Saturday, May 9, 2015

"You Got Lucky" by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

Song#:  1252
Date:  11/13/1982
Debut:  58
Peak:  20
Weeks:  18
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Petty's fifth album, "Long After Dark," was another success reaching #9 on the album chart thanks in part to this first single that became the band's fourth Top 20 hit. It was also a smash at rock radio where it reached #1. Despite the solid lead-off, the album didn't sell quite as well as their previous two platinum efforts and only got to gold-level.

ReduxReview:  Petty move into the 80s with this song. It was their first album to feature a synth and it worked out pretty darn good, at least on this song. The album as a whole was not one of their best efforts, but this song is certainly a stand-out and sits comfortably alongside their greatest hits.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Many established artists were not ready to embrace MTV and making music videos. Petty and crew were an exception. They set out to make something interesting and that certainly helped them get a lot of airplay on the new channel. The video for this song was developed by the band and was unusual at the time because the song didn't start until sometime after the minute mark. The Mad Max-ish style video was high concept for MTV and both the channel and viewers ate it up.


Friday, May 8, 2015

"Two Less Lonely People in the World" by Air Supply

Song#:  1251
Date:  11/13/1982
Debut:  72
Peak:  38
Weeks:  14
Genre:  Pop, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  It seems Air Supply's brand of music was in decline as the 80s moved on with pop audiences beginning to ignore their big ballads. "Young Love," the second single from their album "Now and Forever," stalled at #38 and broke their string of Top 10 hits. This third single did exactly as well reaching the same #38. However, their songs still thrived at AC with this one hitting #4. It was their eighth AC Top 10 hit.

ReduxReview:  This song is big a step up from the bland "Young Love," but I still don't consider it among their best. It's just a good, standard pop ballad that is an easy listen. No fuss, no muss. I'll always remember it as the first dance song for my best friend's sister's wedding. It was her second wedding, so they just got married at home. The happy couple danced to this song during the reception party. I'll always remember their cake too. It was a three tiered cake with chocolate frosting decorated in green and orange (can anyone say 70s?). What was even worse about it was that the decorator made a spelling mistake. They wanted the title of a Queen hit on the cake, but instead got "Another One Bits the Dust." In bright orange...

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  This song was co-written by Howard Greenfield (with Ken Hirsch of "I've Never Been to Me" fame). Greenfield has written numerous hits including several for artist/writing partner Neil Sedaka. He has four #1 pop hits to his credit including Sedaka's "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do" and the Captain & Tennille's "Love Will Keep Us Together." Greenfield died in 1986 at age 49.


Thursday, May 7, 2015

"I Gotta Try" by Michael McDonald

Song#:  1250
Date:  11/13/1982
Debut:  74
Peak:  44
Weeks:  11
Genre:  Soft Rock, Blue-Eyed Soul

Pop Bits:  McDonald's solo career started off well with the Top 10 hit "I Keep Forgettin' (Every Time You're Near)" (#4). Unfortunately, this second single from his gold debut album, "If That's What It Takes," stalled before reaching the Top 40. It also had a low #28 peak at AC.

ReduxReview:  "I Keep Forgettin'" didn't stray too far from the sound of the Doobie Brothers but it was different enough to work well. However, this one sounds like an outtake direct from the Doobies' "Minute By Minute" album. It's a good song and is better than anything off of McDonald's last outing with the Brothers, but by this time everyone had heard this sound before. Instead of something new and different, McDonald played it way too safe, which usually equates to boring no matter how pleasant the song may be.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  This song was co-written by McDonald and Kenny Loggins, who also co-wrote the Grammy winning Doobie Brothers hit "What a Fool Believes." And like that song, Loggins also would release his own solo version of "I Gotta Try." A couple of months before this single got issued, Loggins' version appeared on his "High Adventure" album. However, it was not issued as a single.


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

"Forever Mine" by The Motels

Song#:  1249
Date:  11/13/1982
Debut:  77
Peak:   60
Weeks:  8
Genre:  Pop

Pop Bits:  The Motels most successful LP, "All Four One," was a #16 gold album thanks to the #9 single "Only the Lonely." Their follow-up single, "Take the L," couldn't get much support and stalled at #52. This third single did about as well and spent a short couple months on the chart.

ReduxReview:  I really wish this could have been the second single. I think it may have had a chance to be a much bigger hit. The song's retro-ish sound seemed to be an ideal follow up to "Only the Lonely." But when "Take the L" kind of tanked, it made it more difficult for this single to get any traction. It's too bad as this is a lovely, quality song.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Their "All Four One" album contains a cover of the Gerry Goffin/Carole King song "He Hit Me (And It Felt Like a Kiss)." Originally done by The Crystals and produced by Phil Spector, the song courted some controversy due to its dark subject matter. Many thought the lyrics supported spousal abuse which resulted in the song getting little to no airplay. Goffin and King had apparently written the song after finding out that their friend and babysitter, singer Little Eva, was being beaten by her boyfriend. King later distanced herself from the song, basically regretting it, stating she herself had been a victim of an abusive relationship as well.


