Sunday, July 15, 2018

"One Night Love Affair" by Bryan Adams

Song#:  2465
Date:  09/14/1985
Debut:  56
Peak:  13
Weeks:  15
Genre:  Rock



Pop Bits:  Adams' fourth album, Reckless, finally reached the #1 spot for a couple of weeks in August. It was helped along by the #5 showing of the LP's fourth single "Summer of '69." With the album still securely in the Top 5, it was decided that a fifth single would be released. This album opening track was selected and it would become Adams' fourth Top 10 at Rock getting to #7. At Pop, the song ran out of steam before it could reach the Top 10. Still, the hit made Adams one of only three artists to get five Top 20's from one album. The other two artists being Michael Jackson and Bruce Springsteen (however, all their hits were Top 10's).

ReduxReview:  The hits from Adams just kept a-rollin' along and this was another single-worthy track from an album full of radio-ready rock tunes. Adams and his writing partner Jim Vallance were really at their peak when they penned songs for this album. They even wrote a bunch of solid songs on the side that were picked up by other artists as well. Adams would go on to have bigger hits than the ones on Reckless, but I don't think he's ever been as consistent of a writer as he was during this time period.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Just prior to this song being issued as a single, it was used in the sci-fi comedy Real Genius, which starred Val Kilmer. It was Kilmer's second film and second starring role. His first leading role was in the spoof/action comedy Top Secret! in 1984. Real Genius received mixed reviews and was a moderate box office hit. It has since become a bit of a cult movie with certain folks debating the validity of the (fictional) scientific aspects of the film. The film's final scene which involves filling a house with popcorn that was popped by a laser was even put to the test on the popular science TV show MythBusters. Although their tests showed that perhaps a house could possibly fill up with popcorn that was popped via a laser (they used heat induction for the test), it would never bust through doors and windows or ruin a house as it did in the movie because the popcorn was too soft and could never attain the density and pressure needed to break through windows or doors.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Saturday, July 14, 2018

"You Belong to the City" by Glenn Frey

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  2464
Date:  09/14/1985
Debut:  57
Peak:  2
Weeks:  21
Genre:  Soft Rock, Soundtrack



Pop Bits:  After Frey's "Smuggler's Blues" became a #12 hit thanks to its use in the hit TV show Miami Vice, Frey was asked to provide a new song for the show and its upcoming soundtrack. Frey and his co-writer Jack Tempchin came up with this tune that would be used in the two-hour second season premiere episode titled "Prodigal Son." The song was issued out as a single and it reached the top of the Rock chart while nearly doing the same at Pop and AC (#2). It would end up being Frey's biggest hit as a solo artist. With this song and Jan Hammer's "Miami Vice Theme" riding in the Pop Top 10 at the same time, the soundtrack album bolted to #1 and stayed there for eleven non-consecutive weeks.

ReduxReview:  Much like his Eagles bandmate Don Henley getting the atmosphere just right on his recent hits like "Sunset Grill," Frey sets the perfect tone with this track. The noir-ish mood and lyrics fit right in with the TV show. I love the song's mysterious, gritty street feel and it sounds like something that could easily be made into a short film. As evidenced by the peak, this was Frey's top moment as a solo artist.

ReduxRating:  9/10

Trivia:  Although Frey did not appear in the episode of Miami Vice that used this song, he did appear in the one that used "Smuggler's Blues." It was Frey's first acting gig. He played "Jimmy Cole," a pilot/smuggler who just happened to also like playing guitar. Frey basically kept to his day job but did a few acting gigs including recurring roles on Wiseguy (1989) and South of Sunset (1993). He also had a small role in the Oscar-winning film Jerry Maguire where he played the general manager of a baseball team.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Friday, July 13, 2018

"Boy in the Box" by Corey Hart

Song#:  2463
Date:  09/14/1985
Debut:  69
Peak:  26
Weeks:  12
Genre:  Pop, Rock



Pop Bits:  Hart grabbed his second Top 10 hit with "Never Surrender," the lead single from his second album Boy in the Box. For a follow-up, this title-track song was selected for release. The more upbeat tune didn't catch on as well and it stopped before it could get inside the Top 20. It did better in remix form on the Dance chart where it got to #16. In his homeland of Canada, this became Hart's third Top 10 hit.

ReduxReview:  This heavily produced album opener was probably the best upbeat track for single contention from the album, but it really is more of an album track. It is heavy on verses and takes nearly a minute and a half to even reach the bridge to the chorus. In pop radio world, that's a long time. If the verses are strong enough, that is okay, but I think the ones in this song are not all that memorable. Once the song gets going with the chorus and its children's song-like countdown and synth swoops, it works pretty well, as does the guitar solo. However, it just wasn't "Sunglasses at Night" memorable and it faded quickly.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  The Boy in the Box album would be a huge hit in Canada. In addition to reaching the #1 spot on the chart, it would be a Diamond seller. In Canada, the names of their sales certifications were the same as in the US - gold, platinum, and diamond. The difference is the amounts per category. In the US, gold equals 500,000 copies, platinum is for 1 million, and diamond is for 10 million. With a far lower population that the US, these amounts were adjust accordingly. Therefore, gold equals 50,000 copies, platinum 100,000, and diamond 1 million. While there had been diamond certified albums in Canada in the 70s and 80s, none were by Canadian artists. Hart's Boy in the Box became a diamond seller and he nearly became the first Canadian artist to have a diamond certified album in Canada, but he was beaten to the mark by Bryan Adams whose Reckless album was certified diamond just a mere three months prior. The first Canadian artist to reach double-diamond status in Canada was Alanis Morissette with her mega-hit LP Jagged Little Pill in 1996.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Thursday, July 12, 2018

"Never" by Heart

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  2462
Date:  09/14/1985
Debut:  70
Peak:  4
Weeks:  24
Genre:  Rock



Pop Bits:  Heart got an 80s makeover via their new label, Capitol, and came zooming back with a self-titled album that featured the #10 hit "What About Love." Heart was back on the charts again and this second single from the LP showed that they were going to stick around for a while. The track made it to #2 at Rock while becoming their biggest hit to-date on the Pop chart. It would also help their album break through a crowded chart and finally nab the top spot for a week in December. It would be their first and only album to hit #1.

ReduxReview:  While the big power ballad "What About Love" kept the band's rock roots fairly intact, this single really pushed them into a more commercial pop direction. With hit-making songwriter Holly Knight leading the writing team, there was no doubt that the band was definitely making a bid for chart glory. While they might have been pushed into it by their deal with Capitol, they seemed to give in to the label machinery and even though this is no "Barracuda," the big production and chorus fit them quite well. This song was as radio-ready as you could get and even if "What About Love" had failed, I still think this one would have hit.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  The writing credits for this song go to Holly Knight, Glen Bloch, and Connie. Connie is not actually a person, but a pseudonym for three people - Heart's Ann Wilson and Nancy Wilson, and Sue Ennis. Ennis began writing songs with the Wilson sisters back in 1978 when the trio co-wrote all the tunes for Heart's album Dog & Butterfly. Ennis has continued to work with the sisters on nearly every album since. In the early 90s, the Wilson sisters along with Ennis and Frank Cox formed an acoustic side band called The Lovemongers. They issued an EP in 1992 and then in 1997 recorded a full album of new music titled Whirlygig. A year later they did an LP of Christmas songs called Here Is Christmas. It was reissued later in 2001 under the Heart moniker as Heart Presents a Lovemongers' Christmas.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

"All Fall Down" by Five Star

Song#:  2461
Date:  09/14/1985
Debut:  83
Peak:  65
Weeks:  11
Genre:  R&B, Dance-Pop



Pop Bits:  This UK vocal group consisted of the five Pearson siblings and were developed via their father Buster Pearson. Having been a successful session/tour musician that worked with several major artists, Buster Pearson was already familiar with the music business. In 1983, he decided to form his teenage kids into a vocal group and the following year recorded and independently released their first single, "Problematic." It didn't chart, but it did help get them signed to RCA Records. Two singles on their new label were issued and a debut album titled Luxury of Life was released, but nothing was getting any attention. That is until this third single from the LP started to catch on. It would be their first charting effort getting to #6 Dance and #16 R&B. It would also cross over to the Pop chart for a few months and would be their first charting single in their UK homeland getting to #15.

ReduxReview:  This was a pretty good little tune that helped establish the family group on the charts. It was nothing outstanding, but it was memorable enough to get people interested, especially on the dance floors. I kind of remember the group, but I don't remember any of their songs. They ended up doing better in the UK scoring six Top 10's there.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  The b-side to this single was an instrumental song titled "First Avenue." The tune was written by group/family member Deniece Pearson. She also co-produced the track with her father. On the record, it was credited to Five Star Orchestra. The song would end up grabbing a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Instrumental Performance.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

"I Miss You" by Klymaxx

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  2460
Date:  09/14/1985
Debut:  86
Peak:  5
Weeks:  29
Genre:  R&B, Adult Contemporary



Pop Bits:  It took four albums, but this all-female band broke through with a pair of R&B Top 10's from their fourth LP including the title-track "Meeting in the Ladies Room," which made it to #59 at Pop. For a follow-up, this ballad written by band member Lynn Malsby was selected. The song took its sweet time meandering up the chart, but it finally cracked the Pop Top 10. It did even better at AC getting to #3. Unfortunately, it just missed out on becoming the band's third Top 10 at R&B as it stopped at the dreaded #11 spot. The hit really pushed album sales and it wasn't long before it was certified platinum.

