Wednesday, November 14, 2018

"Stages" by ZZ Top

Song#:  2588
Date:  01/18/1986
Debut:  62
Peak:  21
Weeks:  12
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  The Texas band got their second Pop Top 10 hit with "Sleeping Bag," the lead single from their ninth studio album Afterburner. They kept things rolling with this next single that nearly made the Pop Top 20. It would do much better at Rock where like "Sleeping Bag" it hit #1. The album would end up being the highest peaking of their career getting to #4, but in the long run their 1983 album Eliminator, which peaked at #9, would sell twice as much moving over 10 million copies vs. 5 million for Afterburner.

ReduxReview:  I think with the massive success of Eliminator, the band was probably pressured to push out a similar album with even more of a commercial punch. They accomplished it with Afterburner, which had a good run of singles, but it certainly wasn't the ZZ Top of the blues-rock La Grange era. This song demonstrates that more than anything they had done. The tune was the most pop-oriented the band had ever recorded. It was as slick and polished as hits by Eddie Money or 38 Special with nary a hint of their brand of blues. Critics weren't all that hep to it, but I actually liked it. I thought the band did a good job of trying to incorporate their sound into something more mainstream. Yeah, they lose a bit of their identity, but I liked the effort and thought it was better than the goofy "Sleeping Bag."

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Another track on the Afterburner album, "Can't Stop Rockin'," was not released as a single, but it picked up enough radio airplay to send the song to #8 on the Rock chart. The song would later be picked up for use in the 1993 superhero/comedy flick Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III. The live action move would use a mix of animatronics and suited actors. Because of this, actors were hired to supply the voices. Former 80s teen star Corey Feldman did the voice of Donatello, which was a reprisal of what he did on the first Ninja film. The part of Michelangelo was voiced by Robbie Rist, who had done the part in the previous two films. Some folks familiar with the 70s sitcom The Brady Bunch may remember Rist. He portrayed cousin Oliver in the last season of the show. After the show ended, Rist continued to act in TV shows and a few films. He also became a musician and has performed with many bands. His bread 'n' butter these days seems to be voice over work. In addition to the Ninja trilogy, Rist has supplied voices for numerous animated TV shows, films, and video games.


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