Saturday, December 28, 2019

"Someone Like You" by Daryl Hall

Song#:  2995
Date:  01/24/1987
Debut:  92
Peak:  57
Weeks:  8
Genre:  Pop, Soft Rock

Pop Bits:  Hall's second solo effort, Three Hearts in the Happy Ending Machine, didn't rack up the same multi-platinum sales as works by Hall & Oates, but it did fairly well reaching #29 and spawning the #5 Pop single "Dreamtime." A second single, "Foolish Pride," scraped the Top 40 (#33) and that result was enough to call a follow-up. This third single got released and it did well at AC reaching #11. However, it didn't catch on at Pop and the song stalled before it could get inside the top half of the chart. With the album and its singles all wrapped up, Hall rejoined his partner John Oates to work on their next album, 1988's Ooh Yeah!

ReduxReview:  The opening of this track reminds me of Foreigner's "I Want to Know What Love Is." Unfortunately, the rest of the song doesn't have the same mass commercial appeal as Foreigner's #1 hit. It's a dark ballad that doesn't have a memorable hook. Had I heard this on the radio back in the day I probably would have said, "way to kill the mood." There was just no hit potential in the song at all. I'm actually surprised it got to #11 at AC. It's a dour track that was fine for the album, but not good for a single.

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  This would not be Hall's final solo single to reach the Pop chart. Later in 1993, Hall would record his third solo album, Soul Alone. It's first single, "I'm in a Philly Mood," would be a minor Pop chart entry at #82. With little to promote it, the LP then stalled at a very low #177. The album actually did better in the UK getting to #55. Four tracks from the LP would reach the UK chart with the best one being the #30 "Stop Loving Me, Stop Loving You." Two non-album tracks would also get Hall on the chart in the UK. Used as the anthem for the 1994 FIFA World Cup, "Gloryland" would pair Hall with the gospel/R&B ensemble Sounds of Blackness. The song would get to #36. Then in 1995, a duet with Dusty Springfield, "Wherever Would I Be," would get to #44. It was a remake of the 1990 Cheap Trick single written by Diane Warren that got to #50 in the US.


Friday, December 27, 2019

"Ain't So Easy" by David & David

Song#:  2994
Date:  01/24/1987
Debut:  93
Peak:  51
Weeks:  11
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  The duo of David Baerwald and David Ricketts got themselves on the charts with their debut single "Welcome to the Boomtown." The track would get to #8 at Rock while cracking the Pop Top 40 (#37). The hit would help their album reach #39. For a follow-up, this next song was selected. It would do fine at Rock getting to #17, but this time around the single was unable to make it into the top half of the Pop chart. One other track from their debut album Boomtown, "Swallowed By the Cracks," would get to #14 at Rock. Overall, it was a fairly successful start for the duo. However, it seems the pitfalls of the music business and success seemed to trap the pair and they called it quits before they could record a second album.

ReduxReview:  This is another good track from the duo that did have some commercial prospects. The percolating synths in the background drove the song while the chorus was hooky enough to remain memorable. It was an easygoing track where lyrics like "attend to your aches" and "rub my back" make it seem all is relaxing and wonderful. Yet if you read the lyrics you will quickly learn that this is a dark tune that ends on what could be interpreted as a threat - "I could never let you get away." Also note the line in the first verse that states "I'm sorry about your eye." Yikes. There was a menacing undercurrent beneath the bubbly music, but that pretty much summed up David & David. It's a shame they didn't do a follow-up album.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) This song featured background vocals by Toni Childs. After David & David collapsed, David Ricketts would go on to co-write songs for and co-produce Union, the debut album of Toni Childs. The album would eventually go gold and earn Childs two Grammy nods including one for Best New Artist. Ricketts would also co-produce the platinum-selling second album by Meredith Brooks, Blurring the Edges. That LP featured Brooks' breakthrough hit, the #2 "Bitch." That song would earn Brooks two Grammys nods. Ricketts would go on to win an Emmy award along with Childs in 2004. The pair along with Eddy Free wrote the song "Because You Are Beautiful" for the Lifetime TV documentary V-Day: Until the Violence Stops. The tune, performed by Childs, won the Emmy for Best Outstanding Music and Lyrics.  2) David Baerwald would go on to start a solo career. He released albums in 1990 and 1992. Both were critically well-received, but failed to chart. Baerwald and Ricketts were key players and songwriters on the 1993 debut album by Sheryl Crow, Tuesday Night Music Club. Baerwald co-wrote the hit "All I Wanna Do," which reached #2 at Pop and was nominated for a Song of the Year Grammy. Baerwald would continue to release albums on occasion while supplying songs to other artists. He also co-wrote "Come What May," a song featured in the hit 2001 film Moulin Rouge! The song would earn Baerwald a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Song.


