Saturday, January 22, 2022

"Holding On" by Steve Winwood

Song#:  3733
Date:  11/26/1988
Debut:  71
Peak:  11
Weeks:  17
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Winwood's Roll with It album would end up being his only one to reach #1 in the US. It got there thanks to the #1 showing of the lead single title track, which was his second and final song to hit #1. After a second Top 10 with the beer ad-related tune "Don't You Know What the Night Can Do," this third single was issued out. It would go on to become Winwood's fourth AC #1 while making it to #2 at Rock. It seemed like the song was going to make the Pop Top 10, but then it stopped just shy at the dreaded #11 spot. Just as this single was debuting on the Pop chart, the album reached the double-platinum mark. More copies would sell, but not enough to match the triple-platinum sales of his previous LP Back in the High Life.

ReduxReview:  I barely remember this song. As an album track it grooved along just fine and sounded good. As a single it couldn't compete with Winwood's bigger, hookier hits. I'm surprised it nearly made the Top 10, but he was at a popularity peak at the time and with this song doing well at AC and Rock, Pop was bound to follow suit.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  The song "Roll with It" would earn Winwood Grammy nods for Record of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male, while the album would get one for Album of the Year. Winwood would lose all three, but the album would end up winning a Grammy in a technical category. It would win for Best Engineered Record, Non-Classical. That award would be handed over to Tom Lord-Alge. It was his second win in that category. He previously won for Winwood's Back in the High Life album. As part of the team that created Santana's 1999 hit LP Supernatural, Lord-Alge would win a third Grammy when the LP won for Album of the Year. His work with Winwood really boosted his career and over the years Lord-Alge has worked with top artists like The Rolling Stones, P!nk, Peter Gabriel, Dave Matthews Band, Marilyn Manson, and Sarah McLachlan. Lord-Alge's brothers Chris and Jeff also had successful careers as music engineers. Chris would earn five Grammys for his work.


Friday, January 21, 2022

"Born to Be My Baby" by Bon Jovi

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  3732
Date:  11/26/1988
Debut:  78
Peak:  3
Weeks:  20
Genre:  Hard Rock, Glam Metal

Pop Bits:  Bon Jovi's New Jersey album, their follow-up to their multi-platinum Slippery When Wet, got kicked off in a big way with the #1 hit "Bad Medicine." It was a promising start, but the band needed to keep the ball rollin' in order to keep pace with sales of Slippery When Wet. For a follow-up single, the label chose this rocker. It would do well at Pop reaching #3 to become the band's fifth Top 10 hit. It would also crack the Rock Top 10 at #7. The hit would help spur more album sales and by January of '89 it would reach the 4x platinum level.

ReduxReview:  When it comes down to it, this is basically "Livin' on a Prayer, Pt. 2." The theme of the lyrics and even some of the production were basically riffs from their previous #1 hit. The track played well at the time, but it seems to rarely get played today. Probably because it is totally overshadowed by "Livin' on a Prayer." It was nicely done, but in the long run I kind feel like - been there, heard that.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  When first recorded, this song was done in an acoustic style and it was the band's intention to keep it as such. However, producer Bruce Fairbairn convinced them to record it as a big hard rock track. The band gave it a go and ended up with a #3 Pop hit with the glam'd up version. An acoustic version of the song was later released on the 2014 deluxe edition of New Jersey.


Thursday, January 20, 2022

"When I'm with You" by Sheriff

Top 10 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
One-Hit Wonder Alert!
Song#:  3731
Date:  11/26/1988
Debut:  84
Peak:  1 (1 week)
Weeks:  21
Genre:  Pop, Rock

Pop Bits:  This Canadian band recorded their debut album in 1982. It spawned their only Top 10 hit at home with the #8 "When I'm with You." It was the third single from the LP and in 1983 it was able to crack the US Pop chart, but could only manage to reach #61. With that result, the album failed to chart. Afterwards, the band ended up having internal issues and decided to part ways in '85. That seemed to be the end of the story with band members going on to other projects and "When I'm with You" relegated to the forgotten dust bin of minor US Pop chart entries. Yet one person who didn't forget the song was local Las Vegas radio DJ Jay Taylor. On a whim, Taylor began to spin "When I'm with You" on his radio show in '88. The audience reaction was strong and immediate. It wasn't long before the song was getting picked up by other stations. With the song's popularity quickly growing, a problem arose. In addition to the band being split, their album and the single were long out of print. No one could get a copy. Word of the song's revival finally reached the band's former label Capitol who decided to reissue the single. Once made available, the song was eligible for the Pop chart and it wasn't long before the song made a re-entry and began to climb. Eventually it would claim the top spot at Pop while also hitting #1 at AC. Capitol then went ahead and reissued Sheriff's self-titled debut album. It would reach #60. Of course the unexpected hit revival of the song caught members of Sheriff off guard. It could have been a new launching pad for a second chance at stardom, but a couple of the members had no interest in reuniting and Sheriff was unable to reform and capitalize on their surprise hit. With it being their only chart entry and hitting #1 in a double run, it made Sheriff a unique one-hit wonder.

