Thursday, August 05, 2010

Dirty Dancing Songs and Charity

(From Randy Alexander)

On the one-year anniversary of Patrick Swayze’s death approaching in September, please note the charitable efforts of the songwriters responsible for the “Dirty Dancing” smash hits “Time of My Life” and “Hungry Eyes.”

With a blessing from Lisa Niemi Swayze, Patrick’s wife, Franke Previte (ex-Franke and the Knockouts), John De Nicola and Don Markowitz – who won the Oscar and Golden Globe for their “Dirty Dancing” contribution - are honoring their friend’s memory and raising money for the Patrick Swayze Pancreas Cancer Resarch Foundation at Stanford by releasing the historic “Original Demo Recordings” of those songs, and more. They’re coming out digitally Sept. 8 – a week shy of the first anniversary of Patrick’s untimely passing.

Franke had an unforgettable moment at the Academy Awards with Patrick:

“He told me that the Dirty Dancing dance finale scene was actually shot to my original demo of ‘(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life’,” Franke recalls. “I had performed the song with my duet partner, Rachele Cappelli. Patrick explained that the movie was filmed out of sequence and the finale scene was the first thing they shot. And, there was a lot riding on getting it right. He said it was crucial that he, Jennifer and the rest of the cast filming that scene develop an immediate camaraderie and that the demo was a big part in helping them do just that. The film’s most memorable scene really had been filmed to our demo of ‘(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life’.”

When Patrick was ill, Franke watched his friend’s courageous battle against pancreatic cancer with so much admiration. And, when we lost him, it reminded him again of how much his immense talent and heart contributed to the success of Dirty Dancing. Now more than ever, his time has come to most effectively give back to the project and the promise from the film’s music supervisor Jimmy Ienner, upon encouraging him to submit his music to the soundtrack, would “change his life.”

You can sample the “Time of My Life” demo here:

Trivia note: The drummer in Franke and the Knockouts, the early ‘80s pop band best known for their Top 10 hit “Sweetheart,” was Tico Torres, who went on to join Bon Jovi! Hey, it’s a Jersey thing, ya know?)

Fans Can Own A Piece of Hollywood History…

… And Support The Patrick Swayze Pancreas Cancer Research Fund at Stanford

For the first time ever, the writers of “(I’VE HAD) THE TIME OF MY LIFE” and “HUNGRY EYES” are releasing THE ORIGINAL DEMOS of the songs that rocketed the DIRTY DANCING soundtrack to No. 1 on the Billboard charts for 18 straight weeks. And, today, at 48 million copies sold worldwide, it still stands as one of the bestselling albums of all time.

Franke Previte, John De Nicola and Don Markowitz are releasing the digital-only four-song package DIRTY DANCING: THE ORIGINAL DEMOS on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2010. Included are two versions of the Oscar- and Golden Globe-winning smash, “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life” -- originally sung by Previte, noted frontman of ‘80s hit makers Franke and the Knockouts (“Sweetheart”), as a duet with Rachele Cappelli.

This is the actual recording that Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey danced to when filming the unforgettable grand finale dance scene in the movie.

The other demo version is a sharp new remix of the No. 1 blockbuster by its original producer, the renowned Michael Lloyd. Fan favorite and No. 4 Billboard hit, “Hungry Eyes,” written by Previte and De Nicola and sung by Franke, brings home another big song from the film. Rounding out the set is “Someone Like You,” another Previte/De Nicola original written for Bill Medley. An instrumental version of the tune is currently heard in the stage play, Broadway-bound Dirty Dancing: The Musical. The live show continues the Dirty Dancing phenomenon, setting box office records worldwide.

Previte began thinking about the historical significance of the demos after being interviewed with De Nicola as part of the “Dirty Dancing: Limited Keepsake Edition” project, released on DVD and Blu Ray this spring by Lionsgate. In it, Dirty Dancing choreographer, Kenny Ortega, (Michael Jackson’s, This Is It) and Eleanor Bergstein, the film’s writer and co-producer, also drove home the impact the original demos had on Swayze and Grey.

But, Previte laughs when he remembers he and his writing partners almost didn’t get the chance to make history with their songs: “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life” was the last song on the last tape submitted on the last day for the movie’s final scene,”” he recalls. “But, everyone loved it!”

And it ended up galvanizing the cast, prompting Ortega to cast aside a Lionel Richie track in favor of the song that helped make the movie a huge box office hit and defined the coming-of-age romance for the actors and audiences. Previte didn’t find out just what an impact the demos had on the actors until the night of the Academy Awards, 1988, when he met Swayze at an after-party.

“Patrick said, ‘I need to know who sang the demo tape!,’” says Previte. “And I said, ‘I did, with Rachele Capelli. Why?’ ‘Because we filmed out of sequence and that last scene was the first thing we filmed. As soon as your demo played, everyone knew that was our song.’”

Because no songs better defined the career of Patrick Swayze than the hits of Dirty Dancing, Previte, De Nicola and Markowitz want to honor their friend. They’ve decided to donate a generous portion of the proceeds of DIRTY DANCING: THE ORIGINAL DEMOS package to the Patrick Swayze Pancreas Cancer Research Fund at Stanford Cancer Center. The Fund was established by Patrick’s beloved wife and partner, Lisa Niemi Swayze, at the medical institution where her husband was treated for the extent of his courageous battle.

“I feel this is the right thing to do and the right time to do it,” says Previte. “We salute and honor our friend, Patrick Swayze, for his courage, generosity and talent.”

As Swayze told Previte on the night of the Academy Awards … “We filmed the finale to your demo and it gave us a camaraderie we didn’t have before. The scene just came out so phenomenally that it created the rest of what everyone knows Dirty Dancing to be. Because of that song, we knew then that we had the makings of a tremendous hit!”

Swayze said it all.

DIRTY DANCING: THE ORIGINAL DEMOS will be available through CD Baby on iTunes and all major digital download destinations.

Learn more about the Patrick Swayze Pancreas Cancer Research Fund at