Saturday, February 18, 2023

"Don't Ask Me Why" by Eurythmics

Song#:  4055
Date:  09/30/1989
Debut:  81
Peak:  40
Weeks:  9
Genre:  Pop

Pop Bits:  The duo's sixth album, '87's Savage, signaled a decline in popularity. The LP stopped at #41 and failed to reach gold-level status mainly because none of its singles was able to crack the Pop Top 40. Nearly two years later, the pair would return with their next effort We Too Are One. In their UK homeland, the album was seen as a return to form and it would hit #1. In the US, it would only do slightly better than Savage getting to #34. That was mostly due to this first single, which just barely made the Pop Top 40 and got to #12 at Modern Rock. It would end up being the duo's final single to reach the US Pop chart.

ReduxReview:  I was always surprised this track didn't do better. The mood of it along with the opening pizzicato strings was reminiscent of their #4 hit "Here Comes the Rain Again." It chugged along quite well and featured a haunting vocal by Lennox. It was a chilly and mature track that I loved. The song was the first single released in the US, but over the in the UK the first release was the upbeat workout "Revival." That tune was a bit more bluesy and forceful, but I think "Don't Ask Me Why" was the better choice. It doesn't rank among their most memorable singles, but it should have done a whole lot better on the chart. Eurythmics remain one of my all time favorite artists.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) After We Too Are One, the duo of Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart would split. Each would go on to solo careers. Then in 1998, the pair began to write together again following a performance they did for an event. The following year they would put out their eighth album Peace. It would be a #25 gold seller in the US. A remix of the track "17 Again" would hit #1 on the US Dance chart. The pair would go their own ways again and have yet to reunite for another album. However, a song from the 2005 compilation Ultimate Collection, "I've Got a Life (It's the Only Thing That's Mine)," would make it to #1 on the Dance chart. In 2022, Eurythmics would be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  2) As far as solo careers for the pair, Stewart would release a couple albums with his band The Spiritual Cowboys along with some other solo efforts. In addition, he would work as writer/producer for hire and work on film music. His score for the 1989 Dutch film Lily Was Here would generate Stewart's only US Pop chart hit. The instrumental title track featuring Dutch jazz saxophonist Candy Dulfer would end up reaching #11 later in '91. In 2003, Stewart would get a hit as co-writer of "Underneath It All" by No Doubt. Written with band leader Gwen Stefani, the song would reach #3 on the Pop chart. Annie Lennox would go on to have a highly successful solo career. Her debut album, '92's Diva, would be a #23 double platinum hit that would earn Lennox three Grammy nods including one for Album of the Year. She would win for Best Longform Music Video. She'd win another Grammy with a track from her second album Medusa (Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for "No More 'I Love You's'"). In 2003, Lennox would supply the closing theme to the film The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. "Into the West" would achieve the trifecta of awards winning a Grammy, a Golden Globe, and an Oscar.


Friday, February 17, 2023

"The Angel Song" by Great White

Song#:  4054
Date:  09/30/1989
Debut:  88
Peak:  30
Weeks:  21
Genre:  Hard Rock, Glam Metal

Pop Bits:  Great White broke through in a big way with their #5 gold selling remake of Ian Hunter's "Once Bitten, Twice Shy." The hit helped to send their album ...Twice Shy to #9 and go platinum. To keep up the momentum, this next single was issued out. The power ballad would make it to #18 at Rock while just cracking the Pop Top 30. Another single from the album, "House of Broken Love," would get to #7 at Rock, but halt at #83 on the Pop chart. Eventually, ...Twice Shy would reach the double-platinum mark.

