“This is Jake: I command you to...GET...IN...SHAPE!”
These are the first words uttered on Body by Jake: Don’t Quit – Music from the Original Video Soundtrack, and never before have a mere ten words served as more definitive proof of an album’s status as an artifact of its time. Originally released in 1984, the album’s title aptly sets the stage for its contents – it’s the soundtrack to the VHS tape released by noted celebrity trainer Jake Steinfeld – but it’s notable for being the first original soundtrack to a workout album.
Granted, you may not know every name on the list of artists who contributed to the soundtrack, but there are certainly a few folks of note, and we thought we’d shine a spotlight on them...as if you really needed any additional reasons to check out this album beyond the information we’ve already provided.
Bobby Caldwell, “Don’t Quit”– A soulful singer who’s perhaps best known for his 1978 top-10 hit “What You Won’t Do for Love,” Caldwell’s song here is the one that opens with those aforementioned ten words by Steinfeld. From there, however, it’s all Caldwell, and he delivers a great track for any training montage. Although the track failed to chart on the Billboard Hot 100, it did successfully climb into the lower reaches of the Dance Singles chart, hitting #53. In addition, Caldwell teamed with Steinfeld to film a video for the song, and if you dare to click on it, we’re confident that it’s going to be one of the best things you see today.
Michael Sembello, “Pump It Up”– First things first: yes, this is the same gentleman who came to fame as a result of recording the song “Maniac” for the Flashdance soundtrack, but, no, he’s not covering the song by Elvis Costello and the Attractions. This song was actually penned by Sembello and Mark Hudson, who – in addition to his work with such artists as Cher, Ozzy Osbourne, Ringo Starr, and dozens of other notables – was also a member of the Hudson Brothers. (Surely you remember their Razzle Dazzle Show.) In addition to Sembello’s version making it onto this soundtrack, a version by the Dutch female trio Centerfold was released as a single in the Netherlands, and while it didn’t make the charts, it began the process of gradually turning Centerfold into a hit act in both the Netherlands and Belgium. That’s right, they really were big in Belgium!
Leslie Smith, “You Can Get It If You Really Want It” – Things sometimes get a little confusing when looking into the career of this gentleman, since he also worked with Lester Abrams, which often makes for two guys named Les being discussed in the same article. Smith worked as a member of the ‘70s group Crackin’ as well as contributing backing vocals to folks like Rickie Lee Jones and Robbie Dupree, but he also had a solo career, releasing his debut album, Heartache, in 1982. This particular track is notable for two big reasons: 1) it’s a cover of a song by Jimmy Cliff, one that got some additional airplay recently when it popped up in an episode of I Am Groot, and 2) it features synth work by legendary jazzman Dave Grusin.
If you want to know more about the other tracks on the album and on how fitness icon and creator of Body By Jake, Jake Steinfeld became the first "trainer to the stars," listen to on our latest Totally 80's podcast episode discussing Fitness Trends of the 1980's with Lyndsey Parker (Yahoo Music Entertainment Editor).