Friday, January 18, 2019

"Right Between the Eyes" by Wax

Spotlight Alert!

Song#:  2652
Date:  03/15/1986
Debut:  97
Peak:  43
Weeks:  13
Genre:  Pop, Rock


Pop Bits:  When the British group 10cc was working on their 1981 album Ten Out of 10, their American label (Warner Bros.) thought there needed to be a couple of tracks that would be more in tune with US listeners (aka hits for US radio). The label though that if they co-wrote some tunes with an American songwriter it might help and they offered up the services of Andrew Gold. 10cc ended up liking the idea and brought in Gold. He co-wrote two songs with the band for the album and both were issued out as singles. Sadly, neither track charted and the album quickly disappeared. However, the relationship between 10cc and Gold was solid and Gold was even asked to join the band. He ended up declining due to other commitments. It was probably a good decision because 10cc split up in 1983. Yet 10cc's Graham Gouldman remained close with Gold and the pair spent time together working on music. It wasn't long before the duo had enough tracks for an album. They issued out a single under the name World in Action, but nothing came of it. They changed their name to Common Knowledge and pushed out another single that also went nowhere. Undeterred, they recorded more tracks, signed on with RCA and issued out a debut album titled Magnetic Heaven. The LP's first two singles failed, yet this third single finally got them noticed. It picked up enough airplay to reach #39 on the Rock chart while nearly making the Pop Top 40. While it wasn't a major hit, it was enough for the label to call for a second album and they released American English in 1987. The LP and its singles tanked in the US, but in the UK the song "Bridge to Your Heart" became a hit reaching #12. A third album did nothing and that was the end of Wax.

ReduxReview:  Although the band and the song title didn't bring anything to mind, once I started to play the tune I got that "oh yeah - I remember this song!" I'm not sure where I would have heard the track, but it was familiar to me right away. I also don't know why I didn't seek out the single. This was right up my alley. Perhaps it wasn't stocked at the local record store, which did happen on occasion. This was a really nice surprise. The song is great and I love the punchy 80s Motown-via-London production. It's a shame this didn't do better. When it comes down to it, it's not all that different from some of the stuff bands like Go West or Mike + the Mechanics were doing, but it was delicious pop that was well done. I think it is worthy of being the first song from 1986 to get a Spotlight mention. I may have to dip into the Wax catalog now.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Most folks are familiar with Andrew Gold thanks to two solo hits he had in the 70s. First was 1977's #7 "Lonely Boy." Then the following year he scored with the song "Thank You for Being a Friend." Although that song would only reach #25 on the Pop chart, it would later be forever known as the theme song to the classic TV show The Golden Girls (1985-1992). Although Gold's solo career would be short-lived, he remained an in-demand session musician and occasionally wrote songs for other artists. One of his songs, "I Saw the Light," was recorded by Wynnona Judd for her debut solo album in 1992. The song would be her second single and it would reach #1 on the Country chart. Gold could also be heard singing the theme song to the hit TV show Mad About You. The song, titled "Final Frontier," was written by Don Was and Paul Reiser and Gold's vocal version was used during the show's first five season.  2) Gold's mother was a famous singer who wasn't really famous during a good chunk of her career. Marni Nixon was a singer/performer who did ghost work supplying the singing voice to famous actresses in many big films. Her most famous dubs were supplying the vocals for Natalie Wood in West Side Story and for Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady. Most of the time Nixon would not receive credit for her work as the studios didn't want audiences to know the actresses didn't sing the songs. The ruse would come out later and despite having an extensive singing and acting career (winning four local Emmys and nominated for two Grammys), her biggest claim to fame would be as the ghost singer for some of Hollywood's biggest leading ladies.


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