Saturday, May 25, 2013

"Guilty" by Barbra Streisand & Barry Gibb

Top 10 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
Grammy Alert!
Song#:  0386
Date:  11/01/1980
Debut:  68
Peak:  3
Weeks:  22
Genre:  Pop, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  Streisand was on top of the singles chart with "Woman in Love" when this title track to her #1 album made its entry. The silky smooth duet seemed tailor made for the pair and it wasn't long before this track followed right into the Top 10. It also ended up winning the Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Duo or Group.

ReduxReview:  Mmm, mmm. Tasty and delicious. Barry Gibb just couldn't miss during this time. He was at the top of his game and luckily some artists like Streisand were able to jump on board. This is just pure AC heaven.

ReduxRating:  9/10

Trivia:  All tracks on the album were co-written by Barry Gibb (some with Robin Gibb), but the song "Guilty" was the only one co-written by all three BeeGees.


Friday, May 24, 2013

"Sequel" by Harry Chapin

Song#:  0385
Date:  11/01/1980
Debut:  70
Peak:  23
Weeks:  14
Genre:  Pop, Contemporary Folk

Pop Bits:  Movie sequels are all too frequent, but in music it is much more rare to have song or album sequels. Even rarer, a song and its sequel both hitting the chart. Chapin accomplished this when his song "Taxi" hit #24 in 1972 (his first chart entry) and then this appropriately titled single peaked one-notch higher eight years later. The story told in "Taxi" about a taxi driver and a fare that happened to be a former lover, gets picked up ten years later in "Sequel" when the former taxi driver, now a successful musician, seeks out his old flame and former cab rider. Many song sequels maintain the original's theme or story, but it is usually put to different music. For the most part, Chapin keeps the music from "Taxi" and makes it sound as if "Sequel" is simply picking up where the original ended. Unfortunately, due to a heart attack/car crash, Chapin died the following year and this ended up being his final charting single. It's so strange that his singles chart history starts with "Taxi" and ends with "Sequel," peaking within a notch of each other. In between these songs came his chart-topping pop classic, "Cats in the Cradle" from 1974.

ReduxReview:  These two Chapin songs are more like folk-stories than actual pop music or singles as there is really no verse/chorus going on and the focus is on the lyrics and story. But the music is engaging and keeps things rolling, which apparently worked due to these going Top 25. I do like them both, but I think the story in Taxi is more convincing (and true - as Chapin has said that about 60% of the song is based on a real event). As I've said before, I'm a sucker for a good story song and the pair really do work well.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Prior to his decision to pursue music, Chapin's original career choice was to be a documentary film maker. He did direct/write one documentary in 1968 called "Legendary Champions," which was about older championship boxers. The film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Feature.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

"Girls Can Get It" by Dr. Hook

Song#:  0384
Date:  11/01/1980
Debut:  80
Peak:  34
Weeks:  14
Genre:  Soft Rock, Adult Contemporary

Girls Can Get It by Dr. Hook on Grooveshark

Pop Bits:  Dr. Hook continued the soft rock sound they established with 1978's "Sharing the Night Together" (#6) with this first single from their 1980 album "Rising."  Their previous two albums collected up three Top 10 hits including the previously mentioned "Sharing," but this album would fail to do so with this song being the best effort on the chart.

ReduxReview:  Bleh. This is kind of a wink-wink smooth pop song and I'm not lovin' it. Some of the pop sophistication the group brought with "When You're in Love with a Beautiful Woman" or even "Sexy Eyes" is totally gone here. It's bland - like dry toast.

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  Back in 1972 when the group was Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show, they had their second Top 10 hit with "The Cover of the Rolling Stone" (#6). This parody of rock star life written by Shel Silverstein actually did just what the title said - it got Dr. Hook on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine a few months after the song was released (although it was a caricature drawing of the band and not an actual photo).


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

"Don't Say No" by Billy Burnette

Song#:  0383
Date:  11/01/1980
Debut:  85
Peak:  68
Weeks:  5
Genre:  Rock, Rockabilly

Pop Bits:  Billy is the fourth of the Burnette family to have a solo song enter the chart. He follows his dad Dorsey, his uncle Johnny, and his cousin Rocky, who just had a Top 10 hit with "Tired of Toein' the Line" (#8). Billy's career started very early and by the age of 11 he had already recorded songs and was soon out on tour with Brenda Lee. He officially kicked off his solo career in 1972 with the first of three self-titled LPs. But it wasn't until the third "Billy Burnette" album for Columbia Records that he finally hit the chart. This song became his only pop entry, but through the 80s he would have a few songs spend a little time on the country chart resulting in an ACM nomination for Best New Male Vocalist.

