Saturday, October 10, 2015

"Looking for a Stranger" by Pat Benatar

Song#:  1427
Date:  04/23/1983
Debut:  71
Peak:  39
Weeks:  10
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Benatar's third single from her platinum-selling "Get Nervous" album followed the previous two into the Top 40 - just barely. It was her 10th charting single and 9th Top 40 entry. The song would be another Mainstream Rock hit for her reaching #4.

ReduxReview:  This song grew on me over time. It didn't get a lot of airplay in my area and when I did hear it, I just thought it was okay. Later revisits to Benatar's catalog got me more familiar with the tune. It was kind of a different sound for Benatar with its quirky groove and arrangement. I especially like the organ/synth lines. It's not in the same league as her best songs, but it's a solid addition to her catalog.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  This song was co-written by Franne Golde and Peter McIan. The pair co-wrote several song that got recorded by other artists including Conductor's "Voice on the Radio" (#63). Each songwriter took a stab at a recording career and each would walk away with one chart entry. Golde would reach #76 in 1979 with "Here I Go (Fallin' in Love Again)" and McIan would do a bit better in 1980 with his solo single "Solitaire" (#52). However, both would have bigger careers writing and producing for other artists. Golde's songs would be hits for The Commodores ("Nightshift," 1985, #3) and The Pussycat Dolls ("Stickwitu," 2005, #5), while McIan produced Men at Work's first two albums. Golde recorded this particular song for her 1980 solo album "Restless." At that time it was titled "Lookin' for the Stranger."


Friday, October 9, 2015

"You Can't Run from Love" by Eddie Rabbitt

Song#:  1426
Date:  04/23/1983
Debut:  73
Peak:  55
Weeks:  8
Genre:  Country Crossover, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  Rabbitt scored his final pop Top 10 hit when his duet with Crystal Gayle, "You and I," reached #7 (#1 Country, #2 AC). It was the first single from his album "Radio Romance." This second single was another winner at Country where it became his twelfth #1. AC also embraced the tune and it reached #2 on that chart. However, pop wasn't as receptive and after seven straight Top 40 showings, Rabbitt's new tune failed to even get into the top half of the chart. The album wasn't a major hit either and it signaled that perhaps he had reached the apex of his charting career.

ReduxReview:  This is a weak single entry from Rabbitt. Coming on the heels of several terrific and memorable songs, this one pales in comparison. It's a good song, but there is nothing here that makes it stand out. At the bridge, the song revved up a bit and started to get interesting, but after a few bars, the brakes were applied and the original mid-tempo groove settled back in. It's not bad. Just ehh.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  "You and I" was from Eddie Rabbitt's album "Radio Romance." It did not appear on Crystal Gayle's album, "True Love," that was released around the same time. While "You and I" was riding the Country chart, Gayle released her own solo single "Til I Gain Control Again." The song would end up at #1. Around the same time that Rabbitt issued "You Can't Run from Love," Gayle also released her follow-up tune "Our Love Is on the Faultline." That song would end up at #1 only to be replaced at the top spot by Rabbitt's single. Gayle would then go on to grab a third #1 from her album. All totaled, the country superstars scored five Country #1's from their albums.


Thursday, October 8, 2015

"Easy for You to Say" by Linda Ronstadt

Song#:  1425
Date:  04/23/1983
Debut:  77
Peak:  54
Weeks:  10
Genre:  Pop, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  Ronstadt's album "Get Closer" was her first studio album to miss the Top 10 since 1973 (#31). The LP's first two singles, the title track (#29) and her remake of "I Knew You When" (#37), didn't exactly promote the album very well. Neither did this third single. After six straight platinum studio albums, Ronstadt had to settle for a gold disc. It was a signal that maybe she needed to change things up, which she would in a big way with her next album.

ReduxReview:  Just like the title track, I think had this song been released a few years earlier, it would have been a hit. For the 1983 period, this style of song was going to have a hard time finding its place among the popular new wave/R&B/rock tracks. It's a sultry track that Ronstadt perfectly delivers. It's one of several gems from her underrated "Get Closer" album.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Although Ronstadt wasn't having much luck on the pop chart with her singles from "Get Closer," there was one bright spot. This song ended up getting a lot of love from AC radio and it unexpectedly peaked at #7 on the AC chart. It was her first AC Top 10 in four years. The song was written by Jimmy Webb. He would revisit the song himself in duet form with Carly Simon for his 2013 album "Still Within the Sound of My Voice."


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

"Too Shy" by Kajagoogoo

Top 10 Alert!
One-Hit Wonder Alert!
Song#:  1424
Date:  04/23/1983
Debut:  81
Peak:  5
Weeks:  19
Genre:  New Wave, Synthpop

Pop Bits:  This British band initially started as an instrumental quartet called Art Nouveau. The avant-garde group issued a single, but nothing came of it and the band remained unsigned. A change in direction had them looking for a lead singer, which they found in Christopher Hamill (aka Limahl). A chance meeting between Limahl and Duran Duran's Nick Rhodes led to the new band getting signed to EMI. Rhodes went on to co-produce their debut album White Feathers. This first single was issued in the UK early in 1983 and it proceeded to reach the top spot there (oddly, before Duran Duran would get their first UK #1). The single got its US release in the spring and by summer it was in the Top 5 (#23 Rock, #25 Dance). In the UK, the band would go on to have two more Top 10's, but in the US this song would be their lone major hit. A second single would get on the chart for a very minor few weeks, but the lack of a significant follow-up left the group labeled as a one-hit wonder. They placed at #9 on VH1's list of the 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the 80s and at #25 on their list of the 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of all-time.

