Monday, June 14, 2021

"Make Me Lose Control" by Eric Carmen

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  3524
Date:  05/21/1988
Debut:  78
Peak:  3
Weeks:  20
Genre:  Pop

Pop Bits:  Twelve years after his last Pop Top 10 hit, Carmen finally got back into the upper reaches of the chart with "Hungry Eyes," a song he did for the soundtrack to the hit film Dirty Dancing. The single would get to #4 Pop/#2 AC. With Carmen back on the charts, his label Arista decided to capitalize on the moment and quickly put together the compilation The Best of Eric Carmen. It was rushed out, but they probably should have waited because Carmen had returned to the studio following the success of "Hungry Eyes" to record a new song. "Make Me Lose Control" was written with Dean Pitchford (the pair had written "Almost Paradise" for Footloose) and it was decided that perhaps the song would make a good follow-up to his Dirty Dancing hit. It was issued out and it ended up performing better than "Hungry Eyes" peaking at #3 Pop and #1 AC. With the song exploding all over pop radio during the summer, Arista quickly did a reissue of The Best of Eric Carmen that included the track. With that boost, the LP was able to reach #59. It might have done better had Arista waited and included the track to begin with and then promote the single and album together. Still, the single went on to become Carmen's second biggest hit after his 1975 #2 "All By Myself."

ReduxReview:  This nostalgic track with its big sing-a-long chorus was a perfect follow-up for "Hungry Eyes" and even for the whole Dirty Dancing phenomenon. Oddly, I find that the verse part has teeny shades of Bruce Springsteen, which I kinda dig. The Beach Boys-inspired background vocals and vocal break were a highlight as well (note - although a few folks attribute the vocals to the actual Beach Boys, they did not appear on the song, it was studio vocalists including singer/songwriter/producer Mark Hudson). Overall, it was just a terrific pop song and one of Carmen's best. I liked it far more than "Hungry Eyes." It's a shame he didn't pursue a full album at the time. Carmen was on a roll and it might have been a terrific LP. This song would end up being Carmen's last major hit, but what a way to go out.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Since this was a one-off single, Carmen needed a b-side. Instead of trying to get a new song together, he reached into his back catalog and grabbed another nolstalgic tune, "That's Rock 'n' Roll," a track from his 1975 self-titled debut album. That #21 gold LP included "All By Myself" and Carmen's #11 hit "Never Gonna Fall in Love Again." While not issued out in the US, in some countries "That's Rock 'n' Roll" would be the LP's third single (#7 Denmark). Two years later, the song would end up being a #3 hit for Shaun Cassidy. It appeared on his 1976 self-titled debut album and was Cassidy's second Top 10 hit following his #1 remake of "Da Doo Ron Ron." For Cassidy's second album, the Carmen-penned track "Hey Deanie" would be recorded. It would be the LP's first single and it would get to #7. Carmen's own version of the tune would make it on his 1978 album Change of Heart.


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