ReduxReview:  With glam metal power ballads all over the airwaves, it was a no-brainer to push this out as the next single. It was a bit quieter compared to others and didn't have a forceful chorus, but the song set a soothing dark mood that seemed to grab some listeners. It wasn't strong enough to fly up to the Top 10, but its #30 showing was a valid result.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  The band's next album, '91's Hooked, would be a #18 gold seller thanks to the #4 Rock/#53 Pop single "Call It Rock & Roll." After that, the band's fortunes would be in decline. They would record four albums that didn't fare all that well and in 2001 the band would split. Later in 2002, lead singer Jack Russell and lead guitarist Mark Kendall would get together and start to do some tour dates performing under the name Jack Russell's Great White. It was during the run of those shows that the band found their name in the headlines, but for tragic reasons. On February 20, 2003, as the band started their show at The Station nightclub in West Warwick, Rhode Island, sparks from pyrotechnics lit off by the band's manager unfortunately ignited unapproved/makeshift foam soundproofing the club had installed around the stage area. A fire quickly spread and in the end 100 people died including guitarist Ty Longley. Lawsuits, settlements, and prison terms for some involved would follow. The band would get back to performing six months later with their tour dates benefiting survivors and victims of the fire. The band would go through changes over the years and as of 2013 there were two versions of the band performing. Mark Kendall headed up Great White while Jack Russell formed Jack Russell's Great White.


Thursday, February 16, 2023

"Hold On" by Donny Osmond

Song#:  4053
Date:  09/30/1989
Debut:  89
Peak:  73
Weeks:  7
Genre:  Pop

Pop Bits:  Osmond's self-titled '89 album turned into a significant comeback that rescued his nearly dead music career. The resuscitation arrived via the #2 hit "Soldier of Love" along with its #13 follow up "Sacred Emotion." To keep Osmond going down the comeback trail, this next single was released, which featured smooth jazz sax player Dave Koz. Unfortunately, it didn't catch on nearly as well and stalled in the bottom half of the Pop chart. However, another track from the album, "I'll Be Good to You," would get to #10 at AC. The album would make it to #54 becoming Osmond's best solo result since 1973.

ReduxReview:  This was a pretty good choice for a single from the album. It had the right sound for a late 80s pop hit with its catchy chorus and contemporary production. I think the issue was that the tune wasn't as strong as "Soldier of Love" and in a way it kind of sounded like that track as well. So it had a been there/heard that feel. Still it was a good pop tune and should have done a bit better on the chart.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  With Osmond's album becoming a hit, of course his label, Capitol, wanted a follow up. Osmond went back into the studio with songwriters/producers Carl Sturken and Evan Rogers, who had worked on most of the tracks on the previous album including "Soldier of Love." The trio came up with four tracks for Osmond's next LP Eyes Don't Lie including the first single "My Love Is a Fire." That tune would do fairly well getting to #21 Pop. Two more singles wouldn't fare as well and that left the album halting at a low #177. Those results brought an end to Osmond's late 80s comeback period. However, the popularity and professional boost it provided opened up new doors for Osmond. He would spend a couple years starring in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in Toronto and Chicago. He would also star in the 1990 film version of the show. Later in 2006, he would take over the role of Gaston in the Broadway production of Beauty and the Beast. Osmond also got a new recording contract with Decca and released five albums including 2007's Love Songs of the 70s, which made it to #27. In 2009, Osmond would join the cast of the popular competition TV show Dancing with the Stars. He would end up winning the competition. Two years earlier, his sister Marie had been on the show. She finished in third.


Wednesday, February 15, 2023

"Love Song" by Tesla

Top 10 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
Song#:  4052
Date:  09/30/1989
Debut:  90
Peak:  10
Weeks:  27
Genre:  Hard Rock, Glam Metal

