Saturday, October 12, 2013

"One Day in Your Life" by Michael Jackson

Song#:  0573
Date:  04/18/1981
Debut:  81
Peak:  55
Weeks:  7
Genre:  Pop, R&B



Pop Bits:  Back in 1975, The Jackson 5 left Motown (not very amicably) and moved over to Epic. Michael had done four solo LPs for Motown, but his next solo effort would be for Epic. That ended up being the hugely successful "Off the Wall" album. With Michael's popularity soaring, Motown decided to try and cash in on their previous property and slapped together a compilation of songs from his final Motown album "Forever, Michael" (1975), along with four Jackson 5 songs to pad the disc. The resulting "One Day in Your Life" was issued and this first single got a little bit of interest, but since it was nothing like his "Off the Wall" hits and already six-years old, not as many folks were interested. But oddly in the UK, this single became his first #1 in that country. That was fortunate for Motown as it allowed their ploy to work pretty well and the LP ended up selling around 2 million copies worldwide (with only minor sales in the US).

ReduxReview:  Oh man, just that teeny harmonica intro is enough to date this song. It sounds like a song that would have been featured in some schmaltzy 70s movie - like a romantic comedy or something sad with a small kid. It's a treacly confection that could maybe be tasty if redone, but with this big ol' fashioned arrangement, it just kind of sinks to the pit of your stomach and sits there like a lump.

ReduxRating:  3/10

Trivia:  Five years before they got everyone to do the "Conga," the Miami Sound Machine (with Gloria Estefan) covered this song for their self-titled 1980 album. Theirs was a Spanish language version titled "No Me Olvidaras."

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Friday, October 11, 2013

"Time" by Alan Parsons Project

Song#:  0572
Date:  04/18/1981
Debut:  82
Peak:  15
Weeks:  23
Genre:  Soft Rock, Prog Rock



Pop Bits:  The Project just had their best chart showing with "Games People Play" (#16) and this second single from their "The Turn of a Friendly Card" album would eclipse that peak by a notch giving them their best single showing yet.

ReduxReview:  I never would have thought this languid ballad would actually be a hit, but there it was hitting #15! For me, the slowness of the tune, the melody, and especially that voice completely suckered me in. I loved it and got the single pronto. I also remember this song at state band camp at Interlochen one summer. There was a mixer on one of the evenings and there was dancing. I was painfully too shy to really dance, but when this came on a flute player I was talking with grabbed me to go slow dance. I'm sure that slow dancing with me was probably the equivalent of dancing with a sheet of plywood.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  As co-founder of the Project, this would be Eric Woolfson's first charting single as lead vocalist and it introduced his oddly recognizable voice to a larger audience.

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Thursday, October 10, 2013

"Fool in Love with You" by Jim Photoglo

Song#:  0571
Date:  04/18/1981
Debut:  83
Peak:  25
Weeks:  16
Genre:  Pop, Soft Rock

Fool in Love With You by Jim Photoglo on Grooveshark

Pop Bits:  Photoglo's debut album spawned the minor hit "We Were Meant to Be Lovers" (#31") and this first single from his second album did about as well. It ended up being his best charting song and his last as well. Photoglo would issue one last pop album in 1983 before moving over to the country market where he became a successful songwriter. He would issue further solo albums ten years later, but this would be his heyday as a charting artist.

ReduxReview:  Although it's nothing that grabs your ears and won't let go, this is a nice smooth jam and goes down easy. I've always kind of liked this song and its the one I was familiar with from Photoglo. There were lots of songs like this on the chart around this time, but this one was a slight step above most.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  In 1993, Photoglo joined forces with some other well-known musicians to form the comedy country group Run C&W. The group recorded two album of novelty tunes and soul songs in a bluegrass style. They even fictionalize themselves as the Burns quadruplets with names like Side Burns and Rug Burns. After two albums that seemed to fizzle, they all went back to their day jobs.

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"Hurry Up and Wait" by The Isley Brothers

Song#:  0570
Date:  04/18/1981
Debut:  85
Peak:  58
Weeks:  7
Genre:  R&B

Hurry Up and Wait by The Isley Brothers on Grooveshark

Pop Bits:  The Isley's had a hot streak throughout the 70s with continuous platinum and gold-selling albums. Their second effort in the 80s, "Grand Slam," continued that streak going gold, but it was not as successful on the chart as their previous LPs and marked a decline for the group. Although they continued to rack up R&B hits, their pop entries became less frequent. This first single from the album couldn't get them back into the Top 40 and even missed the Top 10 at R&B.

ReduxReview:  The group seemed to be struggling and I've read a lot where around this time they were becoming repetitive and/or stale - basically almost just phoning it in. I'd have to agree. This song just sounds listless. There is no excitement to it. It think if their hearts were really in it, this might have been much better. It's not a terrific song, but it seems like it could have been pretty solid. But with the way they did it, I'm not surprised it didn't fare well. After being a group for almost 20 years by this point, I'm sure finding inspiration was getting more difficult. Unfortunately, it kind of showed.

