Saturday, April 8, 2023

"Fool for Your Loving" by Whitesnake

Song#:  4096
Date:  11/04/1989
Debut:  83
Peak:  37
Weeks:  22
Genre:  Hard Rock, Glam Metal

Pop Bits:  Whitesnake's self-titled 1987 album would be a massive hit reaching #2 and eventually selling over 8 million copies. It got there thanks to the #1 and #2 punch of "Here I Go Again" and "Is This Love." As soon as they could, David Coverdale and the band made plans to get back in the studio to record a follow up. Initially, they hired producer Bruce Fairbairn (Bon Jovi, Aerosmith) to helm the LP, but then he had to bail due to scheduling conflicts. It left Coverdale feeling uneasy about the project and so he brought in two producers to take over, Keith Olsen and Mike Clink. Then there was another blow to the band when guitarist Adrian Vandenberg experienced wrist issues to bad that he couldn't play and needed surgery. Coverdale then hired in Steve Vai to handle the guitar parts. To pile on top of things, the band's label Geffen, stepped in and wanted them to re-record "Fool for Your Loving" and use it for the LP's first single. The track was originally from the band's 1980 album Ready an' Willing and was that LP's first single. It got to #53 Pop. The label thought it was a good idea due to the success of the band's re-recording of "Here I Go Again" for the Whitesnake album that ended up hitting #1. Basically, the label wanted a rinse and repeat. Coverdale didn't want to do it, but acquiesced and once the new album Slip of the Tongue was finished, this single was pushed out. While it would do very well at Rock getting to #2, it didn't seem to thrill the mainstream audience and the song petered out just inside the Pop Top 40. A second single, "The Deeper the Love" would fare a bit better getting to #28 Pop/#4 Rock while a third single would be a minor blip at the bottom of the Pop chart. The lack of a bigger Pop chart hit then left the album peaking at #10 and only going platinum, a sharp decline from their previous effort.

ReduxReview:  While the label's idea to re-record this track wasn't necessarily a bad one, the problem was that the song had already charted. "Here I Go Again" had been released as a single when originally recorded, but it didn't make the Pop or Rock charts, so that made more sense. Coverdale's lack of enthusiasm to do the cover didn't help. He could have chose to hop on board and do a complete makeover of the song - perhaps turn it into a big power ballad or something. Instead, he just finished the exercise and what came out was a basic retread of the song with crunchier late 80s production. It was fine, but it was nothing that was going to burn up the Pop chart and it certainly didn't. Sometimes artists can rise above challenges that come about when making an album, but for Slip of the Tongue it seemed like Coverdale may have buckled a bit under the pressure and it pretty much brought Whitesnake to a screeching halt.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  The results of Slip of the Tongue along with exhaustion, a dislike for what Whitesnake had become, and an impending divorce left David Coverdale in a not good state. So much so that he decided to put the band on an indefinite hiatus in 1990. A year or so later, Coverdale found himself collaborating with Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page at the suggestion of a Geffen A&R rep. The pair seemed to hit it off well and chose to work up an album. Early in '93 they were ready to release Coverdale-Page. It would end up being a #5 platinum success thanks to the hype around the collaboration and a pair of Rock Top 10s including the #1 "Pride and Joy." The one-off collaboration helped Coverdale get back in the game. He would reform Whitesnake in 1994 to tour and promote a Greatest Hits album. He'd then go for a solo career, but his '97 effort Restless Heart got credited to David Coverdale & Whitesnake due to label intervention. Coverdale would finally get a full solo album out in 2000 titled Into the Light. He would then revive Whitesnake in 2003 and has since then kept on going with various lineups with the band recording several albums.


