Bette Midler – Experience The Divine – Greatest Hits (1993/1996)

FrontCover1Bette Midler ( born December 1, 1945) is an American actress, comedian, singer, songwriter and author. Throughout her career which spans over five decades, Midler has received numerous accolades, including four Golden Globe Awards, three Grammy Awards, three Primetime Emmy Awards, two Tony Awards and a Kennedy Center Honor, in addition to nominations for two Academy Awards and a British Academy Film Award.

Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, Midler began her professional career in several off-off-Broadway plays, prior to her engagements in Fiddler on the Roof and Salvation on Broadway in the late 1960s. She came to prominence in 1970 when she began singing in the Continental Baths, a local gay bathhouse where she managed to build up a core following.

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Since 1970, Midler has released 14 studio albums as a solo artist, selling over 30 million records worldwide, and has received four Gold, three Platinum, and three Multiplatinum albums by RIAA.[3][4] Many of her songs became chart hits, including her renditions of “The Rose”, “Wind Beneath My Wings”, “Do You Want to Dance”, “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”, and “From a Distance”. She won Grammy Awards for Best New Artist, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for “The Rose”, and Record of the Year for “Wind Beneath My Wings”.

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Midler made her film debut with the musical drama The Rose (1979), which won her the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical, as well as a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress. She went on to star in numerous films, including Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986), Ruthless People (1986), Outrageous Fortune (1987), Big Business (1988), Beaches (1988), Hocus Pocus (1993), The First Wives Club (1996), The Stepford Wives (2004), Parental Guidance (2012), and The Addams Family (2019). Midler also had starring roles in For the Boys (1991) and Gypsy (1993), winning two additional Golden Globe Awards for these films and receiving a second Academy Award nomination for the former.

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In 2008, Midler signed a contract with Caesars Palace in Las Vegas for a residency, Bette Midler: The Showgirl Must Go On, which ended in 2010. She starred in the Broadway revival of Hello, Dolly!, which began previews in March 2017 and premiered at the Shubert Theatre in April 2017. The show was her first leading role in a Broadway musical. Midler received the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance. (wikipedia)

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Experience the Divine: Greatest Hits is a compilation album by American singer Bette Midler, featuring many of her best-known songs. The fourteen track compilation was released on Atlantic Records in 1993.

While several greatest hits albums with Midler had been released in the UK, Continental Europe, Scandinavia, Australia, New Zealand and Japan throughout the 1970s and 1980s, such as The Best of Bette (1978) and The Best of Bette (1981)—two different compilations with the same title—and Just Hits (1987), this was the first career overview to be released worldwide including the US and Canada, some twenty years after Midler recorded her first studio album for the Atlantic Records label. The album included one new recording, Midler’s Emmy Award-winning rendition of “One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)”, sung to retiring talk show host Johnny Carson on the penultimate Tonight Show in May 1992. Experience the Divine: Greatest Hits peaked at #50 on the Billboard 200 albums chart in 1993 and was three years later certified platinum for one million copies sold in the US.

Experience the Divine: Greatest Hits was re-released in Europe, Australia and New Zealand in 1996 with a slightly altered track list, then also including two of Midler’s biggest hits which for some reason had been left off the 1993 edition; “Favorite Waste of Time” and the Rolling Stones cover “Beast of Burden”, both from the 1983 album No Frills. The 1996 edition also included two versions of the US hit single “To Deserve You”, taken from what became Midler’s final studio album for Atlantic, 1995’s Bette of Roses. (wikipedia)

The frontcover of the 1996 edition:
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Placing the raw beginning of her career (beautifully represented by the stark resignation of “Hello in There”) against the brassy persona she has since cultivated (“Miss Otis Regrets”) against the overblown A/C cuts that have been her biggest hits (“From a Distance,” “Wind Beneath My Wings”), Bette Midler shows on this album why she is a legend and not just a popular recording artist. Being able to raise those enormously popular ballads from muck simply by rising above the production with her expressive, sterling vocals, thus making bland material classy, is one thing. But pulling off the coarseness of “When a Man Loves a Woman” as well as the sultry “Do You Wanna Dance?” in practically the same breath, while never overstating the steadfast certainty of “The Rose,” shows range that most pop “stars” can’t even spell.

