Saturday, December 16, 2017

"Lonely in Love" by Giuffria

Song#:  2258
Date:  03/23/1985
Debut:  88
Peak:  57
Weeks:  8
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  This rock band scored a Top 20 hit with "Call to the Heart" (#15), the first single from their self-titled debut album. It was an even bigger hit at Rock getting to #3. For a follow-up, this next track was selected. It failed to replicate the first single's success and could only manage a #23 showing at Rock while missing out on the top half of the Pop chart. The album could have done better with another solid hit, but "Call to the Heart" did well enough to send the album to #26.

ReduxReview:  While this isn't quite as good as "Call to the Heart," it still has its merits, especially lead singer David Glen Eisley's vocals. His performance really elevates the tune to a different level. He encroaches on Steve Perry territory here, but I don't think that's a bad thing as he doesn't sound like he's trying to imitate Perry. It's a shame the band didn't have a bigger career. They checked all the right boxes, yet they only ended up with one significant hit. Their debut album is worth checking out.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Lead vocals for the band were done by David Glen Eisley. He is the son of actor Anthony Eisley, who co-starred on the ABC detective series Hawaiian Eye. That show first aired in 1959 and lasted four seasons. After that, Eisley appeared in numerous TV shows and b-movies. In 1991, David Glen Eisley married actress Olivia Hussey, who was famous for her starring role in the 1968 film version of Romeo and Juliet. Their daughter, India Eisley, co-starred on the ABC Family TV show The Secret Life of an American Teenager for five seasons.


Friday, December 15, 2017

"Go Down Easy" by Dan Fogelberg

Song#:  2257
Date:  03/23/1985
Debut:  89
Peak:  85
Weeks:  4
Genre:  Country Crossover, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  Fogelberg's eighth solo studio album, Windows and Walls, was a gold seller, but the only significant single to reach the Pop chart was the #13 "The Language of Love." It seemed by the mid-80s, Fogelberg's brand of adult pop was going to have a tough time on the charts. Instead of trying to keep up with the new sounds of the 80s and forcing himself to write songs with hit potential, Fogelberg decided to veer off in a new direction. He headed to Nashville, hooked up with some of the top names in country music and recorded High Country Snows, his first country/bluegrass-based album. This initial single introduced his new sound and it did well at AC getting to #6. Country picked up the tune and it peaked at a respectable #56 on that chart. However, it wasn't a match for Pop and it spent a quick month near the bottom of the chart. Regardless, the album sold well going gold and it got to #30 at Pop and #23 at Country. The results combined with good reviews validated Fogelberg's decision to experiment with a new sound.

ReduxReview:  Fogelberg's folk-rock sound was never that far away from country, so the move to contemporary bluegrass was not necessarily a major shift. He just made a more distinct line in the sand with this album. While a good chunk of it leans towards bluegrass, there are a couple of songs like this one that hark back to Fogelberg's AC/soft rock sound. Obviously, they were trying to get a crossover hit here and it pretty much worked at AC and Country. However, this just wasn't going to cut it at Pop. Back in the day I kind of lost interest in Fogelberg at this point. Although I appreciated this album, it just wasn't my thing and I preferred Fogelberg's pop/rock songs. This song wouldn't be too far out of place on any of his previous albums. It's a nice folk/soft rock tune, but it's a bit too subtle and I forget it soon after its done.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Although this song would be a mid-charter at Country, another single from the album would do a bit better. The album opener "Down the Road / Mountain Pass" would end up getting to #33 at country. "Down the Road," which is the a cappella first thirty seconds of the single, was originally written by the legendary duo Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, and first recorded by them around 1949. The balance of the song, "Mountain Pass," was written by Fogelberg.


Thursday, December 14, 2017

"Swear" by Sheena Easton

Song#:  2256
Date:  03/23/1985
Debut:  90
Peak:  80
Weeks:  6
Genre:  Pop, Rock, New Wave

Pop Bits:  Easton's career revved up when her sixth studio album, A Private Heaven, spawned two Top 10 singles including the controversial Prince-penned song "Sugar Walls" (#9 Pop/#1 Dance/#3 R&B). The hits would send the album to #15 and it would eventually go platinum. It would be Easton's most successful LP in the US. To extend the album's life span, this third single was issued. Unfortunately, it did not catch on and the song floundered at the bottom of the Pop chart for a few weeks before disappearing.

