Saturday, December 10, 2022

"What I Like About You" by Michael Morales

Song#:  3998
Date:  08/12/1989
Debut:  88
Peak:  28
Weeks:  13
Genre:  Pop, Rock

Pop Bits:  Morales got a bit of a break when the first single from his self-titled debut album, "Who Do You Give Your Love To," cracked the Pop Top 20 (#15). It was a good start, but Morales needed something a little better to really kick off sales of his album. This cover tune was selected to be the follow up single, but it wouldn't do as well. It would stop just inside the Pop Top 30, which wasn't a bad result, but the minor hit did little to help the album, which ended up peaking at #113.

ReduxReview:  This may not be the case, but my guess is that the label didn't hear another potential hit within the tracks Morales wrote and recorded for the album and perhaps pushed for a cover tune to help promote the LP. It seems logical since Morales wrote, performed, and produced most everything on the album save for Roy Thomas Baker producing three tracks including this one. In general, Morales stayed fairly true to the original, but replaced The Romantics' garage rock sound for a more slick late 80s production. It was fine, but there was nothing special about it. My hope was that anyone who first heard the song through Morales would go back and discover the superior classic original.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  This is a remake of a song originally recorded by The Romantics in 1979. Written by three of the band members, the song was the first single taken from the band's self-titled debut album. While the song would only reach #49 on the Pop chart in 1980, it would end up becoming a rock radio staple. Morales' version was able to do better than the original on the chart, but it quickly disappeared soon after its run whereas the original continued to get played over the years. Several artists have covered the song including the Aussie band 5 Seconds of Summer and a version by Poison, which was the first single from their 2007 covers LP Poison'd!. However, Morales has been the only other artist beside The Romantics to reach the Pop chart with a version.


Friday, December 9, 2022

"Need a Little Taste of Love" by The Doobie Brothers

Song#:  3997
Date:  08/12/1989
Debut:  92
Peak:  45
Weeks:  9
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  In 1989, a version of The Doobie Brothers reunited and recorded their first album in nearly a decade. Cycles would end up being a modest success reaching #17 and going gold mainly on the strength of the #1 Rock/#9 Pop single "The Doctor." For a follow-up single, this next track was selected. It would do well at Rock getting to #5, but it would falter at Pop missing the Top 40 while getting to #27 AC. A third single, "South of the Border," would only make the Rock chart at #30. Overall the results were positive and it prompted the Doobies to keep moving forward.

ReduxReview:  The band gave this older funk-rock track an early 70s Doobie sound and the results were not too bad. It jammed along okay and it seemed to fit rock radio just fine. However, it wasn't the catchiest of songs and that along with its ol' school approach didn't do much for its mainstream prospects. In general, I like this tune slightly better than "The Doctor," but it still wasn't anything great or memorable from the band.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) This is a remake of a song originally recorded by The Isley Brothers in 1974. Written by the Brothers and band member Chris Japser, the song would be included on their #1 R&B/#14 Pop album Live It Up. It would not be released as a single.  2) The Doobie's second album for Capitol Records, Brotherhood, would arrive in 1991. Its first single, "Dangerous," would reach #2 at Rock, but fail to make the Pop chart. A second single, "Rollin' On," would make it to #12 Rock. With those results, the album stalled at a minor #82. It was a big disappointment following their previous success with much of the blame shoved Capitol's way for not promoting the album. Capitol's response was to drop the band. The Doobie's would then focus on their live shows for the balance of the 90s. Former member Michael McDonald would briefly rejoin for a tour in '95. Nine years after Brotherhood, the band would record the album Sibling Rivalry. It would fail to chart. Later in 2014, the band would push out Southbound, the first album to feature Michael McDonald as a member since 1980's One Step Closer. It would do fairly well peaking at #16. The Doobies would continue to tour over the years with various lineup changes. In 2020, they would be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.


Thursday, December 8, 2022

"What About Me" by Moving Pictures

Song#:  3996
Date:  08/12/1989
Debut:  93
Peak:  46
Weeks:  17
Genre:  Pop, Rock

Pop Bits:  In the late 80s, there was an odd trend of reviving lesser known charting songs and giving them a second chance. Sometimes it paid off as when Sheriff's 1983 #61 Pop entry "When I'm With You" suddenly went to #1 early in 1989. Other times the venture didn't quite yield the hoped for results as with this reissue from the Australian band Moving Pictures. Originally released in 1982, the single made it to #29 on its initial run. However, it racked up an unusually long 26 weeks on the chart. Then in the summer of '89, someone somewhere began to play this tune again and it started to catch on. Geffen Records caught wind of the revival and secured the rights to reissue the single, which had originally been issued out by Elektra Records in the US. It would re-enter the Pop chart and slowly climb, but it would end up stopping short of the Top 40. However, like on its first chart run, the single spent a lengthy time on the chart. With both singles being the exact same song, the total weeks on the chart for the tune was 43. At the time, this tied the record for the song with the most weeks on the Pop chart with Soft Cell's "Tainted Love." With the song only getting to #46 Pop/#41 AC on its second run, it didn't lead to the band reuniting or prompt a re-release of the band's debut album Days of Innocence, which originally got to #101 back in 1982.