Friday, April 7, 2023

"Touch Me Tonight" by Shooting Star

Song#:  4095
Date:  11/04/1989
Debut:  88
Peak:  67
Weeks:  9
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Hopes were high when Shooting Star became the first American band to get signed by UK's Virgin Records. Things seemed promising when their 1980 self-titled debut album arrived, but it ended up only reaching #145 and spawning the minor #76 Pop entry "You've Got What I Needed." Their next effort, '81's Hang on For Your Life fared a bit better getting to #92 thanks to the #70 Pop single "Hollywood." Yet despite some airplay and good exposure via tour slots with major acts like REO Speedwagon, the band just wasn't breaking through. They would end up recording three more albums for Virgin that fared less well with only a couple of tracks making the Rock Top 40. It got to the point where the band was done with all the label issues and lack of bigger success. As '87 rolled in, they decided to go their own ways. As a bit of closure for the band, they somehow were able to obtain the rights to assemble a compilation of their most popular tracks. Titled The Best of Shooting Star, the album contained eleven songs that spanned their five albums along with two previously unreleased tracks including "Touch Me Tonight." Indie US label Enigma got wind of the release and opted to pick it up. They gave it the new title of Touch Me Tonight - The Best of Shooting Star and pushed out the title track as a single. It got enough attention to become the band's highest peaking single on the Pop chart. In turn, the album would get to #151.

ReduxReview:  This poor band had so many label, distribution, and promotion issues. They were a talented bunch with potential, but they never had that one great song that could take the to another level despite any underlying business problems. Oddly, after their breakup this track came along. It was probably their best bid for a hit, but it came out too late. If they had this song earlier in the 80s, it might have clicked and made the Top 40. This style of catchy AOR wasn't really in favor just prior to the 90s, but it still did surprisingly well on the chart. It was enough to have the band rise back out of the ashes. Shooting Star was also one of the rare acts of the 80s that were able to bookend it with nothing in between. They charted in '80 and '82, but then stayed off the chart until this late '89 entry. Shooting Star had a tough go of it for a long time, but they still kept on truckin' and gained a loyal fan base.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  The results were good enough for Enigma to want to sign the band. Three original members of Shooting Star decided to take a chance and began working on a new album. Unfortunately, Enigma went bankrupt and it left the band on their own. They would go ahead and finish the somewhat ironically titled It's Not Over on their own and release it independently. After that, the band would continue to occasionally perform over the years and release a few albums along the way.


Thursday, April 6, 2023

"I Think I Can Beat Mike Tyson" by DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince

Song#:  4094
Date:  11/04/1989
Debut:  92
Peak:  58
Weeks:  9
Genre:  Rap, Novelty

Pop Bits:  The duo's second album He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper, would prove to be their most successful getting to #4 Pop/#5 R&B and going triple platinum. It got there thanks mainly to the #12 Pop/#10 R&B Grammy-winning gold single "Parents Just Don't Understand." The pair then had the daunting task of following up that major success. Near the end of '89 they were ready to release their third album And in This Corner... This first single would be issued out and it didn't quite connect with listeners. It would stall short of the Pop Top 50 while only getting to #23 R&B. A second single, "The Groove," would scrape the R&B chart at #70. With those results, the LP couldn't get close to replicating the success of their previous effort. The album would get to #39 Pop/#19 R&B and only reach gold level sales.

ReduxReview:  With Tyson mania pretty much at its peak before the 90s brought on trouble for the fighter, it seems the duo chose to capitalize on Tyson's popularity with this novelty track. I guess my only question was...why? Their goofy schtick was already beginning to wear thin so why did they want to amp it up with this dopey track? With edgier rap artists gaining popularity, I would have thought the duo would try to do something a bit more thoughtful while still trying to keep their commercial edge. Instead, they basically devolved into a comedy act. Frankly, it was kind of sad. They were young and cocky and were gonna do what they wanted to do, but they ended up losing a chunk of their audience. They would grow up a bit for their '91 album Homebase and it resulted in their biggest Pop chart hit, the #4 "Summertime." Until then, we were stuck with schlock like this awful novelty.

ReduxRating:  1/10

Trivia:  Some young stars who quickly earn a lot of money and don't know how to manage it often find themselves in a financial trap. Will Smith was one of those stars. With money rolling in from record sales and appearances, Smith started spending left and right as if it was going to last forever. It caught up with him in '89. It seems even prior to the duo's third album coming out, Smith had basically squandered his earnings. Then to top it off, he neglected to pay taxes. Of course the IRS came calling and Smith was left with a $2.8 million bill. Possessions would be sold off and wages garnished to pay the debt. As the '90 rolled around, Smith was in deep financial trouble. Luckily for him, a lifeline came his way. NBC approached him to star in a TV sitcom that would be based around his Fresh Prince persona. Smith gave it a go and in the fall of '90 The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air debuted. It became a hit and boosted Smith's star and pocketbook. It righted the ship for Smith and also set him up for his acting career.