ReduxReview:  This wistful ballad fit the band like a glove and was a perfect cross-format vehicle for them. It's a lovely song that is sentimental without being too saccharine. The funny thing about this song is that when I first heard it, I initially thought it was a new song by DeBarge! I thought lead singer Joyce "Fenderella" Irby sounded quite similar to El DeBarge on this song. Even the style of the tune was right in DeBarge's lane. I quickly figured out it wasn't a DeBarge song, but for a minute or two I wasn't sure.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  As noted in the info above, this song lingered on the Pop chart for 29 weeks, which was a big chunk of time. In the 80s, the average length of time a single spent on the chart was around 11 weeks. Songs that hit #1 averaged around 24 weeks on the chart while Top 10's stayed about 20 weeks. For the Billboard year-end charts, point values are assigned to a song based on its peak position and weeks on the chart. This Klymaxx song kept gaining points the longer it lingered on the chart. Because of that, it ended up being the #3 song on the year-end chart for 1986. It finished ahead of several #1 hits like Whitney Houston's "How Will I Know," Prince's "Kiss," and Mr. Mister's "Broken Wings." When the 80s ended, the song that held the record for being on the chart the longest in a single run was "Tainted Love" by Soft Cell at 43 weeks. That record has been shattered many times over the years and as of this posting date, the song in the lead is 2014's "Radioactive" by Imagine Dragons with 87 weeks - just over double the time of Soft Cell's record setter.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Monday, July 9, 2018

"After the Fire" by Roger Daltrey

Song#:  2459
Date:  09/14/1985
Debut:  95
Peak:  48
Weeks:  13
Genre:  Rock



Pop Bits:  Daltrey's first solo album following the break-up of The Who, Parting Should Be Painless, ended up being a disappointment. With only one minor charting single, the #62 "Walking in My Sleep," the LP tanked and couldn't even reach the Top 100. For his next effort, Daltrey set out to make the album he's always wanted to make, Under a Raging Moon. Along the way he got assistance from other musicians like members of Big Country, Bryan Adams, Russ Ballard, John Parr, and even his old bandmate Pete Townshend, who wrote this lead-off single. The song took off on Rock radio and it got to #3 - his biggest solo hit on that chart. The associated video was also well-received on MTV. The tune debuted low on the Pop chart and began a slow climb. It looked like it might get inside the Top 40, but it ended up stalling short of that mark. Still, the song's popularity at Rock and on MTV helped sell the album. It got to #42, which was far better than his previous album.

ReduxReview:  I've always thought this was a great anthem. I loved the production, especially the drums, and Daltrey sounds energized and engaged. I thought this was going to be a solid hit for Daltrey, even a Top 10 contender, yet it stalled mid-chart for some reason. At least it was embraced by Rock. I still think it's a terrific track and probably one of the most radio-friendly songs Pete Townshend had written around this time period. Apparently, Townshend gave the song to Daltrey to record and then The Who were going to perform it at Live Aid, which certainly would have helped promote the song. Unfortunately, schedules and such didn't allow the band to get the song properly rehearsed and they didn't play it at the event. That's a shame as it would have been a great addition to their set. It's also most likely the only song to name drop actors Matt Dillon and Dom DeLuise.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  The album's title song "Under a Raging Moon" was written as a tribute to The Who's former drummer, Keith Moon, who had died in 1978. The song was written by John Parr and Julia Downes. Parr's manager had worked with The Who for many years and had told Parr numerous stories about Moon. Those stories came in handy when writing the song. Moon was The Who's drummer and as an added tribute to him, several famous drummers stepped in to play on the song. Each drummer played a certain section of the song. The running order of drummers that are heard on the song are: Martin Chambers (The Pretenders), Roger Taylor (Queen), Cozy Powell (Jeff Beck Group), Stewart Copeland (The Police), Zak Starkey (son of Ringo Starr), Carl Palmer (Emerson, Lake & Palmer), and Mark Brzezicki (Big Country). Brzezicki also played drums on "After the Fire." On that song, two of his Big Country bandmates, Tony Butler and Bruce Watson, also lend a hand.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Sunday, July 8, 2018

"Part-Time Lover" by Stevie Wonder

#1 Alert!
Song#:  2458
Date:  09/07/1985
Debut:  43
Peak:  1 (1 week)
Weeks:  21
Genre:  R&B, Adult Contemporary, Pop



Pop Bits:  Although Wonder wrote and performed nearly all of the soundtrack to The Woman in Red, he had not put out a regular studio solo album since 1980's Hotter Than July, which was the longest stretch between studio albums he'd ever had. He finally buckled down and recorded his twentieth album, In Square Circle. To introduce the album, this track was selected to be the first single. It got a quick start debuting just outside the Top 40 before zooming up to the top spot. The song would be a multi-format hit reaching #1 at Pop, R&B, AC, and Dance. In doing so, it became the first single to reach #1 on all four of those charts. The song also got Wonder a Grammy nod for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male. He would end up winning a Grammy for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male, for the album. The hit would help the album get to #5 Pop and #1 R&B. By the end of the year it would be a certified double-platinum seller.

ReduxReview:  I was not a big fan of Wonder's around this time. He lost me after the schmaltzy "I Just Called to Say I Love You" became an annoying hit. I thought Wonder was slacking when he came up with that simplistic tune and hoped he'd get back to business with the new album. He didn't. Wonder has said that his inspiration for this song was two old Supremes hits "You Can't Hurry Love" (#1, 1966) and "My World Is Empty Without You" (#5, 1966). I can kind of hear that, but I thought it sounded quite close (actually very close) to another #1 hit - Hall & Oates' "Maneater." I was seriously waiting for the lawsuit to be filed. The beat, production, rhythm, and parts of the melody were nearly identical to the H&O song. No legal action took place, but there was no denying the similarities between the songs. I highly doubt Wonder consciously mimicked "Maneater," but someone in his camp should have said, "um...you may wanna rethink this." Because the song had already been written (better) as "Maneater," I promptly ignored it and placed it beside "I Just Called" as one of Wonder's worst hits.

ReduxRating:  2/10

Trivia:  Wonder's first single to reach #1 at Pop was 1963's "Fingertips, Pt. 2." With this song hitting #1, the span of time between the two #1's was twenty-two years and three months. That was a record at the time for longevity. He took the record away from Frank Sinatra who had twenty years, eight months between #1's. Cher is the current record holder. The time span between her #1's "Dark Lady" (1974) and "Believe" (1999)  is 24 years, 355 day.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Saturday, July 7, 2018

"I'm Goin' Down" by Bruce Springsteen

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  2457
Date:  09/07/1985
Debut:  48
Peak:  9
Weeks:  13
Genre:  Rock



Pop Bits:  By this point in time, Springsteen's massive hit album Born in the U.S.A. had spawned five Top 10 hits. As the fifth single, "Glory Days," was winding down it's run to #5, the album showed little signs of slowing down. After being on the chart for over a year, it was still riding high in the Top 10. Because of that, it seemed like a logical idea to keep the singles rolling out and this track was chosen to be the next one released. Like the previous singles, this one debuted high on the chart and wound its way into the Pop Top 10. It was also a hit at Rock radio reaching the same #9 position. With the results of this single, Springsteen was encroaching on territory carved out by Michael Jackson's Thriller album, which generated a record-setting seven Top 10 singles.

ReduxReview:  I didn't mind this song from the album, but it wasn't among my favorites. Apparently, Springsteen sings the word "down" about 80 times in the track and that was probably about 60 too many for me. The repetitiveness of the tune kinda drove me nuts. We get it - you ain't gettin' none and you're goin' down, down, down, down, down, etc. Ugh. The music was solid as was the short Clarence Clemmons sax solo, but overall it was mediocre Springsteen (which can still be steps ahead of many other artists...).

