Saturday, June 8, 2013

"Shine On" by L.T.D.

Song#:  0400
Date:  11/15/1980
Debut:  90
Peak:  40
Weeks:  16
Genre:  R&B

Pop Bits:  L.T.D. formed in North Carolina and when they made the move to L.A., they got signed by A&M Records. Their first couple of albums didn't do much business, but their third spawned the #1 R&B hit "Love Ballad" (#20 pop). The follow-up album did even better when they got their first and only pop Top 10 hit with "(Every Time I Turn Around) Back in Love Again" (#4, 1977). They continued to have several R&B hits, but this single from the album of the same name ended up being their final pop chart entry.

ReduxReview:  Oh man - I forgot about "Back in Love Again." That is a great song, so check it out if you don't remember it. "Shine On" is a ballad kind of in the vein of The Commodores, but a little more AC-leaning. It's a nice, sentimental tune but I kept wanting it to be bigger by the end. There needed to be some kind of peak moment to really make the song soar. Instead, it just kind of plays on without much to keep your attention.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) The group's name is an acronym for love, togetherness, and devotion. 2) After the album "Shine On," a couple of the group's members left the band to seek solo careers. One of those members was lead singer Jeffrey Osbourn. He would go on to a successful career racking up eleven R&B Top 10 songs and eight pop Top 40 entries.


Friday, June 7, 2013

"Rough Boys" by Pete Townshend

Song#:  0399
Date:  11/15/1980
Debut:  92
Peak:  89
Weeks:  4
Genre:  Rock

Rough Boys by Pete Townshend on Grooveshark

Pop Bits:  Townshend's third single from his "Empty Glass" album was actually released as a single months earlier in the UK where it peaked at #39. The song is arguably one of his most controversial or talked about compositions. The lyrics have a gay subtext and many mistakenly heard it as a sort of "coming out" for Townshend. And years later in an interview, he made some remarks that fueled that fire. But Townshend then clarified what his responses meant and maintains that regardless of any experimentation he might have done in the free-willed 60s, that he is hetero. The lyrics of the song were basically a commentary on how the punks in the UK were dressing just like the gays in the US were - in tough military/leather styles. Regardless, the song didn't amount to much on the pop chart but it remains a kind of classic in the Townshend catalog.

ReduxReview: Whatever the lyrics may mean to Townshend or to others, it don't matter to me. I just think this is a pretty killer song. It may have been a little too punk-ish for pop radio and I'm sure any whiff of lyric controversy didn't help, so I'm not shocked it wasn't a hit - even though it should have been. However, I will say that I certainly don't mind lyrics like "Tough boys, come over here, I wanna bite and kiss you..."

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Townshend is a 1993 Tony Award winner. He co-wrote the musical "The Who's Tommy," based off of the famous rock album classic. Townshend won the award for Best Original Score. The show was nominated for Best Musical, but lost out to the musical version of "Kiss of the Spider Woman."


Thursday, June 6, 2013

"Remote Control" by The Reddings

Song#:  0398
Date:  11/15/1980
Debut:  94
Peak:  89
Weeks:  13
Genre:  R&B, Funk

Remote Control by The Reddings on Grooveshark

Pop Bits:  This group's debut album "The Awakening" yielded this minor pop chart entry. However, the song reached #6 on the R&B chart. The group would record a total of six albums and get 11 singles on the R&B chart before calling it a day after their last LP in 1988.

ReduxReview:  Nothing really thrilling here. Just a good funky jam that is an easy listen. The chorus has hints of a future Bobby Brown hit - "My Prerogative."

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  If the name of the group brings to mind Otis Redding, it should. The group consisted of Redding's two sons, Otis III and Dexter, and their cousin Mark Lockett.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

"Hungry Heart" by Bruce Springsteen

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  0397
Date:  11/08/1980
Debut:  30
Peak:  5
Weeks:  18
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Although he already had released an album considered one of the best ever ("Born to Run") and had tons of media attention and exposure, Springsteen still had not had a significant chart hit. The epic title track to "Born to Run" was his best outing at #23. But that change when his album "The River" came out. The double-LP boasted rock songs rooted in the 50s and 60s where the emphasis shifted from epic tales to more concise pop-leaning tunes. This first single exemplified this and it finally became his first Top 10 hit. "The River" also became his first #1 album.