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  In 1964 and 1965 when the group was struggling a bit trying to get a hit and moving labels, they hired a lead guitarist for their band who would also do a couple of studio sessions with them. But since nothing panned out with the singles, the guy left. The guitarist they had hired was Jimi Hendrix. I'm not 100% sure, but everything I've read seems to indicate that Hendrix's first time on record was the session for the Isley's "Testify" single in 1964.

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

"Still Right Here in My Heart" by Pure Prairie League

Song#:  0596
Date:  04/18/1981
Debut:  87
Peak:  28
Weeks:  14
Genre:  Country Rock



Pop Bits:  Their previous album contained their first and only Top 10 hit with "Let Me Love You Tonight" (#10), so hopes were probably high that their next release would build upon that success. This first single did some good business on the chart reaching the Top 30, but it was a far cry from their previous success and their album "Something in the Night" failed to make the Top 50 as well.

ReduxReview:  It sounds like they were moving even closer to that SoCal sound of folks like the Eagles and even Linda Ronstadt. It works fine, but the material is a bit on the bland side. It's a nicely written tune and a pleasant listen, but still nothing that makes me any further interested in the group..

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Band member and co-writer of this tune Jeff Wilson apparently has has a second career in movies. Not as an actor, but behind the scenes doing camera and other electrical work. He also has a very brief cameo in the movie "Knocked Up" in a record store scene where a Pure Prairie League LP is discussed.

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"I've Been Waiting for You All of My Life" by Paul Anka

Song#:  0568
Date:  04/18/1981
Debut:  88
Peak:  48
Weeks:  9
Genre:  Pop, Adult Contemporary



Pop Bits:  As a teen idol, Anka wrote and recorded several hits in the late 50s/early 60s including the #1's "Diana" (1957) and "Lonely Boy" (1959). But his star faded in the 60s with the onset of rock and the British Invasion and by the early 70s he had not had a Top 10 hit since 1961. But he experienced a career resurgence in 1974 and 1975 when he nabbed four Top 10 hits including the #1 "(You're) Having My Baby." Again, the hits faded but by that time Anka was already a legend and a fixture in Las Vegas. Occasionally he would get on the chart with a tune and this one from his album "Both Sides of Love" almost got him back in the Top 40.

ReduxReview:  Anka is a solid composer/songwriter, but he didn't write this one. Which is a good thing because it is kind of...well, not good. It sounds a bit hokey and I'm not sure if it was meant to be pop, AC, or even country crossover. Regardless, it is just not working for me. It sounds very dated now, and I think it sounded dated back then too. The chorus is on the verge of being something nice, but as a whole it's just no very good.

ReduxRating:  3/10

Trivia:  In addition to his own hits, Anka has written songs that went on to be standards in music. Most notably he wrote the theme to "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson" and put English lyrics to the French song "Comme d'habitude," which eventually became one of Frank Sinatra's signature tunes, "My Way." He also wrote Tom Jones' biggest hit with the #2 "She's a Lady" (1971).

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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

"You Like Me Don't You" by Jermaine Jackson

Song#:  0567
Date:  04/18/1981
Debut:  93
Peak:  50
Weeks:  9
Genre:  R&B



Pop Bits:  Coming off of his biggest solo success to-date with the LP "Let's Get Serious," Jackson issued the follow-up "Jermaine." It's first single, "Little Girl Don't You Worry," only reached #17 at R&B and failed to make the pop chart. This second effort did a bit better and made it to the halfway mark at pop (#13 R&B).

ReduxReview:  Meh! It's a pleasant enough song, but there is nothing here to really latch onto. After his collabs with Stevie Wonder on his previous album, this is certainly lackluster.

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  When The Jackson 5 decided to leave Motown, Jermaine chose to leave the group and stay with Motown for his solo career. He had good reason to do so as he was married to Hazel Gordy - Berry Gordy's daughter. So with the label-head as your father-in-law, it was probably wise to stay put.

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"Since I Don't Have You" by Don McLean

Song#:  0566
Date:  04/11/1981
Debut:  71
Peak:  23
Weeks:  14
Genre:  Pop



Pop Bits:  McLean's #5 remake of "Crying" gave him a mini career revival. His follow-up single was another revived oldie and although it didn't get close to the Top 10, it did pretty well and kept McLean on the chart for a while longer.

ReduxReview:  An old-fashioned song done in an old-fashioned way and I'm a bit surprised it did this well on the chart. I can see where it would do well at AC (where it did reach #6), but seems a bit dated for pop radio at the time. I appreciate the song and McLean does a fine version, but its not my thing.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  This popular old doo-wop song has been covered many times with five versions hitting the chart over the years. The biggest hit still remains the original by The Skyliners who took it to #12 in 1959. The last version of the song to reach the chart was a Guns N' Roses cover which reached #69 in 1994.

