Saturday, January 7, 2023

"Love in an Elevator" by Aerosmith

Top 10 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
Song#:  4021
Date:  09/02/1989
Debut:  56
Peak:  5
Weeks:  16
Genre:  Hard Rock, Glam Rock

Pop Bits:  After cleaning up their act, Aerosmith came back in a big way with their '87 album Permanent Vacation. Featuring the #3 hit "Angel," the album would peak at #11 and eventually sell over 5 million copies. The trick after a major comeback is to try to keep the momentum up and Aerosmith made the attempt with their tenth studio album Pump. Once again working with producer Bruce Fairbairn, the LP would be ready to go in the fall of '89. To kick things off, this first single was released. It would be a big hit at Rock where it would become the band's first song to top that chart. Over on the Pop chart, the tune would become their fourth Top 10 hit and first gold record. In turn, the album would make it to #5. It was Aerosmith's first Top 10 album since 1976's Rocks (#3). Within a short couple of months, the LP would go platinum. The song would earn the band a Grammy nomination for Best Hard Rock Performance.

ReduxReview:  For Permanent Vacation, Aerosmith's main writers Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, were coerced into writing with hit makers like Desmond Child and Diane Warren to help get them going on a more mainstream track. It ended up working and it seems the guys took what they learned ran with it for Pump. While they worked with others on a few tracks, the majority of the album was the Tyler/Perry show including this first single. From the opening riff to the whoa-yeah's to the hooky chorus, there was just no doubt this was going to be a hit. Tyler and Perry had found a way to keep Aerosmith's signature blues-rock sound while amping up the hooks and commercial viability. Fairbairn's production was nice-n-chewy and suited the band well. Pump built on what the band established with Permanent Vacation and it was great to see that their comeback wasn't just a one-and-done fluke.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  In 1998, Aerosmith was big enough and mainstream enough (thanks to the #1 Armageddon soundtrack hit "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing") that Disney, whose Touchstone Pictures released Armageddon, hit up the band to be the featured act on their new Rock 'n' Roller Coaster themed ride. The coaster would be installed in three parks - Disney's Hollywood Studios (California), Walt Disney World (Florida), and Walt Disney Studios Park (France). The indoors coaster was know for its immediate launch (0 to 58 in 3 seconds) and three inversions. Along the way speakers in the cars would play Aerosmith songs. While "Love in an Elevator" would play, it was redone as "Love in a Rollercoaster" just for the ride. The Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Featuring Aerosmith opened in 1999 and has been a mainstay at the two US parks for years.


Friday, January 6, 2023

"Dr. Feelgood" by Mötley Crüe

Top 10 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
Song#:  4020
Date:  09/02/1989
Debut:  65
Peak:  6
Weeks:  16
Genre:  Hard Rock, Glam Metal

Pop Bits:  By 1988, Mötley Crüe were riding high (literally) and living fast. Their '87 album Girls, Girls, Girls had been their most successful to-date hitting #2 and eventually selling over 4 million copies. It was boosted by the album's title track, which was also their biggest hit yet getting to #12. While their music and live performances made them stars, their hard drinking and drugging lifestyle made them infamous. It got to the point where those close to the band thought someone would eventually die. Bassist Nikki Sixx nearly did in '87 when he overdosed on heroin. He survived, but the band's management wasn't having it. Faced with an ultimatum, the band agreed to go to rehab. After getting sober, the band then went into the studio with producer Bob Rock to cut their fifth studio album Dr. Feelgood. The renewed focus paid off as the LP would become for many the band's best effort. It would also become their commercial peak spending two weeks at #1 and eventually selling over 6 million copies. This first single would get things kicked off. It would quickly make the Rock Top 10 getting to #7. On the Pop chart it would become the band's first to make the Top 10. It would sell well enough to go gold. It would also earn the band a Grammy nomination for Best Hard Rock Performance.

