Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
The International Hits From Ocean's Glory Years
Gary F. Taylor | Biloxi, MS USA | 02/05/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Born in Fyzbad, Trinidad in 1950, Billy Ocean grew up in England,where he began his career in London dance clubs. After a few lean years he began to make a name for himself a song writer, and when he recorded the self-authored "Carribbean Queen" in 1984 he suddenly emerged as one of the most popular tropical-inflected performers of the decade.
Ocean's best known work of the 1980s is collected in this greatest hit anthology of twelve recordings, which opens with "When The Going Gets Tough," a piece recorded for the film JEWEL OF THE NILE, and then winds it way through alternating dance floor favorites and lush love songs to conclude with "Tear Down These Walls." In both terms of performance and songwriting skills, each selection shows the artist near the top of his form.
Some twenty years after the peak of his popularity, Ocean's best known pop hits are considerably less dated than one might expect--largely because he did not rely exclusively on the heavily synthesized sound so typical of most 1980s performers. The best of his work, really, is in such ballads as "There'll Be Sad Songs," "Suddenly," and "Love Zone," but several of his higher energy dancefloor cuts also survive extremely well, most notably the sharply cadenced "Loverboy." It's a nice package, all of it easy on the ears, all of it playing out with good sound quality.
If Ocean's music has survived reasonably well, Ocean himself has not. Ocean was a very consistent performer and writer--perhaps a shade too consistent for his own good, for after several years there was a general sense that his music was repetitive in both style and content. When combined with changing tastes and a few brushes with the law, it was enough to precipitate a sudden slide from the glory days of fame to an almost complete obscurity; although he continues to write, record, and perform in Europe, he is now largely forgotten by the huge international audience he once commanded. Generally recommended, but primarily to those recall him from his 1980s heyday.
GFT, Amazon Reviewer"
Mixture of dance tracks and sad songs to make you cry
Daniel J. Hamlow | Narita, Japan | 02/02/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The mid-80's was Billy Ocean's heyday, in particular, the period spanning the emergence of his first hit, "Caribbean Queen," the singles from his 1986 Love Zone album, and the first single from Tear Down These Walls, "Get Outta My Dreams." This collection of hits by Billy Ocean, nee Leslie Sebastian Charles, shows how he specialized in heart-melting ballads on one extreme and high-energy synth-pop anthems on the other.
Suddenly, his 1984 album, is represented by four songs. One is the catchy US #1 "Caribbean Queen (No More Love On The Run)", part of which borrows the syncopated rhythm from Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean." The sound effects includes eerie laughter similar to Vincent Price in "Thriller" and some suggestive sounds, not surprising in this song about a Caribbean seductress with painted-on jeans. The highlight is V. Jeffrey Smith's brief sax solo. The title track is a schmaltzy ballad on how suddenly one wakes up and finds oneself in love. "Loverboy", co-written by producer Keith Diamond and Mutt Lange, has a wandering pulsing synth beat throughout and a kind of hard-driving chorus, while "Mystery Lady" is a mid-paced dance number.
"When The Going Gets Tough (The Tough Get Going)" from Jewel of the Nile, topped the UK charts, and nearly did so in the US, and is a feel-good dance anthem with funky synths. The male backups have a masculine growl on the chorus, while the female singers soften things up some of the refrains. This hit was co-written by and executive produced by Mutt Lange. This was also included in Love Zone, whose title track is a leisurely mid-paced ballad punctuated by lush synths and a funky bass.
However, the best song from that album and my personal Ocean song ever is the tear-jerker #1 "There'll Be Sad Songs (To Make You Cry)." The strings, quiet Clive Davis-like synths, and Ocean's falsetto all combine to make this a winner. In saying how love songs touch the very heart of someone, Ocean reprises what Elton John sang two years earlier, that "sad songs say so much."
Ocean's last big hit was "Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car", another catchy dance anthem and another soundtrack song, from the Corey Feldman vehicle (no pun intended) Licence To Drive. Some eye-rolling suggestive car-talk involves, "touch my bumper" and "let me take your wheel" but this was big enough to reach #1. Also from Tear Down These Walls is "The Colour of Love," another attempt at a hit ballad, which doesn't have the same effect as "Suddenly" or "There'll Be Sad Songs."
Of the two new songs, "Licence To Chill" fits more in the dance pop category, and is a close cousin to "Get Out Of My Dreams." Mutt Lange's production touches are evident here, particularly in the anthemic refrain: "Yeah Billy, yo Billy, way to go Billy." Ditto for the funky masculine bed-hopping of "I Sleep So Much Better In Someone Else's Bed." I can't hardly imagine someone like Ocean singing something so sexist, but that aspect of the song is given by the Fresh Prince portraying the smooth-talking cad and Mimi the put upon woman in a typical lover's quarrel.
As this compilation is released by Jive Records, his late 70's hits, such as "Love Really Hurts Without You" and "Red Light Spells Danger," released on GTO Records, aren't included-that is on the Ultimate Collection, released last year. Still, a tighter and more cohesive package showing Ocean during his peak years."
Deserves more credit
retrowens | Alabama, USA | 02/02/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Billy Ocean deserves a lot more credit than he gets. He's probably one of the top five underrated singers of all time. After you listen to this album, you'll know why. This is some of the best 80's music that was ever made. The songs, "Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car" and "When The Going Gets Tough" have become rock & roll classics that everybody knows. All the other songs are good too. This is timeless 80's music that has a great beat and catchy rhythms. I recommend this album to anyone."