No Frills (Bette Midler album)

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No Frills
Studio album by Bette Midler
Released August 1, 1983
Recorded 1983
Genre Rock
Length 38:08
Label Atlantic
Producer Chuck Plotkin
Bette Midler chronology
The Best of Bette
No Frills
Mud Will Be Flung Tonight
Singles from No Frills
  1. "All I Need to Know"
  2. "Favorite Waste of Time"
  3. "Beast of Burden"
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau (B-)[2]

No Frills is the sixth studio album by American singer Bette Midler, released on Atlantic Records in 1983. No Frills was Midler's first studio album in four years, following the movies The Rose, Divine Madness! and the ill-fated Jinxed!. The rock and new wave influenced album was produced by Chuck Plotkin, best known for his work with Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, and included three single releases; the ballad "All I Need to Know", a cover of Marshall Crenshaw's "My Favourite Waste of Time" and Midler's take on the Rolling Stones classic "Beast of Burden".

While No Frills surprisingly became Midler's second lowest-charting album in the US, peaking at #60 on Billboard (her 1979 disco album Thighs and Whispers #65), it became her best-selling studio album to date in both Continental Europe and Scandinavia; in West Germany it reached #15, in the Netherlands #10, in Norway #2 and in Sweden No Frills managed to reach the top spot of the albums chart, even outselling the Rose soundtrack and the "Beast of Burden" single was indeed a Top 10 hit in most parts of Europe. The promo video for the song, made during the early MTV era, featured Mick Jagger in a cameo role playing Midler's boyfriend. The soundtrack to the video including the spoken dialogue (with Midler famously telling Jagger "Just stay long enough to hear me sing your song. I sing it better than anybody." Jagger replies: "Well almost anybody....") was released on the B-side of the 12" single in Europe. In September 1984 the video for "Beast Of Burden" was nominated for three MTV Video Music Awards for Best Female Video, Best Choreography, and Best Stage Performance Video.

Midler recorded several songs for the album that did not make the final cut. Among these were Bruce Springsteen's "Pink Cadillac" (later covered by Natalie Cole) "Broken Bicycles", the Jonathan King-written "Everyone's Gone To The Moon," and Peter Gabriel's "Here Comes The Flood" -- all of which she had performed live on her 1982-1983 concert tour De Tour, later released on VHS/DVD as Art or Bust.

The ballad "All I I Need To Know", composed by renowned songwriting team Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil and Tom Snow, which had peaked at #77/39 on the US Singles and A/C charts with Midler in late 1983, was some five years later covered by Linda Ronstadt on her album Cry Like a Rainstorm, Howl Like the Wind. Ronstadt's Grammy winning version of the song was recorded as a duet with Aaron Neville and retitled "Don't Know Much" and then became a #2 hit on the US singles chart and #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart and a worldwide hit single. "My Favourite Waste of Time" was in turn covered by Scottish singer Owen Paul in 1986 and was a Top 5 hit in the UK.

When Midler's greatest hits compilation Experience the Divine was released in 1993 only one song from No Frills was included; "Only In Miami" - an album track which never was a single either in the US or in Europe. A second edition of the compilation with a revised track list, released in 1996, however added both "Beast of Burden" and "My Favourite Waste of Time".

The album was released on CD for the first time in 1990. A remastered version of the album was released by Atlantic Records/Warner Music in 1995.

Track listing[edit]

Side A

  1. "Is It Love" (Nick Gilder, Jimmy McCulloch) - 4:43
  2. "Favorite Waste of Time" (Marshall Crenshaw) - 2:43
  3. "All I Need to Know" (Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, Tom Snow) - 4:08
  4. "Only in Miami" (Max Gronenthal) - 4:35
  5. "Heart Over Head" (Andy Goldmark, Robin Batteau, Brock Walsh) - 2:52

Side B

  1. "Let Me Drive" (Greg Prestopino, Matthew Wilder) - 4:02
  2. "My Eye on You" (Moon Martin, Bill House) - 4:03
  3. "Beast of Burden" (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) - 3:48
  4. "Soda and a Souvenir" (Jessica Harper) - 3:23
  5. "Come Back Jimmy Dean" (Bette Midler, Jerry Blatt, Brock Walsh) - 3:51


  • Bette Midler - lead vocals, backing vocals
  • Ricky Lawson - drums tracks A1, A3, A4, B1, B2, B4
  • Pops Popswell - bass guitar tracks A1, A3, A4, B4
  • Buzzy Feiten - guitars tracks A1, A3, A4, B1, B2, B4
  • Bobby Lyle - synthesizers tracks A1, B1, piano tracks A3, A4, keyboards track B2, Fender Rhodes track B4
  • Bobby Martin - synthesizers tracks A1, A3, organ track B1, keyboards track B2, organ & synthesizer track B4
  • Robert Irving - synthesizers tracks A1, A2, piano track A5
  • Mark Goldenberg - guitar & synthesizer solos tracks A1 & A3, guitar solo track A2, electric guitars & synthesizers track A5, guitars track B3, syntheziers track B5
  • David Logerman - drums & percussion track A2
  • Dave Demare - bass track A2
  • Waddy Wachtel - electric guitars track A2
  • Philip Kennard - acoustic guitars & background vocals track A2
  • Brock Walsh - acoustic guitars track A2, piano track B5
  • Lisa Garber - background vocals tracks A2, A3, A4
  • Laura Allan - background vocals tracks A2, A3, A4
  • Janis Cercone - background vocals track A3
  • Malando Gassama - percussion track A4
  • Marc "Caz" Macino - horns tracks A4, B1
  • Mark Hatch - - horns track A4
  • Jim Keltner - drums tracks A5, B3
  • Mark Leonard - bass track A5
  • Chas Sanford - electric guitars & synthesizers track A5
  • Vernon Porter - bass tracks B1, B2
  • Joe Turano - background vocals track B1
  • Greg Prestopino - background vocals track B1
  • Matthew Wilder - background vocals track B1
  • Jude Johnstone - background vocals track B2
  • Tim Drummond - bass track B3
  • Danny Kortchmar - guitars track B3
  • The Staggering Harlettes (Ula Hedwig, Katey Sagal, Linda Hart) - background vocals track B4


  • Chuck Plotkin - record producer
  • Brock Walsh - associate producer
  • Danny Goldberg - executive producer
  • Marc "Caz" Macino - horn arrangement track A4
  • Toby Scott - recording all tracks, mixing track B4
  • Don Smith - additional recording & mixing
  • Debbie Gold - production supervisor
  • Bonnie Bruckheimer - production associate
  • Recorded at Clover Studios with additional recording at Sound Factory & Rumbo Recorders
  • Mixed at Clover Studios & Rumbo Recorders
  • Assistant engineers: Dave Demore, Steve Brix, Dave Pearce, Julian Stoul, Greg Anderson
  • Andre Miripolsky - cover art
  • Kosh / Ron Larson - Design and art direction:
  • Greg Gorman - photography