Saturday, April 16, 2022

"Your Mama Don't Dance" by Poison

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  3808
Date:  02/18/1989
Debut:  56
Peak:  10
Weeks:  14
Genre:  Glam Rock, Hard Rock

Pop Bits:  Poison got their peak moment on the Pop chart with the #1 gold selling power ballad "Every Rose Has Its Thorn." The hit gave a boost to the associated album Open Up and Say...Ahh!, which by this point had peaked at #2 and hit the 4 million sales mark. A follow-up single was necessary so the label chose to push out this remake (see below). It did well becoming the band's fourth Pop Top 10 while also getting to #39 Rock. It would be the fourth and final single from the album. The band then went back into the studio to record their third album, 1990's Flesh and Blood. Four of its singles would make the Pop Top 40 with two of them getting into the Top 10; "Unskinny Bop" (#3) and "Something to Believe In" (#4). Both singles would also go gold while the album would reach #2 and go triple platinum. Then the rock music landscape suddenly changed and grunge was in while glam rock was out. Poison was a victim of the sea change and their next album, 1993's Native Tongue could only get to #16 and go gold. It had only one Pop chart single with the #50 "Stand." It would become their final Pop chart single. The band's heydays were over, but through trials and turmoil they continued to record and tour over the years. As of this posting date, the four members of the band during their prime hit making days were still together.

ReduxReview:  This swaggering, boogie-based rock 'n' roll tune was a good fit for Poison with the song's rebellious lyrics inline with the band's rough and tumble ways. The song had always been a crowd pleaser and fans who saw the band live ate it up. While I definitely prefer the more jovial retro rock original, Poison did do well in making the song their own by giving it a more lascivious, in-your-face reading. It earned them a Top 10, but in the long run their other hits would have longer legs.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  This is a remake of a song originally written and recorded by Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina. Their 1972 version became the duo's biggest hit reaching #4 Pop/#19 AC and going gold. It was from their self-titled second album that got to #16 and went platinum. The pair had written the tune a couple years earlier while waiting around in the studio for others to arrive. It was sort of a fun little lark that they came up with and while they didn't record it, they began to perform it in their shows. It always got a strong reaction, so they decided to put it on their second album. It would end up becoming their biggest hit and lone Pop Top 10. They would release four more albums (two gold, one platinum) with two of them making the Top 10. They would part ways in '76 with each heading out on a solo career. Messina would only be able to put a couple of albums on the chart as a solo artist, but Loggins would end up being one of the biggest music stars of the 80s thanks in large part to his hit songs from movie soundtracks.


Friday, April 15, 2022

"One" by Metallica

Grammy Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
Rated 10 Alert!
Song#:  3807
Date:  02/18/1989
Debut:  76
Peak:  35
Weeks:  15
Genre:  Heavy Metal, Thrash Metal

Pop Bits:  This metal quartet's beginnings go back to 1981 Los Angeles when drummer Lars Ulrich put an ad in a paper looking for other metal musicians. One person who answered was guitarist James Hetfield. Five months later, the first iteration of Metallica was born. Joining Ulrich and Hetfield prior to the recording of their first album for the indie Megaforce label, 1983's Kill 'Em All, was guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Cliff Burton. While Kill 'Em All would only reach #155, it garnered the band solid reviews and helped to expand their audience. Their next effort, 1984's Ride the Lightning, would also be well received and get to #100. It was then that Elektra Records came along and signed the band. The backing of a major label helped when it came time for their third album, 1986's Master of Puppets. It would become the band's first to crack the Top 30 (#29) and go gold. With their career on the upswing, the band then had a setback. A tour bus accident ended up killing Burton. Metallica nearly called it quits, but decided to move ahead with a replacement and hired in Jason Newsted. The new lineup would record their fourth album ...And Justice for All. The epic work was the band's longest yet coming it at 65 minutes, yet that didn't stop record buyers who sent the album to #6 a mere two weeks after its release in the fall of '88. It quickly went platinum. However, the band wasn't quite done with the album yet. They would film a video for the track "One" and it became an instant hit on MTV. The song was released as a single and while it didn't garner a ton of airplay due to its 7+ minute running time (although there was an edited version for radio), it sold well and was able to crack the Pop Top 40 (#46 Rock). A little over a year later, the single would be certified gold. Metallica had broken through to the mainstream with their uncompromising speed/thrash metal sound. Of course their career would hit its peak with their 1991 classic Metallica, which would hit #1, sell over 16 million copies, and win a Grammy.