ReduxReview:  Even though I loved "Born to Run" and this song, I still wasn't on the Springsteen bandwagon yet. Not sure why. Oddly, it took his next album, the very stark and acoustic "Nebraska," to get me on The Boss train. I've been a steady fan since. This song is just terrific. The old-time rock sound updated in a modern Spector-ish way is just great and still works today.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Springsteen would end up having 12 Top 10 hits on the chart but no #1's. However, as a songwriter he hit #1 when Manfred Mann hit that spot in 1976 with Springsteen's "Blinded By the Light."  2) Springsteen originally wrote "Hungry Heart" at the request of Joey Ramone for the Ramones to record. However, because songs he gave away were chart successes (like The Pointer Sisters' #2 "Fire"), he kept it for himself and it got him into the Top 10 for the first time.


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

"Together" by Tierra

Song#:  0396
Date:  11/08/1980
Debut:  80
Peak:  18
Weeks: 21
Genre:  R&B

Pop Bits:  Tierra was basically a spin-off band from the L.A. chicano-rock/soul band El Chicano. That group placed a few songs on the pop chart including 1970's "Viva Tirado, Pt. 1" (#28). This first single from Tierra's third album "City Nights" performed a bit better and became their best pop effort. The song also reached #9 on the R&B chart.

ReduxReview:  This is an okay song. It's smooth and a nice listen, but there is nothing here that really sticks in my ear. The original version (see below) is the same way. It is a pleasant listen (except that spoken word section) and they perform it well, but it is not reeling me in. Bland R&B.

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  This song, written by the famous Gamble & Huff team, was a remake of the 1967 chart song by The Intruders. Their version peaked at #48 pop and #9 R&B (same as the Tierra version).


Monday, June 3, 2013

"Could I Be Dreaming" by The Pointer Sisters

Song#:  0395
Date:  11/08/1980
Debut:  81
Peak:  52
Weeks:  11
Genre:  Pop, R&B

Pop Bits:  The sisters just had their second Top 3 hit with the #3 "He's So Shy" and the follow-up single was this track from their "Special Things" album. Although this single couldn't hit the Top 50 (and only reached #22 R&B), the previous hit was big enough to make the album reach gold status - their fourth to do so. Since paring down to a trio, this is the first chart song to be co-written by a group member (Anita).

ReduxReview:  This is a nice slick jam that is quite a bit different from the pop of "He's So Shy." The chorus sounds a little jazzy and variety-show-ish, but overall it is a pretty good tune and should have probably been a Top 40 entry.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  After the success of their album "Energy," featuring the #2 hit "Fire," the group released the LP "Priority." No singles from the album hit the pop chart and it also fell short of gold status. However, the more rock-oriented album was critically successful and is considered one of the strongest albums in their catalog. They covered songs by rock artists like Bob Seger, Bruce Springsteen, Richard Thompson, and The Rolling Stones.


Sunday, June 2, 2013

"Stop This Game" by Cheap Trick

Song#:  0394
Date:  11/08/1980
Debut:  84
Peak:  48
Weeks:  12
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  By 1980, Cheap Trick were starting to experiment with their sound and although their albums were selling, singles were just peaking in and out of the Top 40. This first single from the album "All Shook Up" didn't rev up much action on the chart but the album still reached #24 and went gold.

ReduxReview:   I can't say that this is a pop radio-friendly song, but I like it. Not being a big fan of Cheap Trick, it kind of caught me off guard. I didn't really expect to like it. But there is something big and grand about it (probably having to do with the producer - see below) that makes it sound good and meaty. It's like The Who ate a couple of the Beatles and farted out this tune. (Oddly, that is actually a compliment...)

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  To advance their sound, Cheap Trick broke up with their long-time producer, Tom Werman, and opted to go with famed Beatles producer George Martin for the "All Shook Up" album. The one-time pairing was not exactly received well by critics or fans who thought the experimentation and sound took them too far away from their power pop roots.