Saturday, November 12, 2022

"Nature of Love" by Waterfront

Song#:  3977
Date:  07/29/1989
Debut:  95
Peak:  70
Weeks:  5
Genre:  Sophisti-Pop

Pop Bits:  This Welsh duo earned a US Pop Top 10 with "Cry" (#10), a single from their self-titled debut album. The song would do even better at AC reaching #2. For a follow-up, this next track was selected. It had been their first charting single in the UK early in '89 and it got to #63. When issued out in the US, it did about the same business staying in the lower third of the chart. It would only manage a #44 showing at AC. A third single, "Move On," would make an appearance on the AC chart at #24. By this point in time, the album had already peaked at a respectable #45.

ReduxReview:  I had to make sure I called up the right track when listening to this. Right off the bat it sounded like a leftover track from Johnny Hates Jazz. It had a distinct "Shattered Dreams" smell to it. I wouldn't call it plagiarism, but is sure sounded like the duo was channeling JHJ when writing this tune. It's not a bad track. It's nicely written and has a good arrangement, especially near the end, but since we already had "Shattered Dreams," it kind of made this track a bit of an unnecessary repeat.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  With a Top 10 hit and a Top 50 album, the duo's prospects were better in the US than back home in the UK where the LP had very tepid results (#103). One half of the pair, Chris Duffy, wanted to stay on in the US following their tour to see if Waterfront could capitalize on their initial success. However, the other half of the duo, Phil Cilia, ached to get back home. Facing two different paths, the pair chose to go their own ways. Duffy would stay on with Polydor Records and record a solo album released in '92 titled All the Time in the World. It failed to generate any attention and it brought his solo career to an end. He then became a staff writer for EMI and one of his co-writes (with Glen Ballard) "Dark Side of My Heart" would be picked up and recorded by TV star/singer David Hasselhoff. It appeared on a self-titled compilation from Hasseloff that was released in the US in '95. Not long after, Duffy would return to the UK and would eventually do freelance PR work in the hospitality industry. Phil Cillia went on to be a creative director at a UK media company. The pair would reunite and perform together again beginning in 2000. They also started co-writing songs and in 2011 they released the album Ghosts of the Good, which had a more modern country feel.


Friday, November 11, 2022

"Love Cries" by Stage Dolls

Song#:  3976
Date:  07/29/1989
Debut:  96
Peak:  46
Weeks:  13
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  This trio from Norway officially kicked off as Stage Dolls early in '83. They started to make a name for themselves on the club circuit and eventually got picked up by Mercury Records. They recorded a debut album titled Soldier's Gun that was released in Norway in '85. While it sold a few copies, it wasn't the major breakthrough the band was hoping for. They moved over to the indie Grappa label for their '86 album Commandos. It would do far better peaking at #8 in Norway. With the band doing well at home, a US distribution deal was sought and Big Time Records picked up the album. It wouldn't chart in the US, but it did gain a little attention. The success at home and rumblings of some potential in the US led to the band signing with Polydor. Their third album would be a self-titled effort that would become their biggest success. Released in '88, it would become a #3 gold seller in Norway. This led to a US distribution deal with Chrysalis and the album would be issued out in the summer of '89. This first single would be released and it would do well at Rock getting to #14. The tune would cross over to Pop where it got near the Top 40 mark. A second single, "Still in Love," would be a minor #37 entry at Rock. The album would make it to #118.

ReduxReview:  These guys seem to have been lumped in with the other late 80s glam metal bands, but I think they had more in common with Foreigner or Journey than Poison or Mötley Crüe. Their look was glam at the time, but their sound was more Kiss-leaning AOR. This single sounded like the band listened to a lot of early 80s American rock. That opening guitar riff sounded like a leftover from '82. Regardless, the track wasn't too bad. It had a nice chorus and the production was good. It had mainstream appeal and that helped it nearly crack the Pop Top 40. The band had talent and ability, I just think it might have been more appreciated a few years earlier.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  The band's success would continue in Norway with their #5 fourth album Stripped. It featured their biggest hit at home, the #3 "Love Don't Bother Me." The video for that song featured an up-n-coming model by the name of Kate Moss. Unfortunately, the LP didn't catch on in the US and it failed to chart. The loss of momentum killed off any further success in the States. The trio would remain popular at home and around Europe.


Thursday, November 10, 2022

"Nightrain" by Guns N' Roses

Song#:  3975
Date:  07/29/1989
Debut:  97
Peak:    93
Weeks:  5
Genre:  Hard Rock, Glam Metal

Pop Bits:  The band earned their fourth consecutive Pop Top 10 with "Patience," the first single from their stop-gap album G N' R Lies. The song would get to #4 and go gold. That result helped the LP reach #2. It would eventually sell over 5 million copies. Thanks to the success of "Patience," a follow up single was in order, but it seems the label didn't think there was a viable on G N' R Lies so they looked back to the band's debut album Appetite for Destruction. By this point in time, that LP had just fallen out of the Top 40 and had sold over seven million copies. Basically, its time in the sunshine was over and since so many folks owned the album, issuing another single from it was a definite risk. The label took the chance with this track from Appetite. It did not pay off. It got to #26 Rock while being just a blip at the bottom of the Pop chart. The release didn't help either album and that wrapped up the 80s for Guns N' Roses.

