Saturday, June 13, 2015

"Young Love" by Janet Jackson

Song#:  1287
Date:  12/18/1982
Debut:  79
Peak:  64
Weeks:  6
Genre:  R&B

Pop Bits:  The youngest of the Jackson clan never had her sights set on a career in music or even entertainment. She thought some acting jobs might help support herself while she pursued one of two career choices - an entertainment lawyer or a horse racing jockey. She did begin work acting with her siblings on their variety show "The Jacksons," but it was her roll as Penny on "Good Times" that got attention and lead to rolls on "Diff'rent Strokes" and "Fame." But there was pressure for her to follow the family business and after she finally decided that it might work, her father arranged a contract with A&M Records. Under the watchful eye of her dad, Jackson recorded her self-titled debut album. This first single didn't make much headway at pop, but it did well at R&B reaching #6. Reviews of the album were mixed and sales were tepid. It was a rocky start for the unseasoned sixteen-year-old singer.

ReduxReview:  I imagine it had to be intimidating to do this record with The Jackson's last two albums going platinum and "Thriller"-mania just about to hit. She probably didn't have too much choice when it came to this album, which for a teenager just starting out is not unusual. Unfortunately, the disc lacked quality material and it wasn't any better on her next LP. It seems too bad, but in retrospect, without these forced initial albums, we may not have been blessed with "Control." Growing pains are inevitable and I think she had plenty during this period. This song was pretty much the best offered up and she does well on this standard post-disco jam. However, you can tell she hadn't quite found her voice yet.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Half of Jackson's debut LP was co-written and produced by RenĂ© Moore and Angela Winbush, aka RenĂ© & Angela. The pair were having their own R&B hits while writing and producing for other artists like Jackson and Stephanie Mills. Their 1985 album "Street Called Desire" would be a major platinum hit for them that featured five R&B hits including two #1's. Unfortunately, personal issues would force the duo to break after that album. They both pursued solo careers with Winbush having the most success scoring five R&B Top 10's including her #1 solo debut single "Angel."


Friday, June 12, 2015

"All Touch" by Rough Trade

Song#:  1286
Date:  12/18/1982
Debut:  81
Peak:  58
Weeks:  7
Genre:  New Wave

Pop Bits:  This Canadian band was developed by British-born Carole Pope and Kevan Staples. The pair remained the core of the group throughout its run. Known for their sexually charged rock music and live shows that typically featured Pope in bondage outfits, the group seemed to be breaking barriers in Canada. Their 1980 single "Fashion Victim" became a modest hit reaching #25 on the Canadian chart, but it was their next single that truly got the band notice. The song "High School Confidential" garnered controversy thanks to its lesbian-themed lyrics (Pope was openly lesbian). All the attention, plus a performance on "SCTV," helped the single reach #12. They followed it up with their 1981 album "For Those Who Think Young," which featured this first single that would hit #12. Unfortunately, it took over a year before the LP and single could get issued in other countries. "All Touch" was released the end of '82 and had some momentum, but their US label (Boardwalk) shut down and without any further promotion or even singles to sell, the song tumbled off the chart. It would be their only US charting single. The band would grab another Canadian Top 20 hit, but by 1988 they would call it quits.

ReduxReview:  Okay, so when I saw the band's name, I figured they were not your normal rock band. (Don't know what "rough trade" is? Look it up on Urban Dictionary.) With their provocative lyrics, sexually charged shows, and gay culture connections (they even created a stage show called "Restless Underwear" that featured Divine!), I'm really surprised that I've never heard of the band. This is a single that might have stood out on radio and got some attention. It might have done a little better had the label not folded, but I wouldn't peg this for a major hit. I like Pope's voice. It sounds similar to Ann Wilson's (Heart) except deeper with a bit more attitude. They were certainly interesting and some of their songs are worth searching out.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Carole Pope's sister is writer/producer Elaine Pope. Elaine has written and produced for TV shows like "Murphy Brown," "Fridays," and "Not Necessarily the News," and has written TV specials for Lily Tomlin. She won an Emmy in 1992 for writing an episode of "Seinfield." Carole Pope is also an award winner. She won three Juno awards. One for Most Promising Female Vocalist and two for Best Female Vocalist. 2) Other artists have covered Rough Trade songs including Dusty Springfield. She used two of the band's songs for her 1982 album "White Heat." Years later in her biography, Pope stated that she and Springfield were in a relationship during this time. Springfield also contributed backing vocals on Rough Trade's "For Those Who Think Young" LP.


