Saturday, June 29, 2019

"Ruthless People" by Mick Jagger

Song#:  2814
Date:  08/02/1986
Debut:  83
Peak:  51
Weeks:  8
Genre:  Rock, Soundtrack

Pop Bits:  Although Jagger would find his name in the Pop Top 10 as part of a couple one-off duets ("State of Shock" with the Jacksons and "Dancing in the Street" with David Bowie), as a solo artist he had yet to reach those heights completely on his own. His best effort was the #12 "Just Another Night" from his 1985 solo debut album She's the Boss. Prior to him recording his second solo album, Jagger got another shot to get into the Top 10. He was tapped to record the title track to the black comedy film Ruthless People. On board with Jagger for the song were co-writers Daryl Hall and Eurythmics' Dave Stewart. Stewart and Jagger would produce the tune. It would be the second single released from the soundtrack album following Billy Joel's "Modern Woman" (#10). The song would do fine at Rock getting to #14, but it flopped at Pop and couldn't crack the top half of the chart. The results left Jagger still seeking a solo Top 10 hit.

ReduxReview:  The elements were all in place for this. Jagger, Hall, Stewart, a great title and a hit movie. Yet it didn't fully gel. The chorus was good, but the verse really dragged the song down. It also tried so hard to be a groovin' R&B/blues track and it didn't quite get there. All three artists, especially Jagger, knew their way around some blues-rock, but this one felt a bit stiff and contained. It needed to be looser with a lot more grit. Even Jagger sounds held back. I'm guessing that had to do with Stewart's rigid production and perhaps expectations that these three stars were going to make a mainstream hit. It's an interesting track and not a bad listen, but ultimately one that wasn't going to succeed as a single.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Also including on the Ruthless People soundtrack album was a track by Bruce Springsteen. "Stand on It" was originally recorded in 1983 during the sessions for his Born in the U.S.A. album. While the song would not end up on the mega-selling LP, it would be used as the b-side to the album's fifth single, "Glory Days" (#5). Country artist Mel McDaniel would record the tune for his 1986 album Just Can't Sit Down Music. It would be released as the LP's first single and it would reach #12 on the Country chart. McDaniel would earn nine Country Top 10's throughout the 80s including his biggest hit, 1984's #1 "Baby's Got Her Blue Jeans On." That song was originally pitched to Conway Twitty and then to John Anderson. Both turned it down and that ended up being fortunate for McDaniel who then scored his first and only Country #1 with the tune.  2) This song was redone in a parody version titled "Toothless People" by Weird Al Yankovic for his 1986 album Polka Party!. When selecting which songs to parody for the LP, Yankovic had heard Jagger's tune and expectations were that it would be a hit. So he sought permission to do a parody and Jagger agreed. Unfortunately, Jagger's single failed and that left Yankovic in a quandary. Usually Yankovic will parody a big hit song because then people can relate the original and the parody. It makes sense. But with far, far fewer people knowing "Ruthless People," would Yankovic's fans even realize that "Toothless People" was a parody? Yankovic thought about not recording the parody, but since superstar Jagger had actually given him permission to do it, he decided to go ahead as planned.


No comments:

Post a Comment