Friday, June 30, 2023

Milestone! The Decade in Review: The 80s

Alas, the task is complete!
My journey to write about every song to debut on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the 1980s has come to an end. Frankly, when I started this I didn't know if I would actually see it through, but the posts became part of my routine and the longer it went on, the more determined I was to complete my mission. I'm happy (and sad) to say that it is over after nearly 11 years and 4,000+ songs later.
When I began, I started to do quick posts. Just some minor blurbs about the songs and I'd usually post two per day. However, the more I got involved and vested, I began to offer more details about the songs and the posts became longer and (hopefully) more informative. It helped that over the years more information became available via internet and books about the artists and songs, which added to my research time. After a while it got to the point where I could only post once a day usually six days a week. It stretched out the time it took to complete the project, but I wasn't sad about that. I was having fun!
My fascination with the Billboard charts began in 1981. While I'm not sure the exact date, I believe it was Saturday, May 23, 1981, that I first tuned into Casey Kasem's American Top 40 radio show. The program aired each Saturday starting at 9:00 am and lasted four hours. At the time I was enamored with "Bette Davis Eyes" by Kim Carnes and I knew it had already hit #1. I just happened to tune into the show to see if it was still at the top (it was, for a second week). From that point I had to follow the next week to see if the song would remain at #1. It did for five consecutive weeks. Then "Medley" by Stars on 45 stopped Carnes' run. Still, I listed to the show the following week and "Bette Davis Eyes" returned to the #1 spot! Then it became exciting to see how long it might stay on its second run at #1 (four weeks, finally succumbing to Air Supply's "The One That You Love"). Yet as the Carnes tune began to fade, other songs I liked were making their way up the chart and I got in the habit of tuning into AT40 every week. I even went as far as logging all the songs each week in a notebook (sadly long gone during a move ages ago). Then sometime around '82/'83 I saw that the local bookstore carried Billboard magazine. It was $3 at the time and I started to buy it. I remember making sure I had $3 set aside each week to buy the magazine (I couldn't afford the yearly subscription). I couldn't wait to get my hands on it each week! The information, charts, reviews, and especially the "Chart Beat" column that had all the trivia of the week just thrilled me. I kept on buying Billboard through to about '93 or so. That was when I began to lose interest in pop sounds of the day and started to explore artists and genres that wouldn't necessarily be fodder for the Hot 100. I'd still check out the chart on occasion and try to keep up with popular hits. I don't do that as often these days as I absolutely hate the current chart methodology. When all songs from a newly released album are suddenly all on the chart at once, that is just ridiculous. Overnight the artist just added 10+ "hits" to their total. It makes zero sense. They should have just made a new chart with that methodology and left the Hot 100 alone. Ah well. Plus it doesn't help that I'm really not a fan of what is considered popular these days. I'll still listen and at least give them a shot and a few will come along that I like, but for the most part...meh. I guess I finally turned into that old man who shakes their fist and says "turn down that racket - that's not music!"
Still, despite what is popular now it seems that a lot of the younger generation gravitate towards 80s music. They know artists, songs, lyrics, etc. It probably helps that many TV shows like Stranger Things incorporate songs from the decade and that leads the kids to discovering what made 80s music so awesome. My brother once asked me what kind of playlist he could use for a gathering of people of varying ages from teens to 70s. I told him to get a good 80s pop playlist and he would be surprised how many of them will know the songs. He did and he said it was perfect. Everyone was familiar with something and they all had fun with it. That's why I think the 80s more than any other decade of music will truly live on and remain popular. The music was unique, fun, varying, and included everything from country to rap. The decade started out with new wave and synthpop and ended with freestyle and glam rock. It was an exhilarating ride and I loved it all. Still do.
My personal favorite year out of my personal favorite decade of music was 1984. From what I've seen, several other 80s music bloggers agree. There was even a book written about that specific year titled Can't Slow Down: How 1984 Became Pop's Blockbuster Year by Michaelangelo Matos. There was just something magical about that year. It was the era of long running #1 albums. Only 5 albums would reach #1 in 1984, the fewest in history. It started off with Thriller finishing its domination with an additional 15 weeks at #1 and ended with Purple Rain dominating for the last 22 weeks of the year. In between, the Footloose soundtrack, Sports by Huey Lewis & the News, and Bruce Springsteen's Born in the U.S.A. would each spend time at the top. Artists like Prince and Springsteen were at their most creative/popular peaks and the singles chart were chock full of gems. It was not a surprise that I rated the most songs a 10 with 19 ('83 was close behind at 16 which I'd rank as my second favorite year). Also, for a good chunk of the year I owned nearly all the Top 10 singles. It was a crazy, wonderful year.
Will all that blah-blah out of the way, here are some fun and interesting (hopefully) stats and info from the decade and from my entries.
In all, I posted entries for 4,149 songs. However, the actual total of new songs to make the Pop chart for the first time in the 80s was 4,124. That is because there were 23 singles that initially charted, fell off, and then re-charted at another point in the decade. In addition, there were two hits from the early 60s that re-charted in the 80s (The Contours' "Do You Love Me" and Ben E. King's "Stand By Me"). 

