Monday, July 11, 2016

"Take Me Back" by Bonnie Tyler

Song#:  1715
Date:  12/03/1983
Debut:  75
Peak:  46
Weeks:  9
Genre:  Pop

Pop Bits:  Tyler got the biggest hit of her career with the epic Jim Steinman ballad "Total Eclipse of the Heart." The song spent four weeks at #1 and it boosted her album Faster Than the Speed of Night to platinum status. She then had the difficult task of following up that distinctive hit. "Take Me Back" was selected to be the next single and it was released a couple weeks after "Total" left the Top 10. Unfortunately, the song just didn't entrance listeners the way "Total" did and it peaked before it could even get into the Top 40. It failed to get on the AC and Rock charts as well. The results were disappointing and it was the second time that Tyler issued a miss following a major hit. When she reached #3 in 1978 with "It's a Heartache," her next single missed the chart completely and she didn't reach the chart again until "Total." At least this time the follow-up got into the top half of the chart.

ReduxReview:  Now, I do like this song, but it is also another entry in the "WTF?" catalog. This was definitely not the song to follow up "Total." In fact, I wouldn't even consider this song single-worthy. Why they chose this blues-rock tune to follow up a bombastic Steinman ballad is beyond me. To me, the obvious choice for the album's second single was Tyler's cover of "Have You Ever Seen the Rain" (see below). With a great piano lick by E Street Band member Roy Bittan, the uptempo tune had enough Steinman production flare to stand up to the legacy of "Total." And with a built-in audience of those who remember the song and who also dug "Total," it seemed like a slam-dunk choice. It may not have been a big hit, but I think it would have easily gone Top 40 (and further). Instead, we got this single that basically shut down the album. What a bummer. But, on the good side, this is a solid song that builds to a pretty terrific end. The drawback with it though is that the chorus plays more like another verse and doesn't contain the song's title until before the bridge. With nary a hook to snare a pop radio listener, this one was pretty much doomed in regards to chart contention.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Tyler's Faster Than the Speed of Night LP consisted of two original songs by Jim Steinman ("Total" and the title track) and seven cover tunes. While some of the covers were well-known songs, such as "Have You Ever Seen the Rain" by Creedence Clearwater Revival (#8, 1971) and Bryan Adams' recent hit "Straight from the Heart" (#10, 1983),  a couple were more obscure songs that had not reached a mass audience. "Take Me Back" was one of those song. Written by American guitarist Billy Cross, it was first recorded by a Danish band that he was a member of called the Delta Cross Band. The song was included on their 1981 LP Up Front. Prior to moving to Denmark in 1980, Cross had been a member of Bob Dylan's touring band and also worked with Meat Loaf. It was most likely his connection to Meat Loaf that got this song to Tyler since Steinman had worked with both artists.


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