Wednesday, March 22, 2017

"Reach Out" by Giorgio Moroder (Featuring Paul Engemann)

Song#:  1983
Date:  07/21/1984
Debut:  87
Peak:  81
Weeks:  4
Genre:  Synthpop, Soundtrack

Pop Bits:  To accompany the 1984 summer Olympic games that were held in Los Angeles, an official soundtrack was created. Several popular artists contributed songs and each one was dedicated to a specific event category. Just prior to the games, the LP's first single, the swimming theme "A Chance for Heaven" by Christopher Cross, was released. It fared okay at AC getting to #16, but was a dud at Pop tanking at #76. Next up was this song from hit songwriter/producer Giorgio Moroder. It was tagged as the theme for the track and field events and featured vocals by Paul Engemann (see below). The single was unable to gain any traction and ended up stumbling at a low #81. Oddly, the song caught fire in Germany and it reached the #1 spot on that country's chart. The track would end up being Moroder's final one to reach the US Pop chart.

ReduxReview:  Once again, Moroder employed his "Flashdance" slow opening technique to this sporty synth jam. That much-used device was getting tired and the rest of this song wasn't much better. As I mentioned before, it is rather difficult to come up with a song that is specific to an event. Even some of the best songwriters fail. I'm not sure I'd count this one as a complete failure, but it's not very good or inspiring. The lyrics are full of sporting clichés and the music sounds like something from a b-movie about a teen or team overcoming the odds to win! Moroder just tries way too hard here and the results sound stiff and forced. It might have been good for a razor blade commercial, but as a pop single - nope. The Germans seemed to love it, but need I remind you that they made a music star out of David Hasselhoff...

ReduxRating:  2/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) This song would also be included on Moroder's 1985 LP Innovisions. That album would end up being Moroder's last formal studio release of original material for thirty years. When his appearance on Daft Punk's Grammy-winning Album of the Year Random Access Memories brought him back in the limelight, Moroder returned to the studio for the brand new 2015 album Déjà Vu. Featuring appearances by stars like Sia, Britney Spears, and Kylie Minogue, the LP spawned two #1 Dance tracks.  2)  This song was co-written by Morodor with Richie Zito and Paul Engemann. Engemann supplied the vocals for the track. This wasn't Engemann's first time on the Pop chart and it wouldn't be his last. Engemann first reached the chart back in 1975 when he and his sister formed the duo Christopher Paul & Shawn. They got to #91 with the song "For Your Love," a remake of the 1958 #7 R&B/#13 Pop hit by Ed Townsend (who also wrote the tune). Engemann would later hook up with Moroder for the song "Push It to the Limit," which was featured on the soundtrack to the 1983 film Scarface. Engemann would continue to work with Moroder for the next few years before becoming lead singer of the band Device (with songwriter Holly Knight). That band would get to #35 in 1986 with "Hanging on a Heart Attack." Soon after Device broke up, Engemann joined Animotion in time to do the vocals for their #9 1989 hit "Room to Move." (Side note:  Engemann's sister Shawn later married TV icon/journalist Larry King.)


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