Here is what Billboard listed as the Top 10 Pop singles of the 80s:

 1. "Physical" by Olivia Newton-John (1981/82, 10 weeks at #1)
 2. "Bette Davis Eyes" by Kim Carnes (1981, 9 weeks at #1) 
 3. "Endless Love" by Diana Ross & Lionel Richie (1981, 9 weeks at #1)
 4. "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor (1982, 6 weeks at #1)
 5. "Every Breath You Take" by The Police (1983, 8 weeks at #1)
 6. "Flashdance...What a Feeling" by Irene Cara (1983, 6 weeks at #1)
 7. "Another One Bites the Dust" by Queen (1980, 3 weeks at #1)
 8. "Say Say Say" by Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson (1983, 6 weeks at #1)
 9. "Call Me" by Blondie (1980, 6 weeks at #1)
10. "Lady" by Kenny Rogers (1980, 6 weeks at #1)

And now my Top 10 favorites chart hits of the decade. Note that this list could change in an instant depending on mood or whatever else I may be listening to at any given time. Regardless of order or what I may subtract/add, these were certainly highlights for me and songs that I think are brilliant and I'll always have in rotation. I kept the list to one song per artist.

 1. "Running Up That Hill" by Kate Bush
 2. "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey
 3. "Bette Davis Eyes" by Kim Carnes
 4. "Start Me Up" by The Rolling Stones
 5. "In the Air Tonight" by Phil Collins
 6. "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)" by Daryl Hall & John Oates
 7. "Small Town" by John Cougar Mellencamp
 8. "When Doves Cry" by Prince
 9. "With or Without You" by U2
10. "Would I Lie to You?" by Eurythmics

Of course where there is good there is usually bad and the 80s had its share of stinkers. It is easy to pick on novelty tunes, oddball tracks by celebrities, or charity/specialty singles, so I wanted to keep the list to legit, popular artists who let off some stink bombs. Here then are what I'd like to list as my 10 least favorites of the decade (oddly, all but two were cover tunes).

 1. "I Saw Him Standing There" by Tiffany
 2. "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" by Michael Bolton
 3. "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind)" by New Kids on the Block
 4. "Bread and Butter" by Robert John
 5. "Party All the Time" by Eddie Murphy
 6. "Lean on Me" by Club Nouveau
 7. "Still Cruisin'" by The Beach Boys
 8. "Case of You" by Frank Stallone
 9. "To All the Girls I've Loved Before" by Julio Iglesias and Willie Nelson
Other chart stats (note that these stats are based on my project, which was to cover all the songs that debuted on a chart in the 80s, therefore lingering songs that debuted in 1979 but were still on the chart in 1980 were not considered):

