Review: Guardians Of The Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1 (Universal Music Canada)

GuardiansReportedly the first soundtrack containing previously released material to reach the No. 1 position on the album charts, Guardians Of The Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1 features a host of one-hit wonders and a few career artists to come up with one of the best retro movie soundtracks of recent times. Musical boundaries do not exist here, thankfully. You’ve got the underrated power-pop of The Raspberries’ “Go All The Way” side-by-side with Blue Swede’s only hit “Hooked On A Feeling” while later in the record, The Jackson 5’s classic “I Want You Back” precedes the rocking “Cherry Bomb” from The Runaways. While I could have done without hearing “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)” again, it is the soundtrack’s diverse make-up that is the reason why it has connected with audiences so well.

2 Responses to "Review: Guardians Of The Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1 (Universal Music Canada)"

  1. Dear Ken,

    It is a misconception that Blue Swede only had one hit on Billboard Hot 100. On April 6th 1974 “Hooked On A Feeling” became the first Swedish recording to claim that spot, and October 19th the same year, the group’s follow-up single “Never My Love” peaked at No 7 on the same chart, selling 400.000 copies worldwide.

    Best regards,

    Bengt Palmers
    Producer of “Hooked” and “Never My Love”

    PS. Although Swedish producers/songwriters – Max Martin and Shellback to name a few – today with an impressive frequency produce Billboard Top 10 singles, only four Swedish acts have reached the top of Billboard Hot 100; Blue Swede, ABBA, Roxette and Ace of Base. DS.

  2. Dear Ken,

    Last February I was informed that Blue Swede’s recording of “Hooked On A Feeling” was set to be included in MARVEL/Disney’s “Guardians of the Galaxy”. The info inspired me to compose the amazing time line of the song and its recordings – covering six (!) decades, from 1968 to 2014 – and hoping that you and your followers will enjoy reading it, I enclose the text of the time line.

    Best regards from the Swedish capital Stockholm,

    Bengt Palmers
    Producer of Blue Swede’s “Hooked On A Feeling” and “Never My Love”



    1968 – US songwriter Mark James writes music and lyrics to “Hooked On A Feeling”.
    Other notable songs by Mark James are Elvis’ hits “Suspicious Minds”, “Moody Blue”, “Raised On Rock” and “Always On My Mind”.

    1969 – US singer B.J. Thomas’ original recording of “Hooked” reaches the No 5 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart, earning Thomas a gold record.
    The following year Thomas scores a worldwide hit with “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head”, included in the blockbuster film “Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid”.

    1971 – UK producer, singer and music business entrepreneur Jonathan King records his version of “Hooked”. King changes B.J. Thomas’ middle-of-the-road groove into a bobbing reggae rhythm and adds the gorilla-sounding chant ooka-chacka, possibly inspired by the male back-up baritone voice in Johnny Preston’s 1959 hit “Running Bear”.

    1972 – Swedish singer Björn Skifs and EMI staff producer Bengt Palmers start a long-standing and successful collaboration by recording Björn’s LP “Blåblus”, which is soon certified gold.
    Bengt visits London, where he happens to see Jonathan King perform “Hooked” on BBC’s weekly TV-show “Top Of The Pops”. Bengt finds the song so intriguing that he buys the single in a London record shop, and King’s TV-performance helps to put his version of “Hooked” at No 23 on the UK Singles Chart.
    Björn forms a six-piece band for live performances, names the band “Blåblus”, and asks Bengt to suggest some songs for the band’s set list. Bengt puts together a bundle of singles, one of them being Jonathan King’s “Hooked”, and gives the bundle to Björn.

    1973 – Björn tells Bengt that the audiences go wild during the band’s performances of “Hooked”, and suggests to Bengt that they record the song for a single-release. During early spring Bengt and Björn Skifs & Blåblus record “Hooked” at EMI Studios in a Stockholm suburb, and in May – while Björn & Blåblus perform on the island of Rhodes in the Mediterranean Sea – the single hits the No 1 spot on the Swedish pop chart.