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Despite that, giving listeners an overview of a 30-year career with more good material than hit singles would be difficult in any case, and some of the choices for this album seem almost arbitrary, considering the single “Beast of Burden” from No Frills and classic cuts like “Come Back Jimmy Dean” from the same album and the wrenching “Superstar” from her stellar debut, The Divine Miss M, are missing. On the plus side, Experience the Divine includes “One for my Baby (And One More for the Road),” which Midler performed as the chosen final guest of Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show. Atlantic did a sound job of culling from her repertoire, and this album represents all that most casual fans would need to get an understanding of the vocalist beyond her hit singles, but, as with any true artist, to truly experience the Divine, you would need to check out each of her albums to find all of the gems. (by Bryan Buss)

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Personnel:
Bette Midler (vocals)
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many, many studio musicians

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Tracklist:

The 1993 edition:
01. Hello In There (from the album “Divine Miss M”, 1972) (Prine) 4.17
02. Do You Want To Dance? (from the album “Divine Miss M”, 1972) (Freeman) 2.44
03. From A Distance (from the album “Some People’s Lives”, 1990) (Gold) 4.38
04. Chapel Of Love (from the album “Divine Miss M”, 1972) (Barry/Greenwich/Spector) 2.54
05. Only In Miami (from the album “No Frills”, 1983) (Gronenthal) 3.57
06. When A Man Loves A Woman (from the soundtrack album “The Rose”, 1979) Lewis/ Wright) 4.54
07. The Rose (Single version) (from the soundtrack album “The Rose”, 1979) (McBroom) 3.34
08. Miss Otis Regrets (from the album “Some People’s Lives”, 1990) (Porter) 2.39
09. Shiver Me Timbers (from the album “Live at Last”, 1977) (Waits) 4.43
10. Wind Beneath My Wings (from the soundtrack album “Beaches”. 1988)  (Henley/Silbar) 4.53
11. Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (previously unavailable on album hit 45 version) (Raye/ Prince) 2.19
12. One For My Baby (And One More For The Road) (live) (previously unreleased. Recorded and aired on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson on May 21, 1992 (Arlen/  Mercer/Shaiman/Midler) 4.06
13. Friends (from the album “Divine Miss M”, 1972) (Klingman/Linhart) 2.55
14. In My Life (Single version)  (from the soundtrack album “For The Boys”, 1991) (Lennon/ McCartney) 3.12

The 1996 edition:
01. To Deserve You (single remix) (from the album “Bette Of Roses”, 1995) (McKee)  4.11
02. Beast Of Burden (from the album “No Frills”, 1983) (Jagger/Richards) 3.50
03. Favorite Waste Of Time (from the album “No Frills”, 1983) (Crenshaw) 2.41
04. Hello In There (from the album “Divine Miss M”, 1972) (Prine) 4.17
05. Do You Want To Dance? (from the album “Divine Miss M”, 1972) (Freeman) 2.44
06. From A Distance (from the album “Some People’s Lives”, 1990) (Gold) 4.38
07. Chapel Of Love (from the album “Divine Miss M”, 1972) (Barry/Greenwich/Spector) 2.54
08. Only In Miami (from the album “No Frills”, 1983) (Gronenthal) 3.57
09. When A Man Loves A Woman (from the soundtrack album “The Rose”, 1979) Lewis/ Wright) 4.54
10. The Rose (Single version) (from the soundtrack album “The Rose”, 1979) (McBroom) 3.34
11. Miss Otis Regrets (from the album “Some People’s Lives”, 1990) (Porter) 2.39
12. Shiver Me Timbers (from the album “Live at Last”, 1977) (Waits) 4.43
13. Wind Beneath My Wings (from the soundtrack album “Beaches”. 1988)  (Henley/Silbar) 4.53
14. Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (previously unavailable on album hit 45 version) (Raye/ Prince) 2.19
15. One For My Baby (And One More For The Road) (live) (previously unreleased. Recorded and aired on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson on May 21, 1992 (Arlen/  Mercer/Shaiman/Midler) 4.06
16. Friends (from the album “Divine Miss M”, 1972) (Klingman/Linhart) 2.55
17. In My Life (Single version)  (from the soundtrack album “For The Boys”, 1991) (Lennon/ McCartney) 3.12
18. To Deserve You (from the album “Bette of Roses”, 1995)) (McKee) 5.14
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19. Red (taken from the album “Broken Blossom”, 1977) (Carter/Hagar) 3.20

CDs

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More from Bette Midler:
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The official website:
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Bette Midler – Some People’s Lives (1990)

frontcover1Some People’s Lives is the seventh studio album by American singer Bette Midler, released on the Atlantic Records label in 1990. It contains one of her biggest hits, “From a Distance”, which won the songwriter Julie Gold a Grammy Award for Song of the Year in 1991.

The Some People’s Lives album became one of the biggest commercial successes of Midler’s musical career, peaking at number 6 in the US and number 5 in the UK and it was later awarded double platinum by the RIAA for sales of over two million copies in the US alone. It has sold 7 million copies worldwide.