ReduxReview:  This single was really unnecessary. Yeah, there was nothing that could be pushed out from G N' R Lies, but that was okay. Just wrap it all up and then leave fans anxiously awaiting something new from the band. This ode to the inexpensive high APV fortified wine Night Train that the band used to consume made for a good album track, but it definitely wasn't single material. Pop stations weren't going to pick this up as it was a little rough and it didn't have the memorable hooks that propelled their other hits. The band would rally back with the great artistic statements of Use Your Illusion I and II, but then things imploded after that.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  While plotting their next move, Guns N' Roses would stay active recording two songs that would be featured on a couple movie soundtracks. The first was a cover of Bob Dylan's 1973 track "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" (#12 Pop/#5 AC), which first appeared on the soundtrack to Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (Dylan would co-star in the film and compose the soundtrack). The G N' R version would be included on the soundtrack to the Tom Cruise vehicle Days of Thunder. While it would not be officially released as a single, the track would make it to #18 on the Rock chart. Then the band would provide the original song "You Could Be Mine" for the soundtrack to the 1991 action flick Terminator 2: Judgement Day. Released as a single, it would get to #29 Pop/#3 Rock and go gold. It would also be considered the first single from one of the group's two new albums. G N' R threw caution to the wind and decided to capitalize on their popularity and creativity by simultaneously releasing two albums of material on the same day. Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II were released in mid-September of '91. They would debut at the #1 and #2 spot on the Album chart with II taking the top spot thanks to it including "You Could Be Mine." It was the first time an artist had two new albums debut in the top two positions on the chart in the same week. The albums would spawn five singles with the epic "November Rain" doing the best getting to #3 Pop and going gold. Each album would sell over seven million copies. For their next effort, the band released a covers album titled "The Spaghetti Incident?" It was not well received and would only reach #4 and go platinum. After that, things kind of went off the rails for the band and it didn't help that grunge was in full swing. A new album was always "in the works," but there would be side projects, lineup changes, and other issues that contributed to the delay. Finally in 2008, Chinese Democracy would be released under the Guns N' Roses name. However, by that point the only true original member remaining was Axl Rose. The album would garner some good reviews and would reach #3 and go platinum. While a follow up has yet to materialize, in 2016 original members Slash and Duff McKagen would rejoin the band. In 2011, the band would be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.


Wednesday, November 9, 2022

"Heaven" by Warrant

Top 10 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
Song#:  3974
Date:  07/22/1989
Debut:  78
Peak:  2
Weeks:  19
Genre:  Hard Rock, Glam Rock

Pop Bits:  This band headed up by singer/songwriter Jani Lane were doing well with their debut album Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich. By July of '89 the LP had initially peaked in the Top 30 and gone gold. It was helped along by their debut single "Down Boys," which made the Pop Top 30 (#13 Rock). For their second single, the label chose to push out this power ballad. It would tip things into high gear for the band. The song would nearly top the Pop chart while getting to #3 Rock. It would sell well enough to go gold. The success of the tune turned the album around and it would end up at a new peak of #10. It would quickly go platinum and then double-platinum in January of '90.

ReduxReview:  This big, lighter waving ballad was the right song at the right time for Warrant. With glam metal in its heyday, this was a no-brainer for single release. It was an amped up pop tune with a sing-a-long chorus that would be an easy sell to mainstream radio. I thought it was fine at the time, but it didn't really catch my ear. Didn't hate it, didn't love it. I appreciate it a bit more today. It was a memorable tune and it only took a listen or two to realize that this was going to be a major hit.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Prior to joining Warrant, lead singer/songwriter Jani Lane and drummer Steven Sweet were in a band called Plain Jane. Originally formed in Florida, the band took a chance and moved to California in '84. They started to make a name for themselves on the Hollywood club circuit and along the way they recorded a few demo songs. When Lane and Sweet decided to join up with Warrant, the band chose to record one of the Plain Jane demo songs that Lane had written. That tune was called "Heaven" and it would go on to be the band's biggest hit. Another Plain Jane demo song that Lane had written, "Sad Theresa," would be recorded by Warrant for their 1992 album Dog Eat Dog.


Tuesday, November 8, 2022

"Kisses on the Wind" by Neneh Cherry

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  3973
Date:  07/22/1989
Debut:  79
Peak:  8
Weeks:  14
Genre:  Dance-Pop

Pop Bits:  This Sweden-born singer/songwriter made a splash in the US with "Buffalo Stance," the first single from her debut album Raw Like Sushi. The song would hit #1 at Dance while getting to #3 Pop. It would end up being a gold-selling single. While that tune was still riding in the Pop Top 30, this track would debut. It would climb the chart and was able to jump up into the Top 10 for a week. Two weeks prior to this song hitting #8, the album would reach its peak of #40. While the LP would sell well, it would be unable to reach the gold mark.

