Friday, August 23, 2019

"The Next Time I Fall" by Peter Cetera

#1 Alert!
Song#:  2869
Date:  09/20/1986
Debut:  74
Peak:  1 (1 week)
Weeks:  21
Genre:  Pop, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  Cetera's first stab at a solo single after leaving the band Chicago would end up being a major hit. "Glory of Love," which was featured on Cetera's Solitude/Solitaire album along with the soundtrack to The Karate Kid, Part II, went on to be a #1 hit at both Pop and AC. It would also earn Oscar and Grammy nominations. For a follow-up, the label would choose another ballad from Cetera's album. This time around, Cetera wasn't by himself. He was joined by Contemporary Christian star Amy Grant, who had recently ventured into the mainstream with her 1985 LP Unguarded, which featured the #29 Pop entry "Find a Way." The duet would prove to be another smash for Cetera replicating the success of "Glory of Love" by getting to #1 at both Pop and AC. The song would also earn both artists a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Duo or Group.

ReduxReview:  It was a little surprising that Cetera would follow up "Glory" with another big-ass pop ballad. Moves like that could easily get you tagged as an AC balladeer and that will be all listeners will want from you (which kinda did happen to Cetera). Yet I can understand the reason why this was the right follow-up. It was a top-notch song that was expertly crafted by producer Michael Omartian. The song had "hit" written all over it and when you add in vocals by rising star Amy Grant, that only added fuel to the fire. In other words, it was an obvious choice and it paid off. Plus, it's a song that I like a whole lot more than "Glory of Love."

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  This song was written by Bobby Caldwell and Paul Gordon. Caldwell was already an established artist co-writing and singing his 1978 #9 hit "What You Won't Do for Love." The song opened up doors for Caldwell as a writer and when he and Gordon set about writing this song, they had one person in mind to sing it - Peter Cetera. At they time they wrote it, Cetera was still in Chicago, but by the time they got the demo over to the band, Cetera was gone and so it seemed was their hopes of him recording the tune. Yet the demo did get to Cetera who love it, but wanted to make it into a duet. Originally, Cetera was going to hire on an unknown singer for the part, but then Amy Grant was suggested to him. She was beginning to break out of the Contemporary Christian market and the song seemed to be a good fit for her. After some vetting to make sure all would be well with her beliefs and with her CC audience, Grant accepted the job. It would result in her first #1 Pop hit.


Thursday, August 22, 2019

"Jody" by Jermaine Stewart

Song#:  2868
Date:  09/20/1986
Debut:  80
Peak:  42
Weeks:  9
Genre:  R&B, Dance-Pop

Pop Bits:  Stewart broke through to the mainstream with his #5 Pop hit "We Don't Have to Take Our Clothes Off," the first single from his second album Frantic Romantic. Despite the widespread success on pop radio, the song didn't do well at R&B where it stalled at a low #64. This second single would end up doing the reverse. It had a little more urban influence, therefore it ended up doing better at R&B getting to #18. Yet the tune's less pop-oriented sound caused it to peak early at Pop just outside the Top 40. The song did best in clubs and it became a hit reaching #9 on the Dance chart. Both singles contributed to sales of the album, which would reach #34 Pop and #31 R&B. It would end up being his most popular LP.

ReduxReview:   While this song is not nearly as catchy as "We Don't Have to Take Our Clothes Off," it's still a good, groovy tune. There are hints of Michael Jackson here as well as Prince. Walden's production was solid and Stewart sells the tune well. It nearly cracked the Pop Top 40, but I think it stepped a bit too far away from the hooky dance-pop of "Clothes Off"to really catch on at pop radio.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  When Stewart was younger, he was a regular dancer on the Chicago-based show Soul Train. It was there that he befriended two other dancers. The three auditioned for a new vocal group being formed by Soul Train host/creator Don Cornelius along with Dick Griffey. Stewart's two friends got the gig, but he did not. The group ended up being the trio Shalamar and Stewart's friends were Jody Watley and Jeffrey Daniel (Gary Mumford aced Stewart out of the third spot). Perhaps as a consolation prize, Stewart would go out on tour as a dancer for Shalamar. He would maintain his friendship with Watley and he would use her as inspiration for this song that he co-wrote with Jeffrey Cohen and producer Narada Michael Walden.


Wednesday, August 21, 2019

"What About Love" by 'til Tuesday

Song#:  2867
Date:  09/20/1986
Debut:  84
Peak:  26
Weeks:  14
Genre:  Alternative Rock

Pop Bits:  This Boston band made a splash with their debut album Voices Carry. The title track from the LP would be a #8 hit at Pop and earn them an MTV Music Video Award for Best New Artist. The album would get to #19 and go gold. A year and a half later, the band was ready to release their second album, Welcome Home. This first single got things kicked off and it would do well at Rock getting to #7. It would end up being a mid-sized hit at Pop peaking inside the Top 30. Without a more significant hit to promote it, the album fell short of expectations and peaked at a minor #49. However, copies of the album continued to sell over the years, likely boosted by leader Aimee Mann's critically lauded solo career, and in 1994 it would become a gold record.

