Thursday, July 16, 2020

"Johnny B" by The Hooters

Song#:  3196
Date:  07/18/1987
Debut:  87
Peak:  61
Weeks:  11
Genre:  Rock, Folk-Rock

Pop Bits:  The band's second album, 1985's Nervous Night, was an unexpected double-platinum #12 success thanks to three Pop Top 40 hits including the #18 "Day By Day." After spending a couple of years on the road, the band returned to the studio to record their follow-up album One Way Home. This track would serve as the first single and it did well at Rock reaching #3. However, it wasn't able to gain an audience at Pop and the tune stalled before it could even get into the top half of the chart. It wasn't a great start, but a good chunk of the audience who bought their previous LP showed up and helped the new album reach #27 and go gold.

ReduxReview:  This one was a head scratcher for me. After gaining a big mainstream audience with their own brand of catchy pop/rock, the band amped up the folk-rock part of their sound to create an album that was meatier and darker. There were shades of Americana along with British Isles folk on huge sounding rock tunes like this one. It seemed the band was out to make some kind of statement rather than making a palatable follow-up to a mainstream hit record. It was like they were trying to be the American U2. While that is commendable with the album having some solid, mature tracks, the thing they forgot about was to add a little something that would keep pop fans who loved their previous hits interested. I mean, even U2 had a knack of tossing some hooky tunes. This song was able to get good airplay at Rock, but this was just not gonna make it at Pop. It was dark, brooding, folky, and nothing like quirky upbeat Hooters of "Day by Day" or "And We Danced." Why they chose to make this a single is a mystery. There was just no way this was going to be a hit. They probably didn't care, but it certainly wasn't the way to maintain a successful, long career.

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  Rap group Down Low recorded a version of this song for their 1997 album It Ain't Over. Down Low was formed in Germany in 1995. Although considered a German group, it was fronted by two Americans, Joe Thompson and Darren Tucker. Their first album, Visions, arrived in 1996 with its first single, "Visions of Life," hitting #19 in Germany and #10 in France. Their second album would be their most successful thanks to their remake of "Johnny B." The track would reach #4 in Germany and go Top 10 in a few other countries.


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