Written by 6:00 am Audiophile

Missing In Action 2 : More 80s & 90s Compilations That Should Be Streaming (But Aren’t!)

Mark Smotroff hopes some 80s and 90s music isn’t lost forever…

This is the second in my series exploring (and revealing, to some of you) albums that have gone missing from the streaming universe.  If you missed my first article on this a few weeks ago, please click here to read that.

AR-MIAmain450.jpgIn short, I like the convenience of streaming because it opens up a lot of music to people, putting vast quantities of the stuff at your fingertips which is very convenient. Its like getting that giant 36-roll stack of toilet paper at Costco for the price you’d pay for six a the local market. I get it.  Still, I have problems with the sound quality on some of the services, the overall lack of liner notes and a somewhat non-interactive experience which can leave listeners emotionally disconnected from the music — for many, streaming is like flipping channels on your cable TV.  I also question the low artist royalty rate for streaming, but that is another discussion entirely… 

But, back to the point of today’s round up article: tribute-oriented and themeatic compilation albums from the 1980s and ’90s not yet available on key streaming services Tidal, Qobuz, Spotify and Amazon Music.

Here are some more I found conspicuous in their absence:


AR-Deadicated450.jpgThis is the “lost album” that started all this research for me!  I was looking for Elvis Costello’s version of The Grateful Dead’s “Ship Of Fools” from this fine compilation for a playlist I was building and it is nowhere to be found on the major streaming services. Other classic tracks on this great collection include Los Lobos doing “Bertha,” Bruce Hornsby’s “Jack Straw” and Warren Zevon with David Lindley driving “Casey Jones.”  I was even surprised at the time to see acts like Janes Addiction on this (playing “Ripple”) and Midnight Oil (tackling “Wharf Rat”)!  This one is seriously out of print and the album is going for stupid money on Amazon (click here) but you can find it a LOT cheaper on Discogs (click here). A cool thing I just learned: it was released on vinyl in Europe! I may have to order one of those (click here)

The Last Temptation of Elvis

AR-ElvisNME450.jpgThis compilation was apparently initially only available by mail order from the New Music Express in England but it made its way into stores (probably used) here in the United States on CD.  The Last Temptation of Elvis is a great two disc set featuring fun covers of Elvis Presley tunes by a Who’s Who of rock ‘n roll and new wave including Bruce Springsteen (“Viva Las Vegas” — the only track you’ll find streaming),  Robert Plant (“Let’s Have A Party”), Paul McCartney (“It’s Now Or Never”), Hall & Oats (“Can’t Help Falling In Love”), The Cramps (“Jailhouse Rock”), The Jesus & Mary Chain (“Guitar Man”) and many more.  It’s readily available on Discogs for under $20 on CD (click here) and I’m happy to see it on vinyl too (click here).

For The Masses (Depeche Mode Tribute)

AR-DepecheMode450.jpgI would have thought this collection would have been everywhere but its pretty much nowhere save for The Cure’s version of “World In My Eyes”(as it ended up on their four CD set of rarities).  Missing in action tracks on this fine tribute Depeche Mode include The Deftones (“To Have And To Hold”), The Smashing Pumpkins (“Never Let Me Down Again”) Veruca Salt (“Somebody”) and Meat Beat Manifesto (“Everything Counts”).  You can find it reasonably on Discogs (click here)

There are many others. Maybe I’ll pull together a part three of this series soon. 

But, its not all doom and gloom on the streaming services!  There are some fun CD-era compilations out there:

School House Rock! Rocks

AR-SchoolHouseRocks450.jpgClassic indie rock covers of songs from the legendary children’s TV show including Man Or Astro Man?, Better Than Ezra, Deluxx Folk Implosion, Pavement, Ween, The Lemonheads, Moby and others.  

Its on Tidal (here), Qobuz (here) and Spotify (here). It seems to be on Amazon Music Unlimited (alas, I don’t have access to that service yet to provide a link).

Saturday Morning Cartoon’s Greatest Hits

As further evidence of the likely licensing nightmares behind collections like this, this album is only partially available on Tidal (here), Qobuz (here) and Spotify (here). Also on Amazon Music Unlimited.  However, on the services I have access to enough of the tracks were up there to warrant listing it here. The album features fave indie rock stars covering classic cartoon theme songs including Matthew Sweet, Tripping Daisy, The Ramones, Butthole Surfers, Sublime and….well… you get the idea! 

AR-Cartoons450.jpgInstant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign To Save Darfur

I was pleased to find at least one of Amnesty’s great fundraising albums on all of the streaming services featuring a wide range of artists covering John Lennon’s songs including U2, R.E.M., Lenny Kravitz, Youssou N’Dour, Green Day, The Flaming Lips, Snow Patrol, Postal Service and many others. 

It’s on Tidal (here), Qobuz (here) and Spotify (here). It is on Amazon Music Unlimited.

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