ReduxReview:  This track was crunchy and rough, yet had enough hooks to make it memorable and palatable enough for mainstream radio. Bob Rock's production work took the band to another level and they never really sounded better on vinyl. With the band at a creative and popularity peak, this track was definitely going to do well. The fact that it finally got them in the Top 10 proved their power at the time.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  When this song first came out, some people may have thought this was a very odd song for the band to cover. However, it was not a cover tune, it was an original by band member Mick Mars and Nikki Sixx. Yet there was another popular song called "Dr. Feelgood" written and recorded by a legendary star. For her first Atlantic Records album in 1967 titled I Never Loved a Man the Way That I Love You, Aretha Franklin co-wrote (with husband Ted White) and recorded "Dr. Feelgood." The 12-bar blues style tune was a highlight from the LP, but was not released as a single. Of course, the famous hit from the album was her version of "Respect," which hit #1 and Pop and R&B. Later in 1971, Franklin would do a three night stint a San Francisco's famous Fillmore West. At the second show, Franklin performed a 7+ version of "Dr. Feelgood" that became somewhat legendary. She basically took the Fillmore to church in a way only Aretha could. The concerts were recorded and edited down to the 1971 album Aretha Live at Fillmore West. That LP would be a gold-selling #1 R&B/#7 Pop hit.


Thursday, January 5, 2023

"The Best" by Tina Turner

Song#:  4019
Date:  09/02/1989
Debut:  77
Peak:  15
Weeks:  14
Genre:  Pop, Rock

Pop Bits:  After the highly successful tour supporting her '86 platinum #4 LP Break Every Rule, Tina Turner took a well deserved break before heading back into the studio. Work would commence later in '88 and while a couple of her previous collaborators would contribute a track or two, the majority of Turner's seventh solo album, Foreign Affair, would be produced by Dan Hartman. To kick things off, this rousing track was selected as the first single. As it climbed the chart, it seemed destined to make the Top 10, but it unexpectedly stopped shy at #15. It would also be a minor entry at AC getting to #43. The results would only provide a small boost to the LP, which would stall at #31. It was a disappointment coming off of two Top 10 albums.

ReduxReview:  Here is one of those songs that has had a longer and better life after its somewhat weak showing on the Pop chart. It would eventually become another signature song for Turner and one of her most recognizable hits. It has been used in movies, on TV shows, in commercials, and at a plethora of sporting events. When I first heard it, I thought it was going to be an easy Top 10'er. It was a big anthemic track with a positive message that everyone could relate to in some way. Yet for some reason, it fizzled early in the US. Elsewhere, the song was a Top 10 hit with the album also performing well (it was Turner's first #1 album in the UK). Why US radio and listeners said "meh" to the tune is unknown, but luckily it found a way to keep alive quite well all these years.

ReduxRating:  9/10

Trivia:  This was a cover of a song originally recorded by Bonnie Tyler. Written by the team of Mike Chapman and Holly Knight, the tune was apparently offered to a male artist that Knight was fond of, but it was rejected. The song then found its way to Tyler who recorded it for her '88 album Hide Your Heart (titled Notes from America for the US release). Desmond Child produced the album and "The Best" was issued out as the first single, but it didn't do much of anything except for a #10 showing in Norway. Since it wasn't a hit and hearing potential in the song, Turner decided to give it a go. She asked Chapman and Knight for a couple revisions including a new bridge and got it recorded. Edgar Winter provided a sax solo for Turner's updated version. Oddly, Tyler's Hide Your Heart album included a cover of a song that Turner first recorded. "Don't Turn Around" was a track that Turner recorded during sessions for her Break Every Rule album. It would not make the LP, but would be the b-side to her #2 hit single "Typical Male." Tyler would release her version as a single, but it did not chart. However, two other artists would have hits with the tune. In 1988, Aswad would reach #1 in the UK with his version (#45 US R&B). Then in 1993, Swedish group Ace of Base would get to #4 US Pop/#7 US AC/#5 UK with their version. Also on Tyler's album was the original version of "Save Up All Your Tears." Again, Tyler would release it as a single, but it would not chart. Then in 1991, Cher would cover the tune and would be able to reach #37 on the Pop chart (#16 AC).


