Friday, July 5, 2019

"Lonely Is the Night" by Air Supply

Song#:  2820
Date:  08/09/1986
Debut:  95
Peak:  76
Weeks:  8
Genre:  Pop, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  After four platinum (or multi-platinum) albums that yielded eight Top 10 singles, this Aussie outfit experienced a decline in popularity with their 1995 self-titled eighth album. By that point, the band had been reduced to the core duo of Russell Hitchcock and Graham Russell. The LP went gold mainly on the strength of the #19 Pop/#3 AC single "Just As I Am," but without a bigger hit or further significant charting songs, it failed to reach the platinum levels of the group's previous efforts. The duo soldiered on and recorded their next effort, Hearts in Motion. The majority of the album was produced by Bernard Edwards (Chic, Power Station, Robert Palmer) while two songs, including this first single, were produced by John Boylan (Boston, Little River Band). Air Supply's support at AC continued with this tune getting to #12 on that chart. However, pop radio had lost its taste for the soft rock sounds of the duo and the song became the lowest peaking of their career on the Pop chart. It would end up being their final song to reach the Pop chart and their last Top 20 at AC. They would cap off their most successful era with a Christmas album in 1987. That LP would also be their final one for their home label of Arista. After a break, the due signed on with Giant Records, a Warner Bros. subsidiary, for five albums and then continued to record for a couple more indie labels. They would get a few more lower charting songs at AC, but the albums would basically come and go to little notice. They would retain a sizable fan base and would continue to be a solid concert draw over the years.

ReduxReview:  This tune sounds like it should have been a hit a decade earlier. It just has that 70s male vocal feel to it. It's not a bad tune and perhaps if someone like Eric Carmen had recorded the song rather than Air Supply, it might have done better on the chart. But Air Supply had a definite image problem at the time and it just wasn't cool for younger folks to like them. Their soft rock sounds were definitely a thing of the recent past and I almost think that even if they had recorded the most perfect pop song, radio and its listeners still would have ignored them. There was just no way they could compete with the likes of Madonna, Michael Jackson, Prince, Bon Jovi, etc. They hit their prime at the right time, but music changed too quickly in the 80s and Air Supply just couldn't keep up. Russell Hitchcock's 1988 solo album (see below) was much better (and underrated), but that one featured tunes by top songwriters whereas Graham Russell wrote the majority of Hearts in Motion and his songs just weren't up to par. Air Supply left an indelible mark on pop music and I appreciate their hits. Unfortunately, this last gasp wasn't one of their better moments.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Before the duo left Arista, lead singer Russell Hitchcock made an attempt at a solo career. He recorded and released a self-titled debut album in 1988. The LP boasted songs by quality hit makers like Tom Kelly, Billy Steinberg, Albert Hammond, George Merrill, Shannon Rubicam, John Bettis, and Michael Masser, along with a few remakes including the single "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted." That tune became a minor #39 entry at AC. With little radio support to help out, the album failed to chart and quickly disappeared. Before Hitchcock would return to Air Supply in 1991, he would record a one-off tune for the soundtrack to the 1990 hit film Arachnophobia. Written by Diane Warren, "Caught in Your Web (Swear to Your Heart)" would be pushed out for airplay to AC stations and the song would end up peaking at #9 on the chart.  2) This song would be remade by a few artists including Night Rider/Baywatch star David Hasselhoff. Hasselhoff began a music career in 1985 while Night Rider was still on the air. His first album didn't get anywhere in the US, but it surprisingly made him a star in Austria and Germany. He remade this Air Supply song for his third album Looking for Freedom. That album's title track would end up being his biggest hit reaching #1 in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. He would continue to record over the years gathering four Top 10 hits in Austria along with three #1 albums. Meanwhile in the US, none of his albums or songs would do anything and his musical career would be the butt of many jokes. Yet the Hoff would remain a popular celebrity and subject of a lot of tabloid stories.


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