Answers to readers' questions about Blondie, Janet Jackson and Israel Kamakawiwo'ole.
BLONDIE ON [RAREST] BLONDIE
As this year is Blondie's 30th anniversary, I was wondering if you knew what the group's rarest single would be? In 1984 Chrysalis Records in Canada released a single "Danceway/For Your Eyes Only," from the album "The Hunter" but it apparently was deleted on the same day! Can you find out why? Is this the band's rarest single, as it never reached the stores?
I've been a Blondie fan for 27 years, and I have a lot of rarities -- still, it took me 12 years before I knew this single existed and another nine years to get a copy.
In preparation for an upcoming Billboard "Stars" special feature on Blondie, Staff Editor Michael Paoletta interviewed Deborah Harry, Clem Burke and Chris Stein. We asked him to quiz the band members on this topic. All drew blanks regarding the "Danceway" single and really didn't know anything about it.
However, Burke believes the rarest Blondie single might have been one from the 1978 album "Parallel Lines." It was a cover of "I'm Gonna Love You Too," a song originally recorded by Buddy Holly.
"I'm Gonna Love You Too" failed to reach either the Billboard Hot 100 or the Official U.K. Singles chart. The first single from "Parallel Lines" to make the Hot 100 was "Heart of Glass," which hit No. 1.
Blondie's last studio album, "The Curse of Blondie," was released in 2004 and hit No. 160 on The Billboard 200. Come March 13, the band will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in a ceremony at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York.
There is some confusion about when Janet Jackson's new album will be released. MTV is saying one thing and Newsday is saying another thing. MTV says that it's due after the summer, while Newsday said it scheduled for an April release. Do you have any information about when the Jackson album is really coming out?
In December, Billboard.com reported that Janet Jackson was nearing completion of her forthcoming album. Jackson is again working with longtime producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.
Jam has suggested that the album might be released around April or May. However, the set is not on the Virgin Records release schedule and may not hit streets until later in the year. So, at present, there is no conclusive answer to your question.
The upcoming set will be Jackson's ninth studio album, dating back to her 1982 self-titled debut. Her most recent effort, 2004's "Damita Jo," entered The Billboard 200 at No. 2 and sold 982,000 in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
SOMEWHERE OVER THE BIG ISLAND
I have no idea if you'll be able to help me with this. I recently purchased the "50 First Dates" soundtrack, but was disappointed to find that one particular song in the movie was not included. It's an island/reggae rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." Is there any way I can get my hands on the song?
Thank you for your help!
Overland Park, Kan.
Late Hawaiian artist Israel Kamakawiwo'ole performed the song you heard in the movie. His version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" can be found on his 2001 album "Alone In IZ World" (Big Boy). Additionally, a medley of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and "What a Wonderful World" appears on his 1993 set "Facing Future" (Mountain Apple).
Aside from "50 First Dates," Kamakawiwo'ole's take on "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" has been heard in a number of other TV shows and films. They include the Brad Pitt film "Meet Joe Black," "Finding Forrester" with Sean Connery and a 2003 episode of the CBS series "Cold Case." It was also heard during the high-rated episode of "ER" in which actor Anthony Edwards' character, Dr. Mark Greene, dies.
Kamakawiwo'ole died in 1997 of respiratory failure. All told, his assorted albums have sold a combined 1.6 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.