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Rock Swings

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Barnes & Noble - William Pearl
If one venerable singer was meant to transform rock and pop classics into swinging big-band numbers and saloon-song ballads, it was the Paul Anka. Himself a pop star from his teenage years to middle age, when he gracefully made the transition to adult mainstream, Anka understands both sides of the musical fence. Taking signature tunes from the disparate likes of R.E.M. ("Everybody Hurts,") Oasis ("Wonderwall"), Soundgarden ("Blackhole Sun"), and Nirvana ("Smells Like Teen Spirit"), as well as Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, and others, Anka digs in and finds the inner Sinatra at their core. The result is surprisingly effective and often completely winning. Anka, in ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - William Pearl
If one venerable singer was meant to transform rock and pop classics into swinging big-band numbers and saloon-song ballads, it was the Paul Anka. Himself a pop star from his teenage years to middle age, when he gracefully made the transition to adult mainstream, Anka understands both sides of the musical fence. Taking signature tunes from the disparate likes of R.E.M. ("Everybody Hurts,") Oasis ("Wonderwall"), Soundgarden ("Blackhole Sun"), and Nirvana ("Smells Like Teen Spirit"), as well as Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, and others, Anka digs in and finds the inner Sinatra at their core. The result is surprisingly effective and often completely winning. Anka, in exceptional voice, never condescends to the material; he connects with the emotional heart of the lyrics and then tweaks them all with the rhythmic verve of an earlier generation. Rock swings? In this veteran singer's hands, it surely does.
All Music Guide - John Bush
Having written a fair number of them, Paul Anka recognizes a contemporary standard when he hears one, even if it doesn't conform to the historical model as it's existed from the days of Tin Pan Alley to Broadway. And so his songbook of chestnuts plucked from the '80s and '90s rock canon, Rock Swings, fares much better than its closest contemporary, Pat Boone's novelty In a Metal Mood: No More Mr. Nice Guy. First of all, there's the material -- a compelling selection of standards that reveals a close inspection and an inspired reimagining of the pop and alternative artists of the period perhaps not by Anka himself. The disc does commit a few errors by resorting to novelty selections Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger" and Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit", but the big surprise here is that most of the songs slip into the standards bag with an uncanny ease Pet Shop Boys' "It's a Sin," Billy Idol's "Eyes Without a Face," Lionel Richie's "Hello". No matter how far the stretch, Anka and his inspired primary arranger, Randy Kerber, make these songs work in a swing context; in fact, it takes only a single listen to confirm that the narrator of even Van Halen's "Jump" is at heart quite the ring-a-ding swinger -- casual, cynical, knowing. There are other inspired choices here, tender ballads like R.E.M.'s "Everybody Hurts" or Spandau Ballet's "True," and, astonishingly, the nihilist anthem "Blackhole Sun" by Soundgarden. Most of Chris Cornell's lyrics -- "Hang my head, drown my fear/ Till you all just disappear" -- could easily have found a home on Sinatra's Only the Lonely although at least one line -- "Call my name through the cream/ And I'll hear you scream again" -- wouldn't have had a prayer. Anka only missteps when he tries to wring meaning from lyrics that require some emotion to carry them; on "Smells Like Teen Spirit," the prime offender, Anka slips into novelty territory when he injects a forceful "Yeah!" immediately after delivering Nirvana's classic lines "A mulatto, an albino/ A mosquito, my libido," as though he can confirm Kurt Cobain's words as a home truth.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/7/2005
  • Label: Verve
  • UPC: 602498822234
  • Catalog Number: 000475102