Thursday, December 26, 2019

"Ronnies Rapp" by Ron and the D.C. Crew

Song#:  2993
Date:  01/24/1987
Debut:  95
Peak:  93
Weeks:  4
Genre:  Novelty, Rap

Pop Bits:  In 1981, Miami radio station lost its license and was forced to shut down. The station was revived in 1985 and then the following year became the dance/mix station WPOW-FM. A new morning show was introduced with a team of personalities that included Mark Moseley. Moseley was know for his imitation of celebrities along with creating his own characters. A voice that he did particularly well was that of President Ronald Reagan. Reagan was about midway into his second term at the time when Moseley had the idea to do a rap tune as Reagan for the radio show. He recorded a rap that wase simply intended to be aired as a comedic bit on the station's morning show. After it aired, Moseley was approached by a local producer who wanted to make it into a 12" single. Moseley agreed to having the song released. It was first issued via a new Miami dance music production company Hot Productions with the actual label imprint on the disc appropriately tagged as White House Records. The record gained enough attention that Profile Records (the label Run-D.M.C. were on) came calling and offered to distribute the song nationally. The novelty track earned enough sales and airplay for it to reach the Pop chart where it stayed near the bottom for a month. While it wasn't a major hit, it did bring attention to the radio station and it helped to kickstart a new career for Moseley as a celebrity impressionist.

ReduxReview:  I was truly surprised when I found this on Spotify. It's an obscure novelty record so I thought for sure I'd have to try and find it on YouTube. As I've mentioned many times before, I'm not a fan of novelty tunes, especially ones that reference a certain fad, time period, celebrity, etc., as they quickly become outdated. In this case it was a political era reference. Like most modern day presidents, Reagan was imitated and parodied quite a bit. Even the British band Genesis featured Reagan as the main character in a music video ("Land of Confusion"). I'm sure many other radio shows did their own skits and songs featuring Reagan at the time, but this clash of cultures one seemed to stand out. I could see this as a skit on Mad TV. It's actually not too bad. The Reagan voice is solid, the production is pretty good for a radio station one-off, and the lyrics leaned towards the smart side of things rather than just trying to be funny. Do I need to hear this more than once? Hell no. But for the time period it came out in it was slightly above average for a novelty track.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Moseley would push out a couple more singles of songs he did for the morning show after this one. Under the same Ron and the D.C. Crew moniker, Moseley put out the timely "Hello Donna Rice Goodbye Heart." Moseley set his parody of the Gary Hart/Donna Rice affair to the melody of "Hello Mary Lou," a song made famous in 1961 by Ricky Nelson (#6 Pop). Moseley also released "Tyrone's Rap," which was a tune based on an original character he had developed for the morning show. Both were released locally on indie labels.  2) Moseley was a radio personality for many years. He then parlayed his experience there into a career as a voice-over artist. Many times he acted like a stunt double for an actual celebrity. For example, in the 2007 film The Simpsons Movie, instead of getting Arnold Schwarzenegger to voice himself as the President, the producers hired Moseley to do Schwarzenegger's voice (this was for the English international version of the film as they went with Harry Shearer's parody voice for the US release). He also replaced Eddie Murphy as the voice for the character Mushu in Mulan II when Murphy didn't sign on for the sequel as well as doing Murphy's Donkey character in several Shrek products.