ReduxReview:  The band changed a bit for their second album. Aimee Mann took on a bigger role as the primary songwriter composing six of the LP's ten tracks by herself. They also began shifting their direction swinging from 80s new wave into modern/alt rock. This created a beefier sound as evidenced by this first single. I'd nearly call this tune shoegaze due to the larger production and Mann's deadpan delivery, but it's still commercial enough to satisfy AOR radio. The new album was a more mature effort and didn't show any of the quirkiness found on their debut. This was a definite improvement and it paid off with lots of critical praise. However, it wasn't quite as pop oriented and it did lack a real chart contender. This song was probably the best for single contention but it had a couple of issues. First was the title. Heart's song by the same name had just been a hit the summer before and this could have been confusing for folks who might mistake it for a remake. Usually in these case, a parenthetical update to the title is typically done, but 'til Tuesday did not opt for this. Second, the song was not the most upbeat thing. It seemed a little too dour for pop radio. Still, it's a great tune and the album is excellent as well.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Prior to forming 'til Tuesday in March 1983, Aimee Mann was part of a post-punk/art-rock band called The Young Snakes. It was her first band after dropping out of the Berklee Collage of Music. The three-piece band gigged around Boston and recorded an indie EP titled Bark Along with the Young Snakes. According to an interview with Mann, she nearly lost her taste for songwriting at the time because the other two guys in the band overwhelmed the process and in the end the songs were bunk. The band broke up and Mann was briefly in another local Boston outfit named Ministry (obviously, not the famous metal band from Chicago). The songwriting process was much better there and with renewed interest, Mann set out to form her own band, which would become 'til Tuesday. A year after they got together, the band was signed to Epic Records and the following year they were riding the Pop Top 10 with "Voices Carry."


Tuesday, August 20, 2019

"Everytime You Cry" by The Outfield

Song#:  2866
Date:  09/20/1986
Debut:  85
Peak:  66
Weeks:  10
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  The Outfield's debut album, Play Deep, made it to #9 on the strength of two Pop Top 20 singles including the #6 "Your Love" (#7 Rock). For a third single, this track was selected for release. While it would do fine at Rock getting to #20, it didn't catch fire at Pop and the song stumbled before it could get near the top half of the chart. Still, the album's two main singles would spark enough sales to make it go triple platinum.

ReduxReview:  The band went for a power ballad for their third single and this one wasn't a bad choice. The chorus is strong, but I think the verse is lacking. It seems a bit long and it just doesn't have a very memorable melody. If the chorus was matched with a better verse, this could have been another winner for them. As-is, it was a good song that got about as far as it could on the chart.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  The original three members of The Outfield, John Spinks, Tony Lewis, and Alan Jackman, reunited for the 2011 album Replay. It would be the last album issued out by the trio. Singer, guitarist, and main songwriter John Spinks would die from liver cancer in 2014. The remaining members decided not to continue on as The Outfield after Spinks' passing. Tony Lewis would go on to record a solo album in 2018 titled Out of the Darkness.


Monday, August 19, 2019

"The Way It Is" by Bruce Hornsby & the Range

#1 Alert!
Song#:  2865
Date:  09/20/1986
Debut:  86
Peak:  1 (1 week)
Weeks:  22
Genre:  Soft Rock

Pop Bits:  Hornsby's debut album, The Way It Is, got off to a bit of a shaky start when its first single, "Every Little Kiss", topped out at a low #72 on the Pop chart (#18 Rock/#37 AC). The results could have doomed the album, but then this second single was issued out. The piano-driven track began to get attention and slowly it made its way up the charts. It would eventually make it to #1 at Pop and AC while getting to #3 at Rock. It was a much needed turnaround for the album. It would end up peaking at #3 and over time would sell three million copies. The hit turned Hornsby and his band into stars. The Grammy folks certainly noticed and handed them the award for Best New Artist.

ReduxReview:  This was not your typical pop single. In addition to being a message song (concerning social issues, rich vs. poor, racial segregation, civil rights, etc.), which is never really an easy sell for pop radio, it contained lengthy piano interludes and didn't necessarily have the standard chorus and hook found in pop radio tunes. Yet it may be those things that made the song stand out. Obviously it still had to be well-written and memorable and Hornsby checked those boxes as well. Despite some 80s production enhancements, the song still sounds good today and it has had a long life after being a #1 hit.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  When Hornsby started his band he tried to get signed to a label, but no one was biting. Even a famous friend of his, Huey Lewis, would try to use his influence to get Hornsby signed, but that didn't even work. Hornsby then tried a different approach. He made a sparse demo tape of songs he had written and then performed them himself using just piano, bass, drums and accordion. He then submitted the tape to the New Age music label Windham Hill. They found the tape interesting and began working up a deal to sign Hornsby. In the meantime, his lawyer decided to play the tape for a few major label folks. Suddenly, Hornsby was getting other offers. In the end, he chose to sign with RCA Records as they allowed him more creative freedom. When his debut album was first issued out, it featured a blurred, effects style photo of Hornsby playing accordion. It was most likely appropriate as the label was mainly going to market the LP to more adult markets like AC or even New Age. But then when this song began to take off on pop radio, the label quickly pushed out a reissue of the album that would be more suitable for a mainstream audience. It featured new cover art that contained a photo of the band along with new mixes of a couple tracks.