Tuesday, August 24, 2021

"Look Out Any Window" by Bruce Hornsby & the Range

Song#:  3592
Date:  07/23/1988
Debut:  77
Peak:  35
Weeks:  12
Genre:  Soft Rock, Americana

Pop Bits:  Hornsby and his band got their second Pop Top 10 hit with "The Valley Road" (#5), the first single from their second album Scenes from the Southside. The track would also get to #1 at both Rock and AC. For a follow-up, this next song was selected. While it would still go Top 10 at AC (#7) and Rock (#5), the tune fizzled a bit early at Pop where it only cracked the Top 40. A third single, "Defenders of the Flag," would reach #11 at Rock, but fail to make the Pop and AC charts. It would be the last single released from the LP, which had already peaked at #5 and gone platinum. The band's next album, 1990's A Night on the Town, didn't do as well. It peaked at #20 thanks to the single "Across the River" getting to #1 Rock, #8 AC, and #18 Pop, but it would failed to reach gold level sales. Feeling a bit trapped by having to make radio-friendly rock, Hornsby would disband the Range after the third album in order to have a bit of freedom to do his own thing. In the 90s, he would release three solo albums that touched on rock, jazz, and bluegrass. Two of his singles would reach the AC Top 10. Starting in 2002, Hornsby would record a series of albums with his new band the Noisemakers before pushing out a couple more solo efforts in 2019 and 2020. Along the way he would earn eleven more Grammy nods including one win, which when added to the Grammys he won previously with the Range brought his win total to six.

ReduxReview:  I thought this was a solid follow-up to "The Valley Road." It had Hornsby's signature style/sound along with being catchy and radio-ready. AC and Rock ate it up, but it had some trouble making inroads at Pop. My guess is that folks were beginning to tire of the band's Americana-leaning sound and when it came down to it, this tune didn't introduce anything new. It blended in with their other charting songs. Still, I thought it was good enough to stand on its own and it should have done a bit better. However, it was a signal to Hornsby that he needed to expand his sound or come up with something different if he was going to maintain his popularity. I think he sort of did with "Across the River" from the band's next LP. It was more rock oriented with a much bigger Springsteen-esqe sound, but it didn't pay off as well as it should have. When it came down to it, Hornsby's brand of soft rock had a limited shelf life in regards to the Pop chart so the fact he did well over the course of three albums was quite an accomplishment and it certainly helped him maintain a successful career over the years.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Hornsby had been a Grateful Dead fan for a long time having first seen the band live in 1973. At one point he even played in a Dead tribute band. After Hornsby and the Range made it big, they got some opening slot gigs during a Grateful Dead tour. Hornsby struck up a friendship with the band, especially leader Jerry Garcia who would make a guest appearance on the Range's 1990 album A Night on the Town. Beginning sometime in '88, Hornsby began to sit in and perform with the Dead at some of their shows. His appearances with the band increased in 1990 when their keyboardist, Brent Mydland, passed away. Hornsby fit in with the Dead well enough that he was offered a permanent spot in the band, but due to Hornsby wanting to kick off a solo career, he declined. However, he still performed with the band on occasion through to Jerry Garcia's death in 1995.


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