    Convinced that the recording could become a hit in other countries than Sweden, Bengt writes letters to all EMI affiliates around the world, letters that start with “Dear Sirs, enclosed please find the single ‘Hooked On A Feeling’ by Swedish group Björn Skifs & Blåblus. It is currently No 1 in the Swedish charts, and I strongly believe it could also become a hit in your territory…”.
    Of the very few answers that are returned, the answer from EMI’s US affiliate Capitol Records reads, “Sorry, but we don’t think the recording is suitable for the US market”.
    Frustrated and still totally convinced of the recording’s potential in the US market, Bengt sends letters and singles to all US record companies outside the EMI sphere; to majors such as CBS, RCA and Warner Brothers, as well as to all the many independent companies existing at the time such as A&M, Bell, Capricorn and Casablanca.
    Very few of these letters are answered, but the head of A&R at CBS Records International, Sol Rabinowitz, writes back that CBS wants to release “Hooked” in the US.
    Due to a “general rejection”-clause within the EMI organization, Bengt has to contact Capitol Records with information about the CBS interest and a request for Capitol’s OK to let CBS release all recordings made by Björn Skifs & Blåblus during the following three years.

    1974 – Capitol comes back with the surprising answer that they now do want to release “Hooked” (!), and since nobody outside Scandinavia can pronounce “Björn Skifs & Blåblus” the band is re-named Blue Swede for the US market. (“Blå” in “Blåblus” translates to “blue” in English.)
    Blue Swede’s recording of “Hooked” hits the No 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on April 6th, and the single goes on to sell 1,5 million copies worldwide.
    In October the band’s follow-up single “Never My Love” peaks at No 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, sells 400.000 copies worldwide, and Blue Swede criss-cross USA and Canada during two extensive tours.

    1975 – Björn dissolves the band and sets out on an extremely successful solo career, including many gold albums made in collaboration with Bengt, and in 1981 the duo writes the musical “SPÖK!”, in which Björn plays the leading role during four sold-out seasons at the Maxim Theatre in Stockholm.

    Mid-’80s – Around the globe Blue Swede’s recording of “Hooked” begins to appear in various TV-commercials. The reasoning for including the track in a TV-commercial could very well be its…”hook”; I – I – I – I – I’m hooked on a feeling – a “feel-good-phrase” that could possibly promote any number of different products.

    1992 – As Blue Swede’s “Hooked” continues to appear in various TV-commercials around the globe, Quentin Tarantino includes the recording in his film “Reservoir Dogs”, and the film’s soundtrack-album on MCA Records enjoys hefty sales.

    1998 – Blue Swede’s “Hooked” is included in numerous episodes of the hit-TV-show “Ally McBeal” where Ally, accompanied by the song, has hallucinations of a cleverly CGI-created baby dancing around her.

    2001 – B.J. Thomas releases one of his many Christian-oriented albums, “Jesus Hearted People”, while Jonathan King is sentenced to seven years in prison, after being found guilty of committing sexual offences against five boys aged 14 and 15 during the ’80s.

    Mid – ’00s – Blue Swede’s “Hooked” continues to appear in a variety of TV-commercials for companies such as AT&T in the US and for the giant Japanese brewery Suntory.

    2010 – During one of his numerous and successful tours in Sweden, Björn Skifs performs in front of a total of 250.000 concert-goers.

    2014 – The MARVEL/Disney Sci-Fi comedy “Guardians of the Galaxy” opens worldwide on August 1st and quickly becomes the year’s biggest box office hit in the US.
    With “Hooked” as track No 1, Disney releases the soundtrack album “Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Mix Vol. 1” on July 29th, and in short time the album tops all Billboard albums charts – Billboard 200, Billboard Top Soundtrack Albums, Billboard Top Rock Albums and Billboard Top Digital Albums, and eight weeks after its release the album is certified gold (500.000 copies sold) by RIAA, Recording Industry Association of America.
    “Awesome Mix Vol 1” also becomes the No 1 album in Canada, the No 1 album on the iTunes and Amazon charts, the No 2 album in Australia and the No 2 album on the UK Compilation Albums Chart. As of October 2014, the album has sold 850.000 copies worldwide, the number of legal downloads of “Hooked” exceed 160.000, and the number of “audio streams” of the recording exceed 8 million.

    — end

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