Twenty years after the original Beach Party movies, Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon starred in the very best of the genre, Back to the Beach. The soundtrack is a great listen, especially for summer, but it does not quite measure up to the greatness of the film. There is no denying "Jamaica Ska," Funicello's duet with Fishbone (and a remake of a song she sang during her Mouseketeer days) is so completely wonderful that listeners are hardly phased by how cornball it is. Frankie Avalon's "California Sun" is terrific too, and Pee Wee Herman guests on "Surfing Bird," which is -- if not one of his greatest moments -- surely one of this film's. What seems to be missing here is more Annette and Frankie. Considering their numbers are the best, two songs hardly seem fair. In the film, the twosome are never far out of view, though they are surrounded by colorful characters, including their punkish son who threatens the family dog with a flip-up comb. On the soundtrack, they seem like guests. One of the best songs from Back to the Beach is "We'll Go on Forever," which was sung by the whole cast and not included on this original soundtrack. For nostalgic reasons, for a more inclusive version, and for respect to a wonderful movie, it is time for a re-release.
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AllMusic Review by Peter Fawthrop