Saturday, November 19, 2022

"One" by Bee Gees

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  3983
Date:  07/29/1989
Debut:  73
Peak:  7
Weeks:  14
Genre:  Pop, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  After getting caught up in the disco backlash at the turn of the decade, the Bee Gees were kind of personas non grata in the US. After six consecutive #1 Pop hits between '77 and '79, nothing they were releasing in the 80s could even get close to the Top 10. They decided to lay low for a while and do other projects including writing and producing hits for other artists like Kenny Rogers, Diana Ross, and Dionne Warwick. Six years after their last regular studio album, the brothers finally returned with 1987's "E-S-P." It would do well around Europe including the UK where it went to #5. In the US, it seemed audiences weren't ready for the trio yet and the LP stalled at #96. However, with some good success in Europe, the brothers kept on going and recorded their next effort One. In the US, this title track served as the lead single. The tune, which didn't necessarily do well overseas, began to catch on. It would end up becoming their first Pop Top 10 hit since 1979 and their only one of the 80s. It did even better at AC where it reached #1. Despite the hit, it seems folks were still reluctant to buy a Bee Gees album and One stalled at #68. Still, it was a nice career resurrection from the musical grave for the trio.

ReduxReview:  I remember when this single started to gain some attention. I was looking forward to hearing it as I had liked the E-S-P album and figured this really had to be a great song since there was chatter about a comeback. After hearing the tune, I was kind of like...meh. It was a nice, easy going track that just sort of rolled along. I didn't find it all that interesting or special. Yet it began to take off and sure enough it made the Top 10. That result kind of pissed me off a bit because the main single from E-S-P, "You Win Again" (#75) was far superior and should have been their comeback hit. So I was kinda like - wait, you pop listeners and radio programmers ignored a great tune, but now y'all wanna send this lackluster track to the Top 10?  Jerks. Well, I can't be all that mad because it was great that they finally were able to score a hit. I like it a bit better these days, but it wouldn't make my list of favorite Bee Gees songs.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  This minor comeback by the Bee Gees proved to be a bit short-lived. Their next LP, '91's High Civilization, failed to chart. It was their last effort for Warner Bros. and the label did little to promote it and basically showed the trio the door. They moved over to Polydor for '93's Size Isn't Everything, but it too had a lackluster performance stopping at #153. The trio then recorded an album of acoustic covers of songs they wrote for other artists, but the label wasn't interested and shelved it. As they began to assemble a new original album late in '96, they were put in the spotlight thanks to their nomination and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The trio rode a nostalgia wave from the honor and it most likely helped their '97 album Still Waters. It would prove to be their biggest worldwide hit since their late 70s heydays. In the US, the LP would top out at #11 and go platinum. It got a boost from the #8 AC/#28 Pop hit "Alone." The trio's next LP, 2001's This Is Where I Came In would do fairly well reaching #16 in the US. However, it would prove to be their final studio effort as Maurice Gibb would die in 2003 from a heart attack while awaiting surgery.


Friday, November 18, 2022

"Bust a Move" by Young MC

Top 10 Alert!
Platinum Record Alert!
Grammy Alert!
Song#:  3982
Date:  07/29/1989
Debut:  81
Peak:  7
Weeks:  39
Genre:  Rap

Pop Bits:  Born as Marvin Young in London, but raised in Queens, New York, this rapper got signed by Delicious Vinyl while attending USC. He would record a couple of tracks that were released in '88, but they failed to chart. During that time he also worked with labelmate Tone Lōc on his debut album co-writing two big hits, "Wild Thing" (#2) and "Funky Cold Medina" (#2). With those smashes under his belt, Young MC then recorded the track "Bust a Move" and it got pushed out. The tune slowly began moving up the charts finally peaking at #7 Pop, #7 Dance, and #9 R&B. However, the single stayed quite popular and made a very slow decent. It would eventually spend 39 weeks on the Pop chart, which was quite unusual. It would also hit the platinum sales mark. When the track began to shape up as a hit, Young MC quickly recorded a debut album that would be titled Stone Cold Rhymin'. Released in September when "Bust a Move" was still climbing the Pop chart, the LP would get to #9 Pop and #8 R&B. By the end of '89 it was certified platinum. The song would go on to earn Young MC the Grammy for Best Rap Performance.

ReduxReview:  Co-writers and producers Matt Dike and Michael Ross assembled a slammin' groove for this track. It was a great vehicle for Young MC's lyrics and rap. It also featured excellent enhancements via a female singer and a hip bass player (see below). This definitely had "hit" written all over it. The track was just too catchy to ignore. It's platinum status and lengthy time on the Pop chart made it one of the most popular and memorable rap hits of the late 80s.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) This track was built from several samples, but the most prominent one came from a semi-obscure 70s San Francisco jazz-rock band named Ballin' Jack. Formed in 1969, the band was signed to Columbia Records and issued out a self-titled debut album in 1970. A mid-section portion of the opening track on that LP, "Found a Child," would be sampled and used as the driving beat behind "Bust a Move." Ballin' Jack would only place one single on the Pop chart. "Super Highway" from their debut album would hit a minor #93. The LP would get to #181. The band would record one more album for Columbia and two more for Mercury, but they didn't attract much attention. The band would break up in '75.  2) The female vocal on this track was provided by Crystal Blake, a session singer and songwriter who these days it seems works in the hospitality industry as a caterer/chef. The bass was performed by Red Hot Chili Peppers member Flea. Both would appear in the music video for the song.