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  This song almost did not make it on the album. In the sessions that took place leading up to the Born in the U.S.A. album, Springsteen recorded around 70 songs. Some of these found their way to other albums like Nebraska and the 1998 compilation Tracks, while others remain vaulted away. There were many contenders for the Born album and initially "I'm Goin' Down" was gonna get left off the album in favor of another song called "Pink Cadillac." However, when nailing down the final track listing, Springsteen changed his mind and replaced "Pink Cadillac" with "I'm Goin' Down." However, all was not lost with the song. "Pink Cadillac" would be used for the b-side of "Dancing in the Dark." It would actually gather some airplay at Rock radio and would peak at #27 on that chart. But then the song became far more famous when Natalie Cole cover the track in 1987 and released it as a single. Her version made it to #5 on the Pop chart.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Friday, July 6, 2018

"I'm Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down" by Paul Young

Song#:  2456
Date:  09/07/1985
Debut:  54
Peak:  13
Weeks:  14
Genre:  Pop, Blue-Eyed Soul



Pop Bits: Young hit the top of the Pop chart with "Every Time You Go Away," the first single from his second album The Secrets of Association. The gold record was a remake of Hall & Oates song and Young kept the cover tunes coming (see below) with this second single from the LP. While this song didn't have the same mass appeal of "Every Time," it still did pretty well getting up near the Pop Top 10 while also reaching #8 Dance and #60 R&B. In Young's UK homeland, this track was the first single released from the album. It became his fourth Top 10 there getting to #9.

ReduxReview:  I really liked this song when it came out. It was full of studio effects and tricks, which I loved. While Ann Peebles' awesome original (see below) was a smokey mid-tempo soul jam, Young turns it into a more agitated modern synth-rock track and it pays off pretty well. These days, the song sounds dated with all the 80s gadgetry enhancing about every other beat, but I still like it. The decade featured quite a few cover tunes updated with the latest equipment and studio tricks, but many of them ranged from meh to awful. However, I thought this one was updated quite well.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  This is a remake of a song originally recorded by soul star Ann Peebles. Peebles recorded the song, written by Earl Randle, in 1972 and it was issued out as a single the following year. It was able to reach #31 on the R&B chart, but it failed to make the Pop chart. It was then included on her 1974 album I Can't Stand the Rain. That album's title track would become Peebles' biggest and most well-known hit getting to #6 R&B and #38 Pop. Ten years later, Tina Turner would do a cover of that tune for her comeback album Private Dancer.
_________________________________________________________________________________

Thursday, July 5, 2018

"Miami Vice Theme" by Jan Hammer

#1 Alert!
Grammy Alert!
Song#:  2455
Date:  09/07/1985
Debut:  59
Peak:  1 (1 week)
Weeks:  22
Genre:  Synthpop, Instrumental, Soundtrack



Pop Bits:  In the fall of '84, the TV crime drama Miami Vice debuted. Although it wasn't an out-of-the-box smash in its first season, the show would become a cultural phenomenon thanks to its violent themes, expensive cars, flashy 80's clothing, and especially its use of music. The Michael Mann-produced series used tracks like Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight" and Glenn Frey's "Smuggler's Blues" to good effect in some episodes. Even music stars like Frey made guest appearances on the show. Along with pop/rock music tracks, composer Jan Hammer was hired on to supply the background music to the show and write its theme song. With the series' popularity on the rise and songs heard in the show gaining airplay, it was decided that Hammer's theme should be pushed out as a single. The instrumental caught on and became a multi-chart hit reaching the top spot at Pop, #10 R&B, #16 AC, #23 Dance, and #29 Rock. It was even popular across the pond and made it to #5 in the UK. A soundtrack album from the show would follow and it would end up spending eleven non-consecutive weeks at the top of the chart. This would be Hammer's only charting single in the US. With having a #1-and-done chart career, some called him a one-hit-wonder, but Hammer is typically left off of those lists because he is mainly known as a composer of scores rather than a pop musician reaching out for chart glory. Despite his long list of works for film and TV, when Michael Mann decided to do a film version of Miami Vice in 2006, he didn't ask Hammer to do the music. In fact, Mann didn't even use the theme song, much to the dismay and dislike of the original show's fans.

ReduxReview:  While I like the beginning of this song and Hammer's synth/production work, I never understood why this single was so popular. There's no real melody to it at all and nothing resembling a repetitive chorus. I mean, at least "Axel F" had a hooky, memorable melody. Perhaps it was just the feel of the song combined with the show's popularity that made it take off. Cool guys in t-shirts and pastel Armani sport coats blasting this from their t-top Cameros. Whatever it was, I didn't get it. The tune was a big deal at the time, but it didn't get much of a life after the Miami Vice phenomenon was over. This was probably the first time I'd heard the track since the 80s. It's an oddball curio from the time period that when heard now by some folks makes them go "oh, yeah...I forgot about this!"

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) As the 80s moved forwards, instrumental hits were becoming more rare. A minor few would reach the Top 10 over the years, but none would reach #1. This theme song would be the last #1 instrumental for twenty-eight years! It might have still been the last one except that in 2013, Billboard changed their chart methodology to include streaming. The new rules then allowed a tune called "Harlem Shake" by EDM artist Baauer to debut at #1. It was pushed along thanks to thousands of viral video memes on YouTube that used the song.  2) This song ended up winning two Grammy awards. The track earned Hammer awards for Best Pop Instrumental Performance and Best Instrumental Composition.  3) The success of the soundtrack prompted a second one to be issued late in '86. For it, Hammer beefed up another part of his score for the show into an instrumental track titled "Crockett's Theme." It was pushed out as a single, but it failed to chart at Pop. The best it could do was a #42 showing at AC. However, it was a different story in Europe where the track was a Top 10 hit in many countries. It reached #2 in the UK, which bested the #5 peak of the original theme.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

"Communication" by Power Stations

Song#:  2454
Date:  09/07/1985
Debut:  65
Peak:  34
Weeks:  10
Genre:  Rock



Pop Bits:  This supergroup featuring Robert Palmer on vocals scored two Top 10's from their self-titled debut album, which also made the Top 10 and went gold. To try and keep things flowing, this third single was issued out from the LP. The track was able to crack the Pop Top 40, but that was all it could do. It would be the band's last single to reach any US chart. With Palmer's career back on track thanks to his work with Power Station, he decided to capitalize on the moment and take off for a solo career. The remaining trio tried to soldier on with a new singer (see below), but they decided to end the band later in '85. The original quartet including Palmer did reform in 1996 to record a new album, however bassist John Taylor had to drop out for personal reasons prior to entering the studio. The band's producer Bernard Edwards stepped in for him, but then Edwards died not long after the recording sessions. The album, titled Living in Fear, was issued in the fall of '96 and was dedicated to Edwards.

ReduxReview:  Bernard Edwards' production basically keeps this song afloat, but barely. Take that a way and there's not much to grab on to here. It's just a groove with a verse and a chorus that aren't all that different from each other. It all kind of bleeds together with nothing standing out to grab your attention. Compare this to "Some Like It Hot," which was hooky as hell, and you'll hear the difference between a hit and one that isn't. I'm even amazed it reached the Top 40.

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  When Palmer left the band, the other members decided to continue on as Power Station and set out to hire a new lead singer. They decided to bring on board singer/actor Michael Des Barres. Des Barres' former band, Chequered Past, had opened up for Duran Duran on some of their tour spots and so Duran/Power Station members John Taylor and Andy Taylor were familiar with Des Barres. With Des Barres in place, the band toured and also played at Live Aid. Des Barres had some Hollywood connections and that led to them appearing on an episode of the hit TV show Miami Vice. They were also hired to contribute a song to the soundtrack for the film Commando, which starred Arnold Schwarzenegger. But by the end of '85, Power Station members started to do other projects and they finally just let the band fold. Des Barres would record his second solo studio album in '86 titled Somebody Up There Likes Me, but it didn't get anywhere. He had better luck acting and appeared in many TV shows including recurring roles on MacGuyver and Melrose Place. One of his more memorable roles was when he played Leon's boyfriend Steven in the hit TV show Roseanne.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

"We Built This City" by Starship

#1 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
Song#:  2453
Date:  09/07/1985
Debut:  73
Peak:  1 (2 weeks)
Weeks:  24
Genre:  Rock



Pop Bits:  Jefferson Starship's 1984 album Nuclear Furniture was the band's eighth studio album to at least reach gold level sales. However, since 1979's Freedom at Point Zero, the band had been leaning in a more commercial, radio friendly direction and that wasn't sitting well with Paul Kantner, the last original member of Jefferson Airplane/Starship to still be in the band. He finally decided to part ways but if he was going, so was the band's name and he filed a lawsuit to prevent the others from using the Jefferson moniker. A settlement was reached and in the end everyone agreed to not use "Jefferson" in any band name. With other members of Jefferson Starship ready to move on, including Grace Slick, they decided to simply use Starship for the band name and issued out their first album Knee Deep in the Hoopla. This first single was pushed out ahead of the album and it took off for the #1 spot at Rock. The song took its time scaling the Pop chart, but it also made it to the apex. It also got to #37 AC and #37 Dance. It was the first #1 hit for the band in any of its iterations. It also earned the band a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Duo or Group.

