Saturday, November 8, 2014

"Out of Work" by Gary U.S. Bonds

Song#:  1069
Date:  06/12/1982
Debut:  69
Peak:  21
Weeks:  16
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  After his Bruce Springsteen-produced comeback album yielded the #11 hit "This Little Girl," Bonds teamed up once again with Springsteen and Steven Van Zandt for a follow-up LP titled "On the Line." Springsteen wrote seven of the eleven tunes including this first single. Just as his previous hit missed the Top 10 by one spot, this single missed the Top 20 by one. Bonds would release a few more albums over the years, but this song would be his final pop chart showing.

ReduxReview:  This song is in the same vein as Springsteen's "Hungry Heart." However, the missing element here is that Springsteen isn't singing the song. I would imagine if this was a new single from him, it probably would have done better. But Bonds' vocal is perfect for the song and he most likely sings it better than Springsteen would have.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  The Springsteen tunes were recorded with most of the E Street band members. There were three additional songs recorded during the sessions, but they were not placed on the final album. Later, Springsteen would issue his own versions of two of those songs. "Lion's Den" appeared on his 1998 box set "Tracks" and Rendezvous" showed up on his 2010 compilation "The Promise."


Friday, November 7, 2014

"Landslide" by Olivia Newton-John

Song#:  1068
Date:  06/12/1982
Debut:  82
Peak:  52
Weeks:  8
Genre:  Synthpop, Pop

Pop Bits:  This third single from her "Physical" LP couldn't follow the title track (#1) or "Make a Move on Me" (#5) into the Top 10. It stopped mid-chart and, well, took a slide back down. It did better in the UK, where it was issued as the second single. The song peaked at #18. It was then followed by "Make a Move on Me" which reached #52.

ReduxReview:  This was one of my favorites off the "Physical" album. I loved the drum fills and screechy synth. Olivia is not a rocker, but she gave it her best effort here and even got a few grrrs in there for good measure. Of course, her last note is a window-breaking killer. Although quite dated, I still enjoy it.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Newton-John's long-time producer John Farrar released his own self-titled solo album in 1980. It didn't get anywhere, but he recycled two songs from the album for Olivia's "Physical" LP. "Recovery" and "Falling" got new leases on life and became part of her hit album.


Thursday, November 6, 2014

"(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" by The Reddings

Song#:  1067
Date:  06/12/1982
Debut:  87
Peak:  55
Weeks:  9
Genre:  R&B

Pop Bits:  It was probably inevitable. With a trio that included two of Otis Redding's sons, it seemed like a no-brainer that they would cover their dad's biggest hit. At least they waited to capitalize on the connection until their third LP, "Steamin' Hot." Before this, their only other major chart showing was "Remote Control" from their debut album, which did well at R&B (#6), though not so great at pop (#89). Thanks in part to the father/sons connection, this single did better at pop and reached #21 at R&B. It would be their final pop entry. They would place a few more mid-chart singles at R&B, but by the end of the decade they were all done.

ReduxReview:  You have to be pretty confident to cover your dad's most famous song and also name your album "Steamin' Hot." I mean, if it ain't, the title could get followed by "pile of..." Luckily, it wasn't. The Reddings were not awesome, but they were a competent trio who pushed out some decent material. This one could have gone horribly wrong, but I think they did well. I love the feel of the opening and wished that could have gotten sustained throughout the song, but their standard cover is respectful and solid.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Otis Redding had wrapped up the recording of this song on December 7, 1967. He returned to his tour and three days later, a chartered plane that carried him and his band crashed into Lake Monona outside of Madison, Wisconsin. All on board were killed except trumpeter/Bar-Kay's member Ben Cauley. "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" was issued as a single the following January. It reached #1 and in doing so, became the first posthumous single in history to top the pop chart.


"So Fine" by Oak Ridge Boys

Song#:  1066
Date:  06/12/1982
Debut:  88
Peak:  76
Weeks:  4
Genre:  Country

Pop Bits:  The Oaks had their second major crossover hit with the title track to their LP "Bobbie Sue" (#1 country, #12 pop). This second single from the album may not have been the right choice as a follow-up. The song only got to #22 on the country chart, which broke a string of fourteen Top 10's, and was a month-long blip on the pop chart. A third single got them back into the country Top 10, but this was certainly a hiccup in the middle of their most successful period.

