Thursday, April 7, 2022

"Second Chance" by 38 Special

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  3800
Date:  02/11/1989
Debut:  78
Peak:  6
Weeks:  21
Genre:  Soft Rock

Pop Bits:  The band's eighth album, Rock & Roll Strategy, was having difficulty matching the results of their previous four albums, which went either platinum or gold. The title track was able to get to #5 at Rock, but it stalled at a low #67 at Pop. They needed something to turn things around and ended up pushing out this ballad as the next single. It paid off quite well with the song reaching #2 Rock while becoming the band's second and biggest Pop Top 10 hit. It would also be their one and only song to make the AC chart where it went all the way to #1. It would end up being the #1 AC song for the year. While the hit did give the album a little boost, it still could only reach #61 and fall short of going gold. It was the band's worst performing LP since their second effort in 1978.

ReduxReview:  It's so weird that I have to tag a 38 Special song as soft rock. Like several bands from the 70s and early 80s who sold millions of albums via stadium rock hits (a la Foreigner and Journey), 38 Special slowed their roll a bit later in their career and began recording mainstream pop ballads. It would pay off in a hit, but at a bit of a cost. The associated albums wouldn't do as well as earlier classics and long time fans would sometimes signal disapproval with the band's direction. 38 Special certainly felt this. Despite this song being their biggest hit, the album didn't meet expectations and that left them off of the roster of their long-time label A&M. It is tough to adapt to what is popular at the time and keep going, so I think these band's did what they could to keep an audience. This song is well-written and performed and it is an easy tune to hear and enjoy. The part I have a hard time with is that it is 38 Special. Even though it was kind of a new era for the band with new leader Max Carl, it just didn't fit their sound. It worked out chart-wise, but in the long run I think if you ask folks to name a 38 Special song, they will say "Hold on Loosely" or "Caught Up in You." This one would probably elicit a response like "oh, they did that?"

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  This beginnings of this song date back to 1983 when band members Jeff Carlisi and Cal Curtis wrote and recorded a demo titled "I Never Wanted Anyone Else But You." They thought it might be a good song for 38 Special, but the band's lead singer at the time, Don Barnes, nixed it saying that it just didn't feel or sound like a 38 Special song. Although it was probably disappointing for Carlisi and Curtis not to get the song recorded, in the end it was a good thing. After Barnes left the band in '87, Max Carl was hired in as the new lead singer/songwriter. Once Carl was on board, Carlisi and Curtis revived their old tune and played it for Carl. While discussing the lyrics and the guy portrayed in the song, Carl just happened to say "yeah, maybe the guy needs a second chance." That off the cuff comment spurred Carl's creativity and he ended up writing a new set of lyrics to the tune. The band got it recorded and it ended up being their biggest hit.


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