Saturday, May 23, 2015

"Heart to Heart" by Kenny Loggins

Song#:  1266
Date:  11/27/1982
Debut:  59
Peak:  15
Weeks:  17
Genre:  Soft Rock

Pop Bits:  This second single from Loggins' "High Adventure" album did just slightly better than the first. His duet with Steve Perry "Don't Fight It" reached #17. For this song Loggins got an assist from his friend Michael McDonald, who co-wrote the tune and sings backup. It was nearly as successful as their earlier pairing on Loggins' Grammy-winning "This Is It" (#11, 1979). The song did better at AC where it reached #3.

ReduxReview:  McDonald's footprint is certainly all over this, but Loggins' contribution keeps it from sounding like a lost Doobie Brothers track. It's a nice song and I'm sure its success at AC helped it climb the pop chart, but I don't think it is one of Loggins' most memorable hits. If fact, when this song appeared next in my queue I was really hard pressed to remember what the song sounded like. Even the chorus escaped my memory. Of course, on first listen it came back to me. It's pleasant enough, but just nothing where I'd hit the repeat button.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Loggins began as a songwriter and was on staff at ABC/Wingate. One of his first successes was the song "House at Pooh Corner," which got recorded by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in 1970. It was issued as a single and reached #53 on the pop chart. Loggins would record the song with Jim Messina for their 1971 album "Sittin' In." Years later in 1994, Loggins revisited the song and reworked it into "Return to Pooh Corner." Featuring vocals by Amy Grant, it became the title track to a children's album he created. It was issued as a single and reached #25 at AC. The album eventually went platinum.


Friday, May 22, 2015

"Love in Store" by Fleetwood Mac

Song#:  1265
Date:  11/27/1982
Debut:  72
Peak:  22
Weeks:  14
Genre:  Soft Rock

Pop Bits:  This third single from the Mac's #1 "Mirage" album couldn't quite reach the heights of the previous two singles, "Hold Me" (#4) and "Gypsy" (#12), but it came close to the Top 20 spending three weeks at #22. However, it did do a little better at AC reaching #11. Although this was the third single selected for the US market, in the UK this song was not issued as a single. Instead, the Lindsey Buckingham song "Oh Diane" became the third single and it reached #9 - the best showing of any of the "Mirage" singles there. "Oh Diane" was only able to manage a #35 showing on the AC chart in the US.

ReduxReview:  Christine McVie has a real knack for writing lovely pop tunes. They are typically solid and pleasant to hear and this one is no exception. It may not be as immediate as the album's previous two singles (which included McVie's "Hold Me"), but it ranks right up near them in quality. Many critics kind of hated on "Mirage" saying it lacked substance. But for me, after the heavy-handed "Tusk" I though this album was a breath of fresh air. It's a laid-back pop album that's an easy, enjoyable listen and I think McVie owned the majority of the stand-out cuts.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  This song was co-produced by Ken Caillat who also served as the engineer for the album along with Richard Dashut. Caillat has produced/engineered many project but may be best known for working on Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours," "Tusk," and "Mirage." For a younger generation he may be known as the dad of pop star Colbie Caillat. Her debut album "Coco" (2007) was co-produced by her dad and it included her #5 hit "Bubbly." Her follow-up album "Breakthrough" reached #1 in 2009.


Thursday, May 21, 2015

"Heart of the Night" by Juice Newton

Song#:  1264
Date:  11/27/1982
Debut:  73
Peak:  25
Weeks:  16
Genre:  Soft Rock, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  Newton's third single from her gold album "Quiet Lies" did okay at pop reaching the Top 30. It did much better at AC where it hit #4. It was her sixth consecutive Top 10 on the AC chart. Unfortunately, the pop/rock tune didn't make much of a dent at country fizzling at #53. It was a bit surprising since it came out hot on the heels of her Grammy-winning #2 country hit, "Break It to Me Gently" (#11 pop, #1 AC).

ReduxReview:  I thought this song got overlooked. This opening track from her album was a more mature sound from Newton and I think it suited her very well. Since it leaned towards pop more than country, I can understand why it failed at country. However, pop audiences should have turned this into a bigger hit. It even seems to get ignored today in favor of her bigger hits, which is too bad as it is a terrific song.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  This song was co-written by lyricist John Bettis. His first taste of success came with the Carpenters. With Richard Carpenter, Bettis co-wrote the majority of tracks on the duo's 1969 debut album. He would go on to co-write several hits for the Capenters including the #1 "Top of the World" (1973). He continued to write hits including The Pointer Sisters' "Slow Hand" (#2, 1981) and Michael Jackson's "Human Nature" (#7, 1983). He also co-wrote the theme to the hit TV show "Growing Pains" titled "As Long As We Got Each Other."


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

"Allentown" by Billy Joel

Song#:  1263
Date:  11/27/1982
Debut:  76
Peak:  17
Weeks:  22
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  After years of rockin' out Joel decided to show his "serious" side with his LP "The Nylon Curtain." While the album was well-received and even caught a Grammy nod for Album of the Year, the singles issued didn't really burn up the charts. The first song released, "Pressure," stalled at #20 while this single fared only slightly better. Despite not being a major hit at the time, the song ended up having some longevity years after its release thanks to its subject matter, which turned it into a working class anthem of sorts.

