Saturday, August 6, 2022

"I Like It" by Dino

Top 10 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
Song#:  3896
Date:  05/13/1989
Debut:  89
Peak:  7
Weeks:  25
Genre:  Dance-Pop, New Jack Swing

Pop Bits:  By this point in time, Dino's debut album, 24/7, had hit an initial peak of #127 on the Pop chart. It got there thanks to the title track second single getting to #42 Pop/#12 R&B. The results were not bad, but they were not great either. Dino needed a bigger hit to turn the album around and the label ended up giving this third single a try. It ended up being the right choice. After a slow three month climb up the Pop chart, the song finally cracked the Top 10. It would also do well at Dance getting to #3 while getting to #25 R&B. The single's lengthy run boosted sales and it would eventually go gold. The hit helped the album rebound and by the end of August it would reach a new peak of #34. By the fall it would be certified gold.

ReduxReview:  While I preferred the more sultry "24/7," this new jack track was quite well done and was even more radio friendly. It had a memorable chorus and the production was nice and punchy. With new jack catching on more, this tune was bound to be a hit. There's not a lot of depth or uniqueness to Dino's voice, but he carries the song just fine. It was lucky he came up with this track for the album, otherwise it might have disappeared after the second single and he might not have been able to record a follow-up.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Dino, aka Dino Esposito, would later have a song he wrote appear in a hit film and on its soundtrack album. Dino would write, produce, and play nearly all the instruments on the song "Watch Me Shine." However, he did not do the vocals. That job went to singer Joanna Pacitti. Pacitti began to pursue a career in pop music in her teens. She had some pro experience already under her belt when she starred in the 20th anniversary touring revival of the Broadway show Annie. A few years later, she got the attention of A&M Records who signed her on. One of her first tasks was to record "Watch Me Shine" for the soundtrack to the film Legally Blonde starring Reese Witherspoon. It would not released as a single, but thanks to the film becoming a hit, the soundtrack would squeak onto the chart at #171. Pacetti would do a few more soundtrack songs, but was never able to record an album for A&M. She would then sign on with Geffen and finally record her 2006 debut album This Crazy Life. Its first single, "Let It Slide," would not chart. The album failed to make the Pop chart, but it did get on the Heatseekers Album chart at #31. She ended up off the Geffen roster the following year. In 2009, Pacetti would audition for American Idol. She would pass the initial audition and make it through three rounds of the Hollywood auditions. However, after passing the third round, Pacetti was disqualified and left the show. It seems that the person who helped get her signed to A&M became an exec at 19 Entertainment, the company that produced American Idol. Pacetti's relationship with the exec and another at 19 was against the rules and she was disqualified. In 2010, Pacetti would be the lead singer for the short-lived alternative rock band City (Comma) State.


Friday, August 5, 2022

"I Want It All" by Queen

Song#:  3895
Date:  05/13/1989
Debut:  92
Peak:  50
Weeks:  10
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  After Queen's 1986 gold-selling LP A Kind of Magic, the band took a little break to do other projects. During that time, members Brian May and Freddie Mercury were experience personal issues. For May it was a divorce. For Mercury, it was his AIDS diagnosis, which was kept private at the time. Despite everything, the band continued on and in '88 got back into the studio to work up their next album The Miracle. It would take a year to record and in the spring of '89 this first single would be issued out. It would become a hit in the UK (#3) and make the Top 10 in many countries. In the US, the track would do well at Rock getting to #3, but it didn't fully catch fire in a more mainstream way and the single stopped at the halfway point on the Pop chart. Further singles would not reach any US chart. With those results, the album would get to #24 and fail to reach the gold level sales mark. It was their first regular studio album to miss going at least gold since their 1974 second album Queen II. This single would also be the band's final regular release to make the Pop chart (barring a pair of charting reissues and a live track - see below).

