Monday, April 25, 2016

"You Know What to Do" by Carly Simon

Song#:  1622
Date:  09/24/1983
Debut:  90
Peak:  83
Weeks:  4
Genre:  Pop, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  Simon had not had a significant hit since "Jesse" made it to #11 in 1980. She also hadn't released an album of originals since then. She finally returned to the studio in 1983 to record her album Hello Big Man. This first synthy single was meant to keep her current and on the chart, but unfortunately the results were minor staying near the bottom of the Pop chart for a month and only getting to #36 at AC. The lack of a significant single hurt the album (despite positive critical reception) and it became her worst peaking to-date topping out at #69. It was a big disappointment and not long after the album's release, Simon's contract with Warner Bros. ran out. It was a period of upheaval for Simon with her divorce from James Taylor getting finalized and her manager quitting to work with Roseanne Barr. She was left looking for new management and a new label.

ReduxReview:  I had completely forgotten about this song. The title seemed familiar, but I thought maybe this one passed me by. However, once I heard the chorus, it came right back to me. The tune is pretty sexy and has a solid chorus, so I'm not exactly sure why it didn't do better, especially at AC. But this was a weird time in music with a lot of 70s pop singer/songwriter stars starting to get lumped into the oldies bin and younger listeners doing the "oh, that's what my parents listen to" thing. So a new Carly Simon single was probably not going to light up the request lines and I think radio stations knew that. It left the careers of artists like Simon in flux. The playing field would equal out in years to come with more baby boomers joining the AC crowd and reconnecting with artists they used to love, but for the fickle 80s, it was difficult as this song proves.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Although the Hello Big Man album found Simon returning to the pop sound that graced her hit 70s albums, she did take some detours. Most notably are this first single, which took a contemporary synthpop path, and two reggae diversions. First was a remake of Bob Marley's classic 1978 song "Is This Love?" Then a Simon composition called "Floundering" was given the reggae treatment. All of this came courtesy of the famous rhythm/production duo Sly & Robbie (Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare). Working with a slew of artists, the pair were in-demand as a rhythm section and as producers. They also recorded several of their own albums with 1998's Friends grabbing a Grammy win for Best Reggae Album. Over the years, they would grab another 9 nominations in that category.


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