Saturday, July 16, 2022

"For the Love of Money" by BulletBoys

Song#:  3879
Date:  04/29/1989
Debut:  87
Peak:   78
Weeks:  6
Genre:  Hard Rock, Glam Metal

Pop Bits:  BulletBoys formed when three members of another L.A. metal band, King Kobra, decided to strike out on their own. After finding a drummer, the band began hitting the club circuit and quickly found themselves signed to Warner Bros. They began work on a self-titled debut album with Van Halen producer Ted Templeman. The LP was finished by the fall of '88 and a first single, "Smooth Up" (listed as "Smooth Up in Ya" on the album), was issued out. The tune was initially unable to chart, however the video did well on MTV and copies of the album began to sell. It would reach its peak of #34 on the chart in February of '89 without any support via a charting single. By that point this second single had been released and it began to climb the Rock chart. It would peak at #30 and not long after that the album would be certified gold. Those results along with more MTV exposure would help the single get on the Pop chart. The tune would hang around for just a few weeks and peak in the bottom quarter. Still, BulletBoys had pulled off the feat of achieving a gold album without the aid of a significant hit song.

ReduxReview:  Several glam metal bands of the era included soul/blues elements in their songs, but a minor few actually recorded covers of older R&B hits like this one. The money was in songwriting and publishing, so while many bands would perform covers in their shows, they typically recorded tunes they composed. I'm not sure why BulletBoys chose to record this classic. Maybe it was one they did in their shows or perhaps it was proposed by their label or producer Templeman. Whatever the case, the results are...odd. I can't say that it was a bad attempt, but I'm not sure that this song was really needing a glam metal makeover. At times the tune is barely recognizable. I read a review that called it "spectacularly awkward" and I do think that sums it up. Perhaps a case of so-bad-it's-good? While I like the beefy, Van Halen-ish Templeman production, the remake doesn't do much for me. This wouldn't be the band's only strange cover. On their next album they would do a version of the Tom Waits oddity "Hang on St. Christopher" (a song I love). It would be a far better cover attempt than this weird round peg/square hole track.

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  This is a remake of a song written by Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff, and AnthonyJackson, and originally recorded by The O'Jays. Their 1973 version would reach #3 R&B and #9 Pop. It would be a gold-selling single that earned The O'Jays a Grammy nod for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Duo or Group. The O'Jays had been together since 1958 and recorded singles and albums throughout the 60s. However, besides a lone R&B Top 10 single, the group was not having a lot of success on the charts. That changed when they signed on with Philadelphia International in 1972. Their first album for the label, Back Stabbers, would go gold as would the #1 R&B/#3 Pop title track single. The song and album began a streak of hits throughout the 70s for the group. In all, they would get six Pop Top 10s including one #1 ('73's "Love Train") and twenty-five R&B Top 10s including nine #1s.


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