Saturday, January 10, 2015

"Emotions in Motion" by Billy Squier

Song#:  1132
Date:  08/07/1982
Debut:  83
Peak:  68
Weeks:  6
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Squier's album "Don't Say No" was a major hit eventually going triple-platinum and spawning three chart singles including the #17 "The Stroke" (#3 Mainstream Rock). His follow-up, "Emotions in Motion," got off to a rocky start when this title-track was chosen as the first single. It stayed the bottom third of the pop chart while only reaching #20 at rock radio. Fortunately, his next single would turn things around and help the album go double-platinum.

ReduxReview:  The opening groove and whistle of this song reminds me of a Rolling Stones outtake combined with Led Zeppelin. Maybe that is why it was chosen as the first single. Besides that, I'm not sure why this would be selected. I like the song and it is one of the better tracks on the album, but as a lead single, no. The song almost sunk the album, but luckily he had a killer track that would revive it.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Two members of Queen lend a hand on this track. Both Freddie Mercury and Roger Taylor perform background vocals on the track.


Friday, January 9, 2015

"Let It Be Me" by Willie Nelson

Song#:  1131
Date:  08/07/1982
Debut:  87
Peak:  40
Weeks:  12
Genre:  Crossover Country, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  Nelson had the biggest pop hit of his career with the title track to his album "Always on My Mind." The song reached #5 while hitting #1 on the country chart. The album would be the top selling country album of the year and would spend 22 weeks at #1 on the country album chart. This second single was another country hit peaking at #2 and almost got into the AC Top 10 reaching #11. It didn't fare as well at pop but did at least reach the Top 40 - just barely. The single would be Nelson's last solo single to reach the Top 40.

ReduxReview:  Although a great song, this just doesn't have the same spark as "Always on My Mind." The arrangement and Nelson's delivery is quite stiff and the song kind of slogs along. I think the song is a good fit for Nelson, but not in the way this one turned out.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  This is a remake of a song made famous by The Everly Brothers. Their version reached #7 in 1960. However, they were not the first to record the song. French singer/composer Gilbert B├ęcaud co-wrote and recorded the song as "Je t'appartiens" in 1955. English lyrics were written and the song got recorded by American singer Jill Corey in 1957. Her single reached #57. The Everly's followed in 1960 with their hit.


Thursday, January 8, 2015

"How Can I Live Without Her" by Christopher Atkins

Song#:  1130
Date:  08/07/1982
Debut:  89
Peak:  71
Weeks:  7
Genre:  Pop, Soundtrack

Pop Bits:  Atkins became a hunky pin-up idol thanks to his revealing role in the 1980 film "The Blue Lagoon," which co-starred Brooke Shields. Two years later he was cast as the swashbuckling lead in the film musical "The Pirate Movie" opposite Kristy McNichol. The movie was a bomb and the soundtrack didn't fare much better (#166). This song written for the film was a solo piece for Atkins. It was chosen to be issued as a single and did a little time near the bottom quarter of the chart. For actor Atkins, the film would be his only venture into music. He would continue to act, mainly in TV movies or shows.

ReduxReview:  If you listen to this on its own and separate it from the film, I'd say the song is not too bad. It ain't great and Atkins is not a singer. But it has a nice 70s AC-ish feel to it and might have been a hit late in that decade. However, if you pair it with the Just no. It's really awful. The scene from the film is above (sorry for the subtitles - it had better sound). However, this apparently isn't the worst song in the film. Two other songs were nominated for Razzies for Worst Original Song. So I guess you could consider this the best of the bunch (?).

ReduxRating:  3/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) "The Pirate Movie" was based on the Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera "The Pirates of Penzance." In 1981, a revival of "Pirates" was a hit on Broadway. It starred Linda Ronstadt, Rex Smith, and Kevin Kline. There were plans to turn the hit into a film. "The Pirate Movie" was already in the planning stages and it got rushed into production in order to beat the other film to the punch. The difference though is that "The Pirate Movie" was a comedic parody of "Penzance" that included new music. It did get released first, but failed at the box office. It was nominated for nine Razzie Awards and won three including Worst Director. The Broadway film version of "Pirates" got released in 1983 and fared about as well at the box office. However, reviews were generally positive.  2) The song's co-writer, Terry Britten, has written songs for many pop stars including Cliff Richard, Olivia Newton-John, and Tina Turner. Britten won a Grammy for co-writing Turner's comeback hit "What's Love Got to Do with It."


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

"Your Daddy Don't Know" by Toronto

Song#:  1129
Date:  08/07/1982
Debut:  90
Peak:  77
Weeks:  8
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  This Canadian band from (obviously) Toronto issued a couple of albums that netted them a Juno nomination for Most Promising Group. They had a couple line-up changes before issuing their third LP "Get It on Credit." This first single broke them through to the Canadian Top 10 (#5) and pushed them onto the US chart for a couple of months. It would be their only US chart entry. The song would also get the writers a Juno nod for Composer of the Year. The band would go on to issue a couple more album and grab a few more Canadian Top 40 entries, but in 1985 their label filed for bankruptcy and that brought an end to their run.

ReduxReview:  Thanks to the guitar lick that sounds like it was lifted from "Jessie's Girl," it kind of sounds like a Rick Springfield tune sung by Heart's Ann Wilson. The song is good and I like singer Holly Woods' voice. They seem like a quality band. It's too bad they didn't break through in the US. They also remind me of the US band Spider. Oddly, Toronto had a minor hit in Canada (#26, 1984) with Spider's 1980 #39 pop single "New Romance (It's a Mystery)."

