In this corner: CBS' "The Wrestling Album."
In that corner: Rhino's "Wrestling Rocks."
And the winner: professional wrestling, which has suddenly become the tag-team partner of rock 'n' roll. Some of that is undoubtedly due to the persistent promotion by MTV, which begat NBC's occasional midnight mayhem and CBS' cartoon clashes, "Hulk Hogan's Rock 'n' Wrestling!" And, of course, Cyndi Lauper and "manager" Captain Lou Albano set the stage for all this a few years back.
Then again, rock and wrestling share some bottom-line basics: endless hype, ritualized theatrics, perpetuation of racial and sexual stereotypes.
The CBS album, to no one's surprise, is clobbering the Rhino album (the conglomerate giant seldom loses to the feisty little guy, unless Stallone is directing), with sales approaching 400,000. Produced by Dave Wolff (who manages Lauper) and Rick Derringer, it features 50 mighty maulers, including Hulk Hogan, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, Greg (the Hammer) Valentine, Jesse (the Body) Ventura, Hillbilly Jim, Uncle Elmer, Iron Sheik (not to be mixed up with Iron Maiden), Nikolai Volkoff and Junkyard Dog with his lovely rendition of "Grab Them Cakes." There's also a video, an all-star clamor of "Land of 1,000 Dunces . . . Dances."
The Rhino package, with its theme song, "Wrestlers Just Wanna Bust Heads," features wrestlers who are better known on the southern circuit: Jerry Lawler, Jimmy Valliant, "Exotic" Adrian Street and Tau (The Destroyin' Samoan) Logo, but honors go to Fred Blassie, whose "Pencil Neck Geek" has long been a novelty classic. For hard-core fans, Rhino also has picture discs by Blassie ("I Bite the Songs") and Ventura ("The Body Rules").
And Rhino is getting ready to unleash an hourlong video, "Rock and Wrestling Music Television," a take-off on MTV. "Our veejays are wrestlers and we'll show music pieces done by wrestlers and actual music performances," says Rhino's Rick Schmidt. "We're just poking fun at the whole thing; we're not taking it too seriously."
That attitude was evident in the summer of 1984, when Rhino released "The Official Record Album of the Olympics," which had nothing to do with the L.A. Olympics and everything to do with the R&B group that had had hits in the late '50s and early '60s with "Western Movies" and "Big Boy Pete." The Olympic Committee didn't appreciate the humor of that, particularly since it had an all-star album of Olympic-inspired music on -- you guessed -- CBS. More Music From "Miami Vice"
Philip Michael ("They Call Me 'Mister' Tubbs") Thomas has just released his first album, "Living the Book of My Life," and its first single is the humble confession, "Just the Way I Planned It." The other "Miami" voice, Don Johnson, has also signed a record contract with Epic. Johnson's rock roots go back to the Allman Brothers Band, the band he wrote some songs for and toured with in the early '70s. Recently Johnson jumped up on a Miami stage with Power Station for a duet with Michael DesBarres. Their song? "Some Guys Have All the Luck." Power Station, of course, also appeared on the series' season premiere. Johnson's album is due in the spring, to be followed quickly by a videocassette version of the entire album.
The show sound track's reign at No. 1 ended at seven weeks. Incidentally, Jan Hammer's "Miami Vice Theme" was the first single in years to reach No. 1 without a supporting video (unless you're counting the entire show), which brings up an interesting question: Will Crockett and Tubbs break into song on stakeout? Phil Collins made his dramatic debut on the show last Friday (he's been a video presence for some time now) and if he looked at ease, remember his acting debut -- as a child actor on the London stage in the musical "Oliver!" Antiapartheid Songs
"Sun City" and Stevie Wonder's "It's Wrong (Apartheid)" are not the only strong antiapartheid pop songs out right now. Among others: Kashif's "Botha, Botha," the Pointer Sisters' "Freedom," the Winans' "Let My People Go," reissues of Gil Scott-Heron's "Johannesburg," the Special AKA's "Free Nelson Mandela" and Robert Wyatt/SWAPO Singers' "The Wind of Change" (available only as an import). The Pointer Sisters' video for "Freedom" will contain documentary footage of Bishop Desmond Tutu, Martin Luther King Jr., Anwar Sadat, Menachem Begin, Jimmy Carter and the Beatles . . .
According to a recent government report, in 1984 the armed services sold $77 million worth of records and tapes on 749 bases around the world in 1984. Tapes outsold albums 60 to 40; and the most popular categories were soul (34 percent), pop/rock (33 percent) and country (9.2 percent) . . .
Bette Midler has put a warning label on "Mud Will Be Flung Tonight," an album of saucy meditations culled from her fabled between-song patter: "This album contains material that may be offensive to Bruce Springsteen, Madonna and Prince . . . For adults only" . . .