ReduxReview:  Many songs don't get their due upon first release, but a very lucky few end up getting a second chance and finally become hits. Here is one of them. It really should have been a hit back in '83, but for some reason it just didn't catch fire. Despite being a seven-year-old track, it actually didn't sound dated and fit in well with other newer hits on the radio. It was a good, sentimental song with a nice arrangement and killer vocal. I'm glad it got a second shot.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Up until this point in '88, there were only a handful of Canadian artists who hit #1 on the US Pop chart. Most were solo artist including Paul Anka, Anne Murray, Nick Gilder, Bryan Adams, and Neil Young. Prior to Sheriff getting their late #1 hit, only two other Canadian bands had topped the chart. The Guess Who were the first in 1970 with their double-sided hit "American Woman/No Sugar Tonight." The in 1974, Bachman-Turner Overdrive made it to #1 with "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet." It would be 14 years before Sheriff would be the next Canadian band at #1. It would take another 10 years before another Canadian band would make it back to the top spot. Barenaked Ladies would reach #1 in 1988 with "One Week." As of this posting date, only two other Canadian bands have topped the Pop chart. Nickelback in 2001 ("How You Remind Me") and Magic! ("Rude").


Wednesday, January 19, 2022

"Love, Truth & Honesty" by Bananarama

Song#:  3730
Date:  11/26/1988
Debut:  91
Peak:  89
Weeks:  3
Genre:  Dance-Pop

Pop Bits:  The trio's fourth album, Wow!, would make it to #44 mainly on the strength of the #4 Pop hit "I Heard a Rumour." Two more singles would follow and while both would reach the Top 10 on the Dance chart, neither was able to break into the Pop Top 40. When things were wrapped up with the album, group member Siobhan Fahey decided to depart. Apparently, she wasn't happy with the direction of the group and chose to move on with a new project (Shakespear's Sister). With her departure, the remaining two members decided to seek a replacement and found one in Jacquie O'Sullivan. In the meantime, their label thought it was a good time to issue out a hits compilation and tracks were gathered for The Greatest Hits Collection. While most of the tracks were ones done with Fahey, two of the songs from the Wow! LP were re-recorded with O'Sullivan along with this brand new track that was issued out as a single. It would get to #26 at Dance, but would only spend a few short weeks near the bottom of the Pop chart. It would end up being the trio's last single to make the US Pop chart. The hits collection would only get to #151 on the US Album chart.

ReduxReview:  By this point, the trio's formula was getting tired. They had jumped on the SAW production assembly line and the results were becoming run o' tha mill. There were no new ideas in the songs or the productions and the tunes just started to blend into each other. Bananarama started to realize things with SAW were becoming stale as they prepped their next LP and after a few tracks finally dumped the team, but by that time it was a bit too late as interest in the trio had waned. This track was okay, but it offered nothing new and therefore was quickly forgettable. It was the last gasp in the US for an oddball dance-pop trio that had some interesting and fun songs along the way, especially on their first to albums.

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) The trio's last Top 10 in the UK was a benefit single for Comic Relief. They did a remake of The Beatles' "Help!" that reached #3. For the single, the trio was joined by another trio that went by the name of Lananeeneenoonoo. The fake group was made up of comedians Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders, and Kathy Burke. That trio did a comedy sketch for a Christmas special that poked fun at Bananarama. In it, they called themselves Lananeeneenoonoo. Members of Bananarama saw the sketch and thought hit was quite funny. Someone in the Comic Relief organization then reached out to both trios asking if they would get together and do a song to benefit the organization. They did and the result was the Stock Aitken Waterman produced "Help!"  2) Bananarama would return in 1991 with the album Pop Life. It would be the only LP they would do with Jacquie O'Sullivan and it featured their last tracks with the SAW team. Three singles would reach the UK Top 30 with the LP getting to #44. It failed to do anything in the US. O'Sullivan would leave the trio afterward, so instead of getting another replacement, Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward would continue on as a duo. Over the years, they would grab a few more Top 30 entries in the UK. Fahey would rejoin the the group in 2017 for a reunion tour, but did not record any new material with Dallin and Woodward.