Most weeks at #1:  "Physical" by Olivia Newton-John - 10 weeks
Most weeks on the chart:  "Tainted Love" by Soft Cell - 43 weeks

Number of songs to debut on the Pop chart in the 80s and get to #1:  230
Number of songs to debut on the Pop chart in the 80s and reach the Top 10 (excluding #1s): 741

Artist with the most #1 hits that debuted the Pop chart in the 80s:  Michael Jackson - 8 (7 solo, 1 with Paul McCartney)*
*Just looking at all the songs to reach #1 in the 80s, Jackson actually had 9 #1s in the 80s, but the first one, "Rock with You," debut on a chart in 1979. So for my stats, that one would not count. One could also argue that George Michael and Phil Collins also had 8 #1s each. However, those totals would include #1 hits with their groups (Wham! / Genesis). Most lists keep a distinct line between being listed as a lead solo artist and being part of a group. I get that. I may not fully agree with it, but I get it.

Artist with the most Top 10 hits that debuted the Pop chart in the 80s (including #1s):  Madonna - 17

Artist with the most songs that debuted the Pop chart in the 80s:  Prince -25**
**If including his singles with Genesis, Phil Collins actually had the most with 30. 
Number of singles to go gold: 308
Number to reach platinum: 56 (Tone Lōc's "Wild Thing" went 2x platinum, USA for Africa's "We Are the World" reached 4x platinum) 

Artist with the most gold/platinum singles:  (tie) Madonna and Phil Collins - 8

Song to debut highest on the chart:  #20 - "Thriller" by Michael Jackson (peaked at #4).
Lowest debut:  Five songs debuted at #100 with only one, "That's When I Think of You" by 1927, spending only one week on the chart.

Longest climb to peak position:  "The Lover in Me" by Sheena Easton debuted at #99 and climbed 97 spots to peak at #2.

Longest trip to #1 on a single's first run:  22 weeks for "Chariots of Fire" by Vangelis
Longest trip to #1 for a single that initially peaked, fell of the chart, then re-entered:  A combined 25 weeks for "Red, Red Wine" by UB40

Quickest trip to #1:  4 weeks for "We Are the World" by USA for Africa

Average number of weeks for a song to be on the chart:  13

Position on the chart where the most songs debuted: 90 (270 songs)

Longest song title:  "What Can You Get a Wookiee for Christmas (When He Already Owns a Comb?)" by The Star Wars Intergalactic Droid Choir and Chorale (note that I excluded "Medley" by Stars on 45, which because of US requirement had to have each song in the medley listed in the title, so at 41 words it would be the longest, however elsewhere it was simply known as "Stars on 45," so I chose to list the longest singular title for a full song.)
Shortest song title: (tie) "Go" by Asia, "17" by Rick James, and "19" by Paul Hardcastle
Biggest One-Hit Wonders of the 80s - artists that reached #1 in the 80s, yet never had another single make the Pop chart:
Bobby McFerrin - reached #1 with "Don't Worry, Be Happy"
Sheriff - reached #1 with "When I'm with You" (the song charted twice - reached #1 on its second run)
Number of songs rated 10:  108
Number of songs rated 1:  23
Number of songs rated 0:  6
Rating used most often:  7 - 976 given that rating
Average rating for all songs in the 80s:  6.24
Year that had the highest average rating:  1984 - 6.4
Year that had the lowest average rating:  1980 - 5.7
Year that had the most amount of songs debut on the chart:  1980 - 452
Year that had the least amount of songs debut on the chart:  1988 -385

Lowest peaking song that I rated a 10:  "Like Flames" by Berlin - peaked at #82
Highest peaking song that I rated a 0:  "I Saw Him Standing There" by Tiffany - peaked at #7