ReduxReview:  At first I thought this opening track of the album was quite good and reflected what Joel was trying to do with the album. Then as a single it kind of wore on me. As much as I appreciate and like the song, it's not something I'd put on repeat. Hearing it once in a great while is just fine, especially when listening to the album as a whole. At the time I didn't think this single would do well, so it was a pleasant surprise when it got into the Top 20.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Joel began work on this song in the 70s and at the time it was called "Levittown," a Long Island city that was next to Joel's hometown of Hicksville. The song lingered as he thought the lyrics were a bit boring. The song got a new life after Joel visited Pennsylvania. The decline of the steel industry was in process and places like Bethlehem were in trouble. Although the next town over, Allentown, wasn't as vested in the steel industry, there were still associated effects. Joel rolled all this into the song and called it "Allentown" as that name worked better than Bethlehem and it would avoid any confusion with the city in Israel. Although folks in Allentown were initially a bit divided on the song (some thinking it was disparaging to the town and blue collar workers), most were won over after it became a hit and the mayor awarded Joel with a key to the city.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

"Right Before Your Eyes" by America

Song#:  1262
Date:  11/27/1982
Debut:  78
Peak:  45
Weeks:  13
Genre:  Soft Rock

Pop Bits:  After a seven-year dry spell, the duo found their way back to the pop Top 10 with the single "You Can Do Magic" (#8). This second single almost got them another Top 40 entry but it stalled just short. It did better at AC where it reached #16. Although the album that housed the two singles, "View from the Ground," was not a huge seller (peaking at #41), it was a solid rebound for them in the new decade.

ReduxReview:  "You Can Do Magic" was a terrific song that updated America's sound quite well. Unfortunately, this song drags them back to the 70s. But it sounds about right for the band that came up with "Muskrat Love." The song is good in a Rupert Holmes kind of way, but it just sounds a bit dated for this time period. I do like the chorus of this song. The whole silent film star reference is nice and memorable. I can see how some folks latched onto this. However, I would never consider this a real chart contender.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  This song was written by Canadian Ian Thomas (the brother of SCTV's Dave Thomas). Thomas originally recorded this song for his 1976 album "Calabash." It was issued as a single and it reached #57 on the Canadian chart. Earlier in 1982, Santana had a hit with "Hold On," a cover version of another Thomas song that he had recorded in 1981.


Monday, May 18, 2015

"Nowhere to Run" by Santana

Song#:  1261
Date:  11/27/1982
Debut:  79
Peak:  66
Weeks:  8
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Santana's "Shang√≥" album featured the band's last Top 40 hit of the decade with the #15 "Hold On." This second single stalled after a couple of months and the lack of supported kept the album at gold level. The decline continued throughout the decade and continued into the next. It seemed Santana's hit-making days were over, but an unexpected 1999 hit brought them back from the brink of death.

ReduxReview:  This song sounds like it's from the soundtrack to some kind of 80s action film. You know the ones - the "bad" boy is being hunted down by his "boss" for wanting out of "the business" (and most likely screwing the boss over) and along the way he falls for a chick (or the boss' wife) and they both are on the lam trying to escape the bad guys. Oh yeah, and don't forget the cops are after him too because they think he did a crime but actually the boss set him up for the fall. The two lovers are on their own - no one will help. Will they make it? Or will they meet their demise? Ugh. Yeah, that is a worn out scenario and this song pretty much goes with it. The Russ Ballard-penned tune is okay, but I'd never guess this was a Santana tune. If it was a no-name band doing this song I'd probably think - eh, not bad. But since it's Santana, I gotta think - ugh, what a waste.

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  In 1992, Santana had their lowest peaking studio album of their career with "Milagro." After that, the band ceased making new music and just toured. In 1998, the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and that helped generate some renewed interest in the band. Arista label head Clive Davis came up with an album concept for the band that had Carlos and company returning to the studio and working with current, hot artists. The resulting LP "Supernatural" became a major hit reaching #1 thanks to the Rob Thomas (Matchbox Twenty) lead #1 single "Smooth." The album would have a second #1 with "Maria Maria" and go on to win several Grammy awards including Album of the Year. It would Santana's biggest selling album going 15-times platinum. His follow-up album "Shaman" would also hit #1 and go double platinum. It featured two Top 10 hits including the #5 "The Game of Love" that featuring Michelle Branch.


Sunday, May 17, 2015

"Twilight Zone" by Golden Earring

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  1260
Date:  11/27/1982
Debut:  80
Peak:  10
Weeks:  27
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Extremely popular in their home country of the Netherlands, this rock band would only manage to grab a couple of major hits in the US. They began hitting the Dutch charts in 1965 and gathered 16 Top 10 singles before they finally had a breakthrough in the US. In 1974, "Radar Love" became their first US hit reaching #13. It seemed like they were on their way to major stardom in the States, however they were unable to produce a successful follow-up. They were once again locked out of the US charts while continuing their superstar status at home. Eight years later, the band got a second chance to rally American audiences. This first single from their "Cut" album became a rock radio smash reaching #1. Pop radio followed and after a long climb the single just made it into the Top 10. But like before, the fire they lit with this single burned out quickly and it would be their last major hit in the States.

ReduxReview:  I was so disappointed when this came out. I love the "Twilight Zone" TV show and The Manhattan Transfer's "Twilight Zone/Twilight Tone" song, so I thought a rock tune based on the "Twilight Zone" was going to be awesome! On my first listen I was like....what the eff? It was not what I expected at all. Therefore, I basically hated it and ignored it. They ruined "Twilight Zone!" Well, that was a little harsh. I've relented since then and can appreciate this song now. I haven't listened to much from the band but should. I'm curious to find out what some of their other material is like and why they didn't fully catch on in the US.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  By 1970, the band had four members - three originals and one new addition. This lineup would remain intact from that point through to today. There would be additional members that would come and go, but the main four have stayed together.