Saturday, June 1, 2013

"Morning Man" by Rupert Holmes

Song#:  0393
Date:  11/08/1980
Debut:  85
Peak:  68
Weeks:  7
Genre:  Pop, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  A year earlier, Holmes got his first and only #1 hit with "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)" from the album "Partners in Crime." The follow-up album "Adventure" didn't get off to such a remarkable start as this first single could barely get a third of the way up the chart. It did a little better at AC reaching #21.

ReduxReview:  Holmes is a terrific songwriter and this is a good song, but it is really kind of lackluster for radio. It doesn't have that big hooky memorable chorus like his previous hits "Escape" and "Him." This just would not stand out to me if I heard it on the local pop station.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  In 1985, Holmes made his Broadway debut as a writer when he penned the musical "The Mystery of Edwin Drood," based on an unfinished murder mystery novel by Charles Dickens. Dickens died before he could write the ending to the book which revealed the killer, so it has been a subject of speculation since his death. The musical is unique in that each night the audience would vote on who they thought the killer was and would do the appropriate ending based on which character got the most votes. Therefore, the show had several endings written that the cast had to be prepared to perform. The play won the Tony award for Best Musical and Holmes himself won Tony's for Best Book and Best Original Score.


Friday, May 31, 2013

"Blues Power" by Eric Clapton & His Band

Song#:  0392
Date:  11/08/1980
Debut:  86
Peak:  76
Weeks:  5
Genre:  Blues-Rock

Pop Bits:  This second single from Clapton's live album "Just One Night" didn't catch on quite as well as the live double-sided single "Tulsa Time/Cocaine" (#30). It probably was just a bit too much of a bluesy jam to get any traction at pop radio. But it got enough attention to spend a few weeks on the chart.

ReduxReview:  The audio posted is from the album, so it is the full 7-minute version - a bit too long for my taste. The single was around 3-1/2 minutes, so I'm sure it took out the front part and most of the long-ass solo (which I'm sure was cool in concert).  Again, a live track doesn't do much for me. Would rather be there. I wasn'<snore>

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  This song was co-written by Clapton and Leon Russell. It first appeared on Clapton's self-titled debut album in 1970.


Thursday, May 30, 2013

"Help Me" by Marcy Levy & Robin Gibb

Song#:  0391
Date:  11/08/1980
Debut:  87
Peak:  50
Weeks:  10
Genre:  Pop, Soundtrack

Help Me! by Robin Gibb & Marcy Levy on Grooveshark

Pop Bits:  This track, co-written and co-produced by BeeGee Robin Gibb, found its way onto the soundtrack for the film "Times Square." The film, about two young runaways living in NYC, was not a hit with critics or at the box office. However, the double-LP soundtrack that mixed important new wave and punk artists of the era did much better peaking at #37. Featuring songs by The Pretenders, Roxy Music, XTC, Joe Jackson, The Ramones, and others, the soundtrack became a bit of a cult hit and outlasted the film itself. This lone pop single was the one promoted and the duet made it halfway up the chart. It was Levy's first and only chart song while it became Gibb's second one apart from his brothers following 1978's "Oh! Darling" (#15), which was from the notorious film bomb "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."

ReduxReview:  It's strange, this song almost works. It starts out great with a nice verse, but I think it kind of falls apart a bit at the chorus. It's a bit disjointed with an awkward silence in it. The memorable part is supposed to be the chorus and it is just not - it just flops around a bit. But the verse and bridge with Levy's soaring vocal are very nice.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Marcy Levy (her given name) may be more familiar to pop music fans as Marcella Detroit. As Detroit, she became part of the group Shakespears Sister" whose single "Stay" was a #4 hit in 1992. It was her lead vocal on that track. In the 70s, she fronted her own band and they toured with Bob Seger. She then did tours with Leon Russell and Eric Clapton. It was with Clapton that she co-wrote several songs including his 1978 #3 hit "Lay Down Sally."


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

"I Love a Rainy Night" by Eddie Rabbitt

#1 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
Song#:  0390
Date:  11/08/1980
Debut:  89
Peak:  1 (2 weeks)
Weeks:  28
Genre:  Country Crossover

Pop Bits:  Rabbitt just had his first pop Top 10 with the #5 "Drivin' My Life Away" when this second single from his album "Horizon" came along and became his first (and only) pop #1 hit. This would be the peak of his pop chart years and it established him as a country superstar.