Thursday, June 11, 2015

"Are You Getting Enough Happiness" by Hot Chocolate

Song#:  1285
Date:  12/18/1982
Debut:  85
Peak:  65
Weeks:  7
Genre:  Funk, Soul

Pop Bits:  This British soul band became a popular mainstay on the UK charts beginning in 1970 when their second single, "Love Is Life," reached #6. Over the decade they amassed eight Top 10s along with several other chart entries. While enjoying great success in their homeland, their fortunes in the US were spotty. They first hit the pop chart in 1975 with the #8 "Emma." They would then go on to grab two gold records with the #3 "You Sexy Thing" and 1978's "Every 1's a Winner" (#6). Other than those hits, they could only muster a few minor chart showings. That included this song that lead off their album "Mystery." Its few weeks on the chart would be the last appearance for the band. In the UK, their luck continued as they grabbed three more Top 10's in the new decade. However, the band's successful run would end in 1986 when they called it quits.

ReduxReview:  Falling in line with the funky tunes that made them famous, this is another worthwhile addition. But once again, that 70s funk vibe was perhaps not hitting the ears of those who were turning to new wave and other 80s pop sounds. It's too bad because this is a nice jam that should have done better. These guys were never really critical darlings, but every now and then they could toss off a solid gem like this.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) The band first released this song in 1980. Originally titled "Are You Getting Enough of What Makes You Happy," the non-album single was released in the UK and reached #17 on the chart. For their album "Mystery," the band included this song, changed the title, and issued it as a single. It would end up being their final US pop chart entry.  2) In 1973, members of Hot Chocolate wrote the song "Brother Louis," which was recorded by the band. It was a hit in the UK reaching #7. A few month later, the New York band Stories covered the song and issued it as a single. It became a #1 smash in the US. A version of this song now famously graces the opening credits of the TV show "Louis."


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

"Shoot for the Moon" by Poco

Song#:  1284
Date:  12/18/1982
Debut:  89
Peak:  50
Weeks:  13
Genre:  Soft Rock, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  Poco's fortunes slowly dwindled after their peak moment with the 1978 gold album "Legend," which featured the #17 song "Crazy Love." It didn't help that their label, MCA, basically lost interest in the band and after one last contractual album, Poco decided to move on and sign with Atlantic. Refreshed and ready to go, they released their first Atlantic LP, "Ghost Town." Unfortunately, getting a new label didn't provide the boost they desperately needed. The album would be the worst charting of their career slumping in at a lowly #195. It didn't help that the LP's first single, its title-track, failed to chart. The one bright spot was this second single that got to the halfway point on the pop chart while reaching #10 at AC. But it wasn't enough to rescue the album and it all sunk quickly.

ReduxReview:  This breezy, 70s-ish tune is a very easy listen, but seems out of place for the time period. This probably contributed to their decline in popularity. They might have been better served moving towards crossover country rather than staying in pop. This is a nice song, but a little too bland to really make an impression.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Like many bands, Poco would have many personnel changes over the years. However, one original member has never left. Rusty Young started the band in 1968, with Richie Furay (Buffalo Springfield) and Jim Messina, and has remained with the band since that time.