ReduxReview:  Here it is - the ever infamous love-it-or-loathe-it 80s...ummm...classic? The song about corporations and commercialism ruining rock 'n' roll and contributing to its demise was pretty much in itself a totally commercial and corporate record. The band wanted hits and they reached out to other writers looking for something that could be one and they wound up with this tune. The song has taken a lot of flack over the years, but what it comes down to is if you accept it for what it is and like it, or if you think its a bunch of clap trap by a no longer relevant band. I happen to like it. From the near-a capella opening to the big 80s synth production and DJ voice over, I found it to be hooky and a lot of fun. Is it a great song? Nope. It has nonsensical lines like "Marconi plays the mamba" and the song's sentiment is kind of corny, but for me it's hard not to nostalgically jam along to it when I hear the tune.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Triple Shot!  1) Ever since this song became a hit, many folks have derided it. Perhaps the most notorious diss of the song came in 2004 when Blender magazine issued out a list of the worst songs ever recorded and this one was ranked #1. The distinction rankled fans of the song along with a couple of the ol' Starship members. But that wouldn't be it. In 2011, Rolling Stone readers voted this the worst song of the 80s by a wide margin. And then in 2016, GQ magazine named it the worst song of all time. Despite all these negative accolades, the song lives on and has made its writers and publishers a butt load of money.  2) When this song hit #1, co-lead singer Grace Slick was 47-years-old. That made her the oldest female artist to reach #1 on the Pop chart. She would hold that record until 1999 when a spry 52-year-old Cher hit #1 with "Believe.  3) Lyrics for this song came from famous Elton John collaborator Bernie Taupin. At the time Taupin was trying to work with other artists besides John and his lyrics for this song ended up in the lap of songwriter Martin Page. Page then supplied the music and created a demo. Apparently, the original version was darker in tone and not as hooky. When Starship's producers Dennis Lambert and Peter Wolf picked up the tune, they decided to make some changes. They made the song a bit more upbeat with a more repetitive chorus and added the DJ section, which was performed by Les Garland, a former radio programming director who was a bigwig at MTV at the time. Due to their additions, Lambert and Wolf ended up with writing credits on the song.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Monday, July 2, 2018

"You Are My Lady" by Freddie Jackson

Song#:  2452
Date:  09/07/1985
Debut:  85
Peak:  12
Weeks:  20
Genre:  R&B, Quiet Storm, Adult Contemporary



Pop Bits:  Jackson's very first single, "Rock Me Tonight (For Old Times Sake)" was a major hit for him getting to #1 at R&B and #18 Pop. This follow-up single would do even better by reaching #1 at R&B, #3 AC, and nearly nicking the Pop Top 10. It would be Jackson's biggest career hit and easily became his signature tune. The two singles helped propel his debut album to #1 R&B/#10 Pop and would end up being a platinum seller.

ReduxReview:  This is just a lovely song wonderfully delivered by Jackson. It should have easily slid into the Pop Top 10, but it stalled just shy. While "Rock Me Tonight" certainly put Jackson on the map, this was the song that truly made him a star. Grammy folks took notice and handed him a nomination for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male, for this song. Frankly, he should have won but he got aced out by Grammy fave Stevie Wonder for his less-than-stellar album In Square Circle. Regardless, this song remains one of the best R&B slow jams of the decade.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  This song was written and produced by Barry Eastmond. Eastmond started out doing some arranging and production work for artists like The O'Jays and Teddy Pendergrass in the early 80s. His songwriting skills came into play soon after and his songs began to get picked up by a few artists including Billy Ocean, who recorded Eastmond's "Dancefloor" for his hit album Suddenly. Melba Moore also recorded one of Eastmond's songs. That connection came in handy later when Moore was helping one of her backup singers, Freddie Jackson, get his career going. Eastmond and Jackson got hooked up and the pair began work on Jackson's debut album. Eastmond would write/co-write and produce six tracks for the album. One of those tracks was this song which Eastmond had written as a tribute to his wife. The song and album were hits and helped to solidify Eastmond's career as a writer/producer.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Sunday, July 1, 2018

"Perfect Way" Scritti Politti

Song#:  2451
Date:  09/07/1985
Debut:  87
Peak:  11
Weeks:  25
Genre:  Synthpop



Pop Bits:  When Green Gartside formed Scritti Politti in 1977, the band was involved in the UK punk scene. Their raw sound coupled with arty, sometimes political lyrics gained attention and it got them signed to Rough Trade Records in 1979. The band recorded a couple of EPs for the label prior to recording their debut album. However, the direction of the band took a big left turn when Garside suffered a major panic attack after a show and needed to recover. During that time, Garside began to develop a fondness for pop and R&B music and his interest in indie/punk began to wane. Once back to work Garside recorded a song based on his new influences titled "The Sweetest Girl." It became the band's first charting song in the UK and a debut album soon followed that made it to #12. That prompted a change to a major label (Warner for the US) and a change of scenery as Garside took off for New York. With two new band mates and famous producer Arif Mardin on board, Scritti Politti recorded their second album Cupid & Psyche 85. The LP's first single, "Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin)," would reach the Top 10 in the UK. In the States, the single got to #4 on the Dance chart, but failed at Pop. However, this second single would grab the airwaves and after a slow start the song nearly made the Pop Top 10 peaking at the dreaded #11. It would also get to #6 Dance and #85 R&B. In the UK, the song was the album's fifth single and it stalled at #48.

ReduxReview:  This band went through quite a change. This commercial-leaning dance-pop track is vastly different from their indie beginnings. Many artists make changes to their sound over time, but this song sounds like something Scritti members would have been rallying against back in the day. However, those that love 80s synthpop were probably glad Garside went through his musical change as this was such a catchy, radio-friendly track that easily made a lot of people happy. It would be the band's only major hit in the US, but it was a solid one and the album is a bit of an 80s synthpop classic.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) In the beginning, the band was known for being Marxist-leaning, which was occasionally reflected in their lyrics. They seemed to particularly like Italian Marxist philosopher, writer, and politician Antonio Gramsci. As a nod to Gramsci, they adopted an Italian phrase as their name. Scritti Politici basically means "political writings" and that seemed to fit in with their music and with what Gramsci did. However, Garside thought it needed a little rock 'n' roll update and change the second word to Politti so that the name flowed easily like the early rock song "Tutti Frutti." Although Garside and the band would abandon their Marxist beginnings, the name would stick around.  2) Jazz legend Miles Davis ended up doing a cover of this tune for his 1986 classic album Tutu. Apparently, as Davis was recording the album, his producer Tommy LiPuma suggested adding a cover tune and gave him a bunch of pop albums for Davis to listen to and perhaps find a song. Davis ended up loving "Perfect Way" and chose to record it. Garside was able to meet Davis afterward and the pair became friendly. Davis would even perform on a track titled "Oh Patty (Don't Feel Sorry for Loverboy)" from Scritti Politti's third album Provisions. That song would be a hit in the UK reaching #13 in 1988.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Saturday, June 30, 2018

"A Little Bit of Heaven" by Natalie Cole

Song#:  2450
Date:  09/07/1985
Debut:  90
Peak:  81
Weeks:  6
Genre:  Pop, R&B, Adult Contemporary



Pop Bits:  Although Cole's album Dangerous wasn't the big comeback that she was perhaps hoping for, it at least did get her back on the charts with the title track reaching #16 at R&B and #57 Pop. This next single helped to keep things moving by becoming her first charting hit at AC in five years. It was able to reach #11 on that chart. It didn't do quite as well at Pop or R&B (#28), but the two songs combined helped to get Cole's career going again.

ReduxReview:  This is a solid song and I like the reggae-ish feel of the arrangement. I'm not sure why it didn't catch on, especially with the added exposure via TV (see below). Cole did a great job and the production was in-step with the 80s. It was a subtle and relaxed song, so perhaps it just didn't stand out and ended up getting lost on the radio. Regardless, It really should have done a whole lot better.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) The third single from Dangerous was the upbeat track "Secrets." It wasn't able to crack the Pop or R&B charts, but it did get on the Dance chart at #36. Rhino Records listed it among five "forgotten" songs in Cole's catalog that should have been hits. It was co-written by Marti Sharron, who co-wrote "Jump (For My Love)" for the Pointer Sisters, and Dianne Steinberg.  2) This song got some further exposure via a soap opera. It was one of the songs used as a love theme for the couple Eden and Cruz on Santa Barbara.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Friday, June 29, 2018

"Master and Servent" by Depeche Mode

Song#:  2449
Date:  09/07/1985
Debut:  92
Peak:  87
Weeks:  3
Genre:  Synthpop, New Wave



Pop Bits:  After getting four Top 10 albums and five Top 10 singles in their UK homeland, Depeche Mode finally broke through on the US chart with the #13 "People Are People." The single was taken from a US-only catch-up album of the same name and it was also on their fourth studio album Some Great Reward, which began to sell as well thanks to the hit. This follow-up single was taken from Some Great Reward, but it failed to catch fire. It spent a short time on the Pop chart while getting to #44 at Dance. It did much better in the UK where it reached #9. While "People Are People" got them attention in the US, they wouldn't have another significant hit until the very end of the decade.