ReduxReview:  This third single stuck with the upbeat flavor of the previous two songs, but this time it just didn't work out. The new wave track didn't connect as well and I can hear why. This rave-up wasn't all that pop radio friendly. The groove is great and production solid, but it just wasn't as memorable and hooky as something like "Strut." However, I like the bluesy, R&B slant to the song and thought it was a quality track on the album. It just didn't make a good single.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  This is a remake of an original song written and recorded by Tim Scott (aka Tim Scott McConnell). Earlier in the 80s, Scott had written a set of songs that he put down on tape with the help of a little Casio keyboard. The demo ended up in the hands of Sire Records and they offered him a contract. Working with producer Richard Gottehrer (Blondie, The Go-Go's), the pair recorded Scott's self-titled mini-album. Among the five songs recorded was "Swear," which also served as Scott's debut single. The new wave-leaning song and EP didn't get anywhere, but then the song got picked up by Easton for her album. Scott would later dismiss his debut EP as a mistake because it really wasn't the type of music he wanted to do. He would then switch to a more rock/blues sound and release a couple of major label albums. Another song of his, "High Hopes," would get picked up and recorded by Bruce Springsteen in 1996 for his EP Blood Brothers. Springsteen would later re-record the song for his 2013 album High Hopes. The song would be the LP's first single. It was able to get to #15 on the Adult Alternative Songs chart. Scott then later recorded under the name Ledfoot and began recording albums in a genre he created called "Gothic blues."


"Injured in the Game of Love" by Donnie Iris

Song#:  2255
Date:  03/23/1985
Debut:  93
Peak:  91
Weeks:  2
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Iris' third album for MCA, 1983's Fortune 410, didn't sell so well thanks to its lone single "Do You Compute?" only getting to #64 Pop/#20 Rock. The label wasn't thrilled with the results and wanted to bring in a new producer and outside songwriters to lend a hand on Iris' next LP. That was something that Iris was not interested in, therefore the label said goodbye and dropped Iris. Luckily, he was able to sign on to the indie label HME and by the spring of '85 his new album, No Muss...No Fuss, was ready. This first single got things started. It was a mid-charter at Rock getting to #28, but there was little support at Pop and the song only managed a very short two-week stay on the chart. It would be Iris' last single to reach the charts. A year later, a couple of strokes of bad luck sidelined Iris' career. His next album got recorded, but then was blocked from being released due to a pending lawsuit from his old label, MCA (to this date, the LP has still not be released). Then, HME went belly up and that left Iris without a label once again. He wouldn't be able to record and release a new album until 1992. Since then, he has issued six studio and two live albums.

ReduxReview:  Here's another solid rock tune from Iris. It's not quite as infectious as some of his other singles, but it's got a big sing-along chorus and Iris' personality certainly shines through. At the time, I didn't know much about Iris or his music so he kind of slipped through the cracks. I discovered more about him many years later and now realize how underrated he and his music was. If you like this style of rock, I highly suggest at least checking out Iris' Best of LP. It's full of gems that should have made him a bigger star.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Around this same time, two members of Iris' band decided to leave for a new hard rock band called The Innocent. That band released one album in 1985 titled Livin' on the Street. The band and the album didn't get anywhere, but it has one claim to fame. A pre-Nine Inch Nails Trent Reznor was a member of the band. Reznor would then join the band Exotic Birds before launching his own Nine Inch Nails in 1988.  2) Also around this time, Iris' longtime producer/co-writer Mark Avsec had a bunch of demos that got shopped around and CBS Associated though they were good enough to release. Avsec signed on and under the name Cellarful of Noise released an album in the summer of '85. Three years later, Avsec worked on a follow-up album titled Magnificent Obsession. With Iris' career on hold, Avsec brought him in to co-write a couple of tunes and perform lead vocals some tracks. The album ended up selling a few copies thanks to the single, "Samantha (What You Gonna Do?)," reaching #69 on the Pop chart in 1988.


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

"Forever Young" by Alphaville

Song#:  2254
Date:  03/23/1985
Debut:  95
Peak:  93
Weeks:  4
Genre:  Synthpop

Pop Bits:  The German band's first single, "Big in Japan," did quite well in Europe and on the US Dance chart where it got to #1. However, it didn't catch on at Pop and stalled at #66. Their next charting song in the US would be the title-track to their debut album Forever Young. As before, the single would reach the Top 10's of several European countries, but then fizzled in the US. It made a slight impression at Dance getting to #32 and spent a month near the very bottom of the Pop chart. However, that would not be the end of the song's story. Before the end of '88 the song would be reissued and do a bit better on the chart.