Tuesday, January 18, 2022

"What I Am" by Edie Brickell & New Bohemians

Top 10 Alert!
One-Hit Wonder Alert!
Song#:  3729
Date:  11/26/1988
Debut:  96
Peak:  7
Weeks:  19
Genre:  Alternative Rock, Folk-Rock

Pop Bits:  In 1985, a local Dallas folk rock outfit called New Bohemians invited one of their former high school classmates, Edie Brickell, to sit in and sing with them. From the get-go, Brickell fit in perfectly with the band and she quickly secured a permanent spot as their lead vocalist. New Bohemians would become a popular act on the Dallas folk rock/college scene and in '86 they would independently record and release a cassette album titled It's Like This. That tape along with their burgeoning popularity attracted major label attention and the band eventually signed with Geffen Records. Work began on a debut album with producer Pat Moran and by the fall of '88 Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars was completed. Four songs from their original cassette would be re-recorded for the LP including this lead single. Co-written by Brickell and band member Kenny Withrow, the song first started gaining traction at college/modern rock radio stations and by mid-October it peaked at #4 on the Modern Rock chart. That led to the song climbing the Rock chart where it reached #9. A few weeks before that peak, the song crossed over to the Pop chart. It started off a bit slow, but gained momentum and made its way into the Top 10. The quirky hit got folks interested in the band and that helped to sell albums. It would peak at #4 and eventually go double-platinum. The band was off and running in a big way, but long-term chart success wasn't in the cards. They would only get more more mid-charting single at Pop. Due to that, this lone, standout Top 10 hit would get the band tagged as a one-hit wonder (#23 on VH1's list of Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the 80s).

ReduxReview:  I think the jangling guitar riff and the opening line quickly reeled people in to this song. It was unusual, catchy, folky, and hippy-ish right off the bat. The song then unfolded with further hooks including the chorus and that distinct filtered guitar solo. It was perfect for college radio and it was that crowd that helped the song get off the ground. A few months later, the mainstream were all singing "I know what I know, if you know what I mean" thinking they are all hip and cool. The tune got my attention too and I ended up buying the album. It was a good listen, but nothing on it was as entrancing as "What I Am." In fact, I think this album might have come 'n' gone quickly if it wasn't for that song. I figured that the band was most likely not going to be Pop chart mainstays, but it did surprise me how quickly they imploded. Still, Brickell continued to maintain a successful low-key career over the years that included solo work, collaboration albums with Steve Martin, and even a Broadway musical.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) This song and the band got a boost when they were selected as the musical guest on the November 5, 1988, airing of Saturday Night Live. It was also at that show that Brickell met her future husband. As she was singing "What I Am," she noticed standing by one of the cameras superstar folk rocker Paul Simon. The glimpse of him nearly threw her off her performance. The pair met and soon began dating. They were married in '92 and would go on to have three kids. The couple had a bit of an infamous argument at home in 2014 that got them arrested on disorderly conduct charges. Apparently, Simon did something that broke Brickell's heart and after a couple of drinks things got heated and a minor physical altercation ensued that caused Simon to dial 911 (although he hung up). Brickell's mother was staying with them and witnessed the argument and apparently called the police. The couple were later a united front in court and after explaining the situation, the charges were dismissed.  2) Upon release, this song would only reach #31 in the UK. However, a remake would later do far better. The UK electronic/dance music duo Tin Tin Out (Darren Stokes and Lindsay Edwards) would cover the song in 1998 for their second full-length album Eleven to Fly. For the vocals, they would bring in Spice Girl Emma Bunton (Baby Spice). It would be released as the LPs third single and would reach #2 in the UK. It would not reach a US chart. It was the duo's biggest hit and their second UK Top 10 following another remake. For their first LP, they covered "Here's Where the Story Ends," which was originally recorded by The Sundays (1990, #1 US Modern Rock). English singer Shelley Nelson would provide the vocals on that UK #7/US #15 Dance hit.


Sunday, January 16, 2022

"Walking Away" by Information Society

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  3728
Date:  11/26/1988
Debut:  98
Peak:  9
Weeks:  19
Genre:  Synthpop

Pop Bits:  This Minneapolis/St. Paul band made an impression with their Spock-influenced single "What's on Your Mind (Pure Energy)." The song would end up being a #3 gold single that would send their self-titled debut album to #25. Just before the LP was to be certified gold, this next single would be issued out. It debuted way low on the chart, but it found an audience and eventually climbed its way into the Pop Top 10. It would also reach #15 on the Modern Rock chart, #5 Dance, and #64 R&B. It was the band's second and final time in the Pop Top 10.

ReduxReview:  While I liked this track, I wasn't so sure it was going to do well as a single. Although it had a good hook, it was a bit dark and not quite as immediately catchy as "What's on Your Mind." However, I was happy that it took off and went Top 10. The album had a couple of other good single contenders and I though that the band might be able to eke out one more Top 10, but alas it didn't happen. Still, this was a pretty great one-two-punch of hits from the band.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Like "What's on Your Mind (Pure Energy)," this song also contained snippets of dialog from the TV show Star Trek. This time around the voices heard come from Captain Kirk (William Shatner) and Scotty (James Doohan). The song opens up with Kirk saying "It is useless to resist us." That snippet came from the 1967 episode "Mirror, Mirror." Considered one of the best episodes of the original series, it was the one that introduced the concept of the "mirror universe," which would be revisited in other shows in the Star Trek franchise. Also heard in the song is Scotty saying "let's go see." That was taken from the '67 episode "Wolf in the Fold," which was more along the lines of a murder mystery with Scotty being held as the prime suspect.