Saturday, January 20, 2018

"Say You're Wrong" by Julian Lennon

Song#:  2291
Date:  04/20/1985
Debut:  54
Peak:  21
Weeks:  12
Genre:  Pop

Pop Bits:  Lennon's debut album was a major success going platinum and spawning two Top 10 hits. He tried to keep the momentum going for the LP with this third single. While the song did well at Rock (#3) and AC (#6), it wasn't quite as successful at Pop and it faltered just short of the Top 20. Despite not being a major Pop hit like his previous two singles, it did well enough to keep sales of the album going.

ReduxReview:  This anxious tune has a lovely verse but there is no chorus to speak of. It's basically the verse, a section with punchy horns, and a guitar solo. It's a good track, but it lacks a memorable hook, which makes it a bit less Pop friendly. Besides the first two hit singles, there wasn't much on the album that was truly good enough for single contention. This one was the best bet and it did get some good airplay at Rock and AC. However, the label could have called it two-and-done and tasked Lennon to get a follow-up album done pronto.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  In the mid-80's, Dave Clark (leader/drummer of the hit 60's UK band the Dave Clark Five) wrote a sci-fi musical with Dave Soames and Jeff Daniels. It was titled Dave Clark's "Time" and when the book, lyrics, and music were completed, Clark called on some artist friends to help record a concept album of the musical. On board with the project were major artists like Cliff Richard, Freddie Mercury, Ashford & Simpson, Leo Sayer, and Julian Lennon. Lennon recorded three songs for the musical including "Because," which was selected to be released as a single. It did a little business in the UK getting to #40. At the time, three other singles were issued with Cliff Richard's "She's So Beautiful" doing the best at #17. However, years later after Freddie Mercury's death in 1991, one of his contributions to the album, "In My Defence," would get a posthumous release and reach #8 on the UK chart. The actual stage musical of Time would debut at London's West End in April of '86. Apparently, the stage sets were extremely elaborate and the theater it played in was nearly gutted and rebuilt to house the sets. Cliff Richard ended up starring in the musical, which ran for two years (David Cassidy would replace Richard later in the run). The musical was panned by critics, but it did fine at the box office. The album was successful selling around two million copies. The musical never made it to Broadway and its concept album never caught on in the US.


Friday, January 19, 2018

"Show Some Respect" by Tina Turner

Song#:  2290
Date:  04/20/1985
Debut:  65
Peak:  37
Weeks:  10
Genre:  Rock, R&B

Pop Bits:  Turner's comeback album Private Dancer had already spawned four hits including three consecutive Top 10's With her star still glowing bright following the #7 peak of the LP's title track, it was decided that a fifth single would be issued. This track, co-written by Terry Britten (who also co-wrote Turner's #1 "What's Love Got to Do with It") was selected for release. It didn't make much of an impact peaking just inside the Pop Top 40 and getting to #50 at R&B. The results hardly mattered as the album was already a multi-platinum, Grammy-winning success.

ReduxReview:  This is definitely a solid stomper that was a good fit for Turner and the album. It's a hooky tune that was accompanied by a concert-style MTV video, but for some reason it just didn't click on radio. The album had been out for nearly a year so perhaps it had run its course and folks were already well-acquainted with the song. I had always though the next single should have been the album opener "I Might Have Been Queen," which would have sounded great on the radio. Regardless, this was another winner from a classic 80s album.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  In Europe, Turner's follow-up to her career-reviving single "Let's Stay Together" was a remake of "Help!," the #1 Beatles hit from 1965. Turner recorded the song with the jazz-funk band The Crusaders. The original upbeat track was rearranged and turned it into an R&B-leaning ballad. It charted in several countries including the Netherlands (#14) and the UK (#40). With the song have a bit of success, it would be included on Turner's upcoming Private Dancer album - but only in Europe. For other markets, like the US, the song wasn't issued as a single and was kept off the album. It would later be included on CD reissues of the LP.


Thursday, January 18, 2018

"The Search Is Over" by Survivor

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  2289
Date:  04/20/1985
Debut:  70
Peak:  4
Weeks:  21
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  It took three years, but Survivor finally grabbed their second Top 10 hit with "High on You" (#8) the second single from their album Vital Signs. It was a significant win for the band and their luck continued through to this next single, which bested the previous one by getting to #4.  The ballad was also highly successful at AC spending four weeks at #1. It would be their first and only chart topper at AC. The two hits helped the album reach #16 and become their second platinum seller.

