Saturday, February 20, 2021

"Give Me All Your Love" by Whitesnake

Song#:  3411
Date:  02/13/1988
Debut:  80
Peak:  48
Weeks:  11
Genre:  Hard Rock


Pop Bits:  Whitesnake's 1987 self-titled album became a #2 blockbuster thanks two a pair of hits including the #2 power ballad "Is This Love." As a follow-up to that song, this track was released as the fourth single from the LP. It ended up doing just okay making it to #22 Rock and just cracking the Pop Top 50. The results didn't necessarily matter because the previous month, the album was certified for sales of over 5 million. Seven years later it would exceed the 8 million mark.

ReduxReview:  After two big hits, Whitesnake needed to issue out another single to keep up the momentum and this track from the album was probably the best bet. It was definitely harder rockin' than the previous hits, but it had a good hook and it jammed along like a lost Sammy Hagar track. It wasn't really hit material, but it ended up doing fairly well.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  After the Whitesnake album was completed in the studio, leader David Coverdale decided to dismiss the entire band. including guitarist John Sykes, who had co-written all but two of the tracks on the album with Coverdale. Stories vary on the circumstances that led to the firings, but in interviews with Sykes, he always states that when he confronted Coverdale about the situation, Coverdale basically blamed it on the label (Geffen). Apparently, Geffen knew they had a hit album on their hands and wanted a more MTV-friendly band and got Coverdale to fire the band members. Sykes never bought that story and put the blame squarely on Coverdale. Regardless of what happened, Coverdale was left to fill positions for the LP's associated tour and videos. Vivian Campbell, who was formerly with Dio, was hired on as one of the guitarists for the band. Since it was already completed, Campbell did not appear on the album. However, for the single release of "Give Me All Your Love," a new mix was done and Campbell then supplied a new guitar solo. The "'88 Mix" of the song would only be available via the single. Campbell's tenure in the band would be short. By the end of '88 he would leave due to creative differences.

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Friday, February 19, 2021

"Talking Back to the Night" by Steve Winwood

Song#:  3410
Date:  02/13/1988
Debut:  81
Peak:  57
Weeks:  10
Genre:  Soft Rock


Pop Bits:  Following the multi-platinum success of his fourth album, Back in the High Life, Winwood followed it up with a hits compilation titled Chronicles. Its first single was a remix of his 1982 song "Valerie," which cracked the Pop Top 10 at #9. Next up for release this title-track to his 1982 album of the same name. The song had also been giving the remix treatment and it was hoped that the tune would follow in the steps of "Valerie." The track ended up doing well at AC (#7) and Rock (#17), but it didn't click as well at Pop where it stopped before the halfway mark. The gap that Chronicles provided gave Winwood time to record his fifth studio album, which would appear in the fall of '88.

ReduxReview:  Like "Valerie," this track benefited from the new remix. However, the remix didn't make the actual song any better. It was still kind of a bland tune with a meandering verse and not much in the way of a chorus. As an album track it was fine, but it really wasn't meant to be a single. Following four Top 10s including two #1s at AC, I'm not surprised this got enough airplay to crack the Top 10 on that chart, but it just wasn't the right song for Pop.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Back in 1965, Elektra Records was opening an office in London and to mark the occasion, they wanted something special for its first release. It was decided that a compilation of some British acts would do the trick, but to make it a bit more special, a "super group" would be assembled to record some tracks for the disc. Eric Clapton was tapped to lead the band, which also featured Paul Jones and Jack Bruce from Manfred Mann, Ben Palmer, and two members of the Spencer Davis Group, Pete York and Steve Winwood. The outfit would be called Eric Clapton and the Powerhouse and they ended up recording four tracks in the studio. Three of them were then used for the Elektra compilation titled What's Shakin'. Other tracks on the album were early recordings by The Lovin' Spoonful and The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, along with songs by Tom Rush and Al Cooper. It was thought that Clapton and the Powerhouse would go on to record a full album, but it didn't happen. However, various members would end up playing together in other bands such as Cream and Blind Faith.