ReduxReview:  Okay, so thrash/speed metal was definitely not in my wheelhouse in the late 80s. I was barely stretching my ears over the glam metal hits of the day so the intense assault of guitars and drums from Metallica were a bit much for me. That came to an end with this song. I remember seeing the video for "One" on MTV and it totally blew me away. The movie scenes combined with the band's performance, lyrics, and the song's theatrical arrangement just gave me chills. It was so awesome. I immediately ran out and got the single. It wasn't long before I got the album as well. While I didn't become a huge thrash metal fan, Metallica did open my eyes and I would get albums from other speed/thrash metal bands. Still, Metallica were different. I connected with them more than other artists of the genre. Of course when Metallica came out next, I was all over it. Yet it all started with this song, which still gives me thrills and chills. Beyond epic.


Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) "One" is about a soldier who lost his arms, legs, jaw, sight, and hearing after a landmine blast, yet his mental capacity stayed intact. He remained alive with no way to communicate and praying for death. The lyrics were based on the 1939 novel Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo. Trumbo would later write a screenplay and direct a film version of the book in 1971. It starred Timothy Bottoms. When it came time for Metallica to shoot a video for the song, a first for the band, they wanted to use dialog and scenes from the film in the video. While they would initially pay royalty fees for use of the film, the band later chose to just buy the rights to the film so they could use what they wanted from the film without having to pay royalties.  Johnny Got His Gun received mixed reviews upon initial release and did not do well at the box office. It might have stayed a relatively obscure and forgotten film, but then Metallica's video gave it new attention and it became a cult flick.  2) The timing of this single led to it becoming nominated for a Grammy in the Best Metal Performance category. It was the first year for that category and Metallica would win the award. While deserved, it was also somewhat of a consolation prize from the previous year's bungle. In 1989, the Academy created a new category called Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance Vocal or Instrumental. Metallica would be nominated in the category for ...And Justice for All. They were expected to win over AC/DC, Iggy Pop, Jane's Addiction, and Jethro Tull. Tull was such a long shot to take the award that their label told them not to make the trip to attend the awards. They didn't and in one of Grammy's biggest upsets, they won. The backlash was immediate and swift with many saying Jethro Tull didn't even belong in the category. The next year, the Grammy listened and decided to split the category in two. There was Best Metal Performance, won by Metallica, and Best Hard Rock Performance, which was won by Living Colour. Metallica would win the Best Metal Performance Grammy three years in a row and would win it two more times. Oddly, they would also later win a Grammy in the Best Hard Rock Performance category.


Thursday, April 14, 2022

"Room to Move" by Animotion

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  3806
Date:  02/18/1989
Debut:  88
Peak:  9
Weeks:  18
Genre:  Pop, Soundtrack

Pop Bits:  This band headed up by Bill Wadhams and Astrid Plane scored a memorable hit in 1985 with "Obsession." The single would get to #6 and it would help their self-titled debut album reach #28. A second album, Strange Behavior, fared less well (#71), but the band was given the opportunity to record a third album. By that point in time, only three original members remained the group - Wadhams, Plane, and bassist Charles Ottavio. As sessions began, things fell apart. Plane and Ottavio (who would later marry) were dismissed from the band. Then Wadhams, who had been the band's main songwriter, decided to depart due to the label not letting him write/contribute songs to the new album. With three original key members gone, the label could have just called it a day on Animotion. However, they decided to keep guitarist Don Kirkpatrick and keyboardist Greg Smith and then augment them with two new lead singers. Actress/singer Cynthia Rhodes was hired in along with former Device frontman Paul Engemann. Flanked by session musicians, the new lineup recorded a second self-titled album. Not surprising, all tracks save for one on the LP were by outside writers including this first single. The tune found an audience and snaked its way up into the Pop Top 10 (#46 AC). The hit didn't necessarily ignite album sales and it would stall at a low #110.