Artist that had the highest average rating:  Eurythmics averaged an 8.06 rating out of 15 chart entries (from artist that had at least 10 songs reach the chart)
 Artist that had the most songs rated a 10:  U2 with 4
 Artist that had the most songs rated 1 or zero:  New Kids on the Block with 3
Project time - how long it took to cover/post all songs:  10 years, 9 months, 11 days

According to the Blogger stats, here are the 10 most viewed pages/songs from the project (save for "King of the Hill" and maybe "Ewok Celebration," I'm not sure why the others were the most accessed pages):

 1.  "Urgent" by Foreigner
 2.  "Somebody" by Bryan Adams
 3.  "High School Nights" by Dave Edmunds
 4.  "She Loves My Car" by Ronnie Milsap
 5.  "Ballerina Girl" by Lionel Richie
 6.  "First Be a Woman" by Lenore O'Malley
 7.  "King of the Hill" by Rick Pinette and Oak
 8.  "Ewok Celebration" by Meco
 9.  "I Want You So Bad" by Heart
10.  "Breakfast in America" by Supertramp

That's all folks! Perhaps I'll see you in another decade!

Friday, June 16, 2023

Milestone! The Year in Review: 1989

The final year of the decade is in the books!
There was plenty happening as the new decade loomed. Freestyle was reaching its heyday as was glam metal and new jack swing. Rap was transitioning from old school to gangsta and if that wasn't controversial enough, 2 Live Crew came along and battled censorship and even arrests. House music began to break through on the Pop chart as did several alternative rock artists that ruled the college crowd. Several long standing artists reached new heights including The Cure, The B-52's, Luther Vandross, and Michael Bolton. There was even a very unexpected comeback via Donny Osmond.  

In the previous chart year of '88, I set a new low by giving two songs a zero rating. Sadly, it ended up that zeroes for '89 matched that pace. What is worse is that I set a new record for the amount of songs rated a 1 with seven of them. I doubled the amount of 10s from '88, but still more than half of the songs in '89 were rated six or less. That was most likely due to me losing interest in some artists and genres. I know I grew tired of freestyle as the material became average and it all started to sound the same. Plus there was some highly successful artists that I didn't fall for like Michael Bolton and New Kids on the Block.

I most certainly enjoyed doing this blog and I'm sad that I've reached the end of the decade and it is over. However, it is the internet, so I hope folks will continue to discover, read, and pass it along. Here is a recap of 1989:

Number of charted songs in 1989:  392  (385 in 1988)
Time it took to listen/post all songs:  1 year, 76 days  (1 year, 37 days for 1988)
Number of songs that debuted in 1989 to hit #1:  31  (29 in 1988)
Number of songs that debuted in 1989 to reach the Top 10 (excluding #1's):  86  (85 in 1988)
Number of gold singles:  51  (26 in 1988)
Number of platinum singles: 14  (3 in 1988)
Number of double-platinum singles: (1 in 1988)
Number of songs that won a Grammy:  14  (8 in 1988)
Number of One-Hit Wonders:  (5 in 1988)
Number of Rated 10 songs:  10  (5 for 1988)
Number of Rated 1 songs:  (2 for 1988)
Number of Rated 0 songs:  2  (2 for 1988)
Top 5 favorite chart songs of the year:
  1. "Like a Prayer" by Madonna
  2. "Woman in Chains" by Tears for Fears
  3. "Love Shack" by The B-52's
  4. "Closer to Fine" by Indigo Girls
  5. "This Time I Know It's for Real" by Donna Summer
Worst song of the year:  "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind)" by New Kids on the Block
Best song I didn't know existed:  "Right Next to Me" by Whistle
Favorite discovery:  Q-Feel's "Dancing in Heaven (Orbital Be-Bop)" and its eyebrow raising (quite literally) video.
 A few other fun stats:

Highest debut:  #37 - "Cherish" by Madonna (peaked at #2)
Lowest debut:  #100 - "Walkin' Shoes" by Tora Tora  (peaked at #86) and "That's When I Think of You" by 1927 (peaked at #100, and is one of the rare singles to spend one week on the chart at the #100 spot)

