Saturday, February 21, 2015

"Burning Down One Side" by Robert Plant

Song#:  1174
Date:  09/11/1982
Debut:  81
Peak:  64
Weeks:  6
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  After drummer John Bonham died, the rest of Led Zeppelin decided they did not want to continue without him and officially disbanded. Plant was the first to attempt a solo career and released his debut album "Pictures At Eleven." This first single did well at Mainstream Rock reaching #3, which prompted the album to peak at #5 and go platinum.

ReduxReview:  This doesn't stray too far from Zeppelin territory. The song sounds great, but it's not necessarily something good for pop radio. It doesn't have an immediately recognizable chorus, which pop radio cherishes. It kind of just rambles on (Zeppelin pun intended). I like the tune, but I don't think it makes a good pop single.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Lending a hand, Phil Collins played drums on this single plus five other tracks on the album. Cozy Powell performed drums on the remaining two tracks.  2) After the Led Zeppelin breakup, Plant seemed at a crossroads of sort not knowing what to do. Initially, he decided to give up music and began the process to become a teacher focusing on the Rudolf Steiner system. But eventually the music lured him back and he began his solo career.


Friday, February 20, 2015

"All of My Love" by Bobby Caldwell

Song#:  1173
Date:  09/11/1982
Debut:  89
Peak:  77
Weeks:  6
Genre:  Blue-Eyed Soul, Pop

Pop Bits:  After a platinum debut album and a gold follow-up that featured the #42 "Coming Down from Love," Caldwell issued his third LP "Carry On." The first single issued was "Jamaica." The song couldn't make any headway at pop and failed to chart. However, it did reach #54 at R&B. This second single got him back on the pop chart, albeit briefly. It did only slightly better at R&B reaching #67. It would be Caldwell's last single to reach the pop chart.

ReduxReview:  Caldwell's slick urban contemporary sound ala Boz Scaggs doesn't really draw me in. However, I do like this single. The verse is lacking a bit, but the chorus is pretty great. It's the closest I've heard him come to straight-ahead pop and I like it. Had he done more songs like this, I might have been a fan. But after hearing some of his albums, it seems this song was an oddity in his catalog. What I don't understand is why the cruddy "Jamaica" got selected for first single release. This song is obviously superior. Dunno. Just put it in the "what were they thinking" file.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  But I'm big in Japan... Caldwell had instant success in the US with the #9 "What You Won't Do for Love" (1978), but he had a hard time following that up. However, his audience in Japan grew and his albums sold at gold and platinum levels. He became so popular there that he even earned a nickname - Mr. AOR (a reference to Album Oriented Rock - basically Adult Contemporary).


Thursday, February 19, 2015

"When I'm Holding You Tight" by Michael Stanley Band

Song#:  1172
Date:  09/11/1982
Debut:  90
Peak:  78
Weeks:  4
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Although he and his band would grab a couple of Top 40 entries, Stanley never fully broke through on a nationwide scale. However, his large and loyal Midwest following kept his records selling and concerts packed. Their eighth album, "MSB," kept things rolling with this first single circling the bottom quarter of the chart for a month. The LP was a slight drop off from their previous effort, but their loyal fans still managed to get it on the national album chart where it reached #136.

ReduxReview:  This song seems to move them out of their heartland rock towards mainstream rock ala Loverboy or Journey. I think it works for them. However, the drawback of doing something like this can be that it takes away some of their original musical identity. It's a good song, but almost sounds like a blatant stab for hitting commercial rock radio. But a good stab.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Although Stanley has continued to perform and record albums, he has retained a day job. Since 1990, he has been an afternoon drive-time DJ at Cleveland classic rock radio station WNCX.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

"Heart Attack" by Olivia Newton-John

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  1171
Date:  09/04/1982
Debut:  67
Peak:  3
Weeks:  21
Genre:  Pop

Pop Bits:  After the massive success of her "Physical" single and album, Newton-John needed a follow-up. But a world tour and other projects (her upcoming film "Twist of Fate") didn't allow enough time for a full album. Instead, an interim hits package was developed that would include two brand new recordings including this single. The decision worked out quite well as the song became another smash hit for her spending four weeks at #3.