ReduxReview:  It is still a mystery to me as to why this didn't go Top 10 on its first run. My guess is that the tune slowly spread across the country, which kept it active on the chart, but it was never able to find a time where it was consistently a big hit in enough markets to push it further. Therefore it had to settle for longevity rather than a higher chart position. No matter as it was still a great song and I'm glad it got a revival, but again it should have done better.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) After Moving Pictures had a bit of success in the US in '82, they had planned to do a tour in the States. However, it came along at a time when Elektra Record was going through changes and after the dust settled the tour was cancelled and their distribution deal gone. Being highly successful back in Australia, they went ahead and recorded their second album, 1983's Matinee. It didn't do as well as their #1 debut LP peaking at #16 and spawning a lone Top 40 entry. The band continued to tour for a few years, but eventually broke up in '87.  2) In 2004, this song would become a #1 hit for a second time in Australia, but by a different artist. The runner-up contestant on the finale of the first season of the competition show Australian Idol, Shannon Noll, would perform the tune on the series in September on 2003. After coming in second in the finale, Noll recorded the song and pushed it out as his debut single in January of 2004. It would debut at #1 and stay there for four weeks. It would become the best selling single in Australia that year. It was also the first time in Australian chart history that two different artists hit #1 with the same song.


Wednesday, December 7, 2022

"Lay All Your Love on Me" by Information Society

Song#:  3995
Date:  08/12/1989
Debut:  94
Peak:  83
Weeks:  8
Genre:  Synthpop

Pop Bits:  After a pair of upbeat Pop Top 10 hits from their self-titled debut album, Information Society released the ballad "Repetition" for a third single. It faltered and peaked at a minor #76. Still feeling there was life left in the album, the band's label went ahead and released this fourth single. Although it got a little bit of attention at Dance reaching #23, the song would only spend a couple months near the bottom of the Pop chart. By this point in time, the album had already peaked at #25 and gone gold.

ReduxReview:   This was a good cover tune that perhaps could have benefited from a heartier remix. With "Repetition" not connecting, the band really needed something punchy and immediate to win back radio and listeners. I always thought the track "Tomorrow" could have been another hit, but instead the label went with this cover. It was fine, but it just needed an extra boost to really give it a push. Instead it just fell flat. I really didn't care for their next album upon release, but I've connected with it a bit more these days and it definitely has its merits. Still, it's not nearly as good as their synthpop debut.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) This is a remake of a song originally recorded by ABBA in 1980. It was included on their #17 gold album Super Trooper. It would not be released as a single until the spring of '81 when a remix of the tune began to gain attention in clubs. In the US, it would only be a 12" single combined with two other Super Trooper tracks. The new mix would end up reaching #1 on the US Dance chart. It did not make the Pop chart.  2) For Information Society's next album, 1990's Hack, they chose to be more experimental. They would use even more samples and loops on the LP than found on their debut. There were also short segues between several of the tracks. Of course "experimental" usually means less commercial and Hack certainly leaned that way with edgier tracks that weren't necessarily in line with the catchy synthpop of their debut. However, the band understood there had to be a couple of songs with chart potential and one of them was the lead single "Think," which was more in-line with their previous Top 10s. While it would reach #5 on the Dance chart, it was less successful at Pop where it stopped at #28. That left the album peaking at #77. The band would have one more major label release with 1992's Peace and Love, Inc. It would fail to chart, but did feature the #10 Dance title track. Over the years there would be various line ups of Information Society. The original trio would fully reunite in 2008 and go on to record a few albums.


Tuesday, December 6, 2022

"Lay Down Your Arms" by The Graces

Song#:  3994
Date:  08/12/1989
Debut:  95
Peak:  56
Weeks:  9
Genre:  Pop, Rock

Pop Bits:  After the break up of The Go-Go's, guitarist Charlotte Caffey kept busy working with former bandmate Belinda Carlisle on her solo albums. Caffey would write or co-write nine songs that would appear on Carlisle's first two LPs, one of which went gold, the other platinum. Caffey would also perform on each album. It was a nice side gig, but Caffey had ambitions to do her own thing and she formed The Graces with Meredith Brooks and Gia Ciambotti. The trio would get signed to A&M and record a debut album titled Perfect View. This first single would be issued out and it would garner a little attention peaking just outside of the Pop Top 50. Unfortunately, further singles failed to chart and that left the album stopping at #147. The trio would end up getting dropped by A&M and eventually split in 1992.

