Saturday, July 25, 2015

"I Like It" by DeBarge

Song#:  1338
Date:  02/05/1983
Debut:  70
Peak:  31
Weeks:  17
Genre:  R&B

Pop Bits:  This group of siblings from Grand Rapids, Michigan, got a leg up in the music biz thanks to their brothers Bobby and Tommy who were members of the Motown band Switch. Switch had grabbed three Top 10 R&B hits from 1978-80 for the label so when four younger DeBarge siblings formed a group, the elder brothers helped them get the attention of Berry Gordy. Gordy signed them up and in 1981 they released their debut album "The DeBarges." The album tanked, but Gordy's confidence in the group led them back to the studio. They added another brother to the lineup and the quintet released their second LP "All This Love." This time around their smooth R&B/AC sound clicked and this second single from the album got to #2 at R&B. The song got enough attention at pop to send the single into the Top 40.

ReduxReview:  I'd have to say that my overall critique of this song would be that "I Like It!" Randy and El DeBarge share lead vocals on the tune with El handling the soaring passages at the end, which he did in one take. This is the song that set the group up for further success and it's a gem of a tune. Silky and creamy with a sprinkle of funk, the song is a delicious treat.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Okay, so there are five DeBarges in the group plus two others in Switch. So how many DeBarge siblings are there? The final count is ten. Known mainly by their nicknames, the DeBarges from oldest to youngest are Bunny, Bobby, Tommy, Randy, Marty, El, James, Chico, Peaches, and Young. All were born between 1955 and 1969 with the two youngest, Peaches and Young, being twins. All have been involved in the music business and have released recordings. DeBarge was made up of Bunny, Randy, Marty, El, and James. Bobby and Tommy were in Switch. Chico and Young had a solo careers while Peaches later recorded a gospel album in 1991 with other DeBarge family members.  2) This song was remade in 1993 by house music trio Jomanda. Their version reached #83 pop, #45 R&B, and #29 dance. The trio's best effort was the 1991 #1 dance hit "Got a Love for You," which reached #40 on the pop chart.


Friday, July 24, 2015

"Little Too Late" by Pat Benatar

Song#:  1337
Date:  02/05/1983
Debut:  80
Peak:  20
Weeks:  14
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Benatar's album "Get Nervous" got off to a solid start with the #13 hit "Shadows of the Night" (#3 Mainstream Rock). This second single reached the Top 20 becoming her fifth to do so. It would help the album reach #4 and get to platinum status. Rock radio wasn't quite as fond of the single and it peaked at a relatively low #38.

ReduxReview:  I think this song wants to reach rock anthem status, but it just doesn't have enough power to make it that far. The beat just seems a bit slow. I keep wanting to make it go faster. I don't know if that would make it sound any better, but I think it would have given the song a bit more guts and excitement. As is, Benatar delivers another good pop/rock tune that may not rank among her best, but is a good addition to her catalog.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  This song is written by Alex Call. He was a founding member of the country rock band Clover. Formed in 1967, the band would release four albums before disbanding in 1978. Although they never had any hits, the band is famous for members that would hit it big later (Huey Lewis, Jeff Porcaro of Toto) and for being the backup band for Elvis Costello's 1977 debut album "My Aim Is True." This song was Call's second major hit as a songwriter. He also co-wrote "867-5309/Jenny" for Tommy Tutone (#4, 1982).


Thursday, July 23, 2015

"Make Love Stay" by Dan Fogelberg

Song#:  1336
Date:  02/05/1983
Debut:  80
Peak:  29
Weeks:  16
Genre:  Soft Rock, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  Fogelberg's "Greatest Hits" disc included two brand new songs. The first, "Missing You," served as the LP's first single and reached #23 pop, #6 AC. The second new song was this follow-up single which performed similarly at pop. However, at AC the song became a #1 hit. It would be his third AC chart topper.

ReduxReview:  This song finds Fogelberg moving back towards the "Hard to Say" territory, which works well for him when it comes to singles. AC was all over this tune but pop wasn't as enthralled. Fogelberg's late-70s soft rock sound was losing steam around this time so the result is not too surprising. Although not one of my favorites of his, I like this song which is enhanced by a lovely arrangement.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Fogelberg's inspiration for this song came from the 1980 novel "Still Life with Woodpecker" by Tom Robbins. The phrase "make love stay" appears in the novel, which was Robbins' third book. Although it seems to be a love song, it is really a philosophical meditation. Fogelberg has said of the song that it is "a musical question that, unfortunately, eludes me still."


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

"Voo Doo" by Rachel Sweet

Song#:  1335
Date:  02/05/1983
Debut:  84
Peak:  72
Weeks:  5
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Sweet started in show biz singing and doing commercials as a young kid. By the time she was twelve, she was opening for headliners like Bill Cosby. Her first recordings were for the country market, but they failed to produce anything substantial. A move over to rock got her signed to the UK label Stiff Records where she recorded her first album "Fool Around." Her first single, a remake of Carla Thomas' 1966 gold record "B-A-B-Y" (#14 pop, #3 R&B), got some attention in the UK and made it to #35. Despite the US ignoring her singles, the album did well reaching #97. She released one more album for Stiff before moving over to Columbia for the slicker sounding "...And Then He Kissed Me" LP, which included her #32 duet with Rex Smith, "Everlasting Love." Her next effort for Columbia, "Blame It on Love," featured this first single. It was her first US chart entry and it spent a few weeks in the lower rungs of the chart. It would end up being her last charting single.

