The Designer’s Drugs: Dirty Dancing – The Original Demos

Medium: Album

Stimulus: Dirty Dancing – The Original Demos

Anno: 2010

In the course of writing reviews, I love getting strange treasures that I’d never find myself, and this is one of the strangest things sent to me.  To commemorate the passing of Patrick Swayze a year ago, the producers of the Dirty Dancing soundtrack released a four-track collection of early versions of its huge hits.  Yes, “(I’ve Had) The Time of my Life” is here – actually, twice!  “Hungry Eyes” is as well.  While I always suspect the motives behind any artistic release provoked by a person’s death (and this is no exception), this collection of prototypes is pretty great.

The big differences between these demos and their final versions are that, in the latter, the songs are more orchestrated and the singing is more dynamic.  Bill Medley’s Tom Jones impression on “Time of my Life” is replaced by a higher-pitched guy who occasionally crosses the border between soulful and tearful.  Furthermore, stock keyboard sounds fill in most of the songs’ blanks, which automatically renders these cuts lesser, though they’re far from horrible.  But my main question is: on a release designed to honor Patrick Swayze’s passing, why wouldn’t you include “She’s like the Wind,” Swayze’s song on the soundtrack?  This is a neat little artifact, but it could have been a lot better.

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