Saturday, October 1, 2016

"One In a Million" by The Romantics

Song#:  1805
Date:  02/25/1984
Debut:  86
Peak:  37
Weeks:  12
Genre:  Rock, Power Pop

Pop Bits:  The Detroit band's album In Heat would be a gold seller thanks to the #3 hit "Talking in Your Sleep." This next single also helped to sell a few copies when it became the band's second Top 40 entry. It would also reach #21 at Dance and #22 Rock. While these would be the only two songs from the album to reach the Pop chart, another tune from the album, "Rock You Up," would get enough airplay to hit #49 on the Rock chart.

ReduxReview:  While this song is not in the same league as "Talking in Your Sleep" or "What I Like About You," it is still a quality power pop track. It probably should have done better on the chart - Top 20 seems about right. However, at the time it did get some good airplay via the video on MTV. It may not be as memorable as their other two biggies, but it showed the band had some other good tunes in their pocket.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia: The four-man band featured two lead singers - Guitarist Wally Palmar and drummer Jimmy Marinos. Marinos handled the vocals on what would arguably end up being their most well-known song "What I Like About You" (#49). Palmar would front this song plus their biggest chart hit "Talking in Your Sleep" (#3).


Friday, September 30, 2016

"We're Going All the Way" by Jeffrey Osborne

Song#:  1804
Date:  02/25/1984
Debut:  87
Peak:  48
Weeks:  12
Genre:  R&B

Pop Bits:  After sporting three R&B Top 10's (with two of those going Top 30 Pop), there seemed to still be some gas left in the tank of Osborne's second album Stay with Me Tonight. This fourth single was issued and it did okay reaching #16 at R&B and sneaking over the halfway mark at Pop. However, its best showing came at AC where it became Osborne's second Top 10 on that chart at #6.

ReduxReview:  This is a good ballad with a great pedigree (see below). However, the problem is that there were a lot of similar ballads in the 80s and this one just wasn't special enough to stand out in the crowd. It's expertly written and well-performed, but in the end I find it a bit forgettable.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  This ballad was written by the famous songwriting husband and wife team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. The pair have written many hits including what is considered the most played songs of the 20th century, "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" (co-written with Phil Spector). Their very first charting hit came in 1961 when a seventeen-year-old Tony Orlando recorded "Bless You." The song reached #15 at Pop while getting to #5 in the UK. It would be Orlando's biggest hit as a solo artist. Orlando would later go on to have six Top 10 hits in the 70s with his group Dawn.


Thursday, September 29, 2016

"Hyperactive" by Thomas Dolby

Song#:  1803
Date:  02/25/1984
Debut:   88
Peak:  62
Weeks:  7
Genre:  Synthpop, New Wave

Pop Bits:  Electronic music whiz Dolby grabbed a hit with his quirky tune "She Blinded Me with Science" (#5). Taken from his 1982 LP The Golden Age of Wireless, Dolby now had the daunting task of trying to follow-up that distinct single. His attempt at it resulted in this song from his next album The Flat Earth. Unfortunately, folks didn't latch on to this single like they did "Science" and it stopped short of the top half of the Pop chart. It didn't do much better at Dance (#37) or Rock (#39). Boosted by solid reviews, the album made it to #35, but then faded quickly. Dolby would never hit the Pop singles chart again, however his next LP Aliens Ate My Buick would make a brief appearance on the Album chart at #70. Although his time in the pop spotlight was short, Dolby has had success with other ventures such as soundtracks, online gaming, heading up two digital/technical media companies, and even being the musical director of all the TED conferences since 2001.

