Saturday, February 11, 2017

"Young Thing, Wild Dreams (Rock Me)" by Red Rider

Song#:  1938
Date:  06/16/1984
Debut:  94
Peak:  71
Weeks:  6
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  This band got themselves on the map with their debut album Don't Fight It. It featured the #20 Canadian hit "White Hot," which crossed over to the US Pop chart and peaked at #48. Although the band's next two albums sold well in Canada, they were less popular in the US with neither one sporting a Pop chart single despite a trio of Top 20 Rock tracks. Their fourth effort, Breaking Curfew, featured this first single that got them back on the US Pop chart, but it wasn't significant enough to really move albums and it disappeared rather quickly. It would end up being the band's final single to reach the Pop chart. After Breaking Curfew, the band went through some changes and when the dust settled, their name was adjusted to be Tom Cochrane & Red Rider and their fifth self-titled album was highly successful in Canada. Their next LP, Victory Day, would be their best-selling album in Canada thanks to two Top 10 hits. Save for a lone #9 Rock track (1988's "Big League"), the band was pretty much ignored in the US. After one more album, the band would break up with leader Tom Cochrane heading out on a solo career. He'd start off his solo days with the #1 Canadian hit "Life Is a Highway" in 1991. That song would also reach the US Top 10 at #6. Once again, after that hit Cochrane's US career stalled. Back in Canada, he would be highly successful grabbing six more Top 10 hits including a second #1.

ReduxReview:  Both Red Rider and Tom Cochrane are among a group of Canadian rockers who never really made a major impact in the US. It happens. For every Bryan Adams or Loverboy that got worldwide acceptance, there are bands like Red Rider or The Tragically Hip that remain distinctly Canadian and hugely popular there (The Tragically Hip boasts eleven #1 albums and fourteen Juno awards while in the US they were basically a cult band). With Red Rider, I'm guessing the reason they didn't break wider in the States is that their music wasn't full of the pop radio friendly hooks necessary to break through the slog of so many other artists. I think in Canada the stations there are required to play a certain amount of Canadian-specific artists and that probably benefited a band like Red Rider. That might make the radio stations a bit more diverse so Canadians may hook into songs differently than folks in the States. I dunno. I'm just guessing here. Regardless, the band was not going to break through with a song like this. Besides the awkward title, the tune doesn't offer much beyond a decent groove and the "rock me" yells. It almost sounds like someone tried to smash together the Rolling Stones and J. Geils Band and it didn't quite work out.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Cochrane would win four Juno's (the Canadian equivalent of a Grammy) for his debut solo album Mad Mad World. He would receive one for Album of the Year, one for Single of the Year for "Life Is a Highway," Male Vocalist of the Year and Songwriter of the Year. Cochrane would receive one Grammy nomination for Best Rock Vocal for "Life Is a Highway."  2) In 2006, country band Rascal Flatts would cover "Life Is a Highway" for the hit Pixar animated film Cars. The song would be issued as a single and it would get to #7 on the Pop chart. Oddly, the song was not issued for airplay to country music stations, most likely because around the same time their single "My Wish" was shaping up to hit #1 on the Country chart and it wasn't necessarily good to have a competing second single. However, many stations went ahead and played the song anyway and based on that activity, the song got to #18 on the Country chart.


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