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

"Beg, Borrow or Steal" by Hughes/Thrall

Song#:  1283
Date:  12/18/1982
Debut:  90
Peak:  79
Weeks:  5
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Glenn Hughes joined Deep Purple in 1974 and stayed with them through the band's break-up a couple of years later. He would issue a debut solo album 1977 that went nowhere. He wouldn't do any further recording until 1982 when he met Pat Thrall. Thrall was a successful musician who was playing with the Pat Travers Band. The two hit it off and formed a duo that would issue the debut album "Hughes/Thrall" for Boulevard Records. This first single was issued and it would spend just over a month circling the bottom of the chart. Although critically well-received, the album failed to make any waves. The duo would continue to make some music afterwards, but they were never able to issue a follow-up album. Thrall would go on to join Asia for a couple of years and tour/record with artists like Elton John, Tina Turner, and Meat Loaf. Hughes would also record for different artists, but after he became clean and sober in 1991, he returned to a solo career and has recorded more than a dozen albums since.

ReduxReview:  A catchy/annoying synth lick basically drives this interesting rocker. I'd never peg it for a hit, but I like what is going on here. From what I understand, fans of Hughes (and even Hughes himself) consider this album one of his best pieces of work. This song has certainly caught my ear, so I'll have to give the album a listen to see if it some kind of "lost" gem. Probably not, but you never know.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Hughes provided vocals for the 1991 song "America: What Time Is Love?" by The KLF. The song reached the Top 10 in several countries including the UK where it hit #4. The song would get to #57 in the US and #13 on the US dance chart. The previous year The KLF had a #3 gold single in the US with "3 a.m. Eternal."


Monday, June 8, 2015

"Your Love Is Driving Me Crazy" by Sammy Hagar

Song#:  1282
Date:  12/11/1982
Debut:  70
Peak:  13
Weeks:  19
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Following the platinum success of his LP "Standing Hampton," Hagar issued "Three Lock Box." This first single became Hagar's first and only solo Top 20 hit. It was also successful at rock radio peaking at #3. Although the album would peak higher than his solo previous albums (#17) and feature his biggest pop hit, the LP would oddly stop short of platinum level and just go gold.

ReduxReview:  Easily one of Hagar's best pop-oriented songs that stands right next to "I've Done Everything for You" (written by Hagar, hit by Rick Springfield). It's a perfect blend of Hagar's rock and commercial pop sides. He would have some other tasty songs ahead, but this was certainly his best shot a pop chart stardom.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Before joining Montrose in 1973, Hagar was involved in other projects and even recorded a single. In 1967 with Pete Samson, Hagar recorded the promo single "Reach Out to Find Me" (with b-side "Read My Thoughts"). The duo were listed as Samson & Hagar. The single didn't go anywhere but Hagar eventually would. The single is also notable for having The Peppermint Trolly Co. as the backing band. Although that band would not have any major hits (their best was the #59 "Baby You Come Rollin' Across My Mind" in 1968), they are often listed as a good example of the 60's sunshine pop sound. They also arranged and performed the original theme song for "The Brady Bunch" TV show. However, it seems their version was used for the pilot episode only and then a studio vocalist version was used for the remainder. Beginning with season two through the rest of the show's run, the Brady kids sang the theme.


Sunday, June 7, 2015

"All Those Lies" by Glenn Frey

Song#:  1281
Date:  12/11/1982
Debut:  73
Peak:  41
Weeks:  12
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Having already gotten two Top 40 entries from his debut album "No Fun Allowed" including the #15 "The One You Love" (#2 AC), Frey tried for a third with this single. It came so close, but ended up peaking at the dreaded #41 spot.

ReduxReview:  This quiet jam slinks along just fine but I hear it more as an album track than a single. I'm actually surprised it almost popped into the Top 40. Frey never really won me over as much as Don Henley did, but he had a few good songs along the way. This wasn't one of them though.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  In addition to the three pop chart entries, Frey's album include two more songs that did well on the Mainstream Rock chart. "Partytown" hit the Top 10 at #5 and "Don't Give Up" reached #25. These songs along with the pop hits helped the album to gold status.