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Category:    Home > Reviews > Music Videos > Album > Rock > Pop > Concert > TV Specials > Documentary > Biography > The Cars: Heartbeat City (1984 Music Videos Set/Warner Music/Warner Archive DVD)/Dio: Live In London, Hammersmith Apollo 1993 (Eagle SD Blu-ray)/The King Family Classic Television Specials Collection,

The Cars: Heartbeat City (1984 Music Videos Set/Warner Music/Warner Archive DVD)/Dio: Live In London, Hammersmith Apollo 1993 (Eagle SD Blu-ray)/The King Family Classic Television Specials Collection, Volume 1 (1968 - 1969/MVD Visual DVD Set)/The Pink Floyd & Syd Barrett Story (2006/Eagle DVD Set Upgraded Reissue)/Toto Live In Poland: 35th Anniversary (2014/Eagle Blu-ray)

Picture: C/C+/C/C+/B- Sound: C+/C+/C/C+/B- Extras: C+/C/C/C+/C Main Programs: C+/C+/C+/B/C+

PLEASE NOTE: The Cars: Heartbeat City DVD is only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.

Here's an interesting new set of music releases...

The Cars: Heartbeat City (1984) is not merely the hit album but the set of Music Videos the band and Warner Music's Elektra/Asylum division made to promote the album. The videos and the album was a huge success, but the clips are a mixed bag as follows:

Hello Again has a video directed by no less than Andy Warhol who appears in the video and uses iconic images from his career recreated throughout the clip. It is one of the best on this set.

Magic is an annoying song that was a bigger hit than it should have been, with this clip directed by the very successful Tim Pope (Soft Cell, Psychedelic Furs, The Cure, Talk Talk, Hall & Oates) with one of his weaker works.

Drive is a song better than this mixed video directed by Tim Hutton (yes, the actor) for this huge hit that is one of the band's better songs.

Panorama was directed by the legendary Gerald V. Casale of DEVO and joins Hello Again as one of the best videos in this set. The better videos here are the least-seen ones.

Heartbeat City was directed by Luis Aira in what is essentially a live performance of the title track, but Aira would helm several solo video for Ocasek in the years to follow.

Shake it Up (1981) was another hit song with a hit video, directed this time by Paul Justman, who also helmed Since You're Gone later for The Cars and a few keys videos for Rick Springfield (Don't Talk To Strangers) and The J. Geils Band (Centerfold). This is a broader work and not his best.

Why Can't I Have You? was directed by Peter Richardson and it is not bad. Oddly, the only other video he ever helmed was for Kate Bush's The Sensual World. Wonder what happened to him?

You Might Think rounds out the set, a huge hit known for its innovative use of editing and state of the art analog high definition imaging. Still amusing, it was co-directed by Charlex and Jeff Stein, plus edited by David (X-Files) Duchovny's brother! Stein's work include clips for The Who, Billy Idol (Rebel Yell), Hall & Oates (Out Of Touch), Carly Simon (My New Boyfriend), The Jacksons (Torture) and Debbie Harry (French Kissin' In The USA) among others. This clip is admittedly a minor classic of Music Video.

The only extra is on the main program, showing the behind the scenes of making Hello Again. This set has been out of print since the old VHS and 12-inch analog LaserDisc went out of print a long time ago, so having it back is a plus. Music Video is the most neglected genre on home video and we need to start seeing far more reissues like this one. Nice to have it.

Dio: Live In London, Hammersmith Apollo 1993 is the latest in the Eagle SD Blu-ray series where they take a standard definition program or two, upscale them for HD playback and take advantage of the higher fidelity sound Blu-ray has that DVD does not. This runs 114 minutes with the backstage featurette extra and is a nice upgrade fans will appreciate. I was not as big a fan of the man or this 18-song set, but the upscaling retains the color quality without major issues, though it still is not HD. See more below.

The King Family Classic Television Specials Collection, Volume 1 (1968 - 1969) followed the success of their 1965 ABC TV series and as it sometimes happens with music acts (The Captain & Tennille), the series ends, but specials follow because the act is still popular. The shows here include Easter, Mother's Day, June and September-themed hours shot on NTSC color, analog videotape. Like The Lawrence Welk Show, they were singing hits and obscure songs in the same plain mode and though most of the songs are here in so-so performances, the shows are time capsules of what people liked at the time and remind us of who was part of the Reagan-era backlash after the 1960s. Interesting.

Extras include an 8-page booklet on the shows and several sets of home movies and behind the scenes footage on film and video.

The Pink Floyd & Syd Barrett Story (2006) is a set we covered years ago, but like Dio, Eagle has decided to upgrade it, though the improvement is to anamorphically enhance the picture. You can read more about the set at this link:


Of course, this looks better than the previous set, so if you want to have the set, get the new version.

Finally we have Toto Live In Poland: 35th Anniversary (2014), the latest of several HD concerts the band has issued since HD formats arrived and it is a decent show, but nothing spectacular. They play 23 songs including most of their classic hits, but the energy is above average at best. Still, fans should be happy enough and extras include an illustrated booklet with tech info, while the Blu-ray adds a Behind The Scenes clip.

The 1080i 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Toto also happens to be the best image playback performer here, though detail issues persist from the interlacing. The upgraded semi-HD Dio and anamorphically enhanced Floyd upgrade tie for second place for best playback, but the 1.33 X 1 image on Cars and King are softer and more problematic than I would have liked. Cars needs a little cleaning up and new transfers, with the filmed videos deserving HD transfers, while King has even more videotape flaws, aliasing errors, staircasing and even some dropouts from what was likely old reel-to-reel videotape.

Toto is also the sound champ here with a decent DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix that is not always perfect, but is a superior recording. The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on Cars (which ought to be upgraded to DTS-MA 5.1 for Blu-ray), DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes on Dio and lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on Floyd tie for second place, all showing sonic limits where you wish they would not. That leaves the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on King the last-place title sonically since the sound is compressed and shows the limits of TV audio of the time, even for a music program. We have heard music TV shows of the time sounding better, so the issue is a combination of storage and how the recording was handled at the time.

To order The Cars: Heartbeat City DVD Warner Archive DVDs, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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