ReduxReview:  This is one of those songs that perhaps you think you may not know, but once you hear it, you'll recognize it. Over the years, the track has been heard in commercials, TV shows, and films. Many artists have covered the song in their concerts as well. It's a shame it never really caught on in the US. It's one of those songs that has a big sing-a-long chorus and seems to relay an important message. Usually, the pop audience will hook into these songs but for some reason this one got ignored. I think if a more prominent artist did the song in a big, orchestrated arrangement, it might have been a hit (Laura Branigan did a version on her fourth album, but more on that in a future post). Even though it sounds so dated now, the song is still a winner.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  When they hit with "Big in Japan," which went Top 10 or #1 in many European countries, their plan was to then issue "Forever Young" next as that song was completed and set to go. However, with their debut album still in the works, the record company wanted to save "Forever Young" for later and asked the band to quickly write and record something new specifically for single release. They reluctantly did so and within a two-day span they had recorded "Sounds Like a Melody." It quickly got issued as a single and ended up doing well going Top 10 in many countries. However, the band was left with a bad taste in their mouths regarding the pressure to write the song and despite it being a hit, they apparently refused to play the song for nearly a decade.


"That Was Yesterday" by Foreigner

Song#:  2253
Date:  03/16/1985
Debut:  47
Peak:  12
Weeks:  15
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Foreigner just had the biggest hit of their career with the #1 "I Want to Know What Love Is," which was the first single from their album Agent Provocateur. To follow it up, the band released this mid-tempo rock tune. It was another hit for them at Rock, getting to #4, but it stopped just shy of reaching the Pop Top 10. It also got to #24 at AC. The hits would help the album get to #4 and eventually it would be certified triple-platinum, but that was quite a sharp drop from their previous LP, 4, which hit #1 and sold over six-million copies. That album had more to promote sales since four of its singles made the Pop Top 40 with two of them going Top 10. In fact, all four of their studio albums prior to Agent Provocateur would sell more copies. It would also be their last studio album to go multi-platinum.

ReduxReview:  I didn't care all that much for "I Want to Know What Love Is," but I thought it would be interesting to see what they picked out for a follow up to that big hit. It ended up being this near-soft rocker and I have to say it was a pretty good choice. It's a solid pop song that nicely bridged the gap between the big balladry of "I Want to Know" and the band's more harder rocking tunes. I liked the song, but have always thought that it had a weird ending. The outro chorus is chuggin' along quite well and then it just kind of abruptly stops. I think a fade out would have been better or just even a more definitive and stronger end to the song. Regardless, I've always liked this tune.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Although the majority of the band were from England, they had more success on the US charts than they did in the UK. While they had a succession of five multi-platinum studio albums in the US along with nine Top 10 singles, in the UK they could only manage two Top 10 albums and two Top 10 singles. Their best effort there would be Agent Provocateur, which would hit #1 as did "I Want to Know What Love Is."


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

"Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid" by Daryl Hall & John Oates

Song#:  2252
Date:  03/16/1985
Debut:  55
Peak:  18
Weeks:  13
Genre:  Pop, Blue-Eyed Soul

Pop Bits:  The duo's twelfth studio LP, Big Bam Boom, reached #5 and went double-platinum thanks to two Top 10 hits including the #1 "Out of Touch." By this point, they were on a streak of seven consecutive Top 10's and were hoping this third single from the album would make it eight. Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be. The song stalled just inside the Top 20 and ended their streak. It did about the same at AC getting to #17 while nicking the R&B chart at #85.

ReduxReview:  While I like this song, I don't think it was a very good single. When I think of Hall & Oates, I think of concise, hooky, fun pop that leans toward R&B and soul. This song just meanders along and doesn't necessarily draw a listener in. In fact, I didn't really pay much attention to this song until many years later when I bought an H&O compilation. However, Big Bam Boom didn't have a lot of single contenders so this may have been the best of what was left. I didn't care for the album at all. I thought the writing wasn't up to par and the production was just kind of loud and, on occasion, obnoxious. Sadly, it was all pretty much downhill from here.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Although this song ended a Top 10 spree, they could take solace in the fact that twelve of their thirteen charting singles from 1981's "Kiss on My List" through to 1985's "Method of Modern Love" hit the Top 10. Five of those songs would go to the top of the chart. Combined with their previous hits from the late 70s, their fourteen Top 10's and six #1's would lead the RIAA to declare Hall & Oates the most successful rock duo in music history. It was also around this time that they took the title of the top charting duo on the Billboard Pop chart. They surpassed the previous top duo, The Everly Brothers, who had amassed fifteen Top 10's and four #1's in their career.


