In 1992, a young A&R executive named Simon Cowell (Yes.) was working for for RCA Records' British arm when he was wowed by the huge crowd that Summerslam '92 drew to London's Wembley Stadium. He figured that a new WWF album would be an easy hit, so he got the deal inked, was to serve as the project's executive producer. Stock Aitken Waterman (SAW), the (in)famous dance-pop production and songwriting trio (who were responsible for Dead or Alive, Rick Astley, and later period Bananarama), would do the actual production, while Stock and Waterman would write the music along with various partners. In the UK, the album was indeed a hit and the first two singles (both performed by "the WWF Superstars") did astonishingly well, with "Slam Jam" peaking at #4 and "Wrestlemania" at #14. In the US (where no singles were released), matters were complicated slightly, as WCW put out an album of new wrestler theme songs named Slam Jam Vol. 1, so the name of the song that came dangerously close to topping the UK charts was renamed "Summerslam Jam." The US release was also missing two tracks contained on the UK version for no apparent reason, but we'll get to that later.
Musically the album was...interesting. Instead of the mix of novelty songs and wrestler themes on the previous two WWF albums, SAW delivered their usual, with a mix of spoken word performances by the wrestlers and oddly enunciated backing vocals from the British singers hired for the sessions. It was incredibly slickly produced and incredibly weird. Anyway, as usual, samples are available at WrestlingMedia.ws.
The notable stuff:
- "Wrestlemania," because the instrumental version released as the B-side to the single gave us what became the Wrestlemania theme (as well as Linda McMahon's entrance music).
- "Nasty Boys Stomp," which rips off Janet Jackson's "Nasty" so blatantly that I'm sure Jimmy Hart was involved.
- Bret Hart's romantic ballad(!), "Never Been A Right Time To Say Goodbye," which became ever more amusing after his book came out.
- Randy Savage's "Speaking From The Heart," which features some amazing stream of consciousness Macho Man lyrics and British back-up singers who always pronounce "macho" wrong. Dude, it's not "match-o." It's "mah-cho."
- The Mr. Perfect & Big Bossman tracks, which recycle their theme songs waaaay too much.
- Crush's "Cold Crush," because it was cut from the American release (along with the 12" single mix of "Slam Jam") for no apparent reason.
It has its own charm, but it's a LOT different from all other WWF/E releases.
After the jump, you can check out the music video for "Slam Jam."