ReduxReview:  This Top 10 pretty much kept Cherry from becoming a one-hit wonder. Although she would grab two more minor chart entries, the gold success of "Buffalo Stance" certainly would have far overshadowed those and most likely got her one-hit wonder status. Luckily, this tune became a hit. However, it didn't have the legs of "Buffalo Stance" and has pretty much been forgotten. That's too bad as it was an energetic, catchy, radio-ready track. I think it was when this single came out that I bought the album.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Cherry's birth name was Neneh Mariann Karlsson. She would later change her last name to Cherry after her step-father, American musician Don Cherry. When she was a young child, Cherry's mother and father would divorce. Her mother, artist Monika Karlsson, would marry jazz trumpeter Don Cherry. He would  be an in-demand jazz musician who recorded and performed with various groups while also maintaining a solo career. Don Cherry would do a lot of work with famous jazz saxophonist Ornette Coleman. In fact, Cherry would earn his lone Grammy nomination for writing the liner notes to 1993 Ornette Coleman box set (which contained recordings that featured Cherry in the band). Don would pass away in 1995. Neneh would not be the only person in the family to score a hit. Her step-brother Eagle-Eye Cherry (son of Neneh's mother and Don Cherry) would step out for a solo career in 1997. He would become a one-hit wonder of the 90s when his only Pop chart entry, "Save Tonight," would get to #5 (#8 Modern Rock). His debut album Desireless would be a #45 platinum seller. "Save Tonight" would earn Cherry a Grammy nod for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male. Unfortunately, just like his step-sister, his second album would fail to chart.


Monday, November 7, 2022

"Closer to Fine" by Indigo Girls

Rated 10 Alert!
Song#:  3972
Date:  07/22/1989
Debut:  85
Peak:  52
Weeks:  9
Genre:  Contemporary Folk, Folk-Rock

Pop Bits:  Amy Ray and Emily Saliers had known each other since attending the same grade school in DeKalb County, Georgia. They became closer friends while attending high school and that is when they began to play music together. After attending separate colleges for a bit, both went to Emory University and started to perform together again. They became the Indigo Girls in '85 and that year recorded an indie single followed by a self-titled EP. Over the next couple of years they honed their writing and performing skills. In '87, the duo would record a self-released debut album titled Strange Fire. That LP helped them secure management and it eventually led to them getting signed by Epic Records. A self-titled second album was recorded and released in February of '89. The duo quickly gained attention and by the end of May, the album had climbed up into the Top 50. Then this first single began to catch on and started to climb the charts. Eventually it would get to #26 Modern Rock, #48 Rock, and #48 AC. On the Pop chart the tune would nearly make the Top 50. The album would finally peak at #22 and by the fall it would go gold (it would be certified double-platinum later in '97). The album would yield the duo two Grammy nominations including one for Best New Artist (they lost out to the scandal-ridden Milli Vanilli). They would win the Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Recording.

ReduxReview:  I truly don't know how many times I've played the Indigo Girls album. It has to be in the hundreds. I honestly don't know what spurred me to buy the CD. I probably read something about them that caught my attention and I picked it up. It was a lucky find. I fell in love with their songs, their voices, and their harmonies. From that point on, I became a huge fan. Their next album Nomads Indians Saints I probably played just as much. I was a little surprised when this single caught on. It was a wordy, cerebral folk tune and although there were a few other contemporary folks breaking through at the time (Suzanne Vega, Tracy Chapman), it certainly wasn't the type of fare that was making waves on pop radio. It would have been cool if it made the Top 40, but it still did well and led more people to the album in droves. Those folks kept showing up album after album and the duo maintained solid sales throughout the 90s without a hit single. The pair were meant to make music together and the formula they came up with was perfect and is has served them well for a long time.


Trivia:  Although the Indigo Girls would only have one more single make a minor appearance on the Pop chart ('92's "Galileo," #89), they would have a run of five highly successful albums (4 studio, 1 live) in the 90s that made them stars. Three of those albums would go platinum, two gold (their success would lead to their debut album Strange Fire to go gold as well). Two of their studio albums would also crack the Top 10. Known for their live performances, political activism, and dedication to causes, Ray and Saliers have maintained a large fan base for many years. Their albums continued to chart and they have racked up five further Grammy nominations. While Ray and Saliers arrange and perform all their songs together, with very rare exception do they actually write together. For the most part they will write and do the lead vocal on their own songs. This gives each person a chance to shine, yet because they collaborate on arrangements, it all sounds cohesive and it has provided the Indigo Girls with their own unique sound and niche.