ReduxReview:  Everything about Sweet screamed superstar. She had the look, the voice, the skills, etc. Just look at the video clip above. She was practically doing Britney almost before Britney was born. But something about it all didn't click. It's too bad as I think she had a lot more to offer. I really like this tune. It's a mysterious track with a rock edge that I could hear Heart take on. Both the song and Sweet deserved a better fate than the resulting #72 peak. Her debut album is a critical fave and a cult classic that is worth seeking out.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  After "Blame It on Love," the 20-year-old decided she'd had enough. She had been working in the biz for 15 years and was tired of the grind. She quit music and went back to school earning a degree in French and English Literature. Later in 1988, Sweet was persuaded by film director John Waters to write and record the title track to his film "Hairspray." Sweet would also provide vocals on songs from his follow-up film "Cry-Baby." Waters encouraged Sweet to delve into acting, which eventually led to her own HBO TV sketch show "The Sweet Life." Sweet's most memorable role though may be that of George Costanza's cousin in the "Seinfeld" episode "The Contest." Sweet then moved behind the camera and has been writing/producing for TV shows like "Hot in Cleveland."


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

"She's a Runner" by Billy Squier

Song#:  1334
Date:  02/05/1983
Debut:  88
Peak:  75
Weeks:  6
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Squier's "Emotions in Motion" LP became his second multi-platinum seller thanks in part to the #1 rock track "Everybody Wants You" (#32 pop). By the time this third single came out, the album was beginning to wind down. There wasn't much interest in the song and it peaked in the lower quarter of the pop chart while only reaching #44 at Mainstream Rock.

ReduxReview:  I can almost hear this as an early John Cougar song. The summery rock feel of the tune is pretty darn good, but it probably wasn't the best candidate for the pop chart. I think it could have done a little better, but with the album's popularity wanting, the song just got overlooked. It is definitely one of the better songs from the album.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Although this was the final single from the album, during its run there were two other album tracks that hit the Mainstream Rock chart. "Learn How to Live" did well hitting #15 while "Keep Me Satisfied" made a brief appearance at #46.


Monday, July 20, 2015

"Come Give Your Love to Me" by Janet Jackson

Song#:  1333
Date:  02/05/1983
Debut:  89
Peak:  58
Weeks:  9
Genre:  R&B

Pop Bits:  The youngest of the Jackson clan started her music career with a glossy self-titled album that featured the #6 R&B hit "Young Love" (#64 pop). This second single wouldn't do quite as well reaching #17. However, at pop the song did slightly better than her first single by almost getting into the top half of the chart. It would be her last pop chart entry until 1986 when her smash album "Control" would take over the airwaves.

ReduxReview:  I must say that this one kind of surprised me. The B-52-ish twangy guitar and synth give this song a little new wave edge. The tune itself is slight and a bit boring, however the arrangement is what kicks this song up a couple of levels. It's still nowhere near the Janet that is going to dive in and take control, but it's a fun little tune from her early days.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Although the hits would halt for Jackson on the pop chart, she continued to place singles on the R&B chart. The third single from her debut album would be "Say You Do." It missed the pop chart but hit #15 at R&B. Her second album, "Dream Street," featured the lead single "Don't Stand Another Chance." It was Jackson's first co-writing effort (with her brother Marlon and John Barnes) and it became her second Top 10 R&B hit reaching #9. A second single, "Fast Girls," was issued and it hit #40 R&B. The final single from the album was its title track "Dream Street." While it didn't chart, it is notable for being Jackson's first music video. It was shot while she was a cast member on the TV show "Fame."


Sunday, July 19, 2015

"We've Got Tonight" by Kenny Rogers and Sheena Easton

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  1332
Date:  01/29/1983
Debut:  36
Peak:  6
Weeks:  18
Genre:  Pop, Crossover Country, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  Rogers' album "Love Will Turn You Around" was a platinum-seller, but it didn't do as well as his previous albums. It was his first to miss hitting #1 or #2 on the country chart since his solo debut in 1976. The dip in popularity was a signal that he needed to make a change. He did so by bringing on mega-hot producer David Foster, who was having success at the time with Chicago and other artists. Foster amped up the pop side of Rogers' music and also brought along pop starlet Easton for this duet. The song would serve as the title track to Rogers' new album and it would be a major success reaching the pop Top 10, #1 at country, and #2 AC. The album would go platinum and would get him back near the top of the country chart (#3) while hitting #18 at pop.

ReduxReview:  This song definitely got Foster-ized. It just sounds so huge with its epic arrangement. The duo's voices meld well with Easton doing some of her best belting. Many rock fans hated this treatment of this song staying loyal to the original (see below), but I've always like it. Of course, Seger's quiet ballad is a beauty, but this is one case where the over-the-top Foster approach truly worked.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  This is a remake of the 1978 song by Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band. The track from their classic album "Stranger in Town" was issued as the LP's third single and it reached #13 at pop while getting to #29 at AC.