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Thursday, February 18, 2021

"Electric Blue" by Icehouse

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  3409
Date:  02/13/1988
Debut:  88
Peak:  7
Weeks:  21
Genre:  Pop, Rock


Pop Bits:  After five albums and a pair of lower charting singles, this Aussie band finally broke through in a bigger way in the US with "Crazy," the first single from their sixth album Man of Colours. The track cracked the Pop Top 20 while getting to #10 Rock. To keep up the momentum, this next single was issued out. It would also get to #10 at Rock, but this time the band was finally able to get inside the Pop Top 10. After seven years of trying, Icehouse finally had a pair of hits in the US. While the singles performed well, the album just sold okay reaching a respectable, but perhaps lower than expected #43. Ultimately, it would be their last charting album in the US and this single their one and only Pop Top 10. Back home in Australia, this song became the band's sixth Top 10 and only #1.

ReduxReview:  "Crazy" should have gone Top 10, but even its #14 showing set the band up well for this follow-up. When I first heard this track there was no doubt in my mind it was headed for the Top 10. The chorus on this song was a bit stronger than the one in "Crazy," and that is saying something. I'm sure the song's co-writer (see below), who had just a bit of experience making hit singles, helped to shape the song into something quite radio-friendly. The band was really at their mainstream peak with the Man of Colours album, which had a few other good tracks. It was too bad that they couldn't sustain or improve upon these results (at least in the US).

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  This tune was written by Icehouse's lead singer and main songwriter Iva Davies along with John Oates, one-half of the superstar duo Hall & Oates. It seems that Davies and Oates ran into each other at an airport in Australia sometime around '82 and the subject of co-writing may have briefly come up. Four years later, Icehouse was touring the US and while in New York Davies was contacted by Oates. A more serious conversation took place about writing together and it resulted in Oates flying to Sydney the following year to work with Davies. It took a while for the pair to find their footing together, but once they did, the song flowed and "Electric Blue" came out. The band got it recorded with Oates providing backing vocals. In an interview that appeared in the Aussie newspaper The Courier Mail, Davies stated that the title came from the T. Rex song "Jewel," which was a track on their 1970 self-titled album. Davies recalled a repeated line in the song that went "her thoughts are gold, her eyes electric blue" and he thought the last part would be a good song title. The article also mentioned that the band almost didn't record the song and nearly handed it over to Oates for Hall & Oates to record. Apparently, there existed a British soft-porn film series called Electric Blue and the band was leery about the song and the series getting associated. However, in the end they didn't want to give the song up and kept it.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2021

"I Wish I Had a Girl" by Henry Lee Summer

Song#:  3408
Date:  02/13/1988
Debut:  90
Peak:  20
Weeks:  18
Genre:  Rock


Pop Bits:  Henry Lee Summer (nĂ© Swartz), grew up in Brazil, Indiana, a small town located between Indianapolis and Terre Haute. A self-taught musician, Summer knew in high school that he wanted to pursue a career in music. He developed his performing and songwriting skills over the years and began to gain a following. He would record a few songs along the way, but it wasn't until 1984 that he put out a solo debut album. Issued on the Majestic label, Stay with Me sold well for an indie release and it was followed up the next year with Time for Big Fun. The pair of discs finally got the attention of a major label, CBS, and Summer was signed to the CBS Associated imprint. He recorded a self-titled debut album and this track was issued out as its first single. The track became a major hit at Rock getting to #1 on that chart. While it was making strides on rock radio, the song got on the Pop chart and it ended up cracking the Top 20. In turn, the album sold a few copies and got to #56.

ReduxReview:  Summer had a bit of a heartland/Southern rock thing going on that was perfect for the time it was released. It also helped that he had a fun little video to go with the song that showed off his glorious mullet. The track was hooky and had beefy production, which played well on the radio. It was definite rock ear candy with Summer's gravelly voice selling every second of the tune.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  While this song was new to a nationwide audience, it wasn't new to Summer and his pre-fame fans. Since his first two albums were small, indie releases, when it came time for his major label debut, it was decided that a few of the tracks from his first two albums would be good candidates for the new LP. They were re-recorded and combined with some new songs Summer had written to create his debut disc. One of the re-recorded tracks was "I Wish I Had a Girl," which first appeared on Summer's 1985 album Time for Big Fun. Either Summer or the record label heard a hit with the track and it got a second lease on life. Indeed they were right with the song doing well on the Rock and Pop charts.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2021