ReduxReview:  When I first heard this song back in the day, it sounded so familiar, but I couldn't quite figure out why. Back then there was no internet to quickly look up things, so I did a little sleuthing and found out who wrote the song. Then it dawned on me - I actually owned the original version (see below). I had the album it was originally on and then it made sense. I like both versions. The original leaned towards blue-eyed soul while Animotion's take on it was more high-energy pop, which did make it a good candidate for single release. It was a catchy tune with energetic production. Having the female/male lead vocals was also a good choice. While this era of the band was really Animotion in name only, at least this hit helped to keep the one-hit wonder tag at bay.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Triple Shot!  1) This is a remake of a song originally written by Simon Climie, Rob Fisher, and Dennis Morgan and recorded by Climie Fisher. It was included on the duo's 1987 debut album Everything. It was not released as a single. Everything had reached the Top 10 in many countries thanks to its hit single "Love Changes (Everything)." However, in the US the song only got to #23 and the album stopped at #120.  2) As an actress/dancer, Cynthia Rhodes started to get noticed when she secured a role in the 1983 sleeper hit Flashdance. That led to her getting a leading role opposite John Travolta in the Saturday Night Fever sequel Staying Alive. She would also get a good role in another sleeper hit, 1987's Dirty Dancing. It was after that film that Rhodes was hired on for Animotion. She ended up being the only band member to write a song that appeared on the album. Rhodes co-wrote "The Way Into Your Heart" with her soon-to-be husband and newly minted solo star Richard Marx. The pair had met years earlier when Marx was recording a demo song for Staying Alive (the song didn't make the cut). However, they didn't started dating until a couple of years later. Rhodes would appear in the video for Marx's first hit, '87's #3 "Don't Mean Nothin'." After Animotion dissolved, Rhodes appeared in one more film, but then left the business to raise a family with Marx. The couple would divorce in 2014.  3) This song was selected for use in the '88 Dan Aykroyd/Kim Basinger sci-fi comedy flick My Stepmother Is an Alien. Animotion's song did far better than the film, which became a box office dud. The soundtrack album failed to chart despite the hit.


Wednesday, April 13, 2022

"Never Had a Lot to Lose" by Cheap Trick

Song#:  3805
Date:  02/18/1989
Debut:  92
Peak:  75
Weeks:  6
Genre:  Power Pop

Pop Bits:  Nearly a decade after scoring their first Pop Top 10 hit, the #7 "I Want You to Want Me," Cheap Trick finally found their way back into the upper reaches of the charts with their album Lap of Luxury. It would be a #16 platinum seller thanks to a pair of Top 10 hits including the #1 "The Flame." A third single, "Ghost Town," would get near the Top 30, so the label went ahead and pushed out this fourth single. It did little for the band or the album spending only a few weeks in the bottom quarter of the Pop chart. It was also a minor entry at Rock getting to #45.

ReduxReview:  This was a pretty good power pop tune that was written by band members Robin Zander and Tom Petersson, but it really wasn't a viable single candidate. However, I'm not sure any other of the remaining tracks on the album would have done any better. I'm guessing the label wanted to try and eke out another hit to sell a few more albums, but they really should have just called it three and done.

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  With Lap of Luxury reviving the band's career, it afforded them a bit more leeway to do what they wanted for their follow up, 1990's Busted. Members would co-write all but two tracks on the album, which was a change from the outside writer contributions all over Lap of Luxury. Unfortunately, it didn't quite pay off. The LP's first single, "Can't Stop Fallin' in Love," did fairly well reaching #12 Pop/#4 Rock, but a second single topped out at #50 Pop. Then further singles failed to make the Pop chart. The results left the album stopping at #48 and missing the gold sales mark. Their long-time label Epic was not impressed with the outcome and that left the band off of their roster. Cheap Trick signed on with Warner Bros. for 1994's Woke Up with a Monster, but it could only manage a #123 showing and once again the band was without a label. They would go the indie route after that and release several albums over the years. Their best showing during that time came in 2016 when Bang, Zoom, Crazy...Hello reached #31. That boost was most likely due to the band's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that year.


Tuesday, April 12, 2022

"Halleluiah Man" by Love and Money

Song#:  3804
Date:  02/18/1989
Debut:  93
Peak:  75
Weeks:  7
Genre:  Pop, Jazz-Pop, Rock

Pop Bits:  This Scottish quartet rose from the ashes of another band, Friends Again. Singer/songwriter for the group James Grant decided to form another band with two of his former band mates along with a new bassist. Love and Money was born and thanks to their connection with Mercury Records via Friends Again, they were able to quickly sign with the label in '85. A first single, "Candybar Express," was issued out in '86. It was a minor entry on the UK chart at #56, but it did well on the US Dance chart getting to #10. A debut album titled All You Need Is... would follow, but it failed to chart despite spawning two more lower charting singles in the UK. The results seemed fine for Mercury and the band was allowed to record a second album. Late in '88, Strange Kind of Love would be ready and this first single issued out. It would be a minor hit in several countries (#63 UK) before getting some attention in the US in the spring of '89. The song would nearly crack the AC Top 40 at #44 while spending a few weeks in the bottom quarter of the Pop chart. In turn, the album would get to #175. Further singles failed to chart in the US, however the title track would become the band's biggest hit in the UK reaching #45.