ReduxReview:  This was a terrific follow-up single, but I think it was just a little too dark and mechanical for US ears. "People Are People" certainly wasn't all sunshine and roses, but it had hooks galore in it that played well on radio and connected with listeners on the first spin. "Master" wasn't quite as immediately hooky and it took a couple of listens to dial in on the song, which wasn't gonna fly on Pop radio. It's too bad as this was a quality track from a band that was ahead of the curve when it came to synthpop production.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  For a popular hit-making band to record a song where the main subject concerns BDSM was a bit progressive at the time, so when this song was issued as a single, controversy ensued. The song's theme and sound effects rankled some radio folks and it seems some stations, particularly in the US, decided to not play the song. Although the song was played on the BBC, there has always been a persistent rumor as to why. The story goes that when the BBC staff voted on whether or not to air the song, the vote swayed in favor of airplay due to one staffer, who would have voted no, being gone on vacation. It's unclear whether this is fact or a good story, but there were stations in other countries who chose not to play the song. Apparently, one of the reasons some stations banned it was due to the whip sound on the record. For some reason, that crossed the line. Oddly, that sound was not an actual whip. The band did try to record a real whip but it wasn't working out. In the end, the sound was made via a human. Daniel Miller, the head of Depeche Mode's label Mute and their co-producer, used his voice to create the sound.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Thursday, June 28, 2018

"And She Was" by Talking Heads

Song#:  2448
Date:  09/07/1985
Debut:  94
Peak:  54
Weeks:  20
Genre:  Rock



Pop Bits:  Talking Heads gained a wider, more mainstream audience when their single "Burning Down the House" made it to #9. It helped turn their album Speaking in Tongues into a platinum-level seller. Following a concert film and associated live/soundtrack album, the Heads returned to the studio to record a proper follow-up. The album would be titled Little Creatures and its first single would be the closing track "Road to Nowhere." The track made it to #25 at Rock, but it failed to reach the Pop chart. It didn't set the album up for success, but then this second single was issued and things turned around. The track got to #11 at Rock while just missing out on the Pop Top 50. It also got to #33 at Dance. It was helped along by a popular video that got the band two MTV Music Video Award nominations - one for Best Group Video and one for Best Concept Video. The Little Creatures LP would reach #20 on the chart and over time it would go double-platinum, which would make it their best-selling studio album.

ReduxReview:  I think this is one of Talking Heads' most pop-friendly, radio ready tracks and I was surprised that it didn't do better on the chart. It might have done better had it been the first single, but for some reason they issued out "Road to Nowhere," which then should have been the follow-up. David Byrne can write a commercial leaning tune when he wants to and this was one of his best efforts to do so.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  For this song's video, the band wanted to hire on director Jim Blashfield. They had seen Blashfield's short film Suspicious Circumstances, which utilized a collage-style animation technique, and thought it would be perfect for "And She Was." Blashfield signed on and after the success of the video, more offers came in. He would end up doing several more music videos for artists like Paul Simon, Tears for Fears, Peter Gabriel, and even Weird Al Yankovic. His most successful video was for Michael Jackson's "Leave Me Alone." Although that song would not be issued in the US as a single (it was elsewhere including the UK where it hit #2), the video was very successful on MTV. It would be nominated for six MTV Music Video Awards including Best Video. It would win one for Best Special Effects. It would also win a Grammy for Best Music Video, Short Form.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

"Running Up That Hill" by Kate Bush

Rated 10 Alert!
Song#:  2447
Date:  09/07/1985
Debut:  95
Peak:  30
Weeks:  20
Genre:  Art Rock



Pop Bits:  UK singer/songwriter Kate Bush got an early head start in music. As she reached her teens she was already busy at the piano writing her own songs. By the age of fifteen, her parents helped Bush record a demo tape and got it circulated to labels and other music biz folks. Through a connection, the tape found its way to Pink Floyd's David Gilmour who heard something in the teenager's music. He got in contact with Bush and proceeded to help her record a more professional demo. She was sixteen when she signed a contract with EMI Records. It would be nearly two years before Bush would finally begin to record her debut album. Her first single, "Wuthering Heights," wowed UK listeners. It would reach #1 on the chart and remain there for four weeks. A second single, "The Man with the Child in His Eyes," would reach #6 and become her first song to chart in the US (#85, 1979). While she continued to have hits in the UK and Europe over the course of three more albums, her music didn't catch on in the US where she became more of a cult-ish music figure. That began to change when this first single from her fifth album Hounds of Love was released. It slowly caught on and was able to crack the Pop Top 30. It also made it to #34 Rock, #34 AC, and #17 Dance. The album sold well and also peaked at #30. It took nearly seven years, but Kate Bush finally made some inroads in the US market.

ReduxReview:  Prior to this song I had little knowledge of Kate Bush. I was slightly familiar with her due to a college roommate having one of her records (the US-only EP Kate Bush), but for some reason I didn't really pay attention or discover her music. Then this song came out. The mysterious rolling track got my attention along with Bush's voice. The way the song ebbed and flowed and built to a thundering climax was just spectacular. The production of it bowled me over as well. All it took was this song and I was hooked on Kate Bush. She quickly became (and still is) one of my all-time favorite artists and this album has been floating near the top of my list of personal favorites ever since it came out. Although CDs were beginning to gain some market share at at the time, vinyl still ruled and Hounds of Love was meant for the format. It had two distinct portions. The "a" side of the LP had five pop-oriented songs that were ready for radio. The "b" side was a concept suite titled "The Ninth Wave." It contained seven songs that flowed together and weaved a story about a person drifting alone at night in the sea. Because the production and engineering was so rich and interesting on the LP, I often would listen to it on headphones instead of through speakers and drift off to the special little worlds that Bush created. For me, Hounds of Love is a classic and is essential listening for any true fan of rock or prog rock music.

ReduxRating10/10

Trivia:  When Bush wrote this song she originally titled it "A Deal with God" and she wanted it to be the first single from the album. This created a couple of issues with her label. First, they wanted another track, "Cloudbursting," to be the first single and second, they anticipated potential problems with the song's title, in particular the use of "God." Regardless of the meaning of the song, the label felt they might have a tough time trying to get a song titled as such played in more religious leaning countries. Basically, they thought the song might be banned due to its title. Bush, who was known for fighting for her artistic rights even when she was a teen, decided to compromise on the situation. She would relent and let the single be called "Running Up That Hill," however it had to be the first single. Indeed it was and she came out of it with her second biggest hit in the UK (#3) and her best showing in the US. On the album, the song carries the title "Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)."

_________________________________________________________________________________

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

"Dancing in the Street" by Mick Jagger and David Bowie

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  2446
Date:  08/31/1985
Debut:  47
Peak:  7
Weeks:  14
Genre:  Pop, Rock



Pop Bits:  As things were gearing up for the big Live Aid charity concerts that would take place in London and Philadelphia, the idea of having Jagger and Bowie perform this song as a live international duet came about. Jagger would perform from Philadelphia and Bowie from London. However, it was determined that sound delays from the satellite feeds would prevent the artists from being synced correctly. Other ideas came up such as either artist miming the performance, but the pair were not on board with that. Instead, it was decided that they would record the tune in the studio and then make a video that would be broadcast during the event. Bowie was already recording a project a London, so Jagger flew in to do the song. It was quickly done in about four hours and then the pair ran off to film the associated video. Within a thirteen-hour span, the song and video were completed. The video was shown during the broadcasts of the concerts and both Bowie and Jagger still did their regularly scheduled performances at their respective venues. The video was then picked up for play on MTV and a single of the duet was released with proceeds going to the Live Aid charity. The song would be a big hit in the UK reaching #1 and staying there for four weeks. It also did well in the US reaching the Top 10 and getting to #3 at Rock and #4 at Dance. Oddly, it would be both Jagger's and Bowie's final single as solo credited artists to reach the Pop Top 10.

ReduxReview:  I'm not sure whose idea it was to cover this song or why, but it resulted in one of the worst mega-star collaborations of all time. Believe me, it is hard for me to say that as I love both of these artists - especially Bowie who nearly tops the list of my favorite artists. Yet what made the duet even worse what the atrocious video that was made. It goes beyond a "what were they thinking" to "who actually let them do that??" The video has them goofily dancing and preening all over the place in awful 80s clothes. Now, I get that they probably just wanted to have fun and be kooky, especially since they really had limited time to shoot the video, but it just didn't work. It's nearly painful to watch. It has been made fun of for years and there was even a music-less version of the video that someone created that hilariously showcased just how bad the video was. The song wasn't quite as bad, but it was close. When this song pops up in a playlist, I'm hitting the forward button as fast as I can. It's a total stink bomb from two of rocks greatest artists. Ah well. At least it was a sizable hit and that certainly help the Live Aid charity, so something good did come out of it.