"Ever Since the World Began" by Tommy Shaw

Song#:  3407
Date:  02/13/1988
Debut:  93
Peak:  75
Weeks:  9
Genre:  Rock


Pop Bits:  Shaw's second solo album, 1985's What If, didn't do that well stopping at #87 after its first single, "Remo's Theme (What If)," faltered at #81 (#18 Rock). It seemed that things between Shaw and his long-time label A&M were not going well, so Shaw then moved over to Atlantic to record his third effort, Ambition. While rock radio picked up on the LP's opening track "No Such Thing," which got to #41 on the Rock chart, for mainstream pop stations, this power ballad track was released as the official first single. It didn't get very far on the Pop chart remaining in the bottom quarter for a couple of months. "No Such Thing" would then be pushed out as a single, but it failed to chart. With little to promote it, the album missed the chart and disappeared quickly. It would be over a decade before Shaw would release another solo disc.

ReduxReview:  I'm just guessing here, but since every track on the album except this one was written by Shaw and producer Terry Thomas, I have a feeling that the label didn't hear a hit song among their tracks and wanted one. It's unclear whether Shaw picked this tune or if it was suggested to him, but he got it recorded. Shaw didn't stray too far from the original (see below) except to give it a heftier rock power ballad production and a different ending. Therefore, the song had to speak for itself. While it was a well-written tune, it wasn't something I'd peg for a hit single. As an album (or side) closer, the tune worked fine.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) This is a remake of a song originally recorded by the band Survivor. Written by members Frankie Sullivan and Jim Peterik, it was included on Survivor's platinum-selling 1982 album Eye of the Tiger and performed by the band's then lead vocalist Dave Bickler. In 1989, Jimi Jamison, who took over as Survivor's lead vocalist in 1984 until their first breakup in 1988, recorded the song for the soundtrack to the Sylvester Stallone prison action vehicle Lock Up. Stallone, who had hired Survivor twice to supply songs for his Rocky films, requested the song, but since Survivor wasn't existing at the time, Jamison stepped in and did a solo version. It was released as a single, but failed to chart. Lock Up was critically panned and did not perform well at the box office.  2) While Shaw's solo career would stall, he would score hits with another band. In 1989, Shaw would help form the rock band Damn Yankees with Jack Blades (Night Ranger), Ted Nugent, and Michael Cartellone. Their 1990 self-titled debut album would be a double-platinum seller thanks to the big #3 power ballad "High Enough." A second album in 1992, Don't Tread, would go gold. The band would split and later in 1995, Shaw would rejoin Styx and remain with them over the years. He would also toss out a couple of solo efforts along the way as well as a couple of LPs with Jack Blades as Shaw-Blades.

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Monday, February 15, 2021

"Man in the Mirror" by Michael Jackson

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  3406
Date:  02/06/1988
Debut:  48
Peak:  1 (2 weeks)
Weeks:  17
Genre:  Pop


Pop Bits:  Jackson's Bad album was certainly making an impression with its singles. By this point in time, the first three from the LP had all reached #1. To follow-up the third #1, the shufflin' "The Way You Make Me Feel," this gospel-enhanced mid-tempo track was released. It would end up following the previous three hits straight to the top of both the Pop and R&B charts, making it four straight #1s for Jackson on both charts. The song also got to #2 at AC. While the Bad album wouldn't generate nearly as many Grammy nods as Thriller did, among its handful of nominations was one for this song in the Record of the Year category. This single in its actual product version was not a gold seller at the time, however, later on the digital version would get certified for sales of over three million.

ReduxReview:  At the time Bad came out, I thought this was easily the best track on on the album. It was just a no-brainer that it was going to be a hit. It was a message song that had universal appeal and it was perfect for Jackson. It was one of only two tracks on the album not written by Jackson (the other was the bland Stevie Wonder duet "Just Good Friends"). Frankly, I think the album could have benefited from having more tracks by outside songwriters. After all, Jackson only wrote four songs for Thriller and it was a much better album. However, I know that songwriting/publishing are the real moneymakers on an album, so I can understand Jackson wanting to do it all. Luckily, he at least allowed this gem in and it has been one of his longest lasting hits.