ReduxReview:  This is like a cross of Elvis Costello, Buddy Holly, and Marshall Crenshaw. I really like it. I'm not much into the rockabilly, but this is more rock-oriented so I think I dig it much better. I can't say that some other songs I've listened to of his really attracted me, but I'd add this to my iTunes.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  When his solo career was really beginning to gear up in the country arena, he got an offer to join Fleetwood Mac after Lindsey Buckingham departed the group. Burnette started with Mac in 1987 and contributed to their "Greatest Hits" album along with 1990's "Behind the Mask," and 1994's "Time." He toured and stayed with the group through to 1995.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

"One-Trick Pony" by Paul Simon

Song#:  0382
Date:  10/25/1980
Debut:  78
Peak:  40
Weeks:  11
Genre:  Pop, Soundtrack

Pop Bits:  After the Top 10 success of "Late in the Evening," Simon released the title track to the "One-Trick Pony" film soundtrack. Some would argue that the soundtrack was far more popular than the film, hitting #12 and going gold. However, after having his previous three albums go Top 5 (including the #1 "Still Crazy After All These Years"), it wasn't exactly a major hit either and it would be another three years before Simon release another proper studio album.

ReduxReview:  Really, besides "Late in the Evening," there is not much in the way of singles on the soundtrack. I think there are better songs than this one on the disc, but nothing that would really click with pop radio. This 70s-oriented, jazz-blues-lite tune doesn't sound like a hit, and its #40 peak suggests it wasn't. I don't connect well with solo Simon and this doesn't change that feeling.

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  In the film, Simon's character, Jonah Levin, had a hit in the 60s with a song called "Soft Parachutes." Simon sings the fictitious hit song in the film, but it was left off of the soundtrack. It finally got issued on the 2004 CD reissue of the album.


Monday, May 20, 2013

"Suddenly" by Olivia Newton-John and Cliff Richard

Song#:  0381
Date:  10/25/1980
Debut:  79
Peak:  20
Weeks:  19
Genre:  Pop, Soundtrack

Pop Bits:  Both Newton-John and Richard were on a roll. Each were riding on Top 10 hits with Richard having his best success in the US to date and Newton-John hitting #1 with "Magic." The two were pared up for this song featured on the "Xanadu" soundtrack. It was the fifth single release from the album and its #20 peak ensured that all five reached the Top 20, with "Magic" and "Xanadu" going Top 10. There would be one more single released from the album, "Don't Walk Away" by ELO, but it failed to hit the chart. "Suddenly" would also hit #4 on the AC chart.

ReduxReview:  This is a song I didn't like when it came out. I can't really pinpoint why, just that it didn't click with me. Actually, it kind of sounds like a pale imitation of a BeeGees song. Perhaps that is what rubs me the wrong way. However, I have a better appreciation for it now even though it is still not one of my faves from either artist.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  The b-side of the "Suddenly" single was Newton-John's version of the standard "You Made Me Love You." Although the song can be heard in the film, it was not on the soundtrack LP. Two other songs from the film were also excluded from the soundtrack - Newton-John's "Fool Country" and ELO's "Drum Dreams." Both songs did appear as b-sides to singles released from the soundtrack.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

"De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da" by The Police

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  0380
Date:  10/25/1980
Debut:  80
Peak:  10
Weeks:  21
Genre:  Rock, New Wave

Pop Bits:  The Police were overnight stars in the UK when their first two albums hit big. The group's blend of rock, new wave, and reggae help get them four Top 10 hits including two #1's. In the US, the albums did okay with both going Top 30 and they also managed a couple of chart singles with 1979's "Roxanne" doing the best at #32. But that changed when their third album "Zenyatta Mondatta" was issued. This first charting single from the album in the US became their first Top 10 with the album hitting #5.

ReduxReview:  I've always liked this song and it was probably the first one I remember hearing from The Police. I didn't encounter "Roxanne" and other earlier songs until much later. This was such an unusual sounding song on the radio and it made the group stand out from a lot of the bland pop going on at the time. They would have bigger and better hits, but as an introduction to that specific Police sound, I think this is a darn good representation.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Sting's inspiration for the song came when he was trying to figure out why songs with nonsensical words worked as hits - like "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" or "Da Do Ron Ron." Sting has said the song is about the abuse of words and felt that the song was misunderstood by many and basically dismissed as childish. In 1986, the song was re-recorded for inclusion on a compilation album to put more emphasis on the lyrics, but the new version did not make it on the CD.