ReduxRating:  2/10

Trivia:  This is a remake of a song originally recorded by Martha and the Vandellas. Their 1964 version reached #2 at Pop and became a Motown classic. Marvin Gaye co-wrote this song just as his own solo career was kicking into high gear. Many artists have covered this song over the years but only five artists have managed to get their single release on the Pop chart. The Mamas & the Papas got to #73 with their 1967 version. Jazz artist Ramsey Lewis hit #84 that same year with his take. Disco singer Teri DeSario got to #66 in 1980 with her duet on the song with K.C. from K.C. & the Sunshine band. The song returned to the Top 40 for the first time since the original when Van Halen's remake got to #38 in 1982. Then the Jagger and Bowie collaboration got the song back into the Top 10. As of this posting date, it is still the last version of the song to get on the Pop chart.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Monday, June 25, 2018

"A Night at the Apollo Live! The Way You Do the Things You Do/My Girl" by Daryl Hall & John Oates

Song#:  2445
Date:  08/31/1985
Debut:  53
Peak:  20
Weeks:  11
Genre:  Blue-Eyed Soul, Adult Contemporary



Pop Bits:  After scoring twelve Top 10 hits in the 80s thus far (including five #1's), Hall & Oates were ready for a break and for new adventures. But before they could do that, they had one more contractual album to deliver to RCA. The duo set up a special show at the famed Apollo Theater in New York that had them performing old R&B classics along with a some of their recent hits. Joining in with them would be two of their musical heroes from The Temptations, Eddie Kendricks and David Ruffin. The show would be recorded and portions of it would be used to make their final album for RCA, Live at the Apollo. A medley of four Motown hits was one of the show's highlights and to help promote the album, an edited version of the medley that showcased two of the songs was pushed out as a single. It ended up doing pretty well making the Pop Top 20 while getting to #12 at AC and #40 R&B. It helped the album reach #21 and eventually it would be a gold-seller. With their obligations done at RCA, the duo was now free to do as they wish and it would be nearly three years before they would return to the charts.

ReduxReview:  Kendricks and Ruffin do most of the heavy lifting here with H&O relegated to the background. I'm sure the nostalgia factor helped this one out along with the H&O name, but there's nothing really special here. Like most live recordings, it was probably much better in person and I'm sure H&O had a blast performing with two of their big influences. I'm glad they had fun, but it didn't do anything for me.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Eddie Kendricks sang the lead vocal on the original version of "The Way You Do the Things You Do," which was recorded by The Temptations. The 1964 single was the group's first to reach the Pop chart getting to #11. It was their first #1 at R&B. The Temptations also were the first to record "My Girl." That 1964 single became their first to reach #1 at Pop. It also got to #1 at R&B. This time around, David Ruffin did the lead vocal. On this live single, Kendricks and Ruffin take the lead on their respective songs with Hall & Oates and their band backing them. Both songs have been remade by many artists over the years and a few of them have reached the Pop chart. The best performing cover of "The Way You Do" was in 1990 when UB40 got to #9 with their reggae inspired version. The artist that peaked the highest with a full cover of "My Girl" was from R&B singer Suave. His 1988 new jack version got to #20

_________________________________________________________________________________

Sunday, June 24, 2018

"Sunset Grill" by Don Henley

Song#:  2444
Date:  08/31/1985
Debut:  60
Peak:  22
Weeks:  14
Genre:  Soft Rock



Pop Bits:  Henley lost a little ground with the third single from his second album Building the Perfect Beast when "Not Enough Love in the World" topped out at #34 on the heels of two Top 10 hits. Hoping to gain back some ground, this fourth single was issued out. It did indeed do better, but it just fell short of the Top 20. However, it was a good hit at Rock getting to #7. It also made the AC chart at #18.

ReduxReview:  Much like Henley's hit "The Boys of Summer," this song has a distinctive atmosphere. It ends up being very film noir-ish, especially when the horns kick in. It sounds like old school 40s or 50s Hollywood. Even the lyrics have a gritty feeling that seem to question why people live in such a commercialized place that is loaded with fraudulent and empty people. The Sunset Grill then provides a bit of respite from all of the hazy mess. I loved the song right away and it became my second favorite Henley track right after "Boys." It is also one of those rare tracks where I dig the full album version over the edited single. It's a song that needs to linger and tell its story.

ReduxRating:  9/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Although this would be the last official single released from the album, one other track did become a hit on the Rock chart. "Drivin' With Your Eyes Closed" gathered enough airplay to reach #9 on the chart. It would be Henley's fifth Rock Top 10.  2) The title of this song was named after an actual place. The Sunset Grill was a hamburger joint on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. It was just a hole-in-the-wall type place that seated only about twenty people. Henley used to frequent the place as it was one he could go and pretty much remain anonymous. In fact, the owner of the restaurant had no idea who Henley was and it took other people to tell him that Henley had written a song about the place. Thanks to the song, the Grill got a boost in business from music fans who wanted to have glimpse into the place that inspired Henley's song. The same family owned the Grill for forty years. They finally sold it in 1997 and the new owners razed it and built a new place that is still called The Sunset Grill.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Saturday, June 23, 2018

"You Wear It Well" by El DeBarge with DeBarge

Song#:  2443
Date:  08/31/1985
Debut:  76
Peak:  46
Weeks:  10
Genre:  R&B



Pop Bits:  This family group's fourth album Rhythm of the Night would be their best effort thanks to two Pop Top 10 hits including the title track (#3 Pop, #1 R&B, #1 AC, #3 Dance). This third single would continue their Top 10 streak at R&B getting to #7 and it would become their first and only song to top the Dance chart. However, it couldn't quite break through on the Pop chart with the single petering out before making the Top 40. By this time, the album had already been certified a gold seller - their third consecutive one.

ReduxReview:  Unlike their previous two singles that were from outside writers, this one was written by El and Chico DeBarge. It's a well-done tune with a hooky chorus, but it's just not quite as memorable as their other singles. The songs on their first three albums were mainly all written by group members and Rhythm only featured three of their compositions, so my guess is that this one was pushed out as a single to get El and Chico some further royalties instead of another single by an outside writer. It paid off a bit via R&B and Dance, but it just wasn't strong enough to conquer the Pop chart.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  While the album's two previous singles were credited to DeBarge, this single got credited to "El DeBarge with DeBarge." Due to unfortunate situations within the family, El was the stable member that oversaw the completion of the album. He was also beginning to break out on his own and this was most likely the record company's way to show support for him and to start setting him apart from the group as a potential solo star. Around this time, El was also doing promotional bits on his own including an appearance on the hit TV series The Facts of Life. The episode he appeared on was about the girls getting entered into a singing/songwriting contest where the prize was to be the backup vocalists for El during one of his shows. The girls end up singing this song with El in a recording studio. Also appearing in the episode was singer/songwriter Siedah Garrett who plays "Rhonda," a girl from another group competing for the prize.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Friday, June 22, 2018

"So in Love" by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

Song#:  2442
Date:  08/31/1985
Debut:  86
Peak:  26
Weeks:  17
Genre:  Synthpop



Pop Bits:  Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys were schoolmates that either formed or were a part of several bands throughout the late 70s. Their music would often be experimental and electronic with their biggest influence being German electro pioneers Kraftwerk. By 1978, the pair had officially become Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark and began to do performances with a little 4-track tape deck providing their backup music. Buzz about the band grew and by 1980 they were signed to the Virgin off-shoot label Dindisc. Their self-titled debut featured the UK hit "Messages" (#13 UK, #67 US Dance). Five Top 10's would follow over the course of four albums. Yet despite their success in the UK, they had yet to break through in the US. By the time their sixth album, Crush arrived, the band had expanded to six members and their sound had become more commercial and less experimental. This helped to attract an audience Stateside and this lead-off single from the album became their first Pop chart entry. It broke into the Top 30 while getting to #16 at Dance. The hit helped the album sell well and reach #38.

