Saturday, February 7, 2015

"Don't Fight It" by Kenny Loggins and Steve Perry

Song#:  1160
Date:  08/28/1982
Debut:  77
Peak:  17
Weeks:  12
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  In 1977, Loggins began a streak of platinum solo albums following the breakup of the duo Loggins and Messina. Three platinum studio albums and two Top 10's later, Loggins issued his fourth LP "High Adventure." This first single seemed like a shoe-in hit thanks to the guest appearance (and co-writing skills) of Journey's front man Steve Perry. And indeed it was a significant rock radio hit reaching #4 at Mainstream Rock. Yet pop wasn't as excited about the song and it could only muster a Top 20 showing, which came on the heels of his #7 hit from the "Caddyshack" soundtrack, "I'm Alright." Although the album would be Loggins' third best charting album (#13), it couldn't match the sales of his previous outings and only reached gold level.

ReduxReview:  I thought this song was just okay back then, but quite enjoy it now. I like it's loud factor (for Loggins, that is) and of course Perry sounds great. There are things in this song that seem like a precursor to Loggins' "Footloose" song. Whatever he learned here, he seemed to take elements and move his music forward. If that is truly the case, then this was a solid launching board.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  In addition to having Perry as co-writer and vocalist on the track, guitarist Neil Geraldo (Pat Benatar) also plays on the track. Loggins has said that the song was more of an experiment to push his music further into rock territory.


Friday, February 6, 2015

"Love Come Down" by Evelyn King

Song#:  1159
Date:  08/28/1982
Debut:  85
Peak:  17
Weeks:  16
Genre:  R&B, Dance

Pop Bits:  King's 1981 album "I'm in Love" was a gold seller thanks to the #1 R&B title track (#40 pop). Her next album would do even better and would prove to be her peak moment. The LP "Get Loose" got off to a great start with this single that reached #1 on the R&B and Dance charts. It would also be her second biggest pop hit by making it into the Top 20. The hit sent her album to #1 at R&B (her only one to do so) and #27 pop. It would eventually sell double platinum.

ReduxReview:  Although King never made it into the diva category, she certainly made her share of tasty dance tunes. Kashif's MIDI-driven minimal sound (see below) influenced other artists and was a good fit for King. The track is a terrific example of early 80s dance music.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  This song was written and produced by Kashif. Primarily a musician who played with B.T. Express and Stephanie Mills, Kashif moved over to the production side of music and crafted his signature sound that became well-known thanks to this single. Kashif would later sign with Arista as a solo artist and grab five R&B Top 10's in the 80s. His only pop entry came in 1987 when his duet with Dionne Warwick, "Reservations for Two," reached #62.


Thursday, February 5, 2015

"She Looks a Lot Like You" by Clocks

Song#:  1158
Date:  08/28/1982
Debut:  86
Peak:  67
Weeks:  5
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  This Witchia, Kansas, band played around the northern US and even into Canada and gained a good following. With a growing mailing list, the band decided to record a single that they would make available to fans before Christmas. Unfortunately, by the time they got the recording done the holiday had past and they were stuck with a 4-song demo. They decided to pass it along to a few connections and soon they were signed to a management company. That lead to a deal with Boulevard Records (CBS) and the band went on to record their self-titled debut. This first single spent a few weeks on the chart but couldn't make it out of the bottom third. It would be the band's only chart entry. Sadly, the label was having issues and the band's second album didn't get picked up.

ReduxReview:  Here's a good lost song from the decade. Although I missed it back in the day, I became familiar with this song thanks to a couple of 80s compilations. It's a shame it didn't do better. It's a solid, catchy song that falls in line with the likes of Cheap Trick and others. If you like good pop/rock with a new wave edge, check out their album. I wouldn't say it's a lost treasure, but it's certainly something that is ripe for rediscovery.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Although their debut LP would be their only album from the time period, many years later they were able to release a second one. Steve Swaim, the band's drummer and main songwriter, was in declining health in the early 2000's. This prompted the band to mend fences and reunite to play some shows again. They were also able to record a new album in 2004 titled "The Black Box." Unfortunately, Swaim would succumb to liver failure in 2006.


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

"Ain't Nothin' Like the Real Thing/You're All I Need to Get By" by Chris Christian and Amy Holland

Song#:  1157
Date:  08/28/1982
Debut:  88
Peak:  88
Weeks:  3
Genre:  Pop

Pop Bits:  Christian's self-titled album for the Boardwalk label included his Top 40 entry "I Want You, I Need You" (#37 pop, #8 AC). The album was loaded with guest stars including Cheryl Ladd (who sang backup on "I Want You"), Christopher Cross, and Frankie Valli. Among the guests was singer Amy Holland who joined Christian for this medley duet. Holland had her own hit in 1980 with the #22 "How Do I Survive." This single would hit the chart briefly and become the last pop chart entry for both artists.

