Saturday, February 9, 2013

"I'm Alright" by Kenny Loggins

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  0248
Date:  07/12/1980
Debut:  88
Peak:  7
Weeks:  22
Genre:  Pop, Rock, Soundtrack

Pop Bits:  Loggins got his second Top 10 hit with this theme song to the hit movie "Caddyshack." This would be the first in a string of hits through the 80s that Loggins contributed to soundtracks. He did so many that at one point he garnered the nickname "King of the Movie Soundtrack." This song earned him a 1981 Grammy nomination for Best Rock Vocal.

ReduxReview:  How can you hear this and not think of Bill Murray, Ted Knight, gophers, and Baby Ruth? I find the song to be kind of chaotic with the stuttering (dup-dup-dup-dup) and different changes throughout, but it all works together. It's a pretty great jangly tune that fit the film perfectly.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Kenny Loggins' cousin is singer/songwriter Dave Loggins who had a Top 10 hit of his own in 1974 with "Please Come to Boston" (#5). He didn't have any further major hits, but he did write them for others like "Pieces of April" by Three Dog Night (#19, 1972) and "Morning Desire" by Kenny Rogers (#1 Country, 1985).


Friday, February 8, 2013

"Cheap Sunglasses" by ZZ Top

Song#:  0247
Date:  07/12/1980
Debut:  89
Peak:  89
Weeks:  2
Genre:  Southern Rock, Blues-Rock

Pop Bits:  Although ZZ Top did not have any major hits in their pocket yet (1975's "Tush" was their best thus far at #20), they were solid for album sales. "DegΓΌello" was their first effort for their new label, Warner Bros., and although it peaked at #24 (a bit lower than previous albums), it was their first album to go platinum. This particular song may have helped in boosting sales. Although it was almost a one-week wonder, it quickly became one of their most popular songs despite very little chart action.

ReduxReview:  I'm not the hugest ZZ fan, but it's hard to argue with this groovy song. It's a great boogie that leads to that slightly bizzaro keyboard/"woo-woo" riff in the instrumental section. Pretty awesome - especially after a few MicLites.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  This song was based on the group's old days of touring when they would travel around in cars. Gas stations used to have cardboard racks of cheap sunglasses and the guys would always be buying bunch of them. They would often toss these in the audience at concerts.


Thursday, February 7, 2013

"Half Moon Silver" by Hotel

Song#:  0246
Date:  07/12/1980
Debut:  90
Peak:  72
Weeks:  7
Genre:  Pop, Soft Rock

Pop Bits:  The Birmingham, Alabama, power pop group Hotel were popular on the rock club scene in the late 70s. They got a shot at a major label deal when Mercury signed them in 1978. They released one single titled "You'll Love Again" that nicked the chart at #71. It wasn't enough for Mercury to pay attention to them so the group moved over to MCA and issued their self-titled debut album. They did a bit better when the single "You've Got Another Thing Coming" reach #54. It was enough to get a second album done and this title track was the second single and only chart song from the album. This time around it wasn't enough for the label and they were dropped from MCA. They stated on the club circuit for another couple years but eventually disbanded.

ReduxReview:  This is an odd song for a single. I think it is a nice, moody piece and is a definite descendent of Crosby, Stills and Nash via The Eagles. I guess I could see it getting radio attention maybe like Kansas' "Dust in the Wind," but this still seems even more subdued and darker than that hit. Unexpected and interesting.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Two of the founding members of the group later went on to form the band Split in the Dark. The group's video for "Always a Chance" was a winner in the MTV Basements Tapes competition in 1986, but unfortunately it didn't translate to any further success or major label deal.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

"Emotional Rescue" by The Rolling Stones

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  0245
Date:  07/05/1980
Debut:  33
Peak:  3
Weeks:  19
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Two years earlier, the Stones released the album "Some Girls," which ended up being their most successful selling studio album. Before its release, their popularity was slipping and critics and others wondered if the Stones were even relevant any longer. They shot back with "Some Girls" and it put them right back on top - at #1, to be exact.  Their follow-up album, "Emotional Rescue," also went to #1 led by this hit title track. At this time the group was struggling a bit with direction as Richards was not too fond of Jagger's disco/dance leanings exemplified by this song. However, when you are looking at a #1 album and #3 single in your 18th year as a group, it can't all be bad.

ReduxReview:  Awwww yeah! First Stones of the decade. I've always liked this song even though it probably would not make it high on my list of favorite Stones tracks. But it has a nice, lazy, sexy dance groove and I like Jagger's falsetto delivery. Hard to resist once it starts.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  The Stones recorded several other songs during the sessions for this album that were not chosen for the final LP. Due to an impending tour and short time schedule, they ended up using a few of these songs and some older ones (either using the original basic tracks or re-recording them) for their next album "Tattoo You." Included in these refurbished songs was their soon-to-be hit "Start Me Up."


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

"Boulevard" by Jackson Browne

Song#:  0244
Date:  07/05/1980
Debut:  72
Peak:  19
Weeks:  16
Genre:  Pop, Soft Rock

Pop Bits:  As part of that SoCal, folk-rock sound that included the Eagles, Joni Mitchell, and Linda Ronstadt, Browne established himself as a solo artist with 1972's self-titled debut album that featured the #6 hit "Doctor My Eyes." With each successive release his popularity gained momentum until he finally reached #1 on the album chart with 1980's "Hold Out." It would not be his best-selling album (that would be 1978's "Running on Empty") and would not feature any major hits, but it would prove to be the high point of his chart career. This song was the first single release from the album.

