Sunday, March 11, 2018

"Just As I Am" by Air Supply

Song#:  2339
Date:  05/25/1985
Debut:  63
Peak:  19
Weeks:  15
Genre:  Pop, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  The early 80s were solid for Air Supply with the band earning four platinum albums (three studio, one hits package) and eight Top 10 hits (seven of them consecutive). By spring of '85, it had been three years since their last studio album and nearly two years since their last hit. Pop music tastes had been changing since the band's heyday and their soft rock sound was certainly on the outs. After some personnel changes, the band returned to recording and issued a self-titled LP that featured this first single. Big ballads had become their bread-n-butter and this song stayed in their comfort zone. AC was always a supporter of the band and continued to do so sending the tune to #3. However, it was a mixed reception at Pop with the song peaking just inside the Top 20. It was a bit of a disappointment since the lead singles from their previous four albums all went Top 10. Still, it was enough to get the album to gold-level sales, which itself was a drop from their usual platinum status. The single would end up being Air Supply's last to get into the Pop Top 40.

ReduxReview:  Although this tune is firmly in Air Supply territory, it does have a more rock-oriented sound than some of their previous hits. That's probably due in part to the song's co-writer, Dick Wagner, and producer Bob Ezrin, both of whom worked with Alice Cooper and other rock artists. That little rock edge sounded good on the band, but for some folks it wasn't enough shake the easy listening stigma the band had gotten saddled with over the past few years (even though many of those folks were closet fans). I liked the song and got the album, which had a few bright spots. I think its Top 20 peak was appropriate. It's a good tune, but runs just shy of making a list of their best tracks.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  The bulk of the songs on the album were written or co-written by Graham Russell, who along with Russell Hitchcock had co-lead the band since they first formed in 1975. However, they did include a couple of cover tunes including one that surprised many folks. The band recorded a version of "Sandy," a song originally written and recorded by Bruce Springsteen. Yes, Air Supply did a Springsteen cover! The tune, which was originally titled "4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)," was included on Springsteen's second album, 1973's The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle. No singles were released from that album, but two years later as his third album Born to Run was getting set to be his breakthrough, this song got significant airplay on Rock radio. It never charted, but it became one of his most popular and recognizable songs from his early days. Air Supply was not the first artist to cover the song on record. The Hollies did a version for their 1975 album Another Night. On the album, the full title of the song was listed. However, when issued as a single, it was simply titled "Sandy." The song was a blip on the Pop chart getting to #85. Air Supply's version would not be issued as a single.


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