ReduxReview:  I remember hearing this when it came out and liking it, but not enough to buy the single or invest in the album. I hooked into it a bit more later on when diving into the band's Greatest Hits series. It was a good arena rocker with a strong, demanding chorus. I also liked the dreamy pop bridge that provided a cool break in between all the cascading guitars. Then all hell breaks loose when it goes into double-time later in the song. It really should have done a lot better on the chart, but with glam metal being the rock flavor of the day on pop radio, this more intense track didn't attract the kids. I did buy the band's next LP Innuendo and enjoyed it quite a bit. There were some gems on it including the dramatic "The Show Must Go On," which was the album's last track and and emotional one following Mercury's death.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Although Freddie Mercury's health was in severe decline, the band was able to record their fourteenth studio album Innuendo. It would be released in February of '91. Although no singles made the Pop chart, four made the Rock Top 40 including the #3 "Headlong" and that helped the album get to #30 and go gold. In late November of '91, Freddie Mercury would pass away. A few years later, the remaining band members would collaborate on a new album where they were able to take previously recorded vocals by Mercury and rework them into new tracks. The resulting LP, Made in Heaven, would be issued out in 1995. It would get to #58 in the US and go gold. In the UK, it became a #1 multi-platinum hit. No other studio album of new material has been released under the singular Queen name since.  2) Queen had an unexpected resurgence in 1992 thanks to a film. The Mike Myers/Dana Carvey SNL skit based comedy flick Wayne's World became a major success and Queen's 1975 #9 hit "Bohemian Rhapsody" gained a new generation of fans thanks to its prominent use in the film. It got so much attention that the single was reissued and it would chart again. This time around, the song would best its original peak and get to #2. Thanks to the song's success, 1977's "We Will Rock You/We Are The Champions" would also get a reissue, but it would only get to #52. Queen would make the US Pop chart one last time via a live track. At a Freddie Mercury tribute concert held in 1992, Queen would perform "Somebody to Love" (#13, 1976) with George Michael taking on the lead vocal. It would be released as a single and make it to #30.


Thursday, August 4, 2022

"Now You're in Heaven" by Julian Lennon

Song#:  3894
Date:  05/13/1989
Debut:  93
Peak:  93
Weeks:  4
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Lennon made a mark for himself with his 1984 debut album Valotte. It would be a #17 platinum seller thanks to a pair of Pop Top 10 hits including the #5 "Too Late for Goodbyes." His second album, '86's The Secret Value of Daydreaming, wouldn't do as well, but it was able to reach #32 and go gold. It would take Lennon three years to release his third album Mr. Jordan. The effort would be produced by Patrick Leonard (Madonna) and this first single would be issued out. The track would do well at Rock becoming his second #1 on that chart. It also got to #12 Dance and #27 Modern Rock. However, the tune just couldn't catch a break at Pop and it fizzled at the same position that it debuted. A second single, "Listen," would only get to #31 Rock. With those results, the album would halt at #87 and fail to reach the gold mark. The album and singles would mark the last time that Lennon would be on the US charts.