Pop Bits:  Tesla's debut album, '86's Mechanical Resonance, would turn into a #32 gold record thanks to touring, MTV exposure, and the single "Little Suzi" getting a bit of airplay (#22 Rock, #91 Pop). The stage was set for a bigger breakthrough and by the beginning of '89 they had prepped their second effort The Great Radio Controversy. Its first single, "Heaven's Trail (No Way Out)," would do well at Rock getting to #13. A second single, "Hang Tough," would make it to #34 Rock. Despite neither song reaching the Pop chart, the album initially peaked at #18 in March of '89 and would go gold. It was a good result, but things were about to really pick up for the band with this third single. The power ballad would take a leisurely climb up the Pop chart eventually dipping into the Top 10 while also getting to #7 at Rock. The hit significantly boosted sales of the album and while it didn't eclipse its initial #18 peak, the LP did rebound and by the end of '89 it would go platinum. Eventually it would sell over 2 million copies. A fourth single, "The Way It Is," would do fairly well getting to #13 Rock/#55 Pop.

ReduxReview:  I really liked how this song built from the acoustic opening through to the guitar, then the final big chorus followed by the quiet coda. It was a well constructed tune that had shades of what would soon be known as grunge. It wasn't the typical hair metal power ballad. The result was an unexpected gold single that significantly expanded the band's audience.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Tesla's next album would be a bit of a change. Encouraged by a live acoustical rendition of "Love Song" for an awards event, the band's manager pushed them to perform a full set of songs on acoustic instruments. Initially they balked as they were a hard rock band, but were eventually won over. Two acoustic performances were booked at a club and after the response they got, four more shows were booked during breaks from their tour with Mötley Crüe. One of the shows was taped and some of those performances would make up the concert LP Five Man Acoustical Jam. A track from the album, a remake of the Five Man Electrical Band's 1971 #3 hit "Signs," was released as a single. It would be their biggest charting hit reach #2 Rock and #8 Pop. The album would get to #12 and go platinum. Tesla would return in '91 with their third studio album Psychotic Supper. It would get to #13 and go platinum thanks to the #7 Rock/#86 Pop single "What You Give." Their fourth album, '94's Bust a Nut, would be the swan song to their heydays. It would get to #20 and go gold. The band would then split and go on an extended hiatus. Eventually, they would reunite in 2000 and have since toured and released a few albums.


Monday, February 13, 2023

"Edie (Ciao Baby)" by The Cult

Song#:  4051
Date:  09/30/1989
Debut:  93
Peak:  93
Weeks: 4
Genre:  Hard Rock, Glam Metal

Pop Bits:  This British band finally made a big impression in the US with "Fire Woman," the first single from their fourth album Sonic Temple. It would be a #2 Modern Rock/#4 Rock hit that nearly cracked the Pop Top 40 (#46). The track helped push their album to #10 and it would eventually go platinum. To try and keep momentum up, this next single was selected for release. It wouldn't do nearly as well topping out at #17 Rock while only spending a month near the bottom of the Pop chart. Another track from the album, "Sun King," would get to #18 Rock/#21 Modern Rock while "Sweet Soul Sister" would make it to #14 Rock.

ReduxReview:  While not quite a hair metal power ballad, this tune leaned that way with its acoustic opening and strings (yes, a real string arrangement!) and it seemed like a viable candidate for the Pop chart. It was a grand tune with a sweeping chorus and I was surprised it didn't do better.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  The Cult would return in '91 with Ceremony. While it would reach #25, it would fail to go gold and would not contain any Pop chart singles. Three tracks would make the Rock/Modern Rock charts with the best performing one being the first single "Wild Hearted Son" (#4 Modern Rock/#12 Rock). Although The Cult were lumped in with the glam metal bands of the day, their music wasn't along the same lines as bands like Poison or Mötley Crüe. They had an edgier sound that leaned towards alt rock. So when grunge came in and nearly killed off most of the hair metal bands, The Cult were in a position to roll with the times. For their self-titled '94 album, the band dug in and got dirty with elements of grunge, alt rock, and noise. The results were not great with the album stopping at #69 and only one track making the Modern Rock/Rock charts. That along with internal struggles on tour led to the break up of the band. There would be various splits/reunions over the years and along the way some albums were recorded. However, nothing would come close to the success they had in the prime days with Sonic Youth.