ReduxReview:  The choppy, syncopated bass, drums, and vocals got my attention immediately on this one. Combine that with her rock-vocal worthy chorus and it created a real winner. It holds up surprisingly well too. Oddly, it's one of her big hits that doesn't get much attention these days.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Although the compilation album that this song came from, "Olivia's Greatest Hits, Vol. 2," only reached #16, it spent 80 weeks on the album chart and would eventually go double-platinum. It would be the longest charting album of her career. It's longevity allowed the LP to finish at #10 on the year-end album chart.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

"Gypsy" by Fleetwood Mac

Song#:  1170
Date:  09/04/1982
Debut:  69
Peak:  12
Weeks:  14
Genre:  Soft Rock

Pop Bits:  The Mac's return LP "Mirage" started off well with the #4 "Hold Me." This Stevie Nicks-driven second single started off well but stopped short of the Top 10. However, the song has remained a popular one in their catalog and it helped keep the LP in the Top 10 where it spent 18 weeks (including 5 weeks at #1).

ReduxReview:  Although I liked "Hold Me," this was the song that made me buy the album. It may be Stevie's sweetest sounding single. She sets such a relaxed and dreamy tone that you practically get lost in the nostalgia of it all. The band did some solid songs that I liked after this, but I'd go out on a limb to say this was their last truly great single. Don't hate me...just my opinion.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Nicks wrote this song in 1979 and did demos the following year. It was considered for inclusion on her solo debut LP "Bella Donna," but was saved for "Mirage." Nicks has said that it is about when she became quickly famous and rich and she was reflecting back on a time when she and Lindsey Buckingham were very poor and how they just had a king mattress with vintage coverlets on the floor along with a lamp.


Monday, February 16, 2015

"Athena" by The Who

Song#:  1169
Date:  09/04/1982
Debut:  77
Peak:  28
Weeks:  14
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  The band's previous album, "Face Dances," was another platinum success thanks to the #18 single "You Better You Bet." However, the band was already having internal issues that just got worse through their next LP "It's Hard." Label pressure for a new album and tour forced the band to work under further stress and it was all too much and they decided to call it a day. Once the album was released, they embarked on a "farewell tour." They would reunite occasionally over the years and issue an album in 2006 ("Endless Wire"), but "It's Hard" would be the last recording to feature the original three founding members, Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, and John Entwistle (Entwistle died in 2002). Although this single from the album reached the Top 30, listeners seemed less interested and the LP limped to only gold status.

ReduxReview:  My appreciation of The Who didn't occur until much later, so this song was completely lost on me. I didn't dislike it, but didn't care about it either. It seemed a bit old school at the time - a little stuck in the 70s. It's a good song, but it is definitely not one of their most memorable singles.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  The original title of this song was "Theresa." Townshend wrote it about American actress Theresa Russell. He met her after a screening of the film "The Wall" and fell instantly in love (with thanks to booze and cocaine). However, Russell rebuffed his advances, most likely because she was already engaged to director Nicolas Roeg. Townshend later changed the title to "Athena."


Sunday, February 15, 2015

"Machinery" by Sheena Easton

Song#:  1168
Date:  09/04/1982
Debut: 79
Peak:  57
Weeks:  7
Genre:  Pop

Pop Bits: After two gold albums and a pair of Top 10's, Easton set out to record her third effort, Madness, Money & Music. Although the set leaned towards ballads, the first single selected was this upbeat tune. It didn't fare well at all and sank before even reaching the top half of the chart. Listeners quickly lost interest and the album failed to sell well topping out at #85.

ReduxReview:  Frankly, this is just an awful single. I'm not sure whose idea this was, but it almost killed her career. Although it is not a completely horrible song, it is just not single-worthy. I think they wanted to break her out of the ballad mode, but this was just not the song to do it. Time hasn't served it well either and it sounds very clunky and 80s synth cheap. Fortunately, she was able to overcome this tripe.

ReduxRating:  3/10

Trivia:  Easton recorded a song for this album that later ended up being a major #1 hit. Her take on the recently written "Wind Beneath My Wings" ended up on the album but was not selected for single release. Although crooner Roger Whittaker was the first artist to release the song, Easton's version soon followed. Obviously, Bette Midler's 1989 take for her film Beaches would become the most famous version for the song. It reached #1 and won a couple of Grammys along the way.