Wednesday, January 4, 2023

"Love Shack" by The B-52's

Top 10 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
Rated 10 Alert!
Song#:  4018
Date:  09/02/1989
Debut:  84
Peak:  3
Weeks:  27
Genre:  Pop, Rock

Pop Bits:  The mid-80s were a particularly bad time for The B-52's. The biggest blow to the band was when guitarist Ricky Wilson died in '85 due to complications from AIDS during the recording of their fourth album Bouncing Off the Satellites. Following his death, the band attempted to rally and finish the album. In '86, the somewhat disjointed effort was released. While it would spawn a pair of Dance Top 10s, the LP fizzled at #85. The loss of Wilson and their dwindling popularity then led the band to go on an indefinite hiatus. A couple years later in '88, guitarist/keyboardist Keith Strickland began writing some new tunes and it wasn't long before the band started to reform and collaborate. This time around, the songs that they were coming up with had less quirk and more maturity than their previous works. For their initial set of tracks, the band worked with producer Nile Rodgers. Then they switched to producer Don Was for the balance of the songs. Cosmic Thing was set to go in the summer of '89 and its first single, "Channel Z," was issued out. While it would not make the Pop chart, the song became a hit with the college crowd and it would end up reaching #1 on the Modern Rock chart. It was an encouraging start, but things would explode for the band with this next single, which quickly became their second #1 at Modern Rock. It also reached #7 at Dance. That exposure along with a popular MTV video helped the tune get on the Pop chart. It would not only become the band's first Pop Top 40 hit, but their first Top 10. The song was popular enough to linger on the chart for a long while and that helped the single go gold. In turn, the album would also become their first to crack the Top 10 (#4). Just after "Love Shack" reached its peak, the album would go platinum.

ReduxReview:  The 80s generated plenty of iconic songs, but this one is easily among the best. It still remains a party staple and continues to get a lot of airplay. It is infectious, fun, hooky, quirky, and has unforgettable, quotable lines. It was also great that the band got hooked up with producer Don Was. His work took the B's songs to a new level. The arrangement for this track that included the horns was spot-on and Was' production was crisp and punchy. The band never sounded better. They went from being that oddball "Rock Lobster" Athens band to major mainstream players with Cosmic Thing and it was a well-deserved hit.


Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) There were a couple of inspirations for this song that the band wrote together. For singers Fred Schneider and Cindy Wilson, they thought about a local Athens, Georgia, haunt that was out in the country called the Hawaiian Ha-Le. It was an oddball place where the band used to hang out. For singer/keyboardist Kate Pierson, she thought of her own little cabin in the woods where she lived in the 70s. The band would hang out and jam there and it is reportedly where one of their signature tunes, "Rock Lobster," was born. Apparently, both places had tin roofs, which led to one of the most famous lines from an 80s hit, "tin roof, rusted." That bit of the song was a happy accident. It seemed that during the recording of the song, Cindy Wilson was doing her vocal part when the track suddenly stopped. However, she kept on and finished the line she was on. That sudden stop of the music followed by Wilson's line sounded so cool that they worked the break into the track.  2) The song's memorable video became a favorite on MTV. It would end up winning two MTV Music Video Awards including for Best Group Video. Shot at a friend's house in upstate New York, the video featured a cameo by a soon-to-be drag superstar. RuPaul was a struggling drag queen in Atlanta when she got cast as an extra for the "Love Shack" video. At one point, it seems that RuPaul had to take charge. The director wanted to do a Soul Train style line dance, but no one really knew how to do that. So RuPaul took charge and taught them how to do the famous Soul Train line. In late '92, RuPaul's career would take off thanks to the #45 Pop/#2 Dance hit "Supermodel (You Better Work)." She'd reach a new level of stardom starting in 2009 with the hit Emmy-winning TV show RuPaul's Drag Race.


Tuesday, January 3, 2023

"Puss N' Boots/These Boots (Are Made for Walkin')" by Kon Kan

Song#:  4017
Date:  09/02/1989
Debut:  93
Peak:  58
Weeks:  8
Genre:  Dance-Pop, Synthpop

Pop Bits:  This Canadian duo's first single, "I Beg Your Pardon," got picked up by Atlantic Records and ended up doing well getting to #3 Dance and #15 Pop. With that result, Atlantic tapped the duo for a full album. Titled Move to Move, the LP was ready for release in the summer of '89 and the track "Harry Houdini" was selected as the next single. While it would get to #39 in Canada, the tune failed to reach the US charts. Atlantic then went ahead and released this third single. It ended up grabbing a little bit of attention, but could only manage to reach #25 at Dance while stopping shy of the halfway mark on the Pop chart. The album's title track would be the next single, but it would not reach the charts. The results didn't do anything to promote sales of the album and it would fail to make the chart.

