Friday, March 1, 2019

"Tuff Enuff" by The Fabulous Thunderbirds

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  2694
Date:  04/19/1986
Debut:  94
Peak:  10
Weeks:  19
Genre:  Blues-Rock, Soundtrack



Pop Bits:  This Texas blues-rock band headed up by Kim Wilson formed in the mid-70s. After a few years of gigging around and gaining a following, the band got signed to Tacoma Records and issued a debut LP in 1979. Tacoma was then bought by Chrysalis, which put the band on a major label. They would release three albums for Chrysalis including 1981's Butt Rockin', which included a pair of near-Top 40 Rock tracks. However, album sales were minimal and Chrysalis finally cut ties with the band. It would be another four years of work before another major label showed interest in them. EMI would take a chance on the band and sign them in 1986. For their first effort for the label, Tuff Enuff, the label would bring in Dave Edmunds as producer to help shape the band's brand of blues-rock into something more mainstream. The LP contained this title-track, which did double duty as the first single from the album along with being used in the Ron Howard film Gung Ho. After a slow start, the song gained momentum and made it to #4 at Rock and #10 Pop. The hit would help the album get to #13 and eventually it would go platinum.

ReduxReview:  Dave Edmunds was certainly a sound choice as producer for the band. For this particular track it seemed that he put a little commercialized ZZ Top spin on it. The song works well because it does a good job straddling the line between the blues and radio-friendly rock. It was able to lure pop listeners too, but the longevity of a blues-based artist on the Pop chart is usually quite limited, so the band had their work cut out for them to try and follow this up.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  In addition to being used in the film Gung Ho, the song was also used in the 1986 film Tough Guys. The caper comedy starred two legendary actors, Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas. The pair had made several films together over the years and this one would end up being their last. The movie ended up getting mixed reviews and didn't do all that great at the box office. It would be one of the last theatrical films Lancaster would make before his death in 1994. The film also featured comedian Dana Carvey in a small role. Just around the time this film was getting released, Carvey was making his debut on Saturday Night Live.

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