17 July 2020 sees the reissue a collection of twenty-two original songs recorded for Julian Temple’s 1986 cult classic film Absolute Beginners. Released by UMC/Virgin EMI, the album will be available as a 2LP set, plus a 2LP coloured vinyl edition, which will be exclusive to HMV as part of their 1921 Edition range later in the year.
This release will also mark the first time that all 22 songs have been available on CD, previous versions being highlights only.
The album features three songs by David Bowie that weren’t included on any of his studio albums, along with exclusive tracks recorded for the film by Sade, The Style Council, Ray Davies and Jerry Dammers and more. The soundtrack was much more warmly received than the film was at the time, while the reviews for the film were mixed, the album had good write-ups in the best selling UK ‘inkies’ of the day NME & Sounds.
Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley, whose many credits include No. 1 singles for Madness and Dexys Midnight Runners, produced the album and it also features arrangements by Gil Evans, widely recognised as one of the key orchestrators in jazz, acclaimed for his collaborations with Miles Davis.
Both the title track by Bowie and ‘Have You Ever Had It Blue’ by The Style Council were significant UK hits and Bowie was kept off the No. 1 slot by Diana Ross’s ‘Chain Reaction’, and he would have to wait another six years before he hit the top ten again.
The album features four tracks that are unavailable elsewhere; Sade’s ‘Killer Blow’, Ray Davies first solo single ‘Quiet Life’, Riot City’, an eight-and-a-half minute Jazz instrumental that marked a first solo outing for Jerry Dammers and an extended version of The Style Council single ‘Have You Ever Had It Blue?’. All four are unique to this album.
Julian Temple’s Absolute Beginners is based on a novel first published in 1959 and is set against the backdrop of the Notting Hill race riots of August 1958. The star-studded cast included Patsy Kensit, David Bowie, Eddie O’Connell, Ray Davies, Sade, James Fox, Mandy Rice-Davies and Steven Berkoff with ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ cameos from Sandie Shaw, Eric Sykes and Strictly judge Bruno Tonioli.
The sleeve notes for the album feature new interviews with Julien Temple, Clive Langer, Alan Winstanley, Edward Tudor Pole, Simon Emmerson, Mick Talbot and Nick Lowe.
Absolute Beginners is out on 17 July. Scroll down to read the full tracklist and pre-order it here.
‘Absolute Beginners’ – David Bowie
‘Killer Blow’- Sade
‘Have You Ever Had It Blue?’ – The Style Council
‘Quiet Life’ – Ray Davies
‘Va Va Voom’ – Gil Evans
‘That’s Motivation’ – David Bowie
‘Having It All’ – Eighth Wonder ft Patsy Kensit
‘Rodrigo Bay’ – Working Week
‘Selling Out’ – Slim Gaillard
‘Riot City’ – Jerry Dammers
‘Boogie Stop Shuffle (Rough And The Smooth)’ – Gil Evans
‘Ted Ain’t Dead’ – Tenpole Tudor
‘Volare (Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu)’ – David Bowie
‘Napoli’ – Clive Langer
‘Little Cat (You Never Had It So Good)’ – Jonas (24)
‘Absolute Beginners (Slight Refrain)’ – Gil Evans
‘Better Git It In Your Soul (The Hot And The Cool)’ – Gil Evans
‘Landlords And Tenants’ – Laurel Aitken
‘Santa Lucia’ – Ekow Abban
‘Cool Napoli’ – Gil Evans
‘So What? (Lyric Version)’ – Smiley Culture
‘Absolute Beginners (Refrain)’ – Gil Evans