ReduxReview:  This song sounded like a leftover track from the Tears for Fears album The Seeds of Love. There was an air of sophistication around the track with its jazzy chord progressions and precise production. Part of that came courtesy of Gary Katz, who famously produced the first seven albums by Steely Dan. It was a change from their new wave early days with Friends Again and even from the INXS rock-soul sound of their first single "Candybar Express." The song was a slick, easy listen that could easily appeal to fans of late 80s sophisti-pop. It had some nice guitar work as well. Was it the most catchy, memorable single? No, but it was definitely a nice tune.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Friends Again was a Scottish New Wave band that formed in 1981. They would sign on with Mercury Records and in '83 would release three singles. The only one to chart in the UK was "State of Art," which was a minor blip at #93. An EP with that same title would be issued out in '84 and it would do better getting to #59. Mercury then let the band assemble a debut album titled Trapped and Unwrapped, but neither it nor a single released would chart. Not long after, the band would break up. Three of its member would then go on to form Love and Money.  2) After Strange Kind of Love did fairly well, the band was given the opportunity to record a third album. They prepped one titled The Mother's Boy, but it was not well received by the label. Surprisingly, the band was given another chance and in 1991 they were able to push out Dogs in the Traffic. Only one single from the LP, "Winter," would make the UK chart (#52). That along with positive reviews sent the album to #41. The band would run into more label issues when they began their fourth album, so they left and chose to complete and release it on an indie label. Love and Money would then part was in 1994.


Monday, April 11, 2022

"Heaven Knows" by When in Rome

Song#:  3803
Date:  02/18/1989
Debut:  95
Peak:  95
Weeks:  2
Genre:  Synthpop

Pop Bits:  This trio nearly cracked the Pop Top 10 with their single "The Promise." It stalled just shy at the #11 spot (#1 Dance/#45 AC). The hit helped the album sell a few copies and it reach #84. For a follow-up, this next track was selected for release. It did fine on the Dance chart getting to #14, but is would barely be a blip on the Pop chart spending a very short two weeks near the bottom. A third single, "Sight of Your Tears," would miss the Pop chart, but became a minor #40 entry at Dance.

ReduxReview:  When you have such an indelible hit as "The Promise," you better have something just as good or better to follow it up. Unfortunately, When in Rome didn't have that second solid single. This one was probably the best of the bunch, but it wasn't nearly as catchy or memorable as "The Promise." Its minor two weeks on the chart along with the band more or less folding before a second album could be done left the trio as a one-hit wonder of the 80s.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  In 1990, internal issues within the trio came to a head and vocalists Andrew Mann and Clive Farrington chose to dismiss keyboardist Michael Floreale. Mann and Farrington tried to carry on, but in the end they lost their recording contract. Meanwhile, Floreale had moved to Texas and began working on film and TV music. The two factions kept to themselves and it seemed When in Rome was just a one-hit wonder memory. Then in 2003, Floreale was contacted about the use of "The Promise" in an upcoming film. Floreale reached out to the other two and agreements were made for the song to get used in the 2004 film Napoleon Dynamite. The film became a sleeper hit and it generated renewed interest in "The Promise" and When in Rome. In 2006, Floreale would take advantage of the song's revival and with vocalist John Ceravolo would begin to tour at When in Rome II. A few years later, Mann and Farrington would chose to do the same touring under the name When in Rome UK. That didn't seem to sit well with Floreale who chose to trademark the When in Rome name in 2010. Legal issues would then follow and after the dust settled, Floreale could tour as When in Rome II while his former bandmates had to use the lengthy moniker Farrington+Mann Original Members of When in Rome UK. In 2015, Floreale would release a self-titled album under the When in Rome II name. Both groups remained active touring and would be on the bills of several package tours of 80s artists.