For her first studio album in eight years, Bette Midler is revisiting some of the vocalists who shaped her the most -- girl groups -- on It’s The Girls, due Nov. 4 via Warner Bros. Records (Nov. 17 in the UK via East West Records/Warner Music UK.)
The album spans seven decades of famous girl groups, from ‘30s trios The Boswell Sisters (the title track) and The Andrews Sisters (“Bei Mir Bist Du Schön”) to ‘90s R&B legends TLC (wait til you hear Midler’s cabaret take on “Waterfalls.”)
Midler’s longtime collaborator Marc Shaiman (Hairspray) handles production.
“I have loved the sound of females harmonizing since I was a kid; I always sang along. Didn't we all?” Midler tells Billboard. “I think the idea that you could become part of the group was the thing that endeared me to the girl groups. You weren't just singing along, you were THERE!”
As fashions in music have changed, Midler says, some of the songs had to evolve -- hence the country-fied take on The Supremes’ “You Can’t Hurry Love” that appears on It’s The Girls. “Since this is a kind of overview of girl groups, I wanted to re-arrange some of the really popular songs and put a new spin on them; 'Can't Hurry Love" being the most extreme example,” Midler says.
“The Boswell Sisters was the first girl group record I ever owned,” she continues. “A friend of my parents gave it to them, and I played it to death. They killed. They are nearly forgotten today. The '60s were the height of girl-group frenzy, so there were a lot of songs to chose from, but from the '90s on, my favorites were TLC and Destiny's Child. ‘Waterfalls’ was a heartbreaker, especially if you were a mom, and it had a big effect on me. I never thought I would have the nerve to sing it, but we had an idea for it that works, and I am so glad I took the chance.”
Though she’s teased retirement from the road over the years, a new tour is in the works, too, a spokeswoman for Midler teases.
Adds Midler of revisiting the many eras of girl groups, “All in all, there is such a rich and emotional history to this music, it's a joy to dust it off and take another listen...So Bette Midler!”
It’s The Girls Track List:
1. BE MY BABY Originally performed by The Ronettes
2. ONE FINE DAY Originally performed by The Chiffons
3. BEI MIR BIST DU SCHÖN Originally performed by The Andrews Sisters All Vocals by Bette Midler
4. BABY IT'S YOU Originally performed by The Shirelles All Vocals by Bette Midler
5. TELL HIM Originally performed by The Exciters
6. HE'S SURE THE BOY I LOVE (duet with Darlene Love) Originally performed by The Crystals
7. MR. SANDMAN Originally performed by The Chordettes
8. COME AND GET THESE MEMORIES Originally performed by Martha & The Vandellas
9. TOO MANY FISH IN THE SEA Originally performed by The Marvelettes
10. TEACH ME TONIGHT Originally performed by The DeCastro Sisters
11. WATERFALLS Originally performed by TLC
12. YOU CAN'T HURRY LOVE Originally performed by The Supremes
13. GIVE HIM A GREAT BIG KISS Originally performed by The Shangri-Las
14. WILL YOU STILL LOVE ME TOMORROW Originally performed by The Shirelles
15. IT'S THE GIRL Originally performed by The Boswell Sisters All Vocals by Bette Midler