Longest climb to peak position:  "Wind Beneath My Wings" by Bette Midler and "She Drives Me Crazy" by Fine Young Cannibals climbed 96 positions from #97 to #1

Longest trip to #1 for a song debuting in 1989:  "Wind Beneath My Wings" by Bette Midler took 16 weeks to reach #1
Quickest trip to #1 for a song debuting in 1989:  "Like a Prayer" by Madonna, "Right Here Waiting" by Richard Marx, and "Miss You Much" by Janet Jackson each took 6 weeks to reach #1.
Most weeks at #1 for a song debuting in 1989:  4 - "Miss You Much" by Janet Jackson and "Another Day in Paradise" by Phil Collins

Most weeks on the chart for a song debuting in 1989:  39 - "Bust a Move" by Young MC (it peaked at #7).

Average number of weeks a song spent on the chart:  13
Position on chart where the most songs debuted:  #93 - 27 songs debuted at that spot (none made the Top 10)

Longest song title:  "Puss N' Boots/These Boots (Are Made for Walkin')" by Kon Kan

Shortest song title:  "One" by Bee Gees, "One" by Metallica, "Cry" by Waterfront

A few artists who got their first chart single in 1989: Cathy Dennis, Enya, Indigo Girls, Roxette, Metallica, Melissa Etheridge

Runners-Up:  15 songs peaked at #2, 10 songs peaked at #11, and 3 songs peaked at #41

Some interesting things learned (click links for more details in previous posts): 
  • "A Girl Like You" was originally written for a classic Cameron Crowe flick and it was supposed to feature vocals by a newly minted icon.
  • Arsenio Hall created a rap character and recorded an album.
  • The Kiss song "Hide Your Heart" was released by four different artists in the same year. And all of those were remakes.
  • A rebuffed come-on by a popular actress was the inspiration for Don Henley's "The Last Worthless Evening."
  • A new band formed by a former member of the Go-Go's included an artist that would go on to be a solo one-hit wonder in the late 90s.
  • A band with a classic 80s hit would later go on to win the Eurovision Song Contest.
  • A songwriter begged and practically forced a superstar to record her song. It turned into a big signature hit for the artist.
  • The second album by an 80s freestyle artist contained a song written by a pair of superstars from different generations.
  • While it wasn't a remake, a hit by Cyndi Lauper was first recorded by an early rock pioneer.
  • A teen phenom helped to inspire the backstory of a character on a hit TV show.
According to the year-end chart for 1989, these were the year's Top 10 singles:
  1. "Look Away" by Chicago
  2. "My Prerogative" by Bobby Brown
  3. "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" by Poison
  4. "Straight Up" by Paula Abdul
  5. "Miss You Much" by Janet Jackson
  6. "Cold Hearted" by Paula Abdul
  7. "Wind Beneath My Wings" by Bette Midler
  8. "Girl You Know It's True" by Milli Vanilli
  9. "Baby I Love Your Way/Freebird" by Will to Power
  10. "Giving You the Best That I Got" by Anita Baker
So long '89! And actually, adios to the whole decade! As always it was another fun years on the charts.


Thursday, June 15, 2023

"Price of Love" by Bad English

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  4149
Date:  12/23/1989
Debut:  68
Peak:  5
Weeks:  19
Genre:  Rock

**This is the last song to be covered in this blog. It was the highest debuting song on the very last Pop chart of 1989 wrapping up the decade. I made it! I covered all songs to enter the Pop chart in the 80s. Thanks to any and all who followed along or even dropped in for an entry or two.