Following a series of successful Hollywood movies made throughout the 1980s, among them Down and Out in Beverly Hills, Ruthless People, Outrageous Fortune, Oliver and Company and Big Business, Midler returned to the music scene with a proper studio album in 1990, her first since 1983’s rock and new wave-influenced No Frills. Some People’s Lives however had more in common with the preceding soundtrack Beaches in that it featured both interpretations of jazz standards like “Miss Otis Regrets”, “Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most” and “He Was Too Good to Me” as well as more chart-oriented pop and adult contemporary material with contrasting synth-driven arrangements courtesy of producer Arif Mardin, his son Joe and Robbie Buchanan. The up-tempo track “Moonlight Dancing” (first recorded by pop/R&B group The Pointer Sisters) was written by noted hitmaker Diane Warren and “The Gift of Love” by Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg, the team behind Madonna’s “Like a Virgin”, Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors” and The Bangles’ “Eternal Flame”.

“Moonlight Dancing” (also released as an extended dance remix which sampled the 1973 recording “Do You Want to Dance”), “Night and Day” and “The Gift of Love” were all issued as singles, but the biggest hit that the album produced was undoubtedly Midler’s interpretation of Julie Gold’s anthem of universal brotherhood “From a Distance” featuring The Radio Choir of New Hope Church, paradoxically released shortly before the breakout of the first Persian Gulf War. The single reached number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, number 1 on the Adult Contemporary chart and number 6 in the UK and was later certified platinum in the US, making it Midler’s second million-seller within the space of two years following “Wind Beneath My Wings” from the Beaches soundtrack. The song has since been recorded by a large number of other artists and Midler herself included an alternate version with partly re-written lyrics on her 2006 album Cool Yule.(by wikipedia)

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Bette Midler, 1990

Despite Bette Midler’s bawdy, cartoonish image, her albums are almost always classy A/C collections that are often buried under overproduction. So on Some People’s Lives, one of the singer’s strongest collections, it isn’t surprising that the only hit, “From a Distance,” a song of hope and peace, is in keeping with much of her material — namely poor production that is buoyed by her sterling vocals and strong lyrics. Aside from that, however, Some People’s Lives is a smooth collection of standards like Cole Porter’s “Miss Otis Regrets” and contemporary cuts like Diane Warren’s “Moonlight Dancing.” Kicking off with the punchy “One More Round,” Midler sets the stage for sassy up-tempo numbers, then slides into the title song, a haunting ballad of despair that shows she is on more solid ground than ever. This is Midler at her best — playful, yearning, brassy, regretful — and that is mostly because producer Arif Mardin surrounds his star with respectful production that matches her talent while accenting her strengths. Standouts are the title cut, “Miss Otis Regrets,” “He Was Too Good to Me/Since You Stayed Here,” and “Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most.” (by Bryan Buss )

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Personnel:
Gene Bertoncini (guitar)
Michael Boddicker (synthesizer)
Phil Bodner (clarinet)
Robbie Buchanan (keyboards, programming)
Ron Carter (bass)
Gary Coleman (percussion)
Andrew Gold (guitar)
Steve Kroon (percussion)
Michael Landau (guitar)
Jay Leonhart (bass)
John McCurry (guitar)
Bette Midler (vocals)
Dean Parks (guitar)
Bernie Layton (piano)
Joe Mardin (keyboards, programming, background vocals)
Guy Roche (programming)
Marc Shaiman (piano)
Andy Snitzer (saxophone)
Neil Stubenhaus (bass)
Grady Tate (drums)
Nino Tempo (saxophone)
Carlos Vega (drums)
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background vocals:
Charlotte Crossley – Ula Hedwig – Cissy Houston –Tom Kelly – Jo Ann Harris – David Lasley – George Merrill – Myrna Smith – Eugene VanBuren – Maria Vidal – John West
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The Radio Choir of New Hope Church (background vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. One More Round (Harper/Sembello/Willis) 2.03
02. Some People’s Lives (Fleming/Ian) 3.29
03. Miss Otis Regrets (Porter) 2.51
04. Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most (Landesman/Wolf) 5.30
05. Night And Day (Hughes/Seeman) 5.30
06. The Girl Is On To You (Johnstone) 4.10
07. From A Distance (Gold) 4.37
08. Moonlight Dancing (Warren) 4.39
09. He Was Too Good to Me (Rodgers/Hart) / Since You Stayed Here (Larson/Rubins) 4.12
10. All Of A Sudden (Archangel/Wilk) 4.33
11. The Gift Of Love (Kelly/Steinberg/Hoffs) 4.02

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