Tuesday, September 28, 2021

"Powerful Stuff" by The Fabulous Thunderbirds

Song#:  3627
Date:  08/27/1988
Debut:  93
Peak:  65
Weeks:  7
Genre:  Blues-Rock, Soundtrack

Pop Bits:  Following the platinum success of their 1986 LP Tuff Enuff (#13) and its #10 title track, the band returned with 1987's Hot Number. With its first single, "Stand Back," only getting to #76 on the Pop chart, the album failed to capitalize on the success of their previous LP and it wasn't even able to reach gold level sales (#49). As they began to record their next LP, the band got an opportunity to contribute a song to a film soundtrack. "Powerful Stuff" would be selected for use in the Tom Cruise comedy/drama Cocktail. It would be issued out as a single and would become their fourth Top 10 at Rock getting to #3. It wouldn't do as well on the Pop chart falling short of the Top 50 mark. It would be their last single to make the Pop chart. The song would also be included on and become the title track to the band's next LP release in '89. A follow-up single, "Rock This Place," would again do well at Rock reaching #10, but it failed to make the Pop chart. With those results, the album stalled at a low #118. It would be the band's last LP to reach the Pop chart. Their final charting single over on the Rock chart was 1991's "Twist of the Knife," which made it to #7. Band leader Kim Wilson would continue The Fabulous Thunderbirds over the years with various lineups and along the way would record a few albums. Wilson would also record several solo albums.

ReduxReview:  Blues-rock is a bit of a tricky genre for the Pop chart. If an act can get that one song that is catchy and has mass appeal, then it can certainly ignite their career. The Thunderbirds got that with "Tuff Enuff." However, trying to sustain a mainstream singles career doing blues-rock is certainly, well, tuff and the band found that out quickly. Still, their tunes got some good action on rock radio, which kept them going for a bit. Then having this tune featured in a hit film helped out as well. It was another good track from the band, but it really wasn't much different from what they had been slingin' out for the past few years. Still, Kim Wilson and company's time in the spotlight helped gain them a loyal fan base and a long career.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  The original guitarist for The Fabulous Thunderbirds was Jimmie Vaughan. He would be an influence on his younger brother Stevie Ray Vaughan. Both guitarists had success in the 80s, Jimmie with the Thunderbirds and Stevie Ray with his band Double Trouble. Stevie Ray would record four albums in the 80s all of which reached platinum or double-platinum in sales. By 1990, the Thunderbirds' time in the sun was waning and Jimmie had the itch to do his own thing. He would leave the band for a solo career but before fully kicking it off, he and Stevie Ray decided to work on an album together. Billed as The Vaughan Brothers, the pair would record the LP Family Style. Unfortunately, after the album was finished Stevie Ray would die in a helicopter crash. He and members of Eric Clapton's team were taking the copter from a concert venue in Wisconsin to Midway Airport in Chicago. Flying in fog, the copter crashed into a hillside not long after takeoff. The Family Style album would be released a month after the crash in September of 1990. It would reach #7, go platinum and win two Grammys. Jimmie would then set out on his solo career. He would win two more Grammys along with way including one in 2001 for Best Traditional Blues Album.


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