ReduxReview:  Although this is an older song (see below), it starts like a ripoff of "Elvira," which was written in 1966. So now it makes me wonder if "Elvira" was a ripoff! Most likely not, but they are a bit similar. It may have been that similarity that sunk it on the chart. It's a good song and the Oaks do a great job, but it's like we've heard this before, so why listen to an inferior repeat?

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  This song is a remake of the #11 pop hit (#3 R&B) by The Fiestas from 1959. Written by Johnny Otis, it was the R&B group's only major hit.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

"Loveline" by Dr. Hook

Song#:  1065
Date:  06/12/1982
Debut:  89
Peak:  60
Weeks:  10
Genre:  Soft Rock

Pop Bits:  Dr. Hook got a bit of a left-field hit with the slightly salacious "Baby Makes Her Blue Jeans Talk" (#25) from their LP "Players in the Dark." The band's popularity had been in decline and this follow-up single did not reverse the trend. In fact, it became their final pop chart entry. They would issue one more LP the following year, but it completely tanked and that ended the main era of the group. Ray Sawyer (whose eye patch inspired the Dr. Hook name) left the group soon after, but the band continued to successfully tour for years.

ReduxReview:  The original by Eddie Rabbitt (see below) is so much better than this remake. Rabbitt does a sleepy, romantic reading that would nicely enhance a wine and fireplace evening. Dr. Hook does theirs with more of a wink and point. The arrangement with the flute and female background vocals sounds dated and doesn't serve the song well. Unlike Rabbitt's original, this one seems more suited to a PBR and campfire by the trailer.

ReduxRating:  3/10

Trivia:  This song was originally recorded by Eddie Rabbitt. It served as the title-track to his 1979 album "Loveline." Rabbitt co-wrote the song with David Malloy and Even Stevens. It was not released as a single. The album is noteworthy for a pair of #1 country hits, "Suspicions" (#13 pop) and "Gone Too Far" (#82 pop).


"What Kind of Fool Am I" by Rick Springfield

Song#:  1064
Date:  06/05/1982
Debut:  57
Peak:  21
Weeks:  12
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Springfield's "Don't Talk to Strangers" hit #2 and became his second biggest chart hit. It was expected that this second single from his "Success Hasn't Spoiled Me Yet" LP would follow into the Top 10. With almost a mid-chart debut, that seemed certain. But the single faltered and fell just shy of the Top 20. It didn't matter too much because the album was already his best charting (peaking at #2) and on track to go platinum.

ReduxReview:  Springfield had not released any type of ballad as a single yet, so this was his first attempt. It's kind of a big rock ballad with a soft verse moving into a rockin' chorus. I think the chorus is very solid, but not sure it really meshes with the quiet verse. It's a good tune, but I think there were better single choices on the album.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Did Springfield miss out on a more significant hit? Another song from the album, "Calling All Girls," was not issued as a single, but it was a significant Mainstream Rock hit peaking at #4. Rock radio hits don't always translate to pop hits, but Springfield's popularity may have pushed this up the chart.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

"Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor

#1 Alert!
Double Platinum Alert!
Grammy Alert!
Rated 10 Alert!
Song#:  1063
Date:  06/05/1982
Debut:  73
Peak:  1 (6 weeks)
Weeks:  25
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Survivor had been doing well and were gaining momentum thanks to their #33 entry "Poor Man's Son." They were poised for a breakthrough, but probably had no idea it would be this big. This song served as the lead single from their LP of the same name and also as the theme to the film "Rocky III." The movie was a major hit and it helped propel this song to the #1 spot for six weeks. The song would win the band a Grammy for Best Rock Vocal Group and also snare a nomination for Song of the Year. Thanks to its use in the film, the song also received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song (it lost to "Up Where We Belong"). The album would be a hit as well reaching #2 on the chart. Unfortunately, the band would have a little bad luck over the next couple years and were not able to follow-up with another hit until three years later.