ReduxReview:  On Lennon's first album, his voice bore a striking resemblance to his father's and some of the songwriting leaned that way as well. Lennon sort of continued that on his second album, but I guess by the time he was ready to do the third he wanted to make an effort to step away from those comparisons. So instead of sounding like his dad, Lennon oddly chose to pattern his voice after David Bowie. He sang in a lower register, added inflections, and altered his delivery. The change is very evident on this first single. Right from the opening phrase, Lennon's new adapted voice sounded like a Bowie imitation. The song itself was very Bowie-esque. I actually don't mind the song, but my question is...why? Lennon it seems wasn't all that happy being constantly compared to his father, so instead of finding his own style/voice, he chooses to imitate another artist. That doesn't make sense to me. He just traded one comparison for another. It was a very strange change of direction and besides this song hitting #1 at Rock, it didn't really work. I completely understand that it is very difficult to crawl out from the shadows of a legendary parent, but others found their own voice and did it. Even Lennon's half-brother Sean did well in establishing his own sound in solo works and bands like Cibo Matto. Julian, however, just couldn't fully find the sun.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) This song contains a vocal snippet taken from a classic film. The voice of actor Robert Montgomery can be heard saying "I've never seen anything as beautiful as that, even in heaven." The dialog was from the 1941 fantasy rom-com Here Comes Mr. Jordan and the item of beauty he was describing was actress Evelyn Keyes. The film was a success and would receive seven Oscar nominations including one for Best Picture. It would win two awards for Best Screenplay and Best Original Story. The script was based on the 1938 play Heaven Can Wait. That play would also serve as the basis for another Oscar nominated film of the same name. Warren Beatty and Elaine May would adapt the story for 1978's Heaven Can Wait. That film was also a hit and would be nominated for nine Oscars including Best Picture. It would only win won for Best Art Direction. Obviously, Lennon's album was named after the 1941 film.  2) Lennon's next album, 1991's Help Yourself, would flop in the US. However, it would be Lennon's biggest success in Australia. It would be a #5 gold seller thanks to the #1 platinum selling hit "Saltwater." That single would also do well in the UK reaching #6 with the album topping out at #42. To-date, Lennon has only released two other solo albums neither of which sold well. In between time Lennon has kept himself busy working on films, photography, and books. He has had success in each medium including a trio of children's books that were all New York Times best-sellers.


Wednesday, August 3, 2022

"Once Bitten, Twice Shy" by Great White

Top 10 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
Song#:  3893
Date:  05/13/1989
Debut:  94
Peak:  5
Weeks:  26
Genre:  Hard Rock, Glam Metal

Pop Bits:  The band's 1987 third album Once Bitten became a #23 platinum seller thanks mainly to a pair of #9 Rock hits including the power ballad "Save Your Love" (#57 Pop). For their follow-up, ...Twice Shy, the band stayed the course with band members producing all the tracks and writing all but two of them. One of those exceptions was this cover tune, which served as the LP's first single. It would catch on at Rock getting to #6. The song would cross over to the Pop chart where it would debut near the bottom. The tune then clawed its way up the chart until finally cracking the Top 10 three months later. It hung around for a long while and that longevity helped sell record and the single would eventually go gold. The album would then reach #9 and quickly go gold. By the time this song peaked, the LP would be platinum. By the fall, it would be double-platinum.

ReduxReview:  With the title of their first album Once Bitten, it was kind of obvious that ...Twice Shy would follow and this song would be covered. It was actually a great decision. With the original not charting in the US (however, it was a rock radio staple of sorts), Great White had the opportunity to introduce the song to a larger audience. The band does a nice job with the song nailing Hunter's boogie rock feel while boosting up the arrangement with charging guitars and big drums. It was a solid glam metal cover and it eventually hooked a big audience. It would end up being Great White's peak moment..

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  This is a remake of a song written and originally recorded by former Mott the Hoople lead singer Ian Hunter. His version was the first single from his 1975 self-titled debut solo album. It was a #14 hit in the UK. Although the song would not reach a US chart, the LP itself would get to #50. As a solo artist, Hunter would only get one single on the US Pop chart. In 1979, Hunter would reach #68 with "Just Another Night." The associated album You're Never Alone with a Schizophrenic would reach #49. That album featured two Hunter compositions that would later become famous. First, the track "Ships" would get covered in '79 by Barry Manilow. It would be released as a single and get to #9 Pop and #4 AC. Second, the track "Cleveland Rocks" would get covered by the band The Presidents of the United States in 1997. Their version would be used as the opening theme song to the hit TV sitcom The Drew Carey Show when it entered its third season.