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Two members of the group, Brian Allen and Sheron Alton, wrote or co-wrote several of the songs for the LP. The band recorded one particular song but in the end it was decided the song would not be released. Allen and Alton co-wrote the song "What About Love" with Jim Vallance (of Bryan Adams fame). Although Toronto chose not to release the song, it was picked up by American rock band Heart who was looking for a hit song. It was a smart choice and became Heart's comeback single reaching #10 in 1985.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

"Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)" by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts

Song#:  1128
Date:  07/31/1982
Debut:  69
Peak:  20
Weeks:  14
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  After two Top 10 hits from her album "I Love Rock 'n' Roll," which included the #1 title track, Boardwalk Records reached back to Jett's first album for this next single. Jett's original self-titled debut had been picked up by Boardwalk, retitled "Bad Reputation," and issued early in 1981. So while Jett readied her third album, this stop-gap single kept her on the chart and became her third Top 20 entry.

ReduxReview:  Jett slams out another tasty remake and keeps up her reputation as rock's reigning bad girl. It's crunchy, in your face, and a little dirty. What more could you want? I don't think it is in the same league as "I Love Rock 'n' Roll," but Jett certainly had the ability to rock the crap out of these older songs.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  This song is a remake of the 1973 glam rock hit by Gary Glitter. The song did not chart in the US, but it did reach #2 in the UK and was his third in a streak of ten Top 10 hits. By contrast, Glitter was only able to reach the US chart twice with the #7 "Rock and Roll Part 2" being his best outing. Glitter was the co-writer of "Do You Wanna Touch Me" and that later caused some controversy for its use in a Hewlett Packard commercial and in the TV show "Glee." Glitter was a registered sex offender in the UK stemming from convictions for owning child pornography (UK) and criminal child sex abuse (Vietnam). The song's use sparked strong reactions due to the song's subject matter, Glitter's history, and royalty payment that would go to Glitter.  


Monday, January 5, 2015

"Somebody's Baby" by Jackson Browne

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  1127
Date:  07/31/1982
Debut:  73
Peak:  7
Weeks:  19
Genre:  Soft Rock, Soundtrack

Pop Bits:  Although Browne's albums were platinum sellers (his 1980 album "Hold Out" reached #1), he wasn't necessarily a singles artist. Until this single, he only managed one other Top 10 with 1972's "Doctor My Eyes" (#8) along with three other Top 20's. This one-off single recorded for the soundtrack to the film "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" became his second Top 10 and biggest hit. It would be his peak moment as his next albums contained more politically-themed material that didn't really suit the pop chart world.

ReduxReview:  This is easily Browne's most pop accessible single and it paid off for him. Initially, I didn't like this song and I wasn't a fan of Browne's.  I'm still not, but these days I can see the appeal of this tune. After listening to more of Browne's music, this song seems so out of character. I don't think anyone really expected him to put out a real mainstream pop song. The success was probably nice, but Browne wasn't interested in continuing in that direction and explored new themes with his next album.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Directed by Amy Heckerling, "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" was received well at the box office, but not necessarily by critics. However, it became sort of a cult movie thanks to its VHS release and has since become significant due to the unknowns in the cast who later became major stars. In addition to Jennifer Jason Leigh, Phoebe Cates, Judge Reinhold, Eric Stoltz, and Anthony Edwards, the film featured three future Oscar winners - Sean Penn, Forest Whitaker, and Nicholas Cage (billed at the time as Nicholas Coppola). The soundtrack, which peaked at #54, boasted songs by four former members of the Eagles, thanks to the film's co-producer Irving Azoff who had been the band's personal manager.


Sunday, January 4, 2015

"You Can Do Magic" by America

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  1126
Date:  07/31/1982
Debut:  74
Peak:  8
Weeks:  20
Genre:  Soft Rock

Pop Bits:  This trio had a streak of six Top 10 hits in the early 70s including the #1's "A Horse with No Name" (1972) and "Sister Golden Hair" (1975). Their fortunes dwindled as the decade wore on and one of the members left in 1977 leaving America as a duo. They forged on to little success until this song from their album "View from the Ground" got them back in the Top 10 (#5 AC) for the first time since "Sister Golden Hair." Written specifically for the duo by Russ Ballard (who also produced the song), it was a significant comeback for them. Unfortunately it would be short-lived as it ended up be their final Top 10 pop chart hit.

ReduxReview:  Ballard knew exactly what he was doing when he came up with this tune for the duo. It fit them perfectly and recalls the sound of their 70s heyday hits. It's a brilliant tune with a great groove and an addictive chorus replete with do-do-do's. America did some sweet soft rock back in the day, but for me this one is at the top o' tha heap.

ReduxRating:  9/10

Trivia:  The trio all met while attending the same high school in London. Consisting of one true Englishman (Dewey Bunnell) and two Americans (Dan Peek and Gerry Beckley), they released their self-titled debut album in the UK in 1971 where it was a modest seller. Looking for a tune to help boost the album's US potential, a song Bunnell had written called "Desert Song" morphed into their first #1 hit "A Horse with No Name." The song quickly got added to the album, which also reached #1. The song's performance got the trio a Grammy nod for Best Pop Vocal Performance and they won the award for Best New Artist.