ReduxReview:  I've mentioned before in previous posts that trying to follow-up distinct, near-novelty hits is painfully difficult. However, I thought Dolby was going to do it with this song. It has a quirkiness that is in the same vein as "Science," yet it was different enough to not be considered just a rehash of "Science." Although the tempo reflects the title, it may have just been too intense of a pace for some folks, especially at Dance. I absolutely loved it and was hoping the song would score, but sadly it stalled before it could really catch on. The song is crazy, loaded with effects, exciting, very 80s, and is brilliantly produced. In other words, it was right up my ally.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) In addition to his own solo work, Dolby also assembled a side project with other musicians called Dolby's Cube. The studio-only "band" would release a few singles including two charting effort,s 1983's "Get Out of My Mix" (#80 UK) and 1985's "May the Cube Be with You" (#82 UK). Dolby also used the moniker when writing music for the notorious 1986 box office bomb Howard the Duck. The title song was written by Dolby and George Clinton and performed in conjunction with the movie's fictional band, Cherry Bomb. Dolby also made a cameo in the film as a rock club bartender.  2) Dolby originally wrote this for Michael Jackson. After meeting Jackson in 1982, Dolby set out to write a song for the artist. He came up with this tune and submitted to Jackson. Unfortunately, he never heard back from Jackson's camp so Dolby decided to record the song himself.


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

"Flashes" by Tiggi Clay

Spotlight Alert!

Song#:  1802
Date:  02/25/1984
Debut:  90
Peak:  86
Weeks:  3
Genre:  New Wave, Synthpop

Video Link to "Flashes" by Tiggi Clay

Pop Bits:  Despite sounding like a person's name, Tiggi Clay was actually a trio headed up by singer/songwriter Fizzy Qwick (aka Debravon Lewis). She along with Billy Peaches and Romeo McCall got the attention of Motown Records and signed on with their new subsidiary label Morocco. They recorded their self-titled debut album, which featured this first single.    The song's new wave edge attracted some Pop listeners and the tune was able to reach the chart for a minor few weeks. Despite good reviews, the album disappeared quickly. The results still might have been good enough to warrant a second disc, but before that could happen Motown shut down Morocco and that was the end of Tiggi Clay.

ReduxReview:  Here is one that totally caught me off guard. A black new wave trio with a name that sounds like a person rather than a group (I can't confirm it, but apparently they copped the moniker from some bully that went by that name - which they have someone portray in the video). I called up the original video on YouTube (introduced by the trio with Fizzy looking awesome!) and it was so strange and so 80s. The song sounds like it might have been the result of a collaboration between Toni Basil and Missing Persons. It was all a bit odd, but in a good way. Had I heard this song back in the day, I would have immediately bought the record. Unfortunately, it just didn't get enough promotion and disappeared. Thanks to this blog project, I was lucky enough to discover the tune. I've already ordered a copy of the original vinyl LP, so I'm looking forward to seeing what else they had to offer. These are the songs that truly make this project fun, so I have to give the Spotlight to Tiggi Clay.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  After Tiggi Clay disbanded, Fizzy Qwick signed on to Motown as a solo artist. She recorded a self-titled album in 1986 for the label that included the single "Hangin' Out." That song would be a minor entry at R&B reaching #71. A second singled failed to chart and that ended Qwick's time at Motown.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

"Runaway" by Bon Jovi

Song#:  1801
Date:  02/25/1984
Debut:  92
Peak:  39
Weeks:  13
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Jon Bongiovi had been playing in bands and in clubs since he was a teen. His cousin Tony Bongiovi co-owned a recording studio and that gave Jon an opportunity to work up some demos. One of his songs, "Runaway," got the attention of a New York DJ who wanted to get the song recorded for their station compilation of new local artists. A quick team of musicians were assembled and knocked the song out. Credited to Jon Bongiovi and the Rest, the tune started to get traction on the radio and soon Jon was forming his own band. They attracted the attention of Mercury Records and the newly christened Bon Jovi were on their way. They recorded their self-titled debut album and issued this song as its first single. It was a hit at Rock reaching #5 and soon it crossed over to Pop and found its way just inside the Top 40.