ReduxRating:  9/10

Trivia:  This song was written by Siedah Garrett and Glen Ballard. Garrett had auditioned for Quincy Jones around '85 to be in the group Deco and secured the spot. (The group would record tracks for the 1985 musical flick Fast Forward.) Garrett wasn't known for songwriting at the time, but it seems that Jones was trying to push her that way and invited her to a publishers meeting that took place during the sessions for Bad. Jones explained that he was looking for an anthem-like hit for the album and sent the songwriters off to do their best. Garrett then got together with songwriter Glen Ballard to try and hash out a song for Michael Jackson. Within a few days, they had written and recorded a demo of "Man in the Mirror." They rushed it to Jones, who loved the track. The trick then was to get Jackson on board. With Bad certain to be a major hit, Jackson was more interested in writing/publishing his own songs than doing ones by other writers. However, after Jackson heard the song, he decided to record it. At first, Jackson asked for some changes, which Garrett and Ballard did, but in the end, most of the changes were scrapped and the song came out nearly like it was on the demo. There were two arrangement changes that did take the song to the next level. First was the key change and the second was getting Garrett, The Winans, and the Andrae Crouch Choir to sing the gospel-styled background vocals. It ended up not only being what Jones had wanted for Bad, but it ended up being a #1 single that also became another one of Jackson's signature songs.

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Sunday, February 14, 2021

"When We Was Fab" by George Harrison

Song#:  3405
Date:  02/06/1988
Debut:  63
Peak:  23
Weeks:  11
Genre:  Psychedelic Pop


Pop Bits:  Harrison returned to the Pop chart in a big way with the #1 hit "Got My Mind Set on You," the first single from his album Cloud Nine. That song was a cover tune. This second single was an original written by Harrison with producer Jeff Lynne (of ELO fame). The nostalgic track was a hit at Rock reaching #2 while also cracking the AC Top 10 at #10. On the Pop chart, the song couldn't quite reach those heights and stalled outside of the Top 20. A third single, "This Is Love," was released, but it failed to make the Pop chart. It did, however, get to #17 Rock and #20 AC. "When We Was Fab" would be Harrison's last song from a solo studio album to reach the Pop chart. He did get one more entry at Pop in 2002, but it was a reissue of his 1970 #1 hit "My Sweet Lord" that got attention following the release of the 30th anniversary edition of his classic album All Things Must Pass. The reissue got to #94.

ReduxReview:  If the Beatles had actually collaborated with ELO, this is what I imagine it would have sounded like. Jeff Lynne poured his love of all things Beatle into this track. With Harrison and Lynne co-writing and co-producing, it did seem like elements from their respective bands were combined and put on full display. I thought it was a wonderful, nostalgic track that could easily temp listeners to revisit both the Beatles and ELO catalog. I think folks who knew the Beatles appreciated the track while those youngsters who weren't aware of the Fab Four didn't really get it and sort of ignored it following the hooky fun of "Got My Mind Set on You." Therefore, it didn't get as far on the chart as it should have. It ended up being Harrison's final solo charting single (minus that reissue) and it was a terrific song to have gone out on.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) This song is basically a reflection of the time when Harrison was in the Beatles, aka The Fab Four. The arrangement and production had tips o' tha hat to certain Beatles songs during their more psychedelic Sgt. Pepper's era around '67. The track also featured former Beatle Ringo Starr on drums. Starr also appeared in the song's video, which was directed by Godley & Creme. The other surviving Beatle at the time, Paul McCartney, was asked to be in the video, but his schedule didn't allow it. Someone in a walrus suit appears in the video playing bass as a nod to McCartney and there were rumors it was actually him, but a few years later in an interview, McCartney confirmed it was not him. Other celebs appeared in the video including Elton John, Paul Simon, Jeff Lynne, and the Beatles' former assistant Neil Aspinall. The video would go on to earn six MTV Music Video Award nominations including one for Video of the Year..  2) After Cloud Nine, Harrison formed the supergroup The Traveling Wilburys with Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison, and Bob Dylan. The band recorded a couple of successful albums, but didn't tour. Harrison then did various projects over the years. Along the way he would write songs for a new solo album, but he wouldn't concentrate fully on creating one until around 1999. This was after a bout of throat cancer in '97. Then in 2001, he was treated for lung cancer, but then discovered it had moved to his brain as well. He would pass away on November 29, 2001. Harrison's son Dhani and Jeff Lynne would then finish up what was to be Harrison's next solo album. Released as Brainwashed late in 2002, it would be a #29 gold seller in the US.

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