Thursday, November 17, 2022

"Pride & Passion" by John Cafferty & the Beaver Brown Band

Song#:  3981
Date:  07/29/1989
Debut:  82
Peak:  66
Weeks:  7
Genre:  Rock, Soundtrack

Pop Bits:  Cafferty had not been on the Pop chart since his 1986 solo single "Hearts on Fire" (#76), which was taken from the soundtrack to Rocky IV. After that side project, Cafferty and the band returned to the studio to record their third album Roadhouse. It's first single "Song and Dance" could only get to #47 Rock while missing the Pop chart. The album then quietly and quickly disappeared. They needed something to give their career a boost and the opportunity would come in the form of another soundtrack. Having been the voice and band behind the cult flick Eddie and the Cruisers, which spawned the hit "On the Dark Side" (#7 Pop/#1 Rock), the band was approached to provide the soundtrack to the film's sequel. While Eddie and the Cruisers was initially a box office dud, it gained a huge audience via cable TV and VHS rentals and that spurred sales of the original soundtrack, which would eventually sell over three million copies. With that success, the idea of a sequel came about and Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives! went into production. Cafferty was then hired to compose the songs and record them with his band. Prior to the film being released, this first single from the soundtrack was issued out. It didn't make much of an impression and was unable to get out of the bottom half of the Pop chart. The soundtrack album would scrape the chart at #121. Both would be the last times that Cafferty would be on the charts. Cafferty and the band would continue to tour over the years.

ReduxReview:  This song was indicative of Cafferty and also the Eddie character. However, it just didn't grab your attention like "On the Dark Side" did. Plus the fact that the movie tanked didn't help. Cafferty's heartland rock sound was able to do well in the mid-80s, but by '89 it wasn't necessarily in favor, which didn't bode well for the band or the soundtrack. It's nearly impossible to follow up a cult hit like Eddie and the Cruisers, however you can't blame Cafferty for wanting to give it a go. Despite not becoming a hit, it was a pretty good tune.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  In the original film, the character of Eddie supposedly dies when his car crashes on a bridge and goes into the bay, but his body is never found, which then sets up the story of him possibly still being alive. Of course with the original film becoming a left-field sensation that helped sell millions of album, the idea of reviving Eddie sounded good to those looking to capitalize on the success of the first film and a sequel was financed. While the original producers, writers, and directors were not involved in the sequel, actor Michael Paré returned as Eddie and Cafferty came back to write and record the songs. Once released, the film was greeted with bad reviews and nearly zero interest from movie goers. It was pulled from theaters after just one week. It did not turn into a cult cable TV/VHS rental hit like the original. That seemed to put an end to Eddie, but then the label who released the two soundtracks, Scotti Bros., still tried to capitalize on the cult hit and forced out two compilation albums in the early 90s under the Eddie name with Cafferty's material. There was Eddie and the Cruisers: The Unreleased Tapes and Eddie and the Cruisers Live and in Concert. Both failed to sell.


Wednesday, November 16, 2022

"Put Your Mouth on Me" by Eddie Murphy

Song#:  3980
Date:  07/29/1989
Debut:  90
Peak:  27
Weeks:  13
Genre:  R&B, Funk

Pop Bits:  In 1985, Murphy put out his first musical album How Could It Be. It would become a #26 gold seller thanks to the #2 Pop/#8 R&B platinum single "Party All the Time." After that success, he'd return to film. He would add three more box office hits to his tally including '88's Coming to America. On a break following that flick, Murphy got back in the studio to record his second musical venture. Murphy would co-write all but two songs for the LP So Happy. Prior to its release, this first single would be issued out. Co-written and produced by Narada Michael Walden, the tune would be a hit at R&B reaching #2. Over on the Pop chart, it would fizzle inside the Top 30. A second single, "'Til the Money's Gone," would scrape the R&B chart at #75. The results left the album peaking at #22 R&B and #70 Pop. It would fail to reach gold level sales.

ReduxReview:  I'm not sure if this is an homage to Prince or a Prince parody. Either way, it didn't work. Now, I will say that the music and production was not too bad, which I assume is mostly from Walden. But then there are the lyrics and Murphy's truly awful vocal "performance" filled with Prince/Michael Jackson "oh...ah" ad libs that get really bad near the end. It seemed like Murphy was going for a legit song with slight comedic elements that perhaps poked fun at the previously mentioned superstars, but it didn't work. It sounded like a comedian letting his ego think that he's the best thing since sliced bread and whatever comes out of his mouth is gold. And I'm sure everyone in the studio was like "oh yes Mr. Murphy - that is awesome - you are on fire!," not having the guts to tell him to reel it in. This is what happens when big celebrities who can perhaps carry a tune think they can actually sing. Or as Prince might have put it, this is what it sounds like when my ears cry...for mercy.