ReduxReview:  Prior to this, OMD had shaded some of their tunes with a bit of pop, but it really wasn't enough for the US market. It wasn't until they hooked up with producer Stephen Hague for Crush that they truly refined their sound and made something that was ready for US radio. Hague gave their synthpop a denser feel and this opening track was nothing like they had recorded before. It was beautifully produced and it had a solid, hooky chorus that could reel in listeners. The tinny blips and bleeps of their early experimental tracks were gone and replaced with a more mature pop sound that served the band well.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  OMD's first Top 10 in the UK was the track "Enola Gay," which was from their second album Organisation. Although it didn't make the US Pop chart, it did get to #34 on the Dance chart. Both McCluskey and Humphreys were fascinated with World War II planes and when lyrics were needed for a song they were working on, McCluskey settled on doing a song about one of the most famous planes in history. The WWII B-29 bomber named Enola Gay was the one that dropped the first atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima in Japan on August 6, 1945. The bomb killed over 100,000 people and helped to bring an end to the war with Japan. The plane was named after its pilot Paul Tibbet's mother. OMD's lyrics include references to this and to the bombing. In general, it is seen as an anti-war song even though songwriter McCluskey didn't necessarily mean for it to be.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Thursday, June 21, 2018

"Stand By Me" by Maurice White

Song#:  2441
Date:  08/31/1985
Debut:  88
Peak:  50
Weeks:  13
Genre:  R&B



Pop Bits:  White became a superstar performer, writer, and producer via the band he founded in 1970, Earth, Wind & Fire. By this point in 1985, that band had scored seventeen R&B Top 10's including seven #1's and seven Pop Top 10's (with one #1). Along the way he branched out to write and produce songs for many other artists including The Emotions, Deniece Williams, Jennifer Holiday, ABC, Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, and Atlantic Starr. When Earth, Wind & Fire went on a break in 1984, White took the opportunity to do his own solo album. His self-titled debut would be preceded by this first single, which made it into the R&B Top 10 at #6. It was also a good hit at AC getting to #11. However, the track couldn't quite breakthrough to a wider Pop audience and the song stalled at the halfway point of the chart.

ReduxReview:  This moldy oldie certainly got a shimmering day-glo 80s update by White. Even though it's a classic song with a great message, I never really cared for it. In fact, there is only one version of the tune that I kinda like and that one is by singer Turley Richards. However, I don't mind White's take on the song. He actually does something different with it instead of doing a direct cover. After a billowy opening, the tune opens up into a dance track with all the 80s synth/drum machine bells and whistles. Although it probably pissed off some purists, White even added a bridge with new lyrics followed by an instrumental section. Overall, it's not too bad. Chalk me up as surprised. The only question I have is - why? White is a solid songwriter and works with other brilliant writers, so why did he choose to issue out a cover tune as his first solo single? Seems odd but it ended up doing rather well.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  This is a remake of a song co-written and originally recorded by R&B star Ben E. King. King's 1961 version reached #1 at R&B and #4 Pop. It would return to the charts in 1986 after the movie Stand By Me became a hit. On its second go 'round the song would get to #9 Pop and #10 AC. The enduring classic would end up being recorded by hundreds of artists. Over the years, eight artists, including White, would reach the Pop chart with their versions. The highest peaking cover version came from R&B singer Spyder Turner. Turner was known for being able to imitate the voices of popular R&B stars and when he recorded "Stand By Me," he mimicked the voices of other artists like Smokey Robinson, James Brown, Jackie Wilson, and even King himself. Turner's 1966 novelty-ish single would catch on and reach #12 at Pop and #3 R&B. Turner wasn't able to capitalize on the hit and have others, but he did co-write "Do Your Dance," which became a #4 R&B (#39 Pop) hit for Rose Royce in 1977.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

"Test of Time" by The Romantics

Song#:  2440
Date:  08/31/1985
Debut:  90
Peak:  71
Weeks:  6
Genre:  Rock



Pop Bits:  This Detroit band hit it big with the #3 hit "Talking in Your Sleep," the lead single from their fourth album In Heat. That gold album set them up well for their next effort titled Rhythm Romance. This first single was issued out but it barely got any attention. It spent a few weeks near the bottom of the Pop chart while only getting to #44 at Rock. A follow-up single, "Mystified," failed to reach either chart, but did briefly make the Dance chart at #42. In turn, the album did not sell well and it stalled early at #77. Unfortunately, the news was going to get worse for the band (see below) and as a result, this song would be their last to reach the Pop chart.

ReduxReview:  The Romantics had a knack for creating solid, catchy power pop tunes and when they really hit the mark as with "Talking" or "What I Like About You," they were awesome. However, something happened when they wrote and recorded Rhythm Romance. The songs lacked punch, the production lacked crunch, and the band nearly sounded out to lunch. This Motown-ish first single sounds lethargic. I think there might be a decent song here, but the band just doesn't sound all that into it and the production is fairly wimpy. This wasn't the album they needed after In Heat. A change in producers and some outside songwriters might have been helpful at this point to keep their career hot. Unfortunately, the band quickly cooled off with this tepid outing.

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  Not long after the band finished up a tour in support of Rhythm Romance, they discovered that their management had been profiting for years off of their works without their knowledge. Apparently, when the young band (with zero music biz experience) signed the agreement with their managers, it allowed the band members to get the royalties from any songwriting, but the money from mechanical royalties and publishing/administrative rights went to the managers. This was a huge mistake and the band basically lost control over their own catalog and didn't even realize it. You'd think a lawyer would have caught this for them, but alas, they used the same lawyer that worked for the managers, so that didn't help. When it all finally came to the surface, the band sued their now-former management. Yet doing this came with a cost. Due to aspects of the legal battle, the band was prevented from recording and releasing any new music until the suit was settled. Unfortunately, the suit lasted nearly seven years and that basically ruined their career. The band would be successful in the end gaining back their catalog and rights, but any royalties prior to the suit were long gone thanks to the managers squandering the funds, so it is doubtful they will see a penny of back settlement royalty pay.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

"Weird Science" by Oingo Boingo

Song#:  2439
Date:  08/31/1985
Debut:  93
Peak:  45
Weeks:  12
Genre:  New Wave, Soundtrack



Pop Bits:  The roots of this band came via a 1970s performance art group called The Mystic Knights of Oingo Boingo, which was headed up by Richard Elfman. The troupe featured a large cast of musicians playing numerous instruments who performed a cabaret-style show with music from the first half of the 20th century. Around 1976, Richard decided to leave the group and his brother Danny took over. As time wore on, the band was reduced down to an octet and their focus changed from the theatrical to something more rock oriented with an emphasis on ska music. By 1979 they had officially become Oingo Boingo and had recorded a demo EP that got the attention of I.R.S. Records, who issued out an updated version of the EP. The band then moved over to I.R.S.'s parent label A&M and in 1981 issued their first full-length LP Only a Lad. Over the course of three low-charting albums, the band solidified their reputation as a live act and gained fans. They decided to make a move over to MCA, but due to contract issues with A&M, the band's first album for MCA, So-Lo, was credited solely to Danny Elfman. After the label shenanigans got settled, the band were ready to record their next album. But first, the band would be tagged to contribute a song for an upcoming John Hughes teen comedy Weird Science. Elfman would write the tune and the band got it recorded for the film and its associated soundtrack. It would be issued out as a single following the film's release. The song nearly made the Top 40 while getting to #21 at Dance. It would also be included on their next album Dead Man's Party.

ReduxReview:  This was the exact right theme song for the film. Even when just writing a pop-oriented track, Elfman was on the money when it came to composing for movies. The crazy, nerdy spirit of the film was perfectly reflected in Elfman's creation. Even the aural assault from the dense maniacal production was just right. The film and song go hand-in-hand and it is hard to not think of them both when someone talks about either one. It should have done better on the chart, especially since the film did well at the box office.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Weird Science was John Hughes' directorial follow-up to his hit film The Breakfast Club. It starred Anthony Michael Hall and Ilan Mitchell-Smith as nerdy teens who end up creating a dream woman a la Frankenstein via a computer. Hi-jinks ensue. The film received mixed reviews, but was a box office hit. Like Hughes' previous films, music played a big role and the soundtrack was filled with songs from edgy, up-n-coming acts like Wall of Voodoo, Los Lobos, General Public, Killing Joke, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, and Oingo Boingo. In 1994, the cult film was turned into a TV series which ran for five seasons.  2) By now most folks know that the band's leader Danny Elfman went on to become a very successful film score composer. His first major score was for Tim Burton's 1985 movie Pee-Wee's Big Adventure. Since then, Burton and Elfman have collaborated on fifteen more films. Elfman has written music for many other films and TV shows with one of his best known works being the theme to The Simpsons. His work has earned him four Oscar nominations and he has won two Emmys and one Grammy.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Monday, June 18, 2018

"Lonely Ol' Night" by John Cougar Mellencamp

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  2438
Date:  08/24/1985
Debut:  40
Peak:  6
Weeks:  20
Genre:  Rock



Pop Bits:  After scoring his second multi-platinum album with Uh-Huh, Mellencamp set out to record an album of songs that had more lyrical depth and that incorporated certain aspects of 60s rock music. He emerged from the studio with his eighth album, Scarecrow. To get things started, this track was issued out as the first single. It immediately shot up to #1 at Rock and stayed there for five weeks. It also was a hit at Pop and it became Mellencamp's fifth Top 10. The album would just miss out on the top spot peaking at #2. Eventually it would sell over five million copies tying the amount that his breakthrough 1982 hit album American Fool sold.