"Some Like It Hot" by The Power Station

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  2251
Date:  03/16/1985
Debut:  57
Peak:  6
Weeks:  18
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  The Power Station was a supergroup formed by Duran Duran's John and Andy Taylor when the band was on a short hiatus. Along with Chic's Tony Thompson and singer Robert Palmer, the new band set out to record a debut album. Chic's Bernard Edwards would serve as producer. The self-titled disc would feature this song that would serve as its first single. Duran Duran were ultra-hot at the time, so the involvement of two members of that band put a big spotlight on this project and that certainly helped the single climb into the Pop Top 10. In turn, the album would shoot up to #6 and would eventually go platinum.

ReduxReview:  Bernard Edwards produced the hell out of this track. The drums just sounded massive and the rest of the production was dense and meaty. Palmer was a perfect choice for the vocals and the hit certainly gave a big boost to his career. It led directly to his next solo album, Riptide, which was a major hit. It was all due to his involvement with Power Station. While I wasn't a big fan of the full album, this hit was one that I played a lot back in the day. It's still a pretty great track.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  While Duran Duran took a break, John and Andy Taylor wanted to branch out and do a project with a harder edged rock sound. Initially, they came up with the idea of a band that would record all the songs, but each track would feature a different lead vocalist. Apparently, feelers went out to see if stars like Mick Jagger and Billy Idol would be interested in participating. In the meantime, they asked singer Robert Palmer to record a track and he obliged by participating in the recording of the song "Communication." Palmer then found out that the band was going to remake the T-Rex song "Get It On (Bang a Gong)" and wanted to do the vocals for it. It wasn't long before they all realized that with Palmer on board there was a real connection as a band and it was decided that Palmer would stay on and become the lead singer of the band.


Monday, December 11, 2017

"Don't Come Around Here No More" by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

Song#:  2250
Date:  03/16/1985
Debut:  64
Peak:  13
Weeks:  14
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Following the band's tour in support their 1982 album Long After Dark, they decided to take a little bit of a break. When they got back to begin their next album, the plan was to do a conceptual double LP titled Southern Accents. However, that all changed when Petty met up with Eurythmics member Dave Stewart. Stewart had been working on a song that was potentially for Stevie Nicks (see below), but instead Stewart got hooked up with Petty and the pair hammered out this song plus two others. The three songs changed the album and although it would still be called Southern Accents, it would be a single LP minus the original concept. This first single certainly made a statement with its psychedelic feel. It was truly something different for Petty and unlike anything that was on the radio at the time. The odd track caught on and got to #2 at Rock while just missing out on the Pop Top 10. It was Petty's best performing single on the Pop chart since 1979's #10 "Don't Do Me Like That." The hit would help propel the album to #7 and it would eventually go platinum.

ReduxReview:  I liked Tom Petty well enough back in the day, but I had never bought any of his records up to this point. Southern Accents was the first one I did buy and that was based largely on this single. Of course I adored Eurythmics, so the prospects of Dave Stewart merging with Petty was pure catnip. This song was truly odd and I loved it. The skittery drum sound, the sitar, the halting background vocals ("Stop!"), and the jammin' outro made this stand out on the radio. The bizarre video for the tune just added to the atmosphere. It was something completely unexpected from Petty and it still remains an interesting and much discussed entry in his catalog.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  While stories on this song's creation vary, Stewart relayed his version via his 2016 memoir. A quick synopsis is that after a Eurythmic's gig in L.A., Stevie Nicks dropped by his dressing room and invited him back to her house for a party. It got late and Stewart stayed the night. Later in the early morning, Nicks joined him in bed and they had a little fun and Stewart left afterward. A few days later, Stewart had some time off and was invited to stay at Jimmy Iovine's house. Oddly, at the time Iovine was working with Nicks on her second album. (Stewart didn't know at the time, but Nicks and Iovine had been a couple in years prior.) Stewart played Iovine a demo of a song he had been working on. Iovine though it would be great for Nicks and called her in. Nicks arrived and began working on lyrics. When it came time to record her vocal, Iovine was not please with her lyrics. Apparently, they were oddly Shakespearean and Iovine wanted her to change some things. An argument ensued, which included Nicks blurting out that she had slept with Stewart a few days before. Nicks then took off and that left Stewart alone with Iovine and wondering what Iovine's reaction to the revelation might be. However, Iovine just shrugged it all off and told Stewart that they should get Tom Petty to come over and finish the song. Petty did and the two songwriters hit it off.  2) This song had a very memorable video filmed for it that was based off of Alice in Wonderland. It was nominated for five MTV Music Video awards, including Video of the Year, and won one for Best Special Effects. Near the end of the video, the body of the Alice character turns into a cake and the others start cutting slices and eating her. Apparently, that scene caused a little controversy with some feminist groups and also a few who thought it was too much. Despite that, the video was a hit on MTV and it certainly helped the single sell.