ReduxRating:  1/10

Trivia:  Murphy was a box office king in the 80s, but when the 90s came along his films were grossing less and were not impressing critics. His days of ruling the box office were pretty much over. Murphy would have the occasional success like 1996's The Nutty Professor, which led to him starring in or doing voice overs for family-friendly fare. His more serious films failed to gain attention. In 2002, Murphy would star in the notorious box office bomb The Adventures of Pluto Nash. It was one of the most expensive flops in film history costing over $100 million and grossing just $7 million. In 2006, he scored a major comeback when he co-starred in the musical Dreamgirls. The role would earn him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. After that, he once again had a string of misses save for the critically-successful award-winning 2019 film Dolemite Is My Name. In 1993, Murphy would push out one last music album, Love's Alright. The lead single "Whatzupwitu" featured background vocals by Michael Jackson, but it would only get to #74 R&B. The album floundered at #70 R&B and failed to make the Pop chart.


Tuesday, November 15, 2022

"You Better Dance" by The Jets

Song#:  3979
Date:  07/29/1989
Debut:  92
Peak:  59
Weeks:  7
Genre:  Dance-Pop

Pop Bits:  The Wolfgramm siblings, aka The Jets, earned a gold record with their second regular studio album Magic. It got a boost thanks to a pair of Pop Top 10 hits including the #6 Grammy-nominated "Rocket 2 You." Originally consisting of eight brothers and sisters, for their next effort they would be down one with Eugene (under the name of Gene Hunt) taking off to form the duo Boys Club ("I Remember Holding You," #8, 1988). The remaining band stayed in their Minneapolis hometown and began to work on a third album with Prince/Paisley Park associate David Z. along with Don Powell. The pair had worked on The Jets' debut album. Once the new effort, Believe, was set to go, this first single was issued out. Unfortunately, it didn't attract much of an audience. The tune would fail to make the top half of the Pop chart while only reaching #28 Dance and #73 R&B. The result didn't bode well for sales of the album.

ReduxReview:  This seemed to be an attempt to retain the urban feel of "Rocket 2 You." Written by Michael Jonzun and produced by David Z., it had the pedigree to become a hit. Yet it didn't. I think it was because the song just wasn't all that catchy or memorable. David Z.'s production was solid, but the tune offered little in the way of hooks or melody. With not much for listeners to grab on to, it got ignored. Its failure on the chart pretty much brought an end to The Jets as hitmakers.

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  Included on the Believe album was the song "Under Any Moon." Written by hitmaker Diane Warren, the tune was recorded for the soundtrack to the sequel film The Karate Kid Part III. It was performed as a duet between The Jets' Elizabeth Wolfgramm and singer Glenn Medeiros. It was not issued out as a single in the US. The soundtrack album would fail to chart. The film would do modestly well at the box office though most critics panned the sequel. It would receive five Golden Raspberry Award nominations including Worst Film.


Monday, November 14, 2022

"Runnin' Down a Dream" by Tom Petty

Song#:  3978
Date:  07/29/1989
Debut:  93
Peak:  23
Weeks:  14
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Petty's first solo album, Full Moon Fever, got off to a solid start when its lead single "I Won't Back Down" made it to #1 at Rock while nearly cracking the Pop Top 10 (#12). Next up for release was this more driving rock tune. It would replicate the success of his previous single at Rock by topping that chart. Over at Pop it didn't do quite as well, but still made the Top 30. Although the album had already reached its peak of #3 early in July, this song kept sales going. By November, it would reach the double-platinum mark.

ReduxReview:  Here is a great highway/back country roads driving song. It charges full speed ahead with a great groove. It even has woo-hoo's in it. I also like how relaxed Petty's vocals were. He wasn't driving like a maniac, he was steering with purpose. It was a nice counterpoint to the anxious music. It was another quality track from Petty and from Full Moon Fever.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) This song included the line "me and Del were singing little Runaway." Petty is referring to the 1961 #1 hit "Runaway" by Del Shannon. Shannon was an inspiration for Petty and called him out in the song. The two musicians would become friends and in 1981 Petty would produce an album for Shannon titled Drop Down and Get. It would spawn one last chart hit for Shannon with his #33 remake of "Sea of Love." Shannon would pop up in an unexpected way on Full Moon Fever... which leads to  2) The first side of the LP version of Full Moon Fever ended with "Running Down a Dream." Side 2 would pick up with "Feel a While Lot Better." Of course with CDs, there is no side 1 or 2. They just contain the full track listing. Not wanting to give up the vinyl album listening experience, on the CD version of Full Moon Fever following "Running Down a Dream," Petty inserted a little break. He comes on and says "Hello, CD listeners. We've come to the point in this album where those listening on cassette, or record, will have to stand up, or sit down, and turn over the record, or tape. In fairness to those listeners, we'll now take a few seconds before we begin side two. <a minor pause> Thank you. Here's side two." While this is going on, you can faintly hear animal noises in the background. Those were provided by producer Jeff Lynne and Del Shannon. While this little interlude was only available on the CD version of the album, it would make the transfer over to the streaming world in the digital version of the LP.