ReduxReview:  This probably should have been the second single. It might have done a bit better. However, it may not have mattered as the momentum built up by "I Beg Your Pardon" was lost when it took months before the duo could get the album done and out. This track was similar to their first hit with various samples and interpolations included such as riffs from Led Zeppelin's "The Immigrant Song" and Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'." It was an interesting listen, but it wasn't as catchy or fun as "I Beg Your Pardon." Still, it probably should have gotten inside the Top 40.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Later in '89, lead vocalist Kevin Wynn would choose to switch careers and leave Kon Kan. That left songwriter/producer Barry Harris to carry on. He would release the album Syntonic in 1990. Harris would take over some lead vocal duties while also hiring in others to also take a turn at the mic. Unfortunately, singles failed to chart in the US and the album quickly disappeared. Kon Kan would then be left off the Atlantic roster. Harris would then sign on with the Canadian label Hypnotic and in 1993 issued out a third Kon Kan album Vida!... in Canada only. The album failed to gain any attention and quickly disappeared. Harris would then close up Kon Kan and move on. He would collaborate with other artists and DJs for a while before teaming up with Chris Cox to form the remix/production team Thunderpuss. They would remix a long list of singles for many A-list artists including tracks by Madonna, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, and Whitney Houston. Along the way, Harris would release some singles under his own name. Two of them would become Dance hits. 2000's "Dive in the Pool" and 2001's "I Got My Pride" would both reach #2 on the US Dance chart. Both featured vocals by session singer Pepper Mashay.


Monday, January 2, 2023

"I Feel the Earth Move" by Martika

Song#:  4016
Date:  09/02/1989
Debut:  96
Peak:  25
Weeks:  11
Genre:  Dance-Pop

Pop Bits:  Former Kids Incorporated star Martika scored a big hit with "Toy Soldiers," the second single from her self-titled debut album. The song would reach #1 and go gold. For a follow up, this cover tune would be selected. It didn't catch on quite as well stopping inside the Pop Top 30 while getting to #20 Dance. By this point in time, the LP had already peaked at #15 and gone gold.

ReduxReview:  This Carole King chestnut gets a dance-pop makeover and overall it's not too bad. The production is meaty and Martika sounds good. I guess the question would be - did we really need this remake? I don't think so, but that could be said about a lot of cover tunes of famous hits. Obviously the label didn't hear another hit on the LP and probably requested a cover tune as a potential single to promote. While this one was better than some recent awful covers, it didn't elevate the tune and in the end was forgettable.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) This is a remake of a song originally written and recorded by Carole King. The tune would be one half of a double a-sided single (along with "It's Too Late") that would reach #1 in 1971. The tracks were from King's Grammy-winning classic album Tapestry. That LP would reach #1 and remain there for 15 consecutive weeks, which still remains a record for a female artist.  2) Martika would return in 1991 with her second album Martika's Kitchen. It was a stylistic departure from her dance-pop oriented debut LP with elements of jazz, R&B, and Latin music. Perhaps most interesting of all were four tracks written and produced by Prince. Apparently Prince was sent a book of lyrics and ideas culled by Martika. From there, he wrote and recorded four songs and sent them back. Martika and her crew would then supply and additional overdubs along with her vocal take. One of those songs, "Love...Thy Will Be Done," would be the LP's first single. The gospel-ish track would become Martika's second and final Pop Top 10 hit (#10). The album's title track, also a Prince-based tune, would be the second single, but it didn't fully ignite and stalled at #93. No other singles would reach the chart. That left the album stalling at a minor #111. After everything wrapped up from the album, Martika would choose to walk away from the music business. She would return in the early 2000s as a backing vocalist and songwriter. Then in 2003, she and her husband Michael Mozart (aka Nikki Lee) would form the duo Oppera and would record a couple of albums. Billed as Nikki, Mozart had his own solo brush with fame in 1990 with the single "Notice Me" (#21 Pop/#11 AC).