Wednesday, December 25, 2019

"The Honeythief" by Hipsway

Song#:  2992
Date:  01/24/1987
Debut:  97
Peak:  19
Weeks:  15
Genre:  Pop, Alternative Rock

Pop Bits:  This outfit from Glasgow, Scotland, was formed by members of a couple other bands that happened to have broken up right about the same time. The combined experience of the members helped them quickly gel and it didn't take long for them to secure a record deal with Mercury. They began recording songs and released a couple of singles in the UK in 1985, but both were low-charters. Then this third single got pushed out. It ended up catching on and eventually peaked at #17 early in '86. By that time, their debut album was ready and it was released. Two more singles from the LP would be modest charters. As '86 dwindled down, a deal was struck for US distribution and nearly a year after it was a hit in the UK, this song got a shot Stateside. It would be a hit in the clubs with the tune getting to #9 on the Dance chart. It would also make the Pop Top 20. Another track from the album, "Ask the Lord," would get to #44 at Dance. It was a good start for the band, but then things quickly went downhill. After two members left the band, they soldiered on and recorded a second album in 1989. It produced one minor charting single in the UK and then disappeared. The band broke up soon after.

ReduxReview:  With its dance-pop/blue-eyed soul feel, hooky chorus, and deep voice of Grahame Skinner, this tune stood out on the radio. It was a bit unusual because the title of the song is not in the chorus. It gets mentioned in other sections. Still, it was hooky enough to be memorable and it was a good song for the dance floor. I will admit though that it took me forever to figure out what he was singing in the chorus. It's "the light of deep regret, let me see what I don't get." Whatever that means. I didn't care though. It was a fun song to hear.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Group co-founder and bassist Johnny McElhone had previously been a member of the new wave band Altered Images. That group released three albums in the early 80s that resulted in three Top 10 hits in the UK. They had very little success in the US with only one of their songs, 1981's "I Could Be Happy" (#7 UK), making it to #45 on the Dance chart. When that band split, McElhone helped form Hipsway. He stayed on for the debut album and subsequent tours, but then left the group. He then co-founded the Alt Rock band Texas with singer Sharleen Spiteri. Their first single, 1989's "I Don't Want a Lover," would reach #7 in the UK. It would also get some attention in the States hitting #11 on the Alternative Rock chart while getting to #27 Rock and #77 Pop. It would be their only charting song in the US. However, they continued to do well in the UK racking up two #1 albums and thirteen Top 10 hits.


Tuesday, December 24, 2019

"Jacob's Ladder" by Huey Lewis & the News

#1 Alert!
Song#:  2991
Date:  01/17/1987
Debut:  40
Peak:  1 (1 week)
Weeks:  15
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Lewis and his band's fourth album, Fore!, got off to a great start with its first two singles, "Stuck with You" and "Hip to Be Square," hitting the Pop Top 10 at #1 and #3, respectively. To keep the ball rolling, this third single got issued out. It would be another major winner for them becoming the band's third song to top the Pop chart. It also got to #10 at Rock and #17 AC. Although the album had already peaked at #1 for one week back in October '86, it was still riding in the Top 10 when this single was released. It would go on to sell over three million copies.

ReduxReview:  I didn't much care for the band's previous two singles. One was retro doo-wop while the other was just silly. They weren't all that bad, but I preferred when Lewis and Co. did solid straight-forward rock like "Heart and Soul." This tune got them closer to that territory. I liked the regal opening and strong chorus. The lyrics had a more serious tone and that was refreshing after a couple of quirky hits. While Hornsby may have missed out on a hit (see below), it was a tune that served Lewis quite well.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  This song was written by Bruce Hornsby and his brother John. It was considered for inclusion on Hornsby's debut album The Way It Is with his band the Range. However, Hornsby didn't really like the way he and his band were performing the tune and decided not to record it. He then offered it up to Huey Lewis, who had produced three tracks for Hornsby's LP. Lewis and his band took the tune and recorded it. They ended up with a #1 hit. Hornsby would record a version of the song with his band for their second album, 1988's Scenes from the Southside.


Monday, December 23, 2019

"Respect Yourself" by Bruce Willis

Top 10 Alert!
One-Hit Wonder Alert!
Song#:  2990
Date:  01/17/1987
Debut:  55
Peak:  5
Weeks:  14
Genre:  R&B, Rock

