Monday, April 10, 2017

"Stranger" by Stephen Stills

Song#:  2007
Date:  08/11/1984
Debut:  90
Peak:  61
Weeks:  8
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Stills has had an amazing career. His work with Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills & Nash (&Young) made him a legendary musician and a two-time inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Along the way he also maintained a solo career that began with a platinum #3 1970 self-titled debut album. That LP was helped along by what would be his biggest solo hit, the #14 "Love the One You're With." He released four more albums in the 70s, but his solo career remained silent in the 80s until he issued 1984's Right by You. This first single was issued and it did fine at Rock reaching #12. However, it didn't get very far at Pop and after a couple of months it was gone. The album fizzled at #75 and was his last solo effort to get on that chart.

ReduxReview:  Even though this tune got boosted with some 80s flare, its 70s rock sound probably seemed out of place on Pop radio at the time. The one thing that several former hit makers never really learned in the 80s was that you can't just take the standard songs you've been writing for years, add synths, and get a hit (or attract new listeners). Your songwriting and/or song selection has to change as well. It seemed Stills had a difficult time with the transition and the results ended up a bit drab and cheap sounding. This particular song sounds like the songwriters/producers (both which include Stills) had listened to Lionel Richie's "Running with the Night" one too many times. Instead of sounding original, it comes of as a pale imitation. Definitely not great for a rock superstar like Stills.

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  There is a bit of a legendary story that Stills auditioned to be one of The Monkees and he was turned down due to an existing publishing contract. However, Stills then recommended Peter Tork to the producers and Tork became a member of The Monkees. According to Stills, this story is not entirely true. As a young, struggling songwriter, Stills thought he might be able to sell his songs if he got his foot in the door doing auditions. Once at the audition, he offered his songs to the producers, but they already had tunes ready to go. Stills then confessed he really wasn't there to audition, but he knew of a guy that might be perfect for the job and recommended Peter Tork. It all seemed to work out just fine for everyone. The Monkees became a sensation and around the same time Stills experienced success with Buffalo Springfield.


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