Friday, May 24, 2019

"If Anybody Had a Heart" by John Waite

Song#:  2778
Date:  06/28/1986
Debut:  88
Peak:  76
Weeks:  6
Genre:  Pop, Rock, Soundtrack

Pop Bits:  Waite's third album Mask of Smiles was a disappointment. With only a slight Top 30 single, "Every Step of the Way," the LP failed to live up to expectations set by his previous gold seller No Brakes. He'd have to come up with something better for his fourth album, but in the meantime he got the chance to contribute a song to a film soundtrack. This tune was used in the Demi Moore/Rob Lowe rom-com About Last Night... and would get issued out as the soundtrack's first single. It picked up some airplay at Rock and made it to #24, but at Pop it just couldn't rise out of the bottom quarter of the chart. While not a setback for Waite since it was a one-off soundtrack song, it didn't do much to advance his career or regain fans.

ReduxReview:  This is an interesting song and is pretty much better than anything on Waite's previous album. It probably helped that Waite didn't write this one. It was written and produced by Danny Kortchmar and J.D. Souther with an assist on production by Don Henley. Indeed, it nearly sounds like a song that might have found a home on a Henley album. I'm guessing that it probably was a song intended for and rejected by Henley that found its way to the soundtrack and Waite. It's a bit more on the poppier side of things than what Waite had been doing, so he had a chance to do well with it, but the tune just didn't catch on. The hook is fine and I like the odd bridge, but the verse seems long and when it finally builds to the chorus, the payoff is not that satisfying. Plus, it totally ripped off a guitar lick from Steve Perry's "Oh Sherrie" in the instrumental section. It was a good effort to get Waite back on the chart, but the tune just couldn't do the job.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Rob Lowe and Demi Moore had co-starred in the critically panned brat pack "classic" St. Elmo's Fire in 1985. About Last Night... would pair them up again the following year. This time around the film was critically well-received and it made just a tad more money than St. Elmo's. However, in the long run St. Elmo's has been remembered more due to it being a cultural reference point thanks to the brat pack stars involved and the film's hit theme, the #1 "St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)" by John Parr. About Last Night... has pretty much slipped into obscurity despite being the better film. It was based on the 1974 David Mamet play Sexual Perversity in Chicago. Later in 2014, the film was remade with comedian Kevin Hart. Michael Ealy and Joy Bryant played the Lowe/Moore characters. Like the first film, it was modestly successful at the box office and it received mostly positive notices.


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