ReduxReview:  The band (and/or the publisher/label) must have made a mint off of this song. Besides all the appearances the tune has made on compilations and it's one-hit wonder status, I remember the opening of this song being played on TV a lot (specifically during sporting events). I remember liking the song, but not loving it. I'm not sure why I didn't fall for it more back then as it was a good fit for the sounds I was diggin' at the time. I'm certainly a fan of the song now and I typcially include it in about any 80s playlist I create.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  So what's up with that band name? Does it have a specific meaning? It is from another language? It's origins are less interesting that you may think. Apparently, the name stems from the first sounds a baby might make. When written out, it would be similar to GagaGooGoo. The band changed a couple of letters and out came Kajagoogoo.


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

"All This Love" by DeBarge

Song#:  1423
Date:  04/23/1983
Debut:  83
Peak:  17
Weeks:  19
Genre:  R&B, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  The siblings hit the big time when their single "I Like It" became a #2 R&B hit (#31 Pop). This second single, the title track from their album "All This Love," was another winner reaching #5 at R&B. At Pop it surpassed the first single by getting into the Top 20. The song's crossover appeal paid off in a big way when it reached #1 at AC. The multi-format hit put the family in the spotlight and set them up well for further success.

ReduxReview:  This was the song that made me a fan of the group. They really perfected their smooth R&B/AC style with this tune. Although it's a family group, this basically was a solo effort (writing/singing) by El DeBarge with the fam singing some backup. It set El apart from the family and it quickly became obvious that he was the standout of the group. They would break away from the ballads in a couple of years, but for now their lovely tunes were gaining fans from all over.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) El DeBarge wrote this song with Marvin Gaye in mind. He had hopes that the R&B legend would record the tune since they were on the same label. Unfortunately, it came at a time when Gaye decided to switch labels and the change left DeBarge and his song hangin' out in the cold. But no worries. The family chose to record the song and they ended up with the hit. Later, another R&B superstar, Patti LaBelle, recorded the song for her 1994 album titled "Gems." The song was issued as a single and it reached #42 on the R&B chart.  2) The guitar solo in the song was supplied by Latin superstar José Feliciano.


Monday, October 5, 2015

"Front Page Story" by Neil Diamond

Song#:  1422
Date:  04/23/1983
Debut:  84
Peak:  65
Weeks:  8
Genre:  Pop, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  Diamond's third single from his "Heartlight" album couldn't make much of a dent in the Pop chart. Although his career was in decline in the pop/rock world, he was still a star on AC radio and this song would be another Top 10 hit for him there reaching #5. Diamond would stop having Pop chart entries after 1986, but he would continue to grab AC Top 10's throughout the remainder of the decade.

ReduxReview:  I have to say that I love Neil Diamond and I also love Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager. So a dream team of the legendary writers should produce some great songs. They ended up writing six song for Diamond's "Heartlight" album, but besides the timely title-track (#5 pop, #1 AC), the collabs were as dull as a butter knife. They were all snoozers including this track. It was highly disappointing. Every songwriter has their lackluster efforts, but I expected better from this power trio. I'm truly surprised this mundane tune did so well at AC. I'm assuming Diamond's name helped boost it along. I still loves me some Diamond - just not this song (or really this period in his career).

ReduxRating:  3/10

Trivia:  Before Diamond was having major success on his own, his songs were getting picked up and covered by other artists. In 1965, he had his first hit as a writer when Jay and the Americans took "Sunday and Me" to #18. Then The Monkees charted in 1966 with "I'm a Believer" (#1) and in 1967 with "A Little Bit Me, a Little Bit You" (#2). The hits secured Diamond's reputation as a songwriter and helped to launch his solo career. Although he scored two Top 10's early on with "Cherry, Cherry" (#6, 1966) and "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon" (#10, 1967), his career didn't fully take off until 1969 when he topped the chart with "Sweet Caroline."


Sunday, October 4, 2015

"Do You Wanna Hold Me?" by Bow Wow Wow

Song#:  1421
Date:  04/23/1983
Debut:  85
Peak:  77
Weeks:  4
Genre:  New Wave

Pop Bits:  The band's first US chart entry, "I Want Candy" (#62), wasn't a major success at the time, but the quirky song had legs and over time it grew to become an 80s new wave favorite. They would follow the tune up with a new album, "When the Going Gets Tough the Tough Get Going," and issue this lead single. Unfortunately, the song couldn't gain an audience and disappeared after a month on the chart. The album also faded quickly. After an extensive tour that resulted in exhaustion and even injuries, the band decided to take a little break before heading back out. However, the respite ended up being the end of the group as three of its members decided to ditch lead singer Annabella Lwin to start their own band. After her ousting, Lwin decided to carry on as a solo artist and issued the 1986 album "Fever." Over the years, various incarnations of the band (with and without Lwin) have regrouped and toured under the Bow Wow Wow name.

ReduxReview:  The band's Burundi-style beats continued on this song, but the original tune just didn't have the punch that their "I Want Candy" remake did. The song chugs along quite well with Lwin turning in a more restrained vocal (sounding like Debbie Harry's younger sister), but there is nothing here that would attract a large pop audience. They were a unique band that flamed out quickly, which might have been for the best as their sound kind of pinned them in a corner. Their style was their identity. A change in that would most likely have been detrimental anyway. They made a big splash and crawled out of the pool before drowning.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Film director Sofia Coppola has said that Bow Wow Wow's lead singer Annabella Lwin provided inspiration for the lead character in her 2006 biopic "Marie Antoinette." Coppola loved Lwin's new romantic style and saw parallels between the teenager and the young Antoinette. The film's soundtrack boasts three Bow Wow Wow tracks.