ReduxReview:  The sap practically oozes through the speakers on this one, but dang if it ain't tasty. This song was written for mass consumption and it certainly did its job for the band. Music snobs still make fun of this song and consider it commercial dreck. Even back in the day some folks would roll their eyes when this started playing, yet by the end they were singing it into beer bottles and swaying back-n-forth. When it comes down to it, the ballad is just a well-written tune that was strong enough to attract a large audience. I was certainly a fan and still am. If there is some good rock 'n' roll cheese that you like, there is no harm in gnawing on a couple of slices.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  This song was later covered by country star Collin Raye. Raye had a streak of hits throughout the 90s. Along the way he amassed twenty-one Top 10 Country hits including four #1's. These singles along with five platinum albums made him one of the biggest country stars of the 90s. His final Top 10 came in 2000. While his chart career cooled after that, he continued to record and for his 2005 album Twenty Years and Change, Raye covered this Survivor hit. It was not issued as a single.


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

"Only Lonely" by Bon Jovi

Song#:  2288
Date:  04/20/1985
Debut:   88
Peak:  54
Weeks:  8
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  The New Jersey band's self-titled debut sold well thanks in part to the #5 Rock track (#39 Pop) "Runaway." After that solid introduction, the band set out to record their second album. They retained producer Lance Quinn, who had work on some tracks from the debut album, and came up with 7800° Fahrenheit. This first single introduced the new LP and it got a lukewarm reception at Rock (#28). It didn't do much better at Pop getting locked out of the top half of the chart. Yet despite the lack of a real hit, the album sold and by the end of the year the band was awarded their first gold album. Later on after the band hit it big, both this album and their debut would be platinum sellers.

ReduxReview:  Apparently, Bon Jovi later distanced themselves from this album. They were rushed to get it out and that prevented them from taking some time to focus and find their sound. Instead, they just relied on the producer to run the show and get the album out. They knew the results were not what they wanted, but it just had to happen. Despite the band's lack of enthusiasm for the LP, fans liked it well enough to make it go gold. This song is a typical entry from the album. A good, hooky track with a lean towards mainstream commercial rock. It's not bad, but it doesn't have much personality to it. Any solid rock band could have put this tune out. So I can understand how Bon Jovi felt after this album was pushed out. They would certainly find their voice for their next album and it would pay off in a big way.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  The album's title is a specific temperature, so why did they choose it? Supposedly, rock (not sure exactly what type) has a melting point of 7800° Fahrenheit. And while most of the world uses Celsius for temperature measurement, Fahrenheit is mainly used in the US. Therefore, those two things combined made a reference to "hot American rock". It seemed appropriate for the up-n-comin' band. However, rock melts at a far lower temp, so why they picked 7800° is not known. It's also been said that the title is a tip o' the hat to the classic Ray Bradbury novel Fahrenheit 451. That title temp was the point where book paper catches fire and burns.


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

"High School Nights" by Dave Edmunds

Song#:  2287
Date:  04/20/1985
Debut:  91
Peak:  91
Weeks:  2
Genre:  Rock, Soundtrack

Pop Bits:  It had been nearly two years since Edmunds was on the Pop chart. His 1983 album Information, produced by ELO's Jeff Lynne, yielded the #39 entry "Slipping Away." The pair collaborated again for Edmunds' next LP Riff Raff, but the only song to make any impact was "Something About You," which made it to #16 at Rock. It didn't do much for his relationship with Columbia Records, but before he left the label, he worked on one more project. He would produce a soundtrack album for the upcoming sequel film Porky's Revenge. In addition to recording four tracks himself for the movie, Edumnds culled tracks by artists like Jeff Beck, George Harrison, Clarence Clemons, Carl Perkins, and The Fabulous Thunderbirds. To kick things off this first single was released to promote the album and film. Unfortunately, it missed the Rock chart while only spending two weeks at Pop, becoming his last to reach that chart. While the film was a bust, the soundtrack received solid critical notices, but it wasn't enough to make it a solid seller and it disappeared quickly. Edmunds wouldn't record another album until 1990.

ReduxReview:  The more I listen to Edmunds, the more I like his music. I thoroughly enjoyed "Slipping Away" along with his side band Rockpile. This tune follows right in the footsteps of those projects and I dig it. Based on the sound of this one, it seemed Edmunds learned a few tricks from Jeff Lynne, as there are some of Lynne's production sounds heard on the track. It's too bad this song didn't do better. Sadly, Porky's Revenge was tagged to a real crap pile of a movie so that certainly didn't help the LP. Regardless, this song and the associated soundtrack headed up Edmunds is worth seeking out.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  In 1981, a small teen sex comedy called Porky's was released. While critics were not all that thrilled with the movie, audiences love it and it ended up being the fifth best grossing film of the year. A soundtrack made up of oldies that were heard in the film was issued, but it didn't sell all that well. Two years later, the sequel Porky's II: The Next Day, got released, but it didn't do as well as the original and there was no soundtrack issued. Both films were written and directed by Bob Clark and after the second one, he hung up his Porky's hat. However, some other folks thought there was life left in the franchise and Porky's Revenge was created. In the time following the original Porky's, movie song soundtracks had exploded into a big business. Therefore, it was only natural that the new sequel should have a promotable soundtrack. With the film being set in the late 50s, songs that reflected the new rock scene were needed and with Edmund's sound soaked in that era, choosing him to head the soundtrack was a no-brainer. Unfortunately, with the film bombing, the critically successful soundtrack barely made a dent in the chart. The Porky's saga would get a momentary reboot in 2009 when a sort-of remake of the original film was made. Titled Porky's Pimpin' Pee Wee, the movie was barely a blip when it was released as an on-demand video. For many years, radio personality Howard Stern has expressed interest in making his own version of Porky's.