Pop Bits:  Willis' acting career kicked into high gear when he got a co-starring role in the ABC series Moonlighting alongside Cybil. Shepherd. The show was a hit and the part won Willis an Emmy. His newfound stardom brought him other opportunities including movie roles. He also got the chance to hawk products. The Seagram company brought him on board to do a series of commercials for the golden wine coolers. In one commercial, Willis sings on a porch with a blues-style acoustic group. He also got the chance to sing on Moonlighting. Someone at Motown was paying attention and thought that they might be able to cash in on Willis' hot-at-the-time celebrity status. Willis was signed to Motown and work began on a debut album. While Willis had some musical talent playing harmonica and being able to sing blue-rock tunes, he wasn't a pro musician by any means, but the opportunity came up and Willis took it. He hooked up with composer/producer Robert Kraft to create an LP that mainly consisted of cover tunes with one Kraft/Willis original and a few other new tracks by other writers. This first single was issued out and with a push from Motown and an HBO special (see below), the song became a surprise hit reaching the Pop Top 10. It also got to #20 at R&B and #22 AC. The album would get to #14 and go gold. But like many actors-turned-singers who got surprise hits, Willis soon discovered that his recording career would be short-lived. Although he would have two more minor charting singles, this lone Top 10 got him tagged as a one-hit wonder (#37 on VH1's list of Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the 80s).

ReduxReview:  When I was looking up information on this album, I saw one person say that Willis probably could have cleaned up at most any karaoke night. I thought that was accurate. Yeah, for Moonlighting, spots on TV specials, and commercials, he could sing and perform entertainingly. Yet as an actual recording artist? Um, no. Frankly, he wasn't even at a Blue Brothers level. However, he wasn't all that bad and it did sound like he was having a blast. In some ways that's what made this song mildly entertaining. I ended up buying the album because I loved Moonlighting and I really liked the album's associated HBO special (see below). I only played the LP a couple of times and filed it away. "Don't quit your day job" seemed to apply here, but at least Willis was able to add this Top 10 musical curiosity to his credits.

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  Triple Shot!  1) This is a remake of a song originally recorded by The Staple Singers. Their 1971 version would get to #2 at R&B and #12 Pop. Many artists would cover the song but only The Staple Singers and Willis have been able to reach the Pop chart with a version. Singer Robert Palmer covered the tune for a 1995 hits compilation. It was released as a single in the UK and got to #45 on the chart.  2) This song featured an assist from June Pointer as a duet partner along with The Pointer Sisters on background vocals. The Temptations and Booker T. Jones also made appearances on the LP.  3) To help promote the album, a mockumentary titled The Return of Bruno was made. It starred Willis as the character Bruno Radolini. The comedy was about the ups and downs of music star Radolini and his influence on music and other artists. The film featured a myriad of stars including Elton John, Ringo Starr, Joan Baez, Phil Collins, The Bee Gees, and Jon Bon Jovi. Dick Clark also appeared and narrated the mockumentary. It first aired on HBO just after Willis' album was released.


Sunday, December 22, 2019

"Mandolin Rain" by Bruce Hornsby & the Range

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  2989
Date:  01/17/1987
Debut:  69
Peak:  4
Weeks:  18
Genre:  Soft Rock, Americana

Pop Bits:  Hornsby and his band hit the big time when "The Way It Is," the second single from their debut album of the same name, reached #1. The unexpected hit tossed the band into the limelight and made them stars. They needed a follow-up and this next track was selected as the third single from the LP. The wistful tune turned out to be another winner for them hitting the Pop Top 10 while going to #1 AC, #2 Rock, and #38 Country. The two hits pushed the album to #3 and eventually it would be a triple-platinum seller. Just about a month after this song debuted on the Pop chart, Hornsby and the band would win the Grammy for Best New Artist.

ReduxReview:  While both are still piano-driven, this song subtracts some of the more modern elements of "The Way It Is" in favor of a more traditional arrangement. It also leaned more towards a country sound that would later be known as Americana, hence its appearance on the Country chart. It was the perfect follow-up tune and it made sure they were not going to be one-hit wonders after the fluke #1 showing of "The Way It Is." The relaxed feel of the song combined with the strong chorus made it stand out on radio. As with "The Way It Is," the tune still sounds great today.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  This song was covered by Pam Tillis in 1995. It was a track on her album All of This Love. It was not issued as a single, but did serve as the b-side to her #62 Country single "Betty's Got a Bass Boat." Tillis is the daughter of country music legend Mel Tillis, who in his career amassed thirty-six Top 10 Country singles including six #1 hits. Pam Tillis started out as a backup singer and songwriter before attempting a solo career in the early 80s. It didn't work out all that well with Tillis' career floundering for most of the decade. Then with Arista Records in the early 90s she finally broke through. Between 1990 and 1997, Tillis scored thirteen Top 10 Country hits including one #1. Three of her albums went platinum while two went gold.