New Brunswick native Franke Previte’s ’80s rock band, Franke and the Knockouts, had some minor hit singles, and a strong Jersey following. But little did he know, when the band broke up in 1986, that his big break was just around the corner. He submitted a ultraromantic love song that he co-wrote with John DeNicola and Don Markowitz, “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life,” for the soundtrack of 1987’s “Dirty Dancing,” and it beat out some 150 other candidates for use in the film’s climactic scene. The song, as recorded by Bill Medley (of The Righteous Brothers) and Jennifer Warnes, went on to become a No. 1 hit, as well as an Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe winner.
When co-stars Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey filmed that scene, though, the Medley/Warnes duet didn’t exist yet, so they used the demo, featuring Previte and Rachele Cappelli. The demo was not officially released until 1998, when it came out as a bonus track on the CD reissue of the 1981 self-titled Franke and the Knockouts debut album. Previte later released it as a digital download, with proceeds benefiting the Patrick Swayze Pancreas Cancer Research Fund at the Stanford Cancer Center, in Stanford, Calif.
Check out the original version of “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life,” below.
New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday last year. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we are marking the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, for almost a year — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. We started in September 2014, and will keep going until late in the summer.
If you would like to suggest any songs to be included, please let me know in the comments section underneath the video. And if you want to see the entire list, either alphabetically or in the order the songs were selected, click here.