Pop Bits:  This glam rock supergroup fronted by John Waite was able to score a #1 Pop gold record with the Diane Warren-penned power ballad "When I See You Smile." It was the second single from the band's self-titled debut album. For a follow up, the label selected another power ballad from the album, "Price of Love," which was written by band member Waite and Jonathan Cain. It would do well enough to become the band's second Pop Top 10 hit (#30 Rock/#38 AC). The pair of hits would help send the album to #21 and it would become a platinum seller. Two other singles from the LP would make the Pop chart. "Heaven Is a 4 Letter Word" would get to #66 (#12 Rock) while "Possession" would make it to #21 (#42 AC).

ReduxReview:  With perhaps the most single worthy rock track already released ("Forget Me Not," #45), it wasn't surprising that the label chose to push out another power ballad in hopes of a second hit. The ploy worked, but at what price? <pun intended> With their only other Top 40 entry another power ballad, it sort of painted the band in a corner. Obviously they could rock out, but it seemed all folks wanted was big ballads featuring Waite's voice. It kind of put the band at odds. Were they a hard rock supergroup or commercial balladeers? It all would lead to a breakup after their second album, which wasn't surprising as that tends to happen with supergroups like this. But before all that they scored one last Top 10 with this tune. It was a nicely done, but really wasn't all that memorable. I think it had just enough radio ready flare to ride the coattails of "When I See You Smile." Had it been released first, I don't think it would have done nearly as well. It didn't have legs either as I haven't heard this song since its chart days.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  With the debut album becoming a success, the band needed to record a follow up. They did so and in 1991 their second album Backlash was ready. Unfortunately, it seems tensions rose in the band during the recording of the LP concerning the direction of the band, so they were on shaky ground even before the LP's release. Then it all came crashing down when the LP's first single, "Straight to Your Heart," stalled at #42 Pop (#9 Rock) and a second single failed to chart. In turn the album stalled at #72 and couldn't even go gold. With those results, the band called it quits. John Wait would return to a solo career while Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain would eventually reform Journey along with Bad English drummer Deen Castronovo. Bassist Ricky Phillip would mainly return to session work while later joining an iteration of Styx.


Wednesday, June 14, 2023

"Here and Now" by Luther Vandross

Top 10 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
Grammy Alert!
Song#:  4148
Date:  12/23/1989
Debut:  78
Peak:  6
Weeks:  27
Genre:  R&B, Pop, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  Six albums into his career (all platinum/double-platinum sellers), Vandross still had yet to have a single reach the Pop Top 10. The closest he got was the #15 "Stop to Love," which was from his '86 album Give Me the Reason. His popularity was so great that his '88 album Any Love would be his first to make the Pop Top 10 (#9) despite not containing a major hit. After that effort, Vandross' label chose to close out the decade with a compilation album. The double disc set The Best of Luther Vandross...The Best of Love would be issued out in the fall of '89. It contained hits and key tracks from Vandross including tracks from when he fronted the group Change. It also featured two new tracks including this single, which was released to help promote the set. The song would be Vandross' fifth to top the R&B chart. It would cross over to Pop where the tune would take a leisurely climb up the chart finally peaking at #6 in its 18th week. It would also get to #3 at AC. Not only would the song earn Vandross his first Pop Top 10 hit, but it would win him his first Grammy (Best Male R&B Vocal Performance). The single would also go gold (it would receive a platinum certification in 2021). The compilation would get to #2 R&B/#26 Pop and eventually hit the triple platinum mark.

