Wednesday, August 7, 2019

"Eye of the Zombie" by John Fogerty

Song#:  2853
Date:  09/06/1986
Debut:  91
Peak:  81
Weeks:  4
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Fogerty's third solo LP, 1985's Centerfield, was a double-platinum #1 hit thanks in part to the #10 Pop/#1 Rock track "The Old Man Down the Road." It took ten years for Fogerty to put out a third album, but with it being a major hit, he needed to get out a fourth one as soon as possible and he accomplished that with Eye of the Zombie. Unlike Centerfield where he played all the instruments himself, Fogerty chose to work with an assembled band for Eye of the Zombie. This first title-track single got things kicked off and it did well at Rock getting to #3. However, it just didn't catch on at Pop and the song stalled near the bottom of the chart. It would end up being Fogerty's final single to reach the Pop chart. Without a significant hit to support it, the album couldn't get near the top of the chart and peaked at #26. It was able to reach gold level sales, but that was a sharp decline after the two-plus million that Centerfield sold. Critics were not kind to the LP and Fogerty apparently wasn't thrilled with it either. After his supporting tour, he didn't include any of the songs from the album in his concert set lists for over twenty years. Despite the failure of the LP, it did earn Fogerty a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Male. Fogerty wouldn't attempt another solo effort for over a decade. He returned in 1997 with Blue Moon Swamp. It was well-received by critics, got him another Grammy nod, reached #37, and went gold thanks in part to a couple of Rock chart entries. He has issued out several more solo albums since then.

ReduxReview:  File this album under bad ideas. Maybe it was rushed or maybe there was label pressure. Whatever it was, Fogerty expanding his sound with synths and big drums just did not work. It was so overproduced for his style of music. Even the opening track is a bizarre instrumental synth piece with an odd, screamy guitar solo. What was up with that? Plus, I don't know what was stuck in Fogerty's craw, but the album was certainly a darker affair than Centerfield. He must have been in a mood when writing the tunes. Even the album cover was a bit disturbing with Fogerty's face turned into some kind of creature. The title mentions zombies, but that was not what he looked like. This first single set the tone, and not a very good one. The "eye...eye...eye" part seems to be a rehash of the "hidey-hidey-hide" heard in "The Old Man Down the Road" and the tune strives to be something commercial. Rock took to it, but this wasn't going to fly at Pop. While the song and the album were not absolute disasters, they weren't great and the results basically told the story.

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  Although this song would be Fogerty's last to reach the Pop chart, the album generated two other Rock chart entries. "Headlines" would make it to #27 while "Change in the Weather" would get to #3. As mentioned above, Fogerty didn't play any of the songs from the album in concert for years. He finally revived one in 2009 when he choose to remake "Change in the Weather" for his 2009 album The Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again. And yes, Rides is correct instead of the grammatically correct "ride." It was a play on words due to the title of Fogerty's debut solo album The Blue Ridge Rangers. Although the title made it appear like it was from a band, it was really a Fogerty solo effort as he played all the instruments and produced the LP. Therefore, for the 2009 sequel, Fogerty chose the word "rides" instead of "ride" because The Blue Ridge Rangers was just another name for one person - Fogerty. So in that case, "rides" would seem to apply.


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