit and the Tonight Show arranger Tommy Newson with Charlotte Crossley, Lorraine Feather & Steve March
handling the leading vocals.
Similar to Dancin’, this project was presented with the mix of traditional big band sound with modern technology to bring out, what the
albums liner notes calls, “the sound of swing in the 80’s.” It should be noted that, unlike Dancin’, there’s no sonic outbursts from a five
piece rock band to be found here.
A good chunk of the tracks were covers with a pinch of originals mixed in. Tweedell Dee, Serenade In Blue, Let The Good Times Roll,
Crazy He Calls Me and the Duke Ellington classic Caravan were played next to more “updated” old tunes like Trocadero Ballroom and
Big Bucks, along side the originals like The Right Idea and, what should have been a great single, Make Love To Me Baby.
Not much is known about this project outside of this one-off record. I personally remember this was also released on a picture disc
format and, if I’m really scratching the back of me head, good old 8-track tape. It's rumored that in the mid-80's Perry solf his Planet
Record label to RCA for 20 million dollars.
It is interesting to note that one year after this record was released, Linda Ronstadt would come out with the first of her three big
band/ballad titles, What’s New, to acclaim and large sales. This might suggest that the sales for Swing was below expectations or
they would of came out with a follow-up to capitalize Ms. Ronstadt’s latest success.
To make this even worse, this title wasn’t given a passing thought during the 1990’s lounge/big band revival and remained in the
used vinyl record bins.
ORIGINAL ALBUM NOTES:
“SWING” is a term usually associated with the ageless joy, passion
and romance of the big band era.
In bringing ‘Swing’ to an audience of today, we have taken all the vital
elements of this music and added a vibrant new quality. The result is
not another revival but an unique fusion – a blend of sounds never
Modern recording technology enabled us to produce a special sound
and character that was literally impossible in the big band days. The
total sound of drums and percussion, the use of electric bass and
guitars, and the shimmering effects produced by the synthesizer
(sometimes voiced along with the sax section) – all have played an
exciting part in creating this new definition of “Swing”.
Although they are involved in all aspects of contemporary music, the
talented musicians, arrangers and singer who contributed to this
album have a feeling and understanding of the musical essence of
This is music with a fresh and fascinating new dimension: the sound
of swing in the 80’s.
|2015 UPDATE: If you swing on over to PAGE TWO, you'll find a couple of articles
related to the SWING album. Hell, I didn't even know that 'Big Bucks' was released as a
single! Anyways, enjoy the rare words and photos behind SWING!