ReduxReview:  Just like the Eagles, I never really hooked into Jackson Browne. Maybe that is why I never heard this song before, even though it leaked into the Top 20. It's kind of like a weaker Bob Seger song with a tidge of Springsteen tossed in. For me it is just an okay song and nothing that makes me like Browne any more than I already did.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Browne received a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Vocal for this song.


"Give Me the Night" by George Benson

Top 10 Alert!
Grammy Alert!
Song#:  0243
Date:  07/05/1980
Debut:  77
Peak:  4
Weeks:  23
Genre:  R&B, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  Although Benson had been recording jazz albums since 1964, his first #1 jazz album came in 1974 with "Bad Benson." But it was 1976's "Breezin'" that really broke his music to a wide audience. Featuring the song "This Masquerade" ("#10 pop), the album is considered the first jazz-oriented album to go platinum. It also hit #1 on the pop albums chart. He continued to mix in more pop elements (and more vocals) with his jazz/soul background and put songs like "On Broadway" (#7, 1978) on the chart. This title track to his 1980 album ended up being his biggest pop hit and it also reached #1 on the R&B chart.

ReduxReview:  Smooth jazz gets a bad wrap most of the time, but there are exceptions. George Benson is one of them. He was top notch in this area in the late 70s-early 80s and this R&B easy groover is proof of that. Tay-stee! Oooo...and I love those "dab-buh-dab-buh-dah" background vocals (courtesy of Patti Austin).

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Benson was nominated for six Grammy awards for the song and album "Give Me the Night." Benson himself won three trophies for Best R&B Vocal ("Give Me the Night"), Best Jazz Vocal ("Moody's Mood"), and Best R&B Instrumental ("Off Broadway"). In addition, the song "Dinorah, Dinorah" from the album won for Best Instrumental Arrangement. Benson also co-won another Grammy the same year for his contribution to the children's album "In Harmony" from Sesame Street. The song "Give Me the Night," written by Rod Temperton, was nominated for Best R&B Song.


"Years From Now" by Dr. Hook

Song#:  0242
Date:  07/05/1980
Debut:  82
Peak:  51
Weeks:  9
Genre:  Soft Rock, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  Dr. Hook followed up their gold single "Sexy Eyes" with this third single from their "Sometimes You Win" album. Although not a real winner on the pop chart, it did sneak up to #17 on the AC chart.

ReduxReview:  I'm not really a fan of this group and this schmaltz-waltz doesn't help to change my mind at all. Although it's still not my thing, their earlier work with Shel Silverstein on their first couple of albums was more interesting that their late 70s smooth AC tunes.

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  Obviously, there is no Dr. Hook. Although many folks mistake band member Ray Sawyer as Dr. Hook due to the eye patch he has worn for many years as a results of losing an eye in an auto wreck. But his eye patch was an inspiration for the name - a play on Peter Pan's Captain Hook who also sported an eye patch.


Monday, February 4, 2013

"Free Me" by Roger Daltrey

Song#:  0241
Date:  07/05/1980
Debut:  88
Peak:  53
Weeks:  10
Genre:  Rock, Soundtrack

Pop Bits:  This solo-billed single from The Who's Roger Daltrey was the first lifted from the soundtrack to the film "McVicar." The album is basically a Daltrey solo disc where the other members of The Who made contributions. At the time, The Who had not released a new studio LP in a couple of years, so this soundtrack ended up being the next best thing. It also served as Daltrey's highest peaking solo album on the chart at #22.

ReduxReview:  This is quite a bombastic tune. It's kind of loud and Daltrey is right in your face with it all. I like it, but I can't imagine this on pop radio at the time - probably why I don't remember hearing this song at all.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) The film "McVicar" is based on the true story of John McVicar (played by Roger Daltrey) who was deemed by Scotland Yard as "Public Enemy #1" based on his armed robberies. He was apprehended and put in prison, but ended up escaping a few times (and got re-captured). Eventually he served his sentence and was released on parole. While in prison, he received a degree in Sociology.  2) This song, along with others on the soundtrack, was written by Russ Ballard who was on the chart at the time with his own solo hit "On the Rebound" (Redux #0206).


Sunday, February 3, 2013

"If I Were You" by Toby Beau

Song#:  0240
Date:  07/05/1980
Debut:  90
Peak:  70
Weeks:  4
Genre:  Pop, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  Although it sounds like a person's name, Toby Beau is actually a group formed in Texas. They flirted briefly with the upper part of the chart in 1978 with their debut single "My Angel Baby" (#13), but that would be their only major hit. It seems their second album effort got hit by the corporate machine when session musicians were being brought in to play. It didn't sit well with the band members and it wasn't long after the album's release (and relative failure) that all band members except for one had left. The last one standing was Balde Silva and with a contract to issue one more album, he forged ahead and got it done. This single from the third and last Toby Beau album couldn't muster up much of an audience and RCA dropped the band.

ReduxReview:  The song has a silky AC luster to it, but there is not much substance to the song. There were a lot of artists around this time with a similar sound, so if you wanted to climb up the chart you had to have a great song; especially in the year Christopher Cross was king. Unfortunately, this one was not a great song.

ReduxRating:  3/10

Trivia:  Silva later adopted the Toby Beau album for his stage name and continued to tour on the club circuit, specifically around Texas.