After scoring his first top 5 hit, 'Each Time You Break My Heart', Nick went on to have major success across Europe with four albums and several #1 singles.
Now, for the first time, Cherry Red has released an expansive collection of his entire recorded output during the '80s and '90s.Nick Kamen: The Complete Collection (in stores and online July 24th, 2020 via Cherry Red Records UK), the 6CD Box-Set features the international smash hits 'Each Time You Break My Heart' (co-written by Madonna), 'Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever', 'Nobody Else', 'Tell Me', 'Bring Me Your Love', 'I Promised Myself' and 'Oh How Happy.'
It also contains two previously unreleased songs, 'So Sad' a cover of the Everly Brothers classic, and 'Right On Track', originally a million selling '80s hit for The Breakfast Club.
Disc One - Nick Kamen (1987):
1. 'Win Your Love'
2. 'Open the Door to Your Heart'
3. 'Nobody Else'
4. 'Into the Night'
5. 'Come Softly to Me'
6. 'Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever'
7. 'Each Time You Break My Heart'
8. 'The Man in Me'
9. 'Any Day Now'
10. 'Help Me Baby'
11. 'Baby After Tonight'
12. 'Miss You'
13. 'Each Time You Break My Heart' (Dance Mix)
14. 'Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever' (Extended Dance Mix)
15. 'Nobody Else' (7" Version)
16. 'Open the Door to Your Heart' (Extended Version)
17. 'Each Time You Break My Heart' (Instrumental)
Also containing detailed liner notes, including new contributions from producers Stephen Bray and Toby Andersen, the box-set opens with Nick Kamen, which was obviously the British singer's eponymous debut album (UK #34), released by the WEA record label in 1987.
Long out of print on as an original CD and vinyl, in truth, and as much as you may still think of Kamen as a manufactured product (thanks, Madonna), this is still a great pop album from start to finish.
Personally, I've been a fan since the release of 'Each Time You Break My Heart' and being a collector of (basically) anything that got releases back in the day, I unashamedly also have all his albums (and 7" and 12" singles too!)
He should have been a superstar in America, but the teenage girls were already heavily into bands such as Duran Duran and Culture Club. I mean, shit, even Spandau Ballet couldn't crack the teen US pop market back then!
But, and playing Devil's Advocate here, sure, the old songs sung by Kamen aren't exactly pushing the boat out, nor are they particularly brilliant, but they sounded great, and that's what counted back then! Oh, and, of course, that Madonna-penned song just put Kamen soaring to the top of the charts and into a mass of teen hearts!
With the debut album featuring the hit singles 'Each Time You Break My Heart' (UK #5), 'Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever' (UK #16), 'Nobody Else' (UK #47), 'Come Softly to Me' (Italy #19) and 'Win Your Love' (Italy #13), this expanded disc now adds a quite brilliant trio of extended and dance mixes.
Disc Two - Us (1988):
1. 'Bring Me Your Love'
2. 'Turn It Up'
4. 'This Is Really Love'
5. 'Count on Me'
6. 'Tell Me'
7. 'I Can't Live Without Your Love'
8. 'Wonders of You'
9. 'Steal Love'
10. 'Better Be Good Tonite'
11. 'Bring Me Your Love' (7" Version)
12. 'Tell Me' (Extended Mix)
13. 'Bring Me Your Love' (Extended Mix)
14. 'Turn It Up' (12" Mix)
15. 'Tell Me' (Dub Mix)
16. 'Don't Hold Out'
In 1988, and following quickly on the heels of all his chart successes in both the UK and Italy, Kamen's sophomore album Us was released.
Yet another solid collection that instantly reminds the listener of where they were come the late '80s, and what the state of the record collections looked like, Us is pure, unadulterated nostalgia all the way.
OK, sure, it wasn't an album that lit the charts up in the UK (although it was #2 in Italy), and sure it was notably his least popular, but artistically it is his best album (in my humble opinion).