ReduxReview:  It's funny this song popped up on the chart. Just a couple weeks ago I revisited this album. I bought the CD back in the day and finally loaded it up. Being a huge Go-Go's fan, I was buying most anything the former members pushed out. Perfect View wasn't exactly perfect, but it was a nicely done album that had some solid tracks including this first single. The dark, driving tune should have at least cracked the Top 40. It may not have been Top 10 material, but it could have done better. If it had, then the title track second single might have had a chance. I think the trio had something and might have been able to break through with a second album, but they never got that opportunity. The LP is definitely worth seeking out.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  After The Graces ended, Meredith Brooks took a break from music, but then chose to restart her solo career (she had previously recorded an indie self-titled debut album in 1986 for Ariola Records that seemed to get a limited release in Mexico). Brooks would secure a deal with Capitol Records and record her second solo effort, 1997's Blurring the Edges. Its first single, "Bitch," would become a big hit reaching #2 Pop and going gold. The album would become a #22 platinum seller. "Bitch" would end up earning Brooks two Grammy nominations. Unfortunately, besides one other mid-chart single, Brooks would be unable to capitalize on her breakthrough hit. Her follow-up album failed to chart and that left Brooks off of the Capitol roster. Because of her lone Top 10, Brooks would get tagged as a one-hit wonder.


Monday, December 5, 2022

"When the Radio Is On" by Paul Shaffer

Song#:  3993
Date:  08/12/1989
Debut:  97
Peak:  81
Weeks:  8
Genre:  Pop

Pop Bits:  This multi-talented singer, songwriter, musician, actor, conductor, etc., is perhaps best known for being David Letterman's bandleader and second banana, a job he held from 1982 through the end of Letterman's late show run in 2015. Born in Canada, Shaffer got his first break when he became the musical director for the Toronto production of Godspell, a show that featured pre-SNL/SCTV alums Gilda Radner, Martin Short, Eugene Levy, Dave Thomas, and Andrea Martin. That gig led him to working on a Broadway show in New York and then a spot in the house band for Saturday Night Live. Save for a year, Shaffer would be with the show from '75 to '80. Not long after that, he got hooked up with Letterman. Over the years Shaffer would record with numerous artists, appear on TV shows and in films, and compose songs for others including the 1982 #1 Dance hit "It's Raining Men" by The Weather Girls. However, the one thing Shaffer had not done was record his own solo album. That changed when Capitol Records issued out Shaffer's debut LP Coast to Coast. Recorded throughout '88 in multiple studios, Shaffer used his musical connections to get as many famous singers and musicians to contribute on the tracks. The LP featured a mix of originals (some penned or co-penned by Shaffer) and covers plus two live tracks. For anyone familiar with Shaffer from Letterman, the selections and plethora of contributions was not out of character for him. To kick things off, this first single was issued out. It featured nine vocalists including Shaffer, Dion, Carole King, Ellie Greenwich, and the Fresh Prince himself, Will Smith. The tune got a little bit of attention and was able to crash the Pop chart for a couple months. However, it wasn't enough to sell albums and it failed to chart. On the bright side, it earned Shaffer his first Grammy nomination. The instrumental track "Late Night," which was the studio version of the Letterman show theme song written by Shaffer, would get a nod for Best Pop Instrumental Performance.

ReduxReview:  I get that this oddball rap/sung doo wop influenced tune was meant to be a sort of nostalgic tribute to hearing music on the radio via Shaffer's kooky persona. However, it really didn't excuse the fact that it was a big kitchen sink mess. There was just too much going on. The rap sections were painful to hear and didn't fit. The myriad of voices really made no sense except for Shaffer to capitalize on the names involved. Then trying to wrap it all up in some kind of late 80s beats production made it all even worse. I could hear that there was probably an original idea and perhaps even a good song underneath all the chaos, but it was completely lost under the weight of it all. Let's face it. As talented as Shaffer is, he just wasn't meant to be a solo artist unto his own. He's better as a supporting player and personality.

ReduxRating:  2/10

Trivia:  While Coast to Coast was Shaffer's first solo album, it wasn't his first where he was given top billing. In 1977, Shaffer left his gig at SNL to co-star in a TV sitcom. The show was called A Year at the Top and Shaffer co-starred along with Greg Evigan. The script was based on Faust and had Shaffer and Evigan as two struggling musicians who make a pact with the devil's son to have one big successful year. The show was for CBS and the executive producer was music impresario Don Kirshner. It seems Kirshner and CBS were expecting the show to be a hit, so a soundtrack album was recorded. The show debuted in September of '77 and it flopped. It was cancelled after five episodes. Despite the show's demise, the album had already been produced so it was released as A Year at the Top by Greg & Paul. With little to promote it, the LP quickly disappeared along with the show. Shaffer would return to SNL for a few more seasons. Evigan would quickly get picked up to star in hit trucker show B.J. and the Bear, which lasted for three seasons. Evigan would co-star in another three season show, the sitcom My Two Dads, and grab a lot of guest spots on various TV shows.