"Rock and Roll Girls" by John Fogerty

Song#:  2249
Date:  03/16/1985
Debut:  65
Peak:  20
Weeks:  12
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  After nearly a decade without releasing any new material, Fogerty returned with his third solo album Centerfield. He was warmly greeted by fans who sent the LP's first single, "The Old Man Down the Road" to #1 Rock/#10 Pop. This second single would nearly replicate that success. It would reach #5 at Rock while making into the Pop Top 20. A week after this song debuted on the Pop chart, the album would reach #1. Although it would only remain at the top for one week, it would end up being a double-platinum seller.

ReduxReview:  You can't get much simpler than this. Three major chords and a melody. Sometimes this old time rock formula can get tedious real quick, but luckily Fogerty wrote a melody that drew you in and kept you interested. I've never been a fan of this type of basic rock 'n' roll, but Fogerty's skill as a writer and performer held my attention on this one.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) In addition to writing all the songs and producing the album, Fogerty also played every instrument on the tracks. By this moment in time, advances in recording technology made it possible for artist to do everything themselves. For artists that relied on synths, keyboards, and drum machines, it wasn't all that difficult. Fogerty was a bit unique in that he was basically a one-man band playing guitar, bass, drums, sax, synth, etc.  2) On the inner sleeve of the album, it is printed "This album is dedicated to Gossamer Wump - and dreams that survive." Fogerty relayed in an interview that the name came from a children's record his brothers had when he was a kid. Fogerty could draw parallels between Gossamer's story and what he had been doing in the ten years following his second solo album. Apparently, the original Gossamer Wump LP issued on Capitol in 1949 is now a collector's item.


Sunday, December 10, 2017

"Everybody Wants to Rule the World" by Tears for Fears

#1 Alert!
Song#:  2248
Date:  03/16/1985
Debut:  70
Peak:  1 (2 weeks)
Weeks:  24
Genre:  Rock, Pop

Pop Bits:  This duo made a big splash in their UK homeland with their debut album The Hurting. It would reach #1 and spawn three Top 10 singles. In the US, their indie new wave sound didn't fully catch on with both the album and a single ("Change") only reaching #73 on their respective charts. Back in the UK, the duo recorded a new song that would introduce a new, more commercial-leaning sound. "Mothers Talk" would be issued nearly six-months ahead of their second album, Songs from the Big Chair, and it would reach #14. Then things really broke wide for them with their next single, the UK #1 "Shout." With big results posting in the UK, it was time to get the US involved. However, instead of issuing the UK hit  "Shout," it was decided that this track would be released as the first single. It seemed to be a wise move as the song slowly caught on and eventually made its way to the top of the Pop chart. It would also hit #1 at Dance, #2 AC, and #2 Rock.

ReduxReview:  Anyone who listened to or was a fan of The Hurting certainly got a surprise with Songs from the Big Chair. While I think the duo retained their basic style, Songs was a definite stab at big commercial pop/rock, which was certainly a change from the more indie-style new wave synthpop found on Hurting. For me, it was a big improvement. Although I did like a few songs on Hurting, overall I didn't connect with it. However, I did like the grander sound on Songs and the tracks were far more commercial and catchy. This first single was a perfect example. From the opening licks to the steady groove to the memorable chorus, there was no way this was going to miss. I know some folks hate it when a more indie style band goes for commercial success, but in the case of Tears for Fears, I think it was the right path and it paid off handsomely for them.

ReduxRating:  9/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) The duo re-recorded this song in 1986 as "Everybody Wants to Run the World." It was done as a benefit single for the sports-themed African famine relief effort Sports Aid. It was issued as a single and reached #5 on the UK chart. There were many exhibition sporting events held for the Sports Aid charity and the final event was a 10k run called "Race Against Time." The race was organized in 274 cities around the world and all the races were ran at the exact same time on May 25, 1986. It still remains the biggest organized sporting event that has ever taken place.  2) Singer/songwriter Lorde recorded a version of this song for the "inspired by" soundtrack to the film The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. It reached #27 on the Hot Rock Songs chart in 2014.