ReduxReview:  That keyboard lick at the top of the song certainly grabs your attention. Then you have Jon Bon Jovi's voice and a solid chorus to round out the tune. Overall, it adds up to a tasty track. I'm surprised it didn't do better, but edgier rock was still just a minor year or two from really becoming mainstream, so the Top 40 showing was decent. Their debut album was alright and had a couple of good cuts, but this song gave hints that this band had something and were on the right track.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Having played shows with his new band under his own name, once signed to Mercury, Jon wanted an actual band name. Their initial choice was Johnny Electric, but then a friend of their manager suggested they just be called Bon Jovi, which was similar to other big two-named bands such as Van Halen. They took the advice and moved on to record their debut LP.  2) The pickup band that initially recorded "Runaway" for the radio station compilation consisted of established musicians including drummer Frankie LaRocka (of Scandal), Roy Bittan (keyboardist for Springsteen's E Street Band) and Hugh McDonald, who would end up being Bon Jovi's bassist beginning in 1994.


Monday, September 26, 2016

"Club Michelle" by Eddie Money

Song#:  1800
Date:  02/25/1984
Debut:  93
Peak:  66
Weeks:  7
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Money's Where's the Party? album was shaping up to be a disappointment. Its first single, "The Big Crash," stalled at lowly #54 while only getting to #17 at Rock. Then, this next single fared even worse by not even getting on the Rock chart while flaming out early at Pop. With no hit single to boost the LP, it tanked at #67 - a far cry from his previous album No Control, which was a platinum certified seller. But it wasn't the first time Money hit a little bump in the road and he would get back on track with his next effort.

ReduxReview:  I feel pretty much the same way about this song as I did about "The Big Crash." It's a good song, yet nothing special. This one is a bit darker and almost reminds me of something that could have been an outtake from Kim Carnes' synthpop gem Voyeur album. I've always liked the title, but the song doesn't quite live up to expectations.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  This song was co-written by Eddie Money, Ralph Carter, Raymond Charles Burton, and Mitchell Froom. Froom had been a session player and arranger for several artists and even issued a solo disc in 1984. But his major break came via the Australian band Crowded House. Froom would produce their self-titled platinum debut album which contained the worldwide hit "Don't Dream It's Over" (#2 US Pop) and it's follow-up "Something So Strong" (#7 US). The album was a big success and Froom went on to helm the band's next LP Temple of Lo Men, which wouldn't do quite as well but would still manage to reach gold level. Froom's production career then took off and he would go on to work with artists like Suzanne Vega, Los Lobos, Bonnie Raitt, Sheryl Crow, Pearl Jam, Indigo Girls, Paul McCartney, and many others.


Sunday, September 25, 2016

"Adult Education" by Daryl Hall & John Oates

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  1799
Date:  02/18/1984
Debut:  43
Peak:  8
Weeks:  17
Genre:  Blue-Eyed Soul, Pop

Pop Bits:  The duo's hit compilation Rock 'n Soul, Part One featured two new song that were issued as singles to help promote the album. The first single, "Say It Isn't So," was a major hit saying in the #2 spot for four weeks. This second single wouldn't do quite as well, but it did hit the Top 10. In doing so it became their tenth consecutive Pop Top 10 and thirteenth overall. Like the previous single, it was also a multi-format hit reaching #21 Dance, #23 Rock, and #50 R&B.

ReduxReview:  I remember being disappointed when this came out. I didn't think it was a good single and I still don't. It's not bad for an album track, but it is not one of their best compositions. I think it made the Top 10 based on their popularity at the time. It wasn't like they could release anything and it would be a hit. This one was just good enough to play well on radio and keep their Top 10 streak going. On a list of their best-to-worst charting songs, I'd probably put this one in the lower half.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  The duo's first charting Pop song was not initially a hit for them. From their second album Abandoned Luncheonette, their song "She's Gone" first hit the chart in 1973, but it stalled at a low #80. Then, the R&B group Tavares recorded their own version of the song for their 1974 album Hard Core Poetry. Released as a single, it was a big hit at R&B reaching #1. It would crossover to Pop for a few weeks getting to #50. After Hall & Oats got their first Top 10 hit with 1976's "Sara Smile," their former label, Atlantic, reissued "She's Gone" and it ended up getting to #7.