ReduxReview:  Although I loved "Jack & Diane," I wasn't a real fan of Mellecamp's music and the tracks from Uh-Huh didn't change my mind. So when it was announced Scarecrow was coming out, I didn't really care. That was until I heard this first single. I can't pinpoint why, but I immediately connected with this tune. Then when I saw the stark album cover with Mellencamp hanging out by an old farm fence looking down and contemplating, I knew I had to have it. The LP was the first time I actually "got" Mellencamp's music. From that point on, I was a diehard fan and he has remained near the top of the list of my favorite artists. That is all thanks to this hit that I quickly got to know via the radio while driving around Boston delivering singing telegrams (yeah, you read that right...).

ReduxRating:  9/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Mellencamp was adamant about getting a certain 60s rock sound for the songs on the album and he thought the only way that he and his band could accomplish that was to actually learn and play songs from that era. So Mellencamp gathered up about a hundred 45s from the time period and got his band to learn and replicate the songs as close to the originals as they could. The band did this for about a month prior to recording the album. The experimental lesson paid off when the band was quickly able to adopt the sounds and techniques they learned into Mellencamp's songs.  2) The song's title and another small line in the lyrics were inspired by the 1963 movie Hud, which starred Paul Newman. Mellencamp was a big fan of the film and a certain piece of dialog from the script stuck with him. In the movie, Hud (Paul Newman) and his nephew Lonnie (Brandon deWilde) are heading into town one evening when Lonnie says: "It's a lonesome ol' night, isn't it?" Hud then replied, "Ain't they all." Those lines got reflected in Mellencamp's song. Hud would go on to win three Academy Awards including Best Actress for Patricia Neal. Neal is actually on screen for only around 20 minutes of the film's 112 minute running time, yet her powerful and memorable performance was enough to get her pushed to the lead actress category instead of supporting. She still holds the record for the shortest screen time by an Oscar winner in a lead category.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Sunday, June 17, 2018

"Fortress Around Your Heart" by Sting

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  2437
Date:  00/00/1985
Debut:  51
Peak:  8
Weeks:  20
Genre:  Rock



Pop Bits:  Sting's solo debut album The Dream of the Blue Turtles got off to a solid start when its first single "If You Love Somebody Set Them Free" got to #3 at Pop and #1 at Rock. That set him up well for this next single which became his second #1 at Rock while making the Pop Top 10. The song also made a brief appearance at AC reaching #32. The album just missed out on the top spot peaking at #2. This would also happen to two other of Sting's albums and as of this posting date he still has yet to score his first #1 solo album. He did make it to the top spot with his former band The Police via their #1 classic album Synchronicity.

ReduxReview:  I'm fairly certain that this is at the top of my list of favorite Sting solo songs. The chorus is so strong and I love the imagery of the lyrics. It sounds like something The Police might have done, but with an added pop/jazz element via someone like Joni Mitchell. Branford Marsalis' sax just adds another excellent layer to the track, which has a regal, majestic, old-world sound to it. While Sting would have better albums and other terrific songs, this track has always stuck with me.

ReduxRating:  9/10

Trivia:  Although The Dream of the Blue Turtles officially launched Sting's solo career, it wasn't the first time he recorded as a solo artist. In 1982, Sting appeared in the film adaptation of Brimstone and Treacle, a 1976 BBC television play that didn't actually air until 1987. Sting would also contribute songs to the film including his remake of "Spread a Little Happiness," which was originally written for the 1929 music Mr. Cinders, a gender-switching update of the fairy tale Cinderella. The track was issued as a single and it got to #16 in the UK. It failed to chart in the US.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Saturday, June 16, 2018

"Lovin' Every Minute of It" by Loverboy

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  2436
Date:  08/24/1985
Debut:  59
Peak:  9
Weeks:  21
Genre:  Rock



Pop Bits:  The Canadian band nearly grabbed their first US Top 10 Pop hit with "Hot Girls in Love," the lead single from their third album Keep It Up. The track stalled just shy at #11. However, this title-track first single from their fourth album finally got them in the Top 10 when it reached #9. The song would be their fourth one to reach the Rock Top 10 getting to #3. The hit would help drive the album to #13 and over time it would be a double-platinum seller - their fourth in a row to at least reach that level.

ReduxReview:  This was a good song choice for the band and it paid off for them. I actually would have preferred if this had a heavier rock production, but that might not have worked in their favor. First, the song definitely had a Def Leppard feel to it so beefing up the production may have made it sound way too much like Leppard, therefore it was probably good Lange did not produce it (see below). Second, a rock heavy record may not have done as well as this more pop radio friendly take. Overall, it was a solid moment for the band and it finally got them in the Top 10.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  On their previous three LP's, all the tracks were co-written by various members of the band. For their fourth album, they reached out and got a couple of songs that were written by other people. This hit was one of them. It was written by Robert John "Mutt" Lange, who had been having major success producing acts like Def Leppard, AC/DC, and The Cars. Lange would typically produce songs that he wrote, but around this time period his schedule was packed so a few of his songs got picked up by artists and recorded without Lange's participation, as was the case with this song. It was produced by Tom Allom, who stepped into the chair after Loverboy's previous producer, Brian Fairbairn, couldn't do it due to schedule conflicts.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Friday, June 15, 2018

"Four in the Morning (I Can't Take It Anymore)" by Night Ranger

Song#:  2435
Date:  08/24/1985
Debut:  66
Peak:  19
Weeks:  13
Genre:  Rock



Pop Bits:  Night Ranger got their second Top 10 Pop hit with the big ballad "Sentimental Street," the first single from their album 7 Wishes. For a follow-up, this more upbeat track was selected for release. It would do well at Rock getting to #13 while becoming the band's fourth Top 20 Pop entry. The hit would help the album continue to sell and by November it would be certified platinum.

ReduxReview:  While not an excessively strong song, this one was a pretty good choice to follow up "Street." Originally seen as just "Four in the Morning" on the album, the subtitle was added for single release most likely because that chorus line was more recognizable than the actual title. It was a tactic used to help DJs, radio listeners, and record buyers remember and request the song and it seemed to work. The song leans a little towards the pop/rock style of 38 Special, but maybe not quite as catchy. I originally thought it was lower Top 40 material so it surprised me when it got to #19.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia: This song was written and sung by band member Jack Blades. Inspiration for the title came when Blades suddenly woke up at four in the morning with a song idea in his head. The chorus, which starts "I can't take anymore," immediately came to him and he though it was pretty good. However, he didn't want to title the song after that first line of the chorus and started to think about a better title. That's when his inspirational wake up time of four in the morning came to mind and he used that as the title and the opening line of the song. This isn't the first song that was titled after the time of its inspiration and/or writing and its not the most famous one either. That would most likely be Chicago's 1970 #4 hit "25 or 6 to 4." Robert Lamm's ode to writing a song in the middle of the night got its chorus-ending title when he checked his watch at one point during the writing of the song and it was around 25 or 26 minutes to 4 in the morning.  Hmmm...four a.m. seems to be a good time to write a hit song for some folks!

_________________________________________________________________________________

Thursday, June 14, 2018

"Be Near Me" by ABC

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  2434
Date:  08/24/1985
Debut:  76
Peak:  9
Weeks:  22
Genre:  Synthpop



Pop Bits:  This UK band's second album, the more rock-oriented Beauty Stab, didn't set the charts a-fire and performed far less well than their debut LP The Look of Love. By the time Beauty Stab had run its course, the band was down to just two core members - Martin Fry and Mark White. They decided to continue on and hired two new members including the band's first and only female member, Eden (aka Fiona Russell Powell). Although the newbies were credited as members, Fry and White still did the bulk of the work including all the songwriting. The quartet went into the studio and recorded the new album How to Be a...Zillionaire! In the US, this track would be issued out as the first single from the album. The song caught on and soon it would become ABC's first Top 10 hit in the States. It would also be their second #1 at Dance while getting to #11 AC. The hit pushed the album to #30, but it ran shy of becoming a gold-level seller.

ReduxReview:  While leaning a bit more towards synthpop, this song and even the album got ABC back to they style of music they debuted on The Look of Love. I found this song irresistible with its warm chord structure and silky production. I bought the single and then the album when it came out later. The album in particular is underrated in their catalog as far as I'm concerned. It has some lovely tracks like this one along with a few hooky synthpop stompers. It was definitely a bright light after getting through the darkness of Beauty Stab. "Lovely" is not necessarily a word you'd use to describe a synthpop song, but in this case I think it fits very well.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  For this album, Martin and White came up with a concept that gave the band a new look. Both for the album package and for the video to the first single in the UK "(How to Be A) Milllionaire," the band members were turned into cartoon characters similar to the ones found on 70s Saturday morning TV shows.  Apparently, the look was some sort of commentary on the artificiality of the 80s. Gone was the sophisticated gold-suited look ABC donned during their Look of Love days and that seemed to disappoint a chunk of their UK fans. The "Millionaire" single stopped at a tepid #49 while "Be Near Me" stalled at #26. In turn, the album didn't sell all that well. However, they would be back in good graces when they would return to their original look for 1987's Alphabet City. That album would be a Top 10 gold seller in the UK.

_________________________________________________________________________________