Saturday, March 14, 2020

"The Secret of My Success" by Night Ranger

Song#:  3072
Date:  03/28/1987
Debut:  86
Peak:  64
Weeks:  8
Genre:  Rock, Soundtrack

Pop Bits:  Night Ranger had been on a roll with two platinum albums and five consecutive Top 20 hits that included two Top 10s. Along the way, a few of their songs were selected to appear on movie soundtracks, but most of those were previously released tracks. Following the success of their third LP 7 Wishes, the band got a chance to write and record the theme song to a new high-profile comedy titled The Secret to My Success starring Michael J. Fox. Apparently Fox was a fan of the band and had requested their participation. Producer David Foster was in charge of the film's music and the band began to work with him on the title track song. The timing was perfect as the band was finishing up their fourth LP Big Life. The completed theme song would then serve as the first single from that album as well as the soundtrack. The song did well at Rock reaching #12. Yet despite a good push from MTV on the song's video and the box office success of the film, the tune could only manage a couple of months in the bottom half of the Pop chart. With little to promote it, the soundtrack album stalled at a low #131. Night Ranger's album fared far better thanks to their popularity, but it stopped at #28 and only went gold, which was a drop from their previous platinum LPs. On the bright side, the song did get a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Song.

ReduxReview:  Sadly, I think this song doomed Night Ranger. Although a rock band at heart, they had carved a spot for themselves on the chart doing big ballads and mid-tempo pop/rock tracks in the Journey/Survivor vein. Their tunes were well-written and catchy without being flashy. They could have easily surfed on that wave for a couple more albums and maybe grabbed some hits, but instead they took a chance on working with Foster for this song. I probably would have too, but the pairing was just not right. The tune itself was a bit of a mess with awkward transitions and the film's title being shoved in a weak chorus. Then on top of that was the bombastic kitchen sink production from Foster. This was obviously an attempt to try and recreate John Parr's soundtrack hit "St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)," also co-written and produced by Foster, and it didn't work. Night Ranger got totally lost in the cacophony of it all and in the end it just looked like they were desperately reaching for a mainstream commercial hit. It seemed to turn off more people than it drew in and it halted their winning streak big time. It all went downhill so quickly after this that they just couldn't recover. I can't blame them for taking a chance on this tune and Foster, but it it turned out to be a costly experiment.

ReduxRating:  3/10

Trivia:  Michael J. Fox was a hot box office commodity at the time thanks to the hits Back to the Future and Teen Wolf. Even his dramatic turn in the music film Light of Day didn't do too bad. But comedy was his bread 'n' butter and only two months after the release of Light of Day his next big flick The Secret of My Success came out. Despite very mixed critical reviews, the film was a hit spending five weeks as the #1 box office draw and finishing as the seventh biggest grossing movie of 1987. However, the film's success didn't do much to boost Night Ranger's song or the soundtrack album.


No comments:

Post a Comment