Monday, January 15, 2018

"I'm Through with Love" by Eric Carmen

Song#:  2286
Date:  04/20/1985
Debut:  93
Peak:  87
Weeks:  3
Genre:  Pop, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  Carmen got his first Top 40 entry in seven years with "I Wanna Hear It from Your Lips," made it to #35. It did better at AC where it reached #10. For a follow-up, this ballad was chosen. It did fairly well at AC getting to #16, but this time around at Pop it was pretty much a non-starter spending three short weeks near the bottom of the chart. However, with "Lips" doing well enough to get his career rejuvenated, Carmen would turn the opportunity into something even bigger and grab a pair of major hits later in '87 and '88.

ReduxReview:  This isn't too bad of an AC ballad, but it's almost something that I'd expect from someone like Dionne Warwick in the late 70s or early 80s. At this point in '85, big adult ballads like this were disappearing from the Pop chart. A few would break through, but they were far stronger than this one. This is a lovely tune that is well-done by Carmen, yet it just wasn't the right time for it to become a real chart contender.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Also included on Carmen's self-titled album was the song "Living Without Your Love." That tune was written by Doug James and and up-n-comin' singer/songwriter named Michael Bolton. Bolton. By this time, Bolton had grabbed a couple of very minor chart entries with his band Blackjack and on his own. However, he was getting more notice as a songwriter and artists like Carmen, Laura Branigan, and others were picking up his songs. In addition to Carmen recording "Living Without Your Love," singer Joe Cocker also decided to cover the tune for his 1986 album Cocker. Neither artist chose to issue the ballad as a single.


Sunday, January 14, 2018

"Voices Carry" by 'til tuesday

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  2285
Date:  04/13/1985
Debut:  81
Peak:  8
Weeks:  21
Genre:  Alternative Rock

Pop Bits:  This Boston band headed by singer/songwriter Aimee Mann first got noticed when they won a local Battle of the Bands Contest. That win along with their demo got the attention of Epic Records who signed them to a deal. A debut album titled Voices Carry was recorded and the title track was issued as the LP's first single. The dark tune featuring Mann's distinctive vocals was a slow-starter, but the song got major traction when the associated video became a hit on MTV. Soon after, the song reached #14 at Rock and crossed over into the Pop Top 10. It would be the band's only single to crack the Top 10. The album sold quite well and made it to #19 on the chart. The popular video garnered the band an MTV Music Video Award for Best New Artist.

ReduxReview:  I was in college in Boston right at the time 'til tuesday was beginning to break through. I went to Berklee College of Music and Aimee Mann was an alum (she dropped out just prior to me going to school there), so the college was all abuzz about her and the band, especially after their Battle win. When the album came out and this track started to shape up as a hit, it boosted the college's image and made it cooler and more rock friendly. At the time Berklee was mainly a jazz-oriented school, but they were trying to break out of that mold and attract a more genre-diverse group of students. A little pop-hit cred certainly didn't hurt! I liked this song immediately when it came out. That chugging background rhythm had a grungy feel to it and there wasn't anything like it on the radio. What I think really sold the song was the video. The main part of the video was good, but what sold it was the last part where Mann stands up in the theater, starts shouting the lyrics, and then takes off her hat to expose her shock of blonde hair and accompanying rat tail. It was a brilliant moment that sold the song perfectly. Now, VH1 lists this song as a one-hit wonder from the band, but I don't see it that way. They had another Top 30 entry along with three other charting songs. It was their lone big hit, but I can't really see it as a one-hit wonder. (BTW - I'm a huge fan of Mann and her solo career. She's put out some brilliant work, especially her 1993 debut album Whatever, which is one of my all-time favorite albums.)

ReduxRating:  9/10

Trivia:  According to Mann, who wrote the lyrics, the song was originally about a woman talking about another woman. However, at the time the record company was not thrilled about the lesbian-leaning lyrics and had Mann change the "she's" to "he's." Apparently one artist who wasn't afraid (and had the clout) to record the lyrics as written was Cyndi Lauper. She expressed interest in recording the song with the original lyrics. However, she stipulated that if she recorded the song, then 'til tuesday could not. The band, sensing a potential hit, declined Lauper's request and kept the song for themselves and they ended up with a hit.