ReduxReview:  These are two quality artist so it's a little surprising that this duet is so bland. The material is obviously great, but they can't compete with the originals (see below). The song kind of slumps along without much excitement or personality. It's certainly listenable, but it needed a lot more oomph to be a viable chart contender.

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Christian only recorded one album for Boardwalk. He got signed to the label thanks to his manager/friend, Robert Kardashian (yes, one of O.J. Simpson's lawyers and father of the reality Kardashian's), who introduced him to label head Neil Bogart.  2) This medley is made up of two compositions by Nicholas Ashford and Valerie Simpson. Both songs were originally recorded by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. Both songs were released in 1968 with "Ain't Nothing" peaking at #8 and "You're All" going a notch higher to #7. Both songs hit #1 on the R&B chart.


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

"Nobody" by Sylvia

Gold Record Alert!
Song#:  1156
Date:  08/28/1982
Debut:  89
Peak:  15
Weeks:  20
Genre:  Country Crossover

Pop Bits:  Indiana native Sylvia Kirby made a move to Nashville in the mid-70s seeking a career in music. She landed a prime job as secretary for music publisher/producer Tom Collins. Her connections there most likely paid off as she got signed to the RCA label in 1979. Her first two singles were minor country chart entries, but her third, "Tumbleweed," broke her into the Top 10 (#10).  Three more Top 10's following including the #1 title track to her debut album "Drifter." But it would be this second single from her album "Just Sylvia" that would get her onto the pop chart. The song would become her second #1 country hit while going Top 20 at pop. Sylvia would receive a Grammy nod for Best Female Country Vocal Performance and would also win the Academy of Country Music's Female Vocalist of the Year. It would be her peak moment and her only song to crossover to the pop chart. She would gather six more country Top 10's before leaving the business in the late 80s.

ReduxReview:  I loved this song so much back then. The cheeky, clever lyrics were the draw, but I stayed for the solid chorus and Sylvia's smooth voice. I'm not sure the song has aged all that well, but it is still a fun listen. I was a big Sylvia fan and she even played in our town. I got tickets and got close enough to take some great pictures that I still have. I even got her autograph afterward! Her next couple of albums had some good songs, but nothing would come close to this memorable tune.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Sylvia's former employer, Tom Collins, would continue to work with her once she started her recording career. He produced her first four albums. In addition to Sylvia, Collins produced hits for Ronnie Milsap ("No Gettin' Over Me"), Barbara Mandrell, and others.


Monday, February 2, 2015

"Sad Hearts" by The Four Tops

Song#:  1155
Date:  08/28/1982
Debut:  90
Peak:  84
Weeks:  3
Genre:  R&B

Pop Bits:  The Tops' first album for the Casablanca label, "Tonight!," featured their comeback hit "When She Was My Girl" (#11 pop, #1 R&B). Their next album for the label, "One More Mountain," wasn't so fortunate as this first single barely made a dent in the pop chart and only got to #40 at R&B. The lack of a hit doomed the album and it failed to hit the pop album chart. It would be their last effort for the ailing label.

ReduxReview:  Is it me or does this song have shades of "Cupid?" Hmmm. Regardless, it's not a great song and nowhere near the quality of "When You Were My Girl." It sounds like a bad knockoff of an older Motown hit. What's sad is that the b-side should have been a hit (see below). It eventually was, but lead singer Levi Stubb's original take on "I Believe in You and Me" is just beautiful. I never cared much for Whitney's take and I think Stubbs' sensitive reading outshines the diva's overly-dramatic gospel version. Sometimes restraint says a lot more than histrionics. I think this was a missed opportunity at a hit single. It far outshines this bland a-side.

ReduxRating:  3/10

Trivia:  The b-side to this single received some attention as well and the single became a double-sided R&B chart entry which, as mentioned above, peaked at #40. The song went on to be a hit for a diva superstar. Whitney Houston covered "I Believe in You and Me" for inclusion on the soundtrack to her film "The Preacher's Wife." Her 1996 rendition reached #4 on both the pop and R&B charts while hitting #2 at AC. Houston would receive a Grammy nod for Best Female R&B Performance for the song.


Sunday, February 1, 2015

"You Keep Runnin' Away" by 38 Special

Song#:  1154
Date:  08/21/1982
Debut:  69
Peak:  38
Weeks:  11
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  The band scored their first Top 10 album (#10) thanks to their first Top 10 single, "Caught Up in You" (#10). This second single got off to a good start but then lost momentum and was only able to reach the Top 40. However, it was enough to help the band get their second platinum album in a row.

ReduxReview:  This band knew how to toss together solid Southern rock with pop leanings. This song doesn't have the standout chorus of "Caught Up in You," but it's a good track that found a home on rock stations.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Although they only managed one pop Top 10 from the album, on the Mainstream Rock chart they achieved three. "Caught Up in You" reached #1 followed by this song which peaked at #7, while the track "Chain Lightnin'" hit #9.