Selena Forever

The Selena Trial

The Houston Chronicles Files

Selena song leads off album

Houston Chronicle Staff, wire reports

A recording of "A Boy Like That" by the late Tejano singer Selena will be the first single from "The Songs of West Side Story," an all-star benefit album released last week.

The project also includes the talents of Aretha Franklin and Phil Collins (both of whom insisted on singing "Somewhere"), Little Richard, Wynonna Judd, Trisha Yearwood, Michael McDonald, Kenny Loggins, Chick Corea, Natalie Cole and All-4-One.

Producer and arranger David Pack writes in the album's liner notes that "A Boy Like That" ""was one of the shortest songs of the original score, and it was particularly difficult to expand and contemporize."

""After my first two-hour conversation with Selena, her spirit crystallized the direction for the new jack/Latin vibe, which she loved, and after the recording sessions we talked about this being one of the cool little tunes of the project," Pack said.

For the track, recorded Feb. 28 and March 2 last year, Sheila E. is heard on percussion and Pack plays keyboards with Greg Philinganes.

Selena was murdered March 31 at age 23.

""We couldn't have known that this would be ... made within the last three weeks of her life," Pack said. ""She gave her all, and was proud of how far she had stretched as an artist to deliver this performance. Selena's loving and ever-giving spirit is truly eternal."

The video for "A Boy Like That" uses photographs and film clips of Selena.

""We worked with both her family and her record company and came up with stills and some very appropriate images of Selena to use in conjunction with the audio track and other new video clips," said Michael Greene, executive director of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which produced the project.

""We tried to do it in a way that was totally un-exploitive," he said. ""We really didn't want to be perceived as jumping on any sort of commercial bandwagon with regard to Selena's participation."