Beverly Hills Cop
REVIEW BY: Michael R. Smith
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 03/29/2009
Patti LaBelle got a new lease on life with this soundtrack project. Beverly Hills Cop was also kind to instrumentalist Harold Faltermeyer. Both LaBelle and Faltermeyer even surprised themselves when they went all the way to #1 on the Dance Club Play chart with their hits “New Attitude” and “Axel F.” Unfortunately, “New Attitude” is one of those songs that ended up being overplayed on the radio and then on television when it became a jingle for commercials. I remember also getting sick of hearing “Axel F,” especially when it was put on a repetitive loop for my scout troop’s slide show in the summer of 1985. Now, in retrospect, I have nothing but fond memories of both songs and the entire soundtrack as a whole.
Two other singles from this soundtrack that did well on the Billboard charts are “Neutron Dance” by the Pointer Sisters and “The Heat Is On” by Glenn Frey. I was very excited by “Neutron Dance” at the time, and today I still consider it to be the Pointers’ best song. As for former Eagle Glenn Frey, he was able to get a lot of mileage off “The Heat Is On,” especially considering it went as high as #2 on the pop chart. Curses be to REO Speedwagon (and their dreadful “Can’t Fight This Feeling”) for denying him the #1 position!
This album was one of those '80s releases that I remember playing on my little tape recorder on many a scouting camping trip. No hike would be as interesting without music providing the accompaniment, after all! I didn’t even find it necessary to go see the Eddie Murphy film; I was having too much fun creating one of my own. Recently, I did finally manage to watch the actual film and see how the music fit into it – wasn’t all that impressed, I’m afraid.
What I like best about this soundtrack is how many diverse acts can be found in one place. You’ve got Oingo Boingo’s frontman Danny Elfman bringing some Brat Pack flavor with the angular – and totally tubular – “Gratitude” and a Jody Watley-less Shalamar with “Don’t Get Stopped In Beverly Hills.” Patti LaBelle proves that she is the dominating diva by giving us another fun dance cut for the road with “Stir It Up.” It was great to have Patti back on the scene, and 1985 was truly her comeback year. One year later, she would end up with the #1 song of 1986 with the stuffy duet with Michael McDonald, “On Our Own.”
Even unknowns like Junior (“Emergency”) and the System (“Rock ‘N Roll Me Again”) give it their best shot on Beverly Hills Cop, a film that was to soon become a franchise with even more successful soundtracks still to come. Remember what “I Want Your Sex” did for – and to – George Michael? I think the jury’s still out on that one…