Monday, April 3, 2017

"Cleanin' Up the Town" by The Bus Boys

Song#:  2000
Date:  08/04/1984
Debut:  86
Peak:  68
Weeks:  5
Genre:  Rock, Soul, Soundtrack

**Milestone!  This is the 2,000th song to reach the Pop chart in the 80s. Therefore, it is my 2,000th post! I'm not quite halfway through the 80s, but am slowly getting there. This project has been loads of fun and I still get geeked when revisiting old favorites or uncovering long lost gems. I hope others have enjoyed this day-glo ride through the 80s as well!

Pop Bits:  This L.A. rock 'n' soul band gained a sizable following and solid reputation when they hit the club circuit in the late 70s. It led to them getting signed to Arista Records and a debut album titled Minimum Wage Rock & Roll was issued in 1980. Despite good critical reception and acclaim for their live shows, the album didn't get anywhere. A follow-up in 1982, American Worker, suffered the same fate. However, when a band was needed for scenes in an upcoming movie, management connections got the Boys hooked up with the film. Producers already loved the track "New Shoes" from American Worker and wanted three more new tunes. Soon, The Bus Boys and their songs were featured in the hit Eddie Murphy/Nick Nolte comedy 48 Hrs. One song in particular, "The Boys Are Back in Town," became quite popular and turned into a signature tune for the band. Unfortunately, for whatever reason (probably legal/rights), the song was not released as a single and there was no soundtrack album issued. The band got another chance at a hit when they contributed this song to the smash summer movie Ghostbusters. This time around, the song got put on the movie's soundtrack album and it got issued as the LP's second single. The Bus Boys finally made the Pop chart, but the song didn't get very far. Despite not being a major hit, the song's inclusion on the soundtrack earned the band a Grammy nomination. The Bus Boys would continue to work and perform on their own and also did appearances alongside Eddie Murphy during some of his concert performances. The band would later issue a 1988 album that included the #68 R&B song "Hard Work."

ReduxReview:  This old-style rock tune has a definite lean towards rockabilly. It nearly sounds like an outtake from a Stray Cats album. The unfortunately thing is that the whole mini rockabilly revival that was brought about by the Cats was on the wane and that didn't do this tune any favors. Despite being featured in a big box office hit, it just wasn't the type of song that was going to burn up the Pop chart. I had the soundtrack and this was one track that I would usually skip over. This band has some solid tunes on their own albums, but this specific track just wasn't on par with those tunes.

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) It's a bit unknown as to why "The Boys Are Back in Town" never got released back in the day. Usually when that happens it is some sort of legal entanglement or rights issue that prevents songs from getting out. Whatever it was, the song remained unreleased until The Bus Boys were finally to include it on their 2000 LP Boys Are Back in Town. The whole soundtrack for 48 Hrs. eventually saw the light of day in 2011. The album contained all four songs The Bus Boys did for the film.  2) The band's 1982 album American Worker contained a song that became a hit for another act. "Heart and Soul" became a #8 hit for Huey Lewis & the News in 1983. The Bus Boys' version was issued as a single, but it didn't chart. They were also not the first band to record the song. The country-rock band Exile first recorded it in 1981 and included it on their album of the same name. The tune served as the LP's lead single, but it didn't get anywhere. The song finally became a hit when Lewis' version took off.



  1. Congratulations on your milestone. Even when I don't agree with your opinions, they are always insightful. Looking forward to the rest of the decade!

    1. Thanks! Glad you are hangin' in there with me and enjoying the posts. It certainly has been fun!