Thursday, November 28, 2019

"Blame It on the Radio" by John Parr

Song#:  2966
Date:  12/13/1986
Debut:  88
Peak:  88
Weeks:  6
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Parr's 1984 self-titled debut album did well thanks to the #1 Rock/#23 Pop hit "Naughty Naughty." His career got a major boost the following year when his movie soundtrack single, "St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)," became a big #1 hit. Although it wasn't a track on his debut album, it helped to extend the life of the LP and set him up well for his next effort, Running the Endless Mile. This first single was issued out, but it didn't connect with listeners. It failed to make the Rock chart and peaked where it debuted on the Pop chart. Further singles didn't make any impression and without much to support it, the album didn't make the chart. It was certainly a disappointment and things didn't get better after. This song would be his last to reach the Pop chart. Parr seemed to lose his deal with Atlantic and didn't put out another album until 1992. He would still record and tour over the years, but his heyday as a charting artist in the US ended with this track.

ReduxReview:  Parr can be a good songwriter in a Bryan Adams-y kind of way, but I'm not exactly sure what he was going for here. It starts off with the chorus in a more acoustic setting, which is kind of nice, but when the drums kick in, honking keyboards follow and things take a turn. It gets worse when the rougher, darker verse comes in. Nothing matches or compliments the original chorus. It's like different sections or ideas from two or three songs got stitched together. That can sometimes work, but it does not here. And that screeching keyboard sound gets more and more annoying as the tunes goes on. Parr had a good thing going with the chorus, but the rest of the tune pretty much killed it.

ReduxRating:  3/10

Trivia:  Back in '88, the Gillette company was prepping to release their new product, the Sensor Razor. They were going to do a big campaign complete with an ad that would run during the '89 Super Bowl. The company needed a solid slogan and a jingle to go with it. Enter John Parr and pro jingle writer Jake Holmes. They came up with "The Best (A Man Can Get)" and it was exactly what Gillette was looking for. The ad campaign ended up being so successful that Gillette used the jingle for about a decade. It would be revived over the years and on the 30th anniversary of the initial campaign, Gillette decided to update the original message to something more topical and timely. They did a mini film ad titled "We Believe: The Best Men Can Be." The ad doesn't promote any products. It features men in bad behavioral situations such as bullying and shows how today's boys are the men of tomorrow and that other men need to demonstrate to them the way to be better men. While some praised the ad, the majority of people and critics who viewed the film responded negatively. So much so that it made the list of the top 50 most disliked videos on YouTube with (as of this posting date) 1.5 million thumbs down. (By contrast it shows 805k thumbs up). However, comments on YouTube have asserted that dislikes and negative comments were taken down while instances of likes grew exponentially in short periods of time. Many accuse Gillette of this tampering, but in these days of social media it is difficult to figure out the truth. Still, instead of sparking conversation towards the positive, Gillette seeed to have sparked far more outrage with many people boycotting their products. Their campaign was to last for three years with money donated to certain causes like The Boys and Girls Club. At this time it is unknown if they will continue with the campaign. John Parr, whose song is briefly heard at the beginning of the film, chimed in on Twitter saying the message of the ad is way off the mark. A full acoustic-style version of Parr's original ad theme can be heard on his 2011 live album Letter to America.


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