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 It's My Life (4:02)
  2. 2 True (4:30)
  3. 3 Eye of the Tiger (4:04)
  4. 4 Everybody Hurts (4:14)
  5. 5 Wonderwall (3:37)
  6. 6 Black Hole Sun (4:28)
  7. 7 It's a Sin (4:59)
  8. 8 Jump (3:36)
  9. 9 Smells Like Teen Spirit (2:42)
  10. 10 Hello (5:14)
  11. 11 Eyes Without a Face (3:59)
  12. 12 Lovecats (3:58)
  13. 13 The Way You Make Me Feel (3:49)
  14. 14 Tears in Heaven (5:01)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Paul Anka Primary Artist
Patrick Williams Leader
Bruce Dukov Violin
Marilyn Baker Viola
Jim Atkinson French Horn
Mari Tsumura Violin
Bryant Byers Trombone
Darius Campo Violin
John Clayton Leader
Vinnie Colaiuta Drums
Luis Conte Percussion
Larry Corbett Cello
Sal Cracchiolo Trumpet
Jon Crosse Leader, Tenor Saxophone
Ernest Ehrhardt Cello
Charles Everett Violin
Armen Garabedian Violin
Berj Garabedian Violin
Pamela Goldsmith Viola
Gary Grant Trumpet
Dan Higgins Alto Saxophone, Reed Flute
Greg Huckins Alto Saxophone, Reed Flute
Patricia Johnson Violin
Peter Kent Violin
Randy Kerber Piano, Conductor, Leader
Miran Kojian Violin
Larry Koonse Guitar
Michael Lang Piano
Bill Liston Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone, Reed Flute
Warren Luening Trumpet
Andy Martin Trombone
Miguel Martinez Cello
Bob McChesney Trombone
Jorge Moraga Viola
Simon Oswell Viola
Dean Parks Guitar
Joel Peskin Reeds, Bass Clarinet, Baritone Saxophone
Emil Richards Vibes
Anatoly Rosinsky Violin
Harry Shirinian Viola
Haim Shtrum Violin
Kurt Snyder French Horn
Brad Warnaar French Horn
Shari Zippert Violin
Gayle Levant Harp
Andrew Shulman Cello
James V. Ross Viola
William Frank "Bill" Reichenbach Jr. Trombone
Charlie Davis Trumpet
Tiffiany Yi Hu Violin
Jennifer Munday Violin
Larry Hall Trumpet
Becky Bunnell Violin
Steve Richards Cello
Alex Iles Trombone
Steven Holtman Trombone
Vanessa Freebairn-Smith Cello
Mario de León Violin
Technical Credits
Paul Anka Executive Producer
Jon Bon Jovi Composer
Billy Idol Composer
Michael Jackson Composer
Lionel Richie Composer
David Lee Roth Composer
Richie Sambora Composer
Steve Stevens Composer
Frank Sullivan Composer
Patrick Williams Arranger
Jim Peterik Composer
Peter Buck Composer
Eric Clapton Composer
John Clayton Arranger
Kurt Cobain Composer
Chris Cornell Composer
Dave Grohl Composer
Will Jennings Composer
Gary Kemp Composer
Randy Kerber Arranger
Chris Lowe Composer
Mike Mills Composer
Krist Novoselic Composer
Al Schmitt Engineer
Robert Smith Composer
Michael Stipe Composer
Neil Tennant Composer
Eddie Van Halen Composer
Alex Van Halen Composer
Noel Gallagher Composer
Bill Berry Composer
Brad Dechter Orchestration
Steve Genewick Digital Editing
Max Martin Composer
Alex Christensen Producer
Michael Anthony Composer
Steffen Häfelinger Vocal Editing
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Smooth Rocks!

    I've been a fan of this collection of music by the singers/bands that first made these songs famous over the years. I've always enjoyed Pau Anka but have never owned an album of his. This is the first one I've bought and I've been in love with it ever since. He sings these songs with so much respect and understanding of lyrics that he delivers a whole new reason to love this music. Bravo Paul! This album SWINGS and your voice ROCKS!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    What? Paul Anka? Smells like Teen Spirit? YES!

    This album was fantastic. The favorite songs of our time, sung by the always scrumtrelescent Mr. Paul Anka. If I could give this CD 6 stars, I most certainly would. What a man!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Where are my earplugs?!

    I wish I could have given this one NO stars. This is the absolute worst album I have ever heard! It's a complete waste of perfectly good sound waves. I thought the rendition of "Eye of the Tiger" was horrid, but it was fabulous compared to his version of "Wonderwall". In short, avoid this one like the plague.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Strange

    I'll admit, I'm not part of a generation that is instantly familiar with Anka's work. Perhaps if I was I wouldn't have found this album quite so hard to grasp. Frankly I felt the whole thing was a novelty, a very valiant attempt, but just too strange for me to listen to more than twice. My brain just can't handle Lionel Richie's "Hello" sounding so astoundingly similar to Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit". As far as I was concerned these songs didn't live on the same street, let alone live next to each other on an album. I applaud Anka for challenging us to see these songs as similar entities, but the result just doesn't work. It sounds like parody, not the original stylings of a pop legend.

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