ReduxReview:  Finally! After having a few terrific songs unable to crack the Pop Top 10, this ballad finally did the trick for Vandross. It would lead to more Top 10s (see below) and kick off what was arguably Vandross' most successful period. Vandross was an excellent songwriter, but unfortunately he did not have a hand in this one. It was written by Terry Steele and David L. Elliott (Dionne Warwick's eldest son). Regardless, it was a beautiful song that was worthy of its Top 10 placement. It took a long while to get there, but with folks finally realizing the goods Vandross had to offer, it eventually became a big crossover hit. The Vandross catalog is chock full of great songs and performances that are essential listening. That first compilation album, which had to be made into a double disc due to all his hits and key tracks, ended up being the tip of the iceberg with more classics to follow. At minimum, folks should go and listen to that comp at least once. Whether you become a fan from it or not doesn't matter. You just have to appreciate the talent that was Luther Vandross.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  With plenty of momentum following this hit, Vandross would return in '91 with his next studio album Power of Love. Its lead single, "Power of Love/Love Power," would be a #1 R&B/#3 AC/#4 Pop hit, Its follow up, "Don't Want to Be a Fool," would be another winner getting to #4 R&B/#5 AC/#9 Pop. The album would be a #1 R&B/#7 Pop double platinum seller. Vandross would earn a fourth Pop Top 10 with the collaboration soundtrack single "The Best Things in Life Are Free" (#10 Pop/#1 R&B/#3 Dance). Used in the 1992 film Mo' Money, the song would be a duet between Vandross and Janet Jackson, and would featured supporting vocals by Bell Biv DeVoe and Ralph Tresvant. Vandross' final Pop Top 10 hit would come in 1994 via a remake of the 1981 Diana Ross/Lionel Richie #1 classic "Endless Love." Mariah Carey would join Vandross on the track, which peaked at #2 Pop/#7 R&B/#11 AC. Vandross would continue to record albums over the years with all of them at least hitting the gold mark. He would have one last significant hit in his career. In 2004, Vandross would release the album Dance with My Father. The title track, written by Vandross and Richard Marx, would go on to be a sentimental hit reaching #4 AC/#28 R&B/#38 Pop. However, its popularity rose when the tune won two Grammys, one for Song of the Year and one for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance. The album would debut at #1, become a double platinum seller, and would win the Grammy for Best R&B Album. Prior to its release, Vandross had suffered a stroke and was in a coma for about two months. He would recover enough to do a video thank you when he won the Grammy for Song of the Year. However, just over a year later in 2005 Vandross would die from a heart attack.


Tuesday, June 13, 2023

"Roam" by The B-52's

Top 10 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
Song#:  4147
Date:  12/23/1989
Debut:  88
Peak:  3
Weeks:  20
Genre:  Pop, Rock

Pop Bits:  The B-52's scored their first Pop Top 10 hit with "Love Shack," the second single from their album Cosmic Thing. It would be a #3 gold seller that took the band to new heights of popularity. For a follow up, this next single was selected. It would basically replicate the results of their previous hit by getting to #3 and going gold (#10 Dance, #6 Modern Rock). In turn, the album would reach #4 and eventually reach the 4x platinum mark. A fourth single, "Deadbeat Club," would be a modest hit just cracking the Pop Top 30 at #30.

ReduxReview:  For this song, vocalist Fred Schneider stepped to the side and let Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson take full charge of the song. It turned into a great showcase for their vocals and harmonies. Both singers had interesting voices, but when put together they created something unique and memorable, which when paired with Schneider made the B-52's sound. However, the two on their own were awesome and this hit proved it. This was a fun, catchy pop tune that was perfect for driving with the windows down on a warm summer day. Wherever you were headed, this song provided a wonderful soundtrack for the trip.

ReduxRating:  9/10

Trivia:  After everything wrapped up with Cosmic Thing and the associated tour, original member Cindy Wilson chose to go on hiatus from the band. The remaining trio decided to carry on and would record their next album Good Stuff with producers Nile Rodgers and Don Was. Both had produced tracks for Cosmic Thing. The LP was highly anticipated, but then the title track first single surprisingly stalled at #28 on the Pop chart (#1 Modern Rock) and that left the album stalling at #16. It would go gold, but it was a disappointment after the multi-platinum success of their previous LP. The band would have one last Pop chart entry in 1994 with "(Meet) The Flintsones," the theme song to the live action movie version of the 60s animated TV show The Flintstones. For the single, they were billed as The BC-52's. Wilson would rejoin the band soon after and they would tour and work on various projects as a group and individually. They wouldn't record another album until 2008's Funplex, which peaked at #11.