Thursday, May 2, 2019

"Hanging on a Heart Attack" by Device

Song#:  2756
Date:  06/14/1986
Debut:  93
Peak:  35
Weeks:  14
Genre:  Pop, Rock

Pop Bits:  Holly Knight had been having some great success as a songwriter penning hits like "Love is a Battlefield" for Pat Benatar and Scandal's "The Warrior." Yet it seemed that she still longed to be known as an artist as well. Her first attempt was with the band Spider, but success was limited with their best effort being 1980's "New Romance (It's a Mystery)" (#39 Pop). After gaining some traction as a songwriter, Knight decided to give stardom another shot. She along with vocalist Paul Engemann and guitarist Greg Black formed the trio Device. They got signed to Chrysalis Records and with Knight's frequent co-writer Mike Chapman producing, the band came up with their debut album 22B3. This first single, written by Knight and Chapman, got issued out and it was able to make it inside the Top 40, barely edging out Spider's single to make it Knight's highest charting single as an artist. The song would help get the album to a minor #73.

ReduxReview:  I remember hearing this song on Casey Kasem's American Top 40 show, which I listened to religiously on the radio back then. It really struck me and I ran out to buy the single. I liked the production, Knight's little spoken part, and the hooky chorus. I thought it was headed to the Top 10, yet it stopped way short. I was kind of surprised. It seemed to be a hit on the west coast, but just couldn't break through in a wider way. Although I'm not as enthusiastic about the tune these days, I still enjoy it and like when it circles through on one of my 80s playlists. It's a shame that Knight was never really to breakthrough as an artist. I think her best material ended up with other artists or, as in the case with a couple of Spider tunes, were remade better by other artists ("Better Be Good to Me" by Tina Turner).

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Knight and bandmate Greg Black co-wrote three song for the album. None would be formally issued out as singles, but another song they co-wrote was on its way to the Top 10 at the same time this song was on the chart. The pair, along with Mike Chapman, co-wrote "Love Touch." The song got picked up for use in the film Legal Eagles and was recorded by Rod Stewart. Another Knight/Black composition had recently been a Top 10 hit as well - Heart's "Never."


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