Catchy dance-pop tunes like the magnificent, Madonna-created chorus of 'Tell Me' (UK #40) make this album gold, along with opener 'Bring Me Your Love' (Italy #13).
'Count on Me' and 'Wonder of You' are well mixed with pure pop, as is 'This is Really Love,' with the beautiful, yearning ballad 'Steal Love' near the end one of the best of the year, for me.
Now inclusive of a quartet of extended and dub mixes, the stand outs here for me are both the brilliant 'Tell Me' (Extended Mix) and the excellent 'Turn It Up' (12" Mix).
Disc Three - Move Until We Fly (1990)
1. 'I Promised Myself'
2. 'Oh How Happy'
3. 'Looking Good Diving'
4. 'Somebody's Arms to Hold Me'
5. 'Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um'
6. 'Take Back My Hand Child'
7. 'We Can Make It'
8. 'Agony & Ecstasy'
9. 'You Are'
10. 'I Want More'
11. 'Move Until We Fly'
12. 'Love Street'
13. 'Sacrifice Your Reputation'
14. 'Oh How Happy' (7" Version)
15. 'Looking Good Diving' (7" Version)
16. 'Agony & Ecstasy' (7" Version)
17. 'I Promised Myself' (Independiente Mix)
Overstepping, for whatever reason, Kamen's 1988 album Loving You, next up is his 1990 entry, Move Until We Fly (Austria #4).
Opening with the low key, mid-tempo 'I Promised Myself' (UK #50, Austria #1), and backing it with the Edwin Starr classic 'Oh How Happy' (Italy #37), it was when we go to the mellow reach of 'Looking Good Diving' that the chart hits in any country seemed to just dry up completely.
The lo-fi soul of 'Somebody's Arms to Hold Me' is backed by Kamen's attempt at the Curtis Mayfield classic 'Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um,' which in turn is followed by the upbeat 'Take Back My Hand Child' and the soulful turn of 'We Can Make It.'
The original album then rounds out with the lush 'Agony and Ecstacy,' and then come three more all also written exclusively by Kamen, the funky 'You Are,' the steamy dancefloor groove 'I Want More,' and then closes on the electronic drum pad beats of the title track.
Now inclusive of six extra tracks, there's nothing extended or remixed about them, which is solely to do with the fact that by now, Kamen was wearing down, his pop stardom star dulling with every 7" single released, and where once each track was a heartfelt dance outreach, the entire Us album were just plain, mid-tempo tracks.
Disc Four - Whatever, Whenever (1992)
1. 'We'll Never Lose What We Have Found'
2. 'Whatever, Whenever'
3. 'You're Not the Only One'
4. 'Nothing Rhymes Now'
5. 'Did I Imagine You'
6. 'This Is Our Time'
7. 'Don't You Know'
8. 'I Need You'
9. 'There Was a Time in America'
10. 'You and I Are Here'
11. 'I'll Find Another Way'
12. 'We'll Never Lose What We Have Found' (7" Version)
13. 'I Know Where You Are'
14. 'We'll Never Lose What We Have Found' (Club Mix)
15. 'You're Not the Only One' (Youth Sa Roush Mix)
16. 'You're Not the Only One' (Extended Mix)
Released in 1992, and flatlining on the album charts in any country, Whatever, Whenever would prove to be the straw that broke the camels back, my friends.
Kicking things off with the guitar rock of 'We'll Never Lose What We Have Found,' Kamen then slides into the piano-led, funky tambourine beats of the title track, and then the lo-fi, mid-tempo pop duo of 'You're Not the Only One' and 'Nothing Rhymes Now.'
The upbeat, acoustic (yet plugged in) guitars of 'Did I Imagine You' make this a stand out track, and is backed by the funky pop-hop 'This Time Is Our Time,' then comes the Eastern-tinged 'Don't You Know' and the ballad 'I Need You.'
