As a girl who grew up in the 80s, I would rate Dirty Dancing pretty high on my list of nostalgic guilty pleasure movies. Like many others, I was deeply saddened when the movie’s leading man Patrick Swayze recently passed away of pancreatic cancer. The film’s 25th anniversary is approaching next year, and Oscar-winning Dirty Dancing songwriter Franke Previte is joining the battle to “knockout” this horrible disease by donating the funds of his newly re-released classic albums to pancreatic cancer charities.
Last year, Previte released the original demo recordings for his Dirty Dancing hits “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” and “Hungry Eyes”and has continued to direct his proceeds to the Patrick Swayze Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund at Stanford. Previte is now releasing his newly remastered catalogue from his “lost 80s” hit rock ‘n’ soul band, Franke & The Knockouts. Proceeds for those recordings will go to the Pancreas Cancer Action Network, represented by Lisa Swayze.
In partnership with Friday Music, Previte is celebrating the 30th anniversary of Franke & the Knockout’s first hit record, Sweetheart by releasing the newly remastered ultimate hits collection The Best of Franke & the Knockouts: Sweetheart-Anniversary Edition on CD and digital download.. The band’s three “lost” albums, Franke & the Knockouts (1981), Below the Belt (1982) and Makin’ the Point (1984) are being made simultaneously available in digital-only format for the first time since their original vinyl issue.
The Best of Franke & the Knockouts features 19 tracks including Top 40 hits “Sweetheart”, “You’re My Girl”, and “(Without You) Not Another Lonely Night”. The album also includes the original demo version of “Hungry Eyes” and the previously unreleased power ballad “Beat of a Broken Heart”, written and recorded for Dirty Dancing II. Previte was originally told that “Broken Heart” would not work for the Dirty Dancing sequel, and he’s issuing a challenge to the fans to help make the song a hit in the name of charity and in memory of Patrick Swayze.
“I’d love for this to become a hit, and I’d like the fans to judge for themselves,” says Previte. “I always thought the experts were wrong, so I’d like the fans to spend a buck to download the track and tell me – for a great cause. It would justify my feelings for the song and create a great beginning for my involvement in Pancreas Cancer Action Network.”
“Cancer is so prevalent in our society, and pancreatic cancer seems to be the most severe, with the least chance of survival,” he says. “Being that it’s taken a friend of mine, it seemed this was the right place to start. Every time I see a picture of Patrick, whether it’s in a newspaper or online or on TV, it reminds me of what a tremendous loss his death meant to so many people around the world. To see somebody thats young and talented, with so much to give, have his life taken away in his prime is just too tragic. So if I’m able to help save one life, it’s all worth it.
The Best of Franke & the Knockouts: Sweetheart-Anniversary Edition and the rest of the Franke & the Knockouts catalogue are available digitally through iTunes. The “Best of” collection is available in CD format at Amazon.com.