ReduxReview:  Oh, those claps and snaps! This song hooks you right off the bat and just keeps going. And the short guitar solo is pretty terrific. It is probably Rabbitt's best moment and it is not surprising that it became his signature tune.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Early in his songwriting days, Rabbitt would record ideas and songs on tape for reference. While going through some of these tapes he did from the 60s, he happened upon something he sang into the tape that caught his attention. It was his original idea for "I Love a Rainy Night." With input from a couple of co-writers, Rabbitt finished the song and over a decade later, the tune from the tape became a hit.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

"The Horizontal Bop" by Bob Seger

Song#:  0389
Date:  11/08/1980
Debut:  90
Peak:  42
Weeks:  12
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  This fourth single from Seger's "Against the Wind" album was not a big hit, but it did gain a reputation due to its suggestive title and became a bit of a bar band staple. After the relatively slower previous singles ("Fire Lake," "Against the Wind," "You'll Accomp'ny Me"), this single finds Seger back on the rock side of his music.

ReduxReview:  This bar jam is not a Seger one I seek out. The wink-wink title and the feeling that I should be tossing beer bottles at a caged band is not really up my alley. It's okay, but there are other Seger rock tunes I'd rather hear.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Seger co-wrote the Eagles hit "Heartache Tonight" from 1979. It would be the group's last song to reach #1 on the chart.


Monday, May 27, 2013

"Love on the Rocks" by Neil Diamond

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  0388
Date:  11/01/1980
Debut:  32
Peak:  2
Weeks:  20
Genre:  Pop, Adult Contemporary, Soundtrack

Pop Bits:  After his successful duet with Barbra Streisand, the #1 "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" in 1978, there were plans to make a film based on the song for the stars. But it fell through as Diamond starred in the remake of "The Jazz Singer" with Lucy Arnaz and Laurence Olivier. The film ended up being a bit of a notorious bomb, but the soundtrack was a major success for Diamond. It became his biggest selling album in the US. This first single had a high debut, almost in the Top 30, and spent three weeks at #2.

ReduxReview:  I loved this song the first time I heard it and immediately bought the single. I think it ranks among the best of Diamond's songs and his performance of it is terrific. Yeah, the movie was a stink-a-roo, but at least it gave us this song.

ReduxRating:  9/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) In the very first year of the Razzie Awards, Diamond won the Worst Actor award for "The Jazz Singer." He was in good company though. Laurence Olivier won Worst Supporting Actor for the film.  2) Diamond co-wrote this song with French pop legend Gilbert Bécaud. Originally, the song was called "Scotch on the Rocks" and was done in a reggae style. Diamond did an incomplete demo of that version and it can be heard on his "In My Lifetime" compilation box set. Thankfully, he and Bécaud rethought the song and they ended up with a big hit.


Sunday, May 26, 2013

"(Just Like) Starting Over" by John Lennon

#1 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
Song#:  0387
Date:  11/01/1980
Debut:  38
Peak:  1 (5 weeks)
Weeks:  22
Genre:  Pop, Rock

(Just Like) Starting Over by John Lennon - on Grooveshark

Pop Bits:  In 1975, Lennon decided to break from music and focus on raising his family. He dropped off his last contractual album to EMI and he was done. Move to 1980 and Lennon feeling it was time to return. He and Yoko Ono decided to create an album of both their songs and "Double Fantasy" was born. This single was the first out of the gate and it was well-received garnering a high debut on the chart. The song would also go on to received a Grammy nomination for Record of the Year. But just over a month after the song debuted, tragedy struck when Lennon was shot and killed on December 8th.

ReduxReview:  I have to say that initially I didn't really like this song. It sounds like it should have been an ELO song, which I probably would have liked. But time allows you to hear things differently and I grew to enjoy this tune. But the thing with "Double Fantasy" is that it is kind of tainted in a way. Since it was released just barely prior to Lennon's murder, when I hear songs from the album it just bring that awful event back. So sometimes I find it hard to listen too. Especially when a lot of the album is filled with happiness and hope.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Since Lennon had no recording contract at the time, once word got out that he had a new record in the works, all the major labels were practically wetting themselves trying to get him signed. But one label head did something the others didn't - he talked to Yoko Ono first. Doing this was key to the deal and Lennon/Ono signed with David Geffen and his newly formed Geffen label. It would actually be Geffen who would escort Ono from the hospital where Lennon was taken after the shooting and pronounced dead.