Saturday, January 12, 2008

Soundtrack Sunday - "Hiding Out" (1987)

Somewhere in between playing Duckie in Pretty in Pink and reappearing on CBS as Charlie Sheen's foil in Two and a Half Men, Jon Cryer actually had a few starring vehicles that were supposed to turn him into a big star.

Well, it didn't work.

But we did get 1987's Hiding Out, the big-screen directing debut of MTV pioneer Bob Giraldi. The story was that Cryer was a stockbroker who decides to hide out from the mob by pretending to be a high school student.

But never mind all that.

Today's subject is the soundtrack, one of the early releases on Virgin's just-launched U.S. division. Given the label's deep pockets (and Giraldi's many connections after directing some of the decade's defining music videos, including "Beat It," "Love is A Battlefield" and "Running With the Night"), it's not surprising that it had many notable performances – including "Seattle by P.I.L., Boy George singing "Live My Life" and the top 40 hit "Catch Me I'm Falling" by Pretty Poison.

Here's the Giraldi-directed video for the last song, which also shows scenes from the (mostly forgettable) movie.

There was also the 80s new wave dance number "You Don't Know" by Scarlet & Black (download), which also got some airplay.

But none of those were the soundtrack's real highlight.

For me (and many others), the only reason to pay attention to this collection was a duet between Roy Orbison (a newly signed Virgin artist) and k.d. lang on "Crying"

Download "Crying" by Roy Orbison and k.d. lang

Now, like you, I'm not normally a fan of forced duets. Especially ones that have the potential to ruin songs that should be respected as American cultural classics.

This is not one of them, I think you'd agree. (And so did Grammy Award voters, who named it Best Country Collaboration with Vocals in 1988)

This not only holds a candle to the 1961 original, but adds an extra dimension to it. Amid all the discussion of lang's appearance and her sexuality, few people recognize that she is an amazing singer. That her voice not only has spectacular range (something she needed to keep up with the inimitable Orbison) but has the emotional depth that so many of her peers lack.

This is a woman also blessed with the ability to sing just about anything. Don't believe me? Fifteen years later, she went on to record an album of Louis Armstrong tunes with Tony Bennett. Yeah, that's right.

Anyway, enjoy the song. And I'll be back with more soundtrack goodies from the vaults next Sunday.

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