The original album then rounds out with the pop-lite 'There Was a Time in America,' the keyboard-infused 'You and I Are Here,' and then closes out on another, albeit this time more heavily-endowed, Eastern-inspired beat track, 'I'll Find Another Way.'
So, as you can clearly see, without Kamen's unique brand of late '80s funk and sexy singing, and without Madonna throwing him a chorus here and there, Whatever, Whenever is an album in search of hooks and melodies, sadly.
Now inclusive of five extra tracks, those include two different versions of the best track on the album, 'You're Not the Only One.'
Disc Five - Remixes & Rarities, Volume 1
1. 'Each Time You Break My Heart' (Shep Pettibone Extended Version)
2. 'Win Your Love' (The Love Mix)
3. 'Nobody Else' (Arthur Baker Dance Mix)
4. 'Come Softly to Me' (12" Version)
5. 'Nobody Else' (Jellybean 12" Version)
6. 'Each Time You Break My Heart' (US Mix)
7. 'Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever' (Alternative Mix)
8. 'Oh How Happy' (Bubble Mix)
9. 'Tell Me' (Instrumental)
10. 'Bring Me Your Love' (Instrumental)
11. 'Agony & Ecstasy' (Instrumental)
12. 'Looking Good Diving' (Instrumental)
13. 'Oh How Happy' (Instrumental)
14. 'I Promised Myself' (Instrumental)
15. 'Agony & Ecstasy' (Dawn Mix)
16. 'Lonely Boy'
OK, now we're cookin', all you Kamen fans, for here on Disc's Five and Six we get two complete CDs of his remixes, extended and alternative versions, along with, sadly, a slew of instrumentals (which are only ever useful - for any one, at any time - if you wish to use them for karaoke, of course!).
Volume 1 brings us stand out cuts such as, well shit, the opening five tracks re: 'Each Time You Break My Heart' (Shep Pettibone Extended Version), which is easily the best version of the song ever produced, 'Win Your Love' (The Love Mix), yet another corker from the 12" single vaults, the vibrantly excellent 'Nobody Else' (Arthur Baker Dance Mix), and then both 'Come Softly to Me' (12" Version) and 'Nobody Else' (Jellybean 12" Version).
Disc Six - Remixes & Rarities, Volume 2
1. 'US Megamix'
2. 'Nobody Else' (Alternative 12" Mix)
3. 'Oh How Happy' (Wow How Hippy Mix)
4. 'Looking Good Diving' (Extended Mix)
5. 'Count on Me' (7" Version)
6. 'So Sad'
7. 'Right on Track'
8. 'Oh How Happy' (G.U.C.C.I. Mix)
9. 'Take Back My Hand Child' (Alternative Version)
10. 'Win Your Love' (Instrumental)
11. 'Wonders of You' (Backing Track)
12. 'Somebody's Arms to Hold Me' (Instrumental)
13. 'You Are' (Instrumental)
14. 'You're Not the Only One' (Instrumental)
15. 'Come Softly to Me' (Backing Track)
16. 'Oh What a Night'
Continuing the extended love for all-things Kamen, yes, sadly, we still get en masse of instrumentals (which now also features two "Backing Track's" into the mix too), regardless, Volume 2 brings more mixes to the party.
Stand out tracks here are, and without a shadow of a doubt, the pulsating 'US Megamix' (simply cracking, from start to finish), the pumped up 'Nobody Else' (Alternative 12" Mix), and the gospel-tinged beauty 'Oh How Happy' (Wow How Hippy Mix).
Featuring 20 previously-unreleased mixes in this magnificent 6-CD Box-Set from Cherry Red Records UK, a package that also includes two previously unreleased songs in ‘So Sad’ (the Everly Brothers number) and ‘Right On Track’, a cover of the song by American band The Breakfast Club (who Madonna and Stephen Bray both drummed for at different points in time!), Nick Kamen: The Complete Collection is a collector's wet dream!