Wednesday, September 1, 2021

"Mary, Mary" by Run-D.M.C.

Song#:  3600
Date:  07/30/1988
Debut:  86
Peak:  75
Weeks:  6
Genre:  Rap-Rock

Pop Bits:  The legendary rap trio's career would reach its peak with the 1986 album Raising Hell (#1 R&B/#3 Pop). It would end up selling over three million copies thanks to the gold-selling crossover hit "Walk This Way" (#4 Pop/#8 R&B). The success put a lot of pressure on the trio to come up with something that would perform as well or better and they answered back with Tougher Than Leather.  Its first single, "Run's House," got released in April of '88 and would do well at R&B getting to #10 (#40 Dance), but it failed to make the Pop chart. Despite the single not hitting in a more mainstream way, fans showed up and bought the album. In June it would peak at #2 R&B and the following month it would top out at #9 Pop and also be certified platinum. This second single was then pushed out and while it would get Run-D.M.C. back on the Pop chart, it didn't do all that well. It would only get a quarter of the way up the chart while peaking at #29 R&B and #18 Dance. A third single, "I'm Not Going Out Like That" could only manage a #40 showing at R&B. The lack of a better crossover single kept the album from the multi-platinum sales level of their previous effort. Although considered a bit of a disappointment back in the day both with sales and critics, the LP itself has grown in stature over the years with retrospective reviews handing out more praise. Their next LP, Back to Hell, would be a critical and commercial failure (#16 R&B/#81 Pop), but after getting their act together they released 1993's Down with the King, which went gold (#1 R&B/#7 Pop) thanks to the title track getting to #1 Rap/#9 R&B/#21 Pop. They would do one more album in 2001 before disbanding due to the murder of member Jason Mizell in 2002. In 2009, the trio would be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the second rap act to achieve that feat.

ReduxReview:  The trio was obviously looking for another "Walk This Way" and decided to give "Mary, Mary" the rock-rap treatment with producer Rick Rubin. I think it worked out well, but it was missing two key ingredient that helped "Walk This Way" become a hit. First was the original artist. Steven Tyler and Joe Perry appeared on "Walk This Way" and it gave a little rock cred to the tune that boosted the tune's appeal. While The Monkees were not going to reunite just for this song, it might have been cool to get Mickey Dolenz to appear on the track as he is the one who did the lead vocal for The Monkees' version. Instead, Run-D.M.C. decided to sample Dolenz and the song. The second problem was that "Walk This Way" had been a hit and was a rock classic whereas The Monkees' "Mary, Mary" was not a hit (or even a single), so it was far less recognizable. Still, I thought it was a fun, catchy track and it should have done much better. However, had it been a big hit, it might have put Run-D.M.C. in a corner and they might have gotten tagged as rap remake artists.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) This is rap-rock remake of a song that was made famous by The Monkees. The song was heard in five different episodes of The Monkees TV show and was included on their second album, the 1967 #1 More of the Monkees. It was not officially released as a single in the US, but it was featured as one of those cut-out records that appeared on the back of cereal boxes in the 60s/70s. "Mary, Mary" appeared on a 33-1/2 speed "record" with three other Monkees songs on the back of Post Honey Combs cereal. Although the song was written by band member Mike Nesmith, The Monkees were not the first to record the song. The Paul Butterfield Blues Band picked up the tune in 1966 and recorded it for their second album, East-West (#65 Pop). It was not released as a single.  2) In addition to the Tougher Than Leather album, a movie by the same name starring Run-D.M.C. was released. Co-written and directed by Rick Ruben, the music drama focused on the trio trying to find the killer of a close friend. The Beastie Boys made an appearance in the flick, which was not a critical or box office success.


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