ReduxReview:  It's hard to deny that opening riff. It signals that something pretty great is ahead and Survivor doesn't disappoint. They came up with the perfect song to fit the film and in doing so created their signature tune...and a huge money maker. Including digital sales, it has sold about 9 million worldwide, not to mention the countless times is has been used in films, TV shows, ads, and sporting events. It's an iconic song of the era that still holds up.


Trivia:  For his film, Sylvester Stallone wanted to use the Queen song "Another One Bites the Dust," but he was having trouble securing the rights. He had heard Survivor's "Poor Man's Son" song and asked the band to write something for the film. Band members Jim Peterik and Frankie Sullivan wrote and submitted "Eye of the Tiger." Their demo of the song, which includes a tiger's growl, was used in the film while the soundtrack, single, and Survivor's LP all used a the finalized version.


Monday, November 3, 2014

"Hard to Say I'm Sorry" by Chicago

#1 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
Song#:  1062
Date:  06/05/1982
Debut:  75
Peak:  1 (2 weeks)
Weeks:  24
Genre:  Soft Rock, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  Chicago was a band in trouble. They hadn't had a Top 10 hit since 1977 and their first album of the 80s couldn't even muster a gold certification. They were deemed past their prime and even their label thought so - Columbia dropped them after issuing a poor selling hits package. A change was required and that came courtesy of producer David Foster. Working with lead singer Peter Cetera, Foster updated the band with a sleeker AC pop sound that left their horn-driven compositions in the dust. It also left a few of the band members in the wings as Foster would use outside musicians for the recording sessions (four members of Toto would lend a hand). All these changes would end up fracturing the band, but Foster and Cetera knew what they had to do to revive the group and they succeeded. This first single became the band's second #1 hit and it helped get their album, "Chicago 16," to platinum status.

ReduxReview:  For many Chicago fans, there is a distinct line in the sand between the classic years and the Foster-ized years. This single drew that line. Old fans poo-poo'd the new direction while a younger generation hopped right on board. I have to say that I was stuck in between. While I dug a lot of their tunes from the 70s like "25 or 6 to 4" or "Saturday in the Park," I kinda liked the new stuff too. Whether it was Chicago or another artist, I still would have liked this song. It's a big pop ballad that just worked. Say what you will about Chicago from this song on, but the fact is that Foster and Cetera brought the band back from near extinction and it got them seven more Top 10's through the end of the decade. You don't have to like the new stuff, but you should be able to say - hey, good on ya.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1)  This song was included in the film and on the soundtrack to "Summer Lovers" starring Darryl Hannah.  2) On the "Chicago 16" LP, this song has a tag ending titled "Get Away." Most radio stations simply played the single version, which faded out before it segued into "Get Away." But the tag ending is notable as it brings back the horns and sound of the pre-80s Chicago.


Sunday, November 2, 2014

"I Found Somebody" by Glenn Frey

Song#:  1061
Date:  06/05/1982
Debut:  77
Peak:  31
Weeks:  13
Genre:  Soft Rock

Pop Bits:  As a co-founding member of the Eagles, Frey contributed songs and took the lead on hits like "Peaceful Easy Feeling," "New Kid in Town," and "Heartache Tonight." Following the breakup of the Eagles, Frey ventured out on his own solo career and issued the debut album "No Fun Allowed." This first single got him up against the Top 30.

ReduxReview:  Although he was no longer in the Eagles, this still had that old-band smell to it. Since I wasn't a major fan of the Eagles, then it makes sense that I wouldn't care much for Frey's debut single. And I didn't. There is nothing bad about it. I just don't often connect to these Southern-via-California soft rock tunes. Frey would toss off a couple zingers in the future that I liked, but this one is just ehh for me.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Born and raised in Detroit, Frey was befriended by up-and-coming musician Bob Seger. In 1968, Seger took the 19-year-old Frey into the studio and had him play acoustic guitar and sing backup on his classic track "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man" (#17).