Friday, July 31, 2015

"Bread and Butter" by Robert John

Song#:  1344
Date:  02/12/1983
Debut:  79
Peak:  68
Weeks:  4
Genre:  Pop

Pop Bits:  John's third album, 1980's "Back on the Streets," featured the #31 single "Hey There Lonely Girl." But that wasn't enough to generate interest in the album and it disappeared quickly - along with his EMI contract. He shopped around for a new deal but no one was buying. Finally, Motown showed some interest and John was able to get into the studio for this one-off single. A sizable hit with the song could lead to a new album. Unfortunately, a quick month on the chart wasn't enough for Motown and no further recordings were done. It would be John's final pop chart single. He made one more record in 1984, a 12" dance record called "Greased Lightning" (not the song from "Grease") for a CBS label that reached #60 on the dance chart. Again, it just wasn't enough and John's recording career came to an end.

ReduxReview:  Who the hell thought this was a good idea? I mean...really...c'mon. John basically killed his record deal with two retro remakes. Why on earth would he do this? Who was the market for this? What on earth were they smoking? Pretty much everything about this song is awful. From the corny song to the crappy production, it is just a mess. It probably doesn't help that I've hated this song since I was a kid, but at least it sounded kind of fun for the times in its original version (see below). This update just makes it worse. I'm still in shock that this actually charted. John was a gifted vocalist who, besides "Sad Eyes," just could not find the right material. What a waste. Oh, and if you think this is the worst that John could do, it ain't. Check out the aforementioned "Greased Lightning." It's a total synthpop turd.

ReduxRating:  1/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) This is a remake of a song by the vocal trio The Newbeats. They took their original version to #2 in 1964. Newbeats member Larry Henley would go on to be a successful songwriter supplying #1 hits for several country artists. But perhaps his best known work is the song "Wind Beneath My Wings," which he co-wrote with Jeff Silbar. The song would become a #1 hit for Bette Midler in 1989.  2) With his 1979 #1 hit "Sad Eyes," John set a couple of chart records. The single would tie the record at the time for the longest climb to #1 at 21 weeks (tied with Nick Gilder's "Hot Child in the City" from 1978). John also set a longevity record for the gap between his first chart entry (1958) and first #1 song (1979). Both records have long since been broken.



  1. I am shocked and disappointed....As soon as I saw this was coming up, I thought "Well, we're finally going to get our second "0" song." His 1972 song "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," was actually a really good remake. His problem was getting hooked up with George Tobin. Sure Tobin did a nice job producing "Sad Eyes," but he then saddled John with remake after remake, which were just awful. As for "Greased Lightning," it's hard to believe this was written and produced by Michael Zager. Zager's sole top 40 hit "Let's All Chant" was a disco classic, and of course his work with the Spinners brought them temporarily back in the limelight. John had a very predictable voice (everything in falsetto), but the greatest singer in the world could do nothing with "Greased Lightning." If you're giving this a 1, I'm losing hope that there will be another 0 before we get to the end of 1989.

    1. Ha! You are cracking me up! Yeah, I guess I was generous with this one. It is pretty awful. I have another one coming up that probably should be a zero, but gave it a three on sentimental value. I'll see if you can guess which one that is! Yeah, Zager and "Greased Lightning" - who knew? "Let's All Chant" I really liked. But I guess all artists have their good moment, and bad ones. It is sad John got stuck in remake hell. He was better than that.

  2. I'm not going to argue that it's good in any way, but it basically stinks as much as the original or the Devo remake. Besides, many of the 1 & 2 turds have been much worse than this.