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

"Valerie" by Stevie Winwood

Song#:  1248
Date:  11/13/1982
Debut:  79
Peak:  70
Weeks:  4
Genre:  Soft Rock

Pop Bits:  Winwood's third LP "Talking Back to the Night" got off to a sluggish start when its first single, "Still in the Game," got shut out of the Top 40 (#47). On initial release, this second single spent a short month on the chart and disappeared. However, it would get a second lease on life later in the decade in a remix version that would reach the Top 40. But this original version was quickly forgotten.

ReduxReview:  I'm not sure why this song didn't catch on the first time around. The remix version does sound better, but it's the same song. Sometimes when an artist hits it big, as Winwood did with his "Back in the High Life" album, older songs can get an opportunity to be rediscovered. I'm glad this one did. I've always liked it and Winwood's soaring voice on the chorus. My only quibble with it is the short, cut-off ending. It makes the song sound like a demo rather than a fully thought out production.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Winwood's co-writer on this song, Will Jennings, apparently had someone specific in mind while writing the lyrics. The "Valerie" in question seems to be singer Valerie Carter, a popular in-demand background singer whose career was on the skids due to her increasing drug use. This is not the first song where Carter was the inspiration. Jackson Browne's "That Girl Can Sing" (#22, 1980) is said to be about Carter. She also appeared on the pop chart in duet form with Eddie Money on "Let's Be Lovers Again" (#65, 1980)


Monday, May 4, 2015

"Space Age Love Song" by A Flock of Seagulls

Song#:  1247
Date:  11/13/1982
Debut:  83
Peak:  30
Weeks:  18
Genre:  New Wave, Synthpop

Pop Bits:  The band's unusual first single "I Ran" was a bit of an unexpected hit reaching #9. The album was also successful reaching #10 and going gold. This second single didn't do quite as well and was only able to just crack the Top 30.

ReduxReview:  What I think the band did very well was to create something interesting out of a simple chord progression. That droning approach became their signature sound and it served them quite well. I liked it a lot. The album is a terrific synthpop gem and this song was another highlight. The tune is very basic and repetitive, but the atmosphere they create makes it a fun listen. I also like how they produced a big sound out of the synths. A lot of 80s songs got stuck with a cheap Casio sound, but the Seagulls took it to a better, more interesting level. I thought for sure this song would go Top 10, so I was surprised when it stopped at #30.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  In addition to the chart success of the singles and album, the Seagulls also won a Grammy. Their song "D.N.A." from their self-titled album won for Best Rock Instrumental Performance.


Sunday, May 3, 2015

"Goody Two Shoes" by Adam Ant

Song#:  1246
Date:  11/13/1982
Debut:  85
Peak:  12
Weeks: 21
Genre:  New Wave

Pop Bits:  Stuart Goddard started playing in bands in the mid-70s. An overdose sidelined him for a while but upon release from the hospital, he took on the name Adam Ant and set out to form a new band. Adam and the Ants became part of the UK punk scene and released their debut album, "Dirk Wears White Sox," in 1979. Ant then sought out the Sex Pistol's manager Malcolm McLaren to also take his band on as clients. McLaren did, but ended up taking the Ants and forming Bow Wow Wow with them and singer Annabella Lwin. Ant was left on his own, but on McLaren's advice he formed a new Ant band. They recorded and released the LP "Kings of the Wild Frontier." It was a #1 hit in the UK bolstered by three Top 10 singles. Their next album "Prince Charming" was also a smash featuring two #1 hits. But issues with the band caused Ant to break away and go solo. His first solo album, "Friend or Foe," contained this single that finally broke him through to the US. The single reached #1 in the UK while just missing out on the US Top 10, where it would remain his biggest hit.

ReduxReview:  Nope. I wasn't having it. I thought the song and Ant were kind of smarmy. I didn't care for the beat or the lyrics (mainly the corny phrase of the title). I couldn't wait for the song to disappear from the charts. Well, as has happened with other song, these days I hear it differently. I think it is kind of fun and it's one of those songs that was right up my mom's alley for dancing. I still don't think it is a great tune, but I don't rush to turn it off now.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  The first band Ant joined was called Bazooka Joe. At a 1975 gig that they headlined, their opening act made their debut public performance. The Sex Pistols took the stage and started to do a loud, raucous set. This included some trashing of Bazooka Joe's equipment. The set got cut short and apparently there was a bit of a brawl on stage between the bands. It set the tone for The Sex Pistols' wild, brief career.