Sunday, June 16, 2019

"If Looks Could Kill" by Heart

Song#:  2801
Date:  07/19/1986
Debut:  81
Peak:  54
Weeks:  9
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Heart's 1985 self-titled comeback album would be their biggest selling studio effort with sales of over five million in the US alone. By this point in time, the LP had generated four consecutive Top 10 hits including the #1 "These Dreams." Thinking that there might still be a little gas left in the tank, the band's record company decided to release this fifth single from the LP. It wasn't the smartest move as the single couldn't crack the top half of the Pop chart. It even missed the Rock chart completely. Still, the four Top 10's were impressive and their multi-platinum hot streak would continue with their next two albums.

ReduxReview:  This was a big, bold album opener for Heart that combined their harder edged rock with an updated 80s production. It was a terrific tune and I was always surprised that rock radio didn't jump on this track from the start. I think it may have been a bit too gritty for pop who had gotten used to their more mainstream sound via the previous hits. It made for a killer album track, but it really wasn't a great single. What is most interesting is the song's transformation from a dance floor stomper to a hard rock track (see below). The dance version is pretty good, but it ended up being a better rock tune. It just goes to show you that a good song can work well in various genres.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  This is a remake of a song originally recorded by singer Pamela Stanley. Her Hi-NRG dance version got to #23 on the Dance chart in 1985. The Philly-born singer got signed to a German label in 1979 and her debut LP, This Is Hot, gained enough attention to get it picked up for release by EMI America in the States. The title track would get to #16 on the US Dance chart in 1979. Yet it seems that wasn't good enough for the label and Stanley was dropped. She returned in 1983 with the indie release "I Don't Want to Talk About It," which got to #13 at Dance. "Coming Out of Hiding" would follow in 1984 and it would become her biggest hit reaching #4 at Dance. The hit got her signed to Mirage Records and her first effort for them was "If Looks Could Kill." The tune would get to #23 on the Dance chart while also appearing in the 1985 Arnold Schwarzenegger film Raw Deal. That dance track was picked up by Heart and given a heavy rock treatment for their self-titled album. Stanley would have one more single reach the Dance chart in 1986. She would later leave dance music behind and continue to perform and record various styles of music including jazz, country, and adult contemporary.


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