Sunday, January 26, 2020

"Winner Takes It All" by Sammy Hagar

Song#:  3024
Date:  02/14/1987
Debut:  84
Peak:  54
Weeks:  14
Genre:  Rock, Soundtrack

Pop Bits:  Hagar had been enjoying his success as the new lead singer of Van Halen, but being part of that band didn't mean he had to give up other opportunities. One came his way when he was tapped to sing a tune for the soundtrack to the Sylvester Stallone sports drama flick Over the Top. Giorgio Moroder was in charge of the score and songs for the film and he co-wrote this track with Tom Whitlock. It was offered to Hagar and he agreed to record the tune. For the recording, he brought along his bandmate Eddie Van Halen. The pair co-produced the track with Moroder and both Hagar and Van Halen contributed guitar work. It was issued out as the first single from the soundtrack album and it did well at Rock reaching #3. It crossed over Pop, but the song fizzled before it could crack the top half of the chart. A second single, the more mainstream "Meet Me Half Way" by Kenny Loggins, would do much better nearly cracking the Top 10 (#11) later in the year, but even that wasn't enough to promote sales of the album, which topped out at a minor #120.

ReduxReview:  Stallone obviously wanted another big hit anthem for his movie a la Survivor, but this one wasn't quite it. The guitar-driven tune was a pretty good fit for Rock radio, but it just didn't have that mainstream movie anthem appeal. It was just a charging track with guitars screaming all over it. Nothing about it was particularly memorable or inspiring. Frankly it just sounds loud for the sake of being loud. I think Hagar and Van Halen did what they could to amp up a weak composition, but it ended up being a bit of a mess.

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Hagar was the second artist to record the song for the film. It was first given to Asia's John Wetton, but it seems that Stallone (who co-wrote the script) wasn't a fan of Wetton's final version. Stallone wanted something that sounded big and tough and apparently Wetton's take on the tune just didn't check those boxes. The song was then offered to Hagar and his version seemed to fit the bill for Stallone.  2) Stallone was coming off of three big box office winners (Rambo: First Blood, Pt. 2, Rocky IV, and Cobra) when he signed up to do Over the Top. The drama focused on Stallone's relationship with his 10-year-old son (played by David Mendenhall) and the world of professional arm wrestling. Critics panned the flick and it seemed audiences didn't bite either. It ended up being a dud at the box office grossing around $11 million, which was less than half of its budget. By comparison, his previous three films earned over $700 million combined. The movie was nominated for three Golden Raspberry awards and "won" two. Mendenhall won for Worst Supporting Actor and Worst New Star while Stallone was nominated for Worst Actor.


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