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Monday, October 7, 2013

"Medley" by Stars on 45

#1 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
One-Hit Wonder Alert!
Song#:  0565
Date:  04/11/1981
Debut:  76
Peak:  1 (1 week)
Weeks:  21
Genre:  Pop, Dance



Pop Bits:  Dutch publishing exec Willem van Kooten happened to hear a bootleg disco mash-up of pop songs including one his company owned the rights to (and obviously didn't approve for use). Since it was in clubs already, instead of pursuing a legal issue, van Kooten did the opposite and decided to make his own legal version of the bootleg for release. He enlisted Jaap Eggermont of the group Golden Earring and Stars on 45 was born. They hired sound-alikes to recreate snippets of songs and then edited them together with an occasional original riff to separate some sections. The main 12" version ended up being 9+ minutes and then a shorter 4 minute single version was created. The single quickly hit #1 on the Dutch charts and then broke in the UK where it reached #2. The US got on board and it interrupted the 9-week #1 run of "Bette Davis Eyes" for a week. There would be follow-ups, but none would reach the US Top 40, basically making it known as a one-hit wonder.

(Note: as of this posting I'm loosening my definition of a one-hit wonder. My original definition is a Top 10 song by an artist who never hit the full chart again. However, it seems the more general definition is an artist who had one very recognizable hit, but failed to follow it up with anything significant.  This song hitting #1 and subsequent follow-ups not charting well or forgotten seems to make this a one-hit wonder. I'll define in the post whether it is a "real" technical one hit wonder or a generally assumed one.)

ReduxReview:  Okay, I admit it. I loved this when it came out and I still find it pretty fun. In fact, in some ways I appreciate it more now because there was no easy-editing digital technology back then and everything had to be manually manipulated to get this to all fall together - including recording and imitating each snippet separately. Quite fascinating. And really, this one has gotten lost along the way. I never hear it anywhere and no one references it. Too bad because it was well-done and fun, despite it being a giant block of cheez whiz.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  In the US, there were legalities that required all songs performed on a medley be listed. Therefore, both on the single and the listing on the chart, all songs were listed for the title. With a total of 41 letters, it became the longest titled single to reach #1 on the chart. It's official title was:  "Medley: Intro Venus/Sugar, Sugar/No Reply/I'll Be Back/Drive My Car/Do You Want to Know a Secret/We Can Work It Out/I Should Have Known Better/Nowhere Man/You're Going to Lose That Girl/Stars on 45."

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"Ai No Corrida" by Quincy Jones

Grammy Alert!
Song#:  0564
Date:  04/11/1981
Debut:  81
Peak:  28
Weeks:  12
Genre:  Pop, Dance



Pop Bits:  For the most part these days if you mention Quincy Jones to someone, they think of his work with Michael Jackson and other major artists. But really Jones' musical background and career started far earlier. First as a jazz trumpeter on tour with Lionel Hampton in the 50s and then to composing scores for films like "In Cold Blood," and "In the Heat of the Night." He released solo albums along the way that ranged from jazz to pop and also produced hits for others such as "It's My Party" by Leslie Gore (#1, 1963). He had a few singles reach the pop charts, but only one reached the Top 40, "Stuff Like That" in 1978 (#21). In 1981, he released what would become the first of two major hit albums. "The Dude" would be a multiple Grammy nominee, including Album of the Year, and it featured this first single which got him back in the Top 40 for the second time. It was also a Grammy winner for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocals. It featured the vocals of Dune, Charles May, and Patti Austin.

ReduxReview:  It probably didn't hurt that Jones had more name recognition at this time thanks to his work on Michael Jackson's "Off the Wall," so it allowed for some attention for this single. The album sure skews more towards pop/R&B and this one heads right to the dance arena. It's a nice jam but it's nothing that I'd head out and buy (which I didn't at the time).

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  This song was co-written by Chas Jankel and it was originally released on his self-titled debut album in 1980. The UK artist was the keyboardist/guitarist for Ian Dury & the Blockheads before heading out on a solo career. Although he would never hit the US pop chart, he did reach #1 on the dance chart in 1982 with "Glad to Know You."

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Sunday, October 6, 2013

"That Didn't Hurt Too Bad" by Dr. Hook

Song#:  0563
Date:  04/11/1981
Debut:  83
Peak:  69
Weeks:  4
Genre:  Soft Rock

That Didn't Hurt Too Bad by Dr. Hook on Grooveshark

Pop Bits:  The group's second single from their "Rising" album resided on the chart for a few short weeks. It marked a definite decline in the group's popularity with the album itself barely reaching the Top 200. By this time, founding member and actually "Dr. Hook," Ray Sawyer, had left the group as he was not happy with the band's pop music direction. The band moved over to the ill-fated Casablanca label for this album, but it seems the magic got lost along the way.

ReduxReview:  They were still sticking with the same soft rock, AC, smooth-sexy pop that got them hits like "Sexy Eyes." But by this point it just sounds like a retread and there is nothing new being offered here.

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  This song was co-written by Robert Bryne, a songwriter who had good success on the country chart. He recorded this on his 1979 album "Blame It On the Night." It was then covered by R&B star Percy Sledge in 1980, which was followed by this Dr. Hook version. (The Sledge version is on Spotify - check it out - it is far better than the Dr. Hook take.)

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