Tuesday, August 2, 2022

"(Between A) Rock and a Hard Place" by Cutting Crew

Song#:  3892
Date:  05/13/1989
Debut:  96
Peak:  77
Weeks:  5
Genre:  Pop, Rock

Pop Bits:  This English band's debut album, 1986's Broadcast, ended up being a #16 gold seller thanks to a pair of Pop Top 10 hits including the #1 "(I Just) Died in Your Arms." They would also earn a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist. That set them up quite well for their second album, which normally follows quickly after a major success, but then...crickets. It seems the band had done their job and recorded tracks, but for whatever reason the label and its A&R department kept stalling on working up the album and getting it released. By the time the label decided to push out their new album The Scattering, nearly two and a half years had gone by since "(I Just) Died in Your Arms" became a hit. This first single would be pushed out from The Scattering, but it failed to catch on. It would stall at #41 Rock while not able to get out of the basement of the Pop chart. A second single, "Everything but My Pride," would do well at AC getting to #4, but it failed to make the Pop chart. The track "The Last Thing" would make it to #17 AC and become the band's last song to make a US chart. The results left the album halting at a disappointing #150. The band would push a third album in '92 titled Compus Mentus, but it failed to do anything and quickly disappeared along with their recording contract. Cutting Crew would call it a day in '93.

ReduxReview:  Much of the blame for Cutting Crew's demise is placed squarely on the shoulders of the label and their lack of support and decision to keep delaying the release of the album causing a loss of momentum for the band. While that was definitely valid, I don't think it was the only reason. For me the biggest issue was that the band just didn't have a surefire hit like "(I Just) Died in Your Arms" on the LP. There were some good tracks, but none that were pop radio ready. Whether it was two years or two days between albums, I think the results would have been the same. This single, while a good song, just didn't grab your attention like "Died" or even their overlooked single "One for the Mockingbird" (#38) and it pretty much brought the band's progress to a screeching halt. 

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  In 1996, Cutting Crew's lead singer and songwriter Nick Van Eede got an opportunity to possibly front a legendary band. Van Eede auditioned to be the lead singer for Genesis following the departure of Phil Collins. A handful of vocalists were giving a shot and Eede was one of them. Ultimately, the remaining two members of Genesis selected Ray Wilson for the spot. The new trio would make one album, 1997's Calling All Stations. It would do well in the UK getting to #2, but in the US it was a flop stopping at #54 with no singles making the Pop chart. It would end up being the last studio album put out under the Genesis name.


Monday, August 1, 2022

"Satisfied" by Richard Marx

#1 Alert!
Song#:  3891
Date:  05/06/1989
Debut:  39
Peak:  1 (1 week)
Weeks:  15
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Marx's 1987 self-titled debut album became a triple-platinum #8 hit thanks to four Top 3 hits including the #1 "Hold on to the Nights." With such a success came the pressure to record a follow-up that would do just as well. After a lengthy tour, Max went into the studio and came out with Repeat Offender. It not only performed well, but would end up surpassing his debut in both peak position and sales. To help kick off the LP, this first single was issued out. It would debut inside the Pop Top 40 and eight weeks later would hit #1. It would also get to #5 at Rock. With that result, Marx was definitely on his way to beating the dreaded sophomore slump.

ReduxReview:  It was odd that the fourth single from Marx's debut album became his biggest hit to-date hitting #1. Usually, the label will try to follow it up with another single, but I think they realized that there wasn't another surefire hit on the LP and decided to call it good. It was a smart move and it set Marx up for success with this single. People were anxious for a new tune from Marx and having this rocker come on the heels of a hit ballad was the right choice. It was an exciting intro to the new album. The song had solid hooks and it played well on radio. Honestly, I had kind of forgotten about this track. It is one you rarely hear. Marx's ballad hits seem to be the ones getting the most attention, but he was able to pen some good commercial rockers along the way and this was one.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Although Marx was a solo recording star now, that didn't mean he wasn't still writing tunes for other artists. As a composer, Marx would earn a couple of hits in between his two albums. In '88, he would supply (with Fee Waybill) "Edge of a Broken Heart" for Vixen (#26 Pop). Then in '89, his co-write with Ross Vanelli, "Surrender to Me" would become a #6 hit for Ann Wilson and Robin Zander. Marx would also co-write a couple of songs with Paul Anka that Anka would record. Marx would also co-write a song with his wife Cynthia Rhodes that would be recorded by her group Animotion for their '89 self-titled album (the second line-up of Animotion, not the original group who hit with "Obsession").