Wednesday, April 5, 2023

"No Souvenirs" by Melissa Etheridge

Song#:  4093
Date:  11/04/1989
Debut:  95
Peak:  95
Weeks:  3
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Etheridge earned a Grammy nomination and a surprise gold record with her self-titled debut album (#22). While it would boast a pair of Rock Top 10s, the only single to make the Pop chart was the #94 "Similar Features." Hoping to expand on those results, Etheridge went on to record her second album Brave and Crazy. This first single would be issued out and it would become her third Rock Top 10 getting to #9. Yet once again Etheridge would find herself nearly locked out of the Pop chart with this tune spending a few minor weeks near the bottom. Still, the album would match the peak of her debut (#22) and would also go gold. Etheridge would also earn a second Grammy nomination for the album in the Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female, category. While she beat the sophomore slump, the results left Etheridge still looking for her mainstream breakthrough.

ReduxReview:  I loved Etheridge's debut album and couldn't wait for Brave and Crazy. This album-opening track/single didn't disappoint. It was a terrific tune that was radio-ready and I thought for sure it would get her into the Pop Top 40. Sadly, it got zero attention on pop radio and fizzled quickly. What a shame. The LP was a bit more hit-n- miss than her brilliant debut, but it still had some terrific tracks. However, this first single remains the standout. While she would tread water with her next album, Etheridge would finally reach the big time with her fourth album.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) A track from this album would later get picked up by a major country star. Trisha Yearwood would record "You Can Sleep While I Drive" for her '95 album Thinkin' About You (#3 Country/#28 Pop, platinum). The song would be releases as the LP's third single following a pair of Country #1s. It would do modestly well topping out at #23 Country.  2) Etheridge's third album Never Enough would replicate the results of her first two albums getting to #21 and going gold. The track "Ain't It Heavy" (#10 Rock) would earn Etheridge her first Grammy win. Yet once again, a significant Pop chart single eluded her. That would finally change with her fourth album, '93's Yes I Am. While the LP's first single "I'm the Only One" would falter on initial release, the second single "Come to My Window" took off and got to #25 Pop/#22 Rock/#4 AC (it would also win a second Grammy for Etheridge). With a foot finally in the door, "I'm the Only One" started to pick up momentum and on its second go-around it would make the Pop Top 10 at #8 (#10 Rock/#1 AC). It would end up being Etheridge's first and only Pop Top 10 hit. The album would sell over 6 million copies and make Etheridge a major star. The LP's success helped sell copies of her previous three albums. Two would go platinum while her debut would reach double-platinum status. Etheridge's '95 album Your Little Secret would be her first to crack the Top 10 at #6. It would go double-platinum. She would go on to record more successful albums and along the way earn ten further Grammy nominations. In 2007, a song she wrote for the Oscar-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth, "I Need to Wake Up," would earn Etheridge an Oscar for Best Original Song.


Tuesday, April 4, 2023

"Big Talk" by Warrant

Song#:  4092
Date:  11/04/1989
Debut:  96
Peak:  93
Weeks:  4
Genre:  Hard Rock, Glam Metal

Pop Bits:  This band's debut album Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich really took off after its second single, the power ballad "Heaven," became a gold selling #2 Pop/#3 Rock hit. The LP would then peak at #10 and quickly go platinum. For a follow up, this next track was selected for the third single. It perhaps wasn't the right choice as the song stalled at #30 Rock while only spending a month at the bottom of the Pop chart. The album's fourth single, another power ballad, would help the band rebound.

ReduxReview:  I totally get that the band needed to follow up "Heaven" with a more upbeat aggressive single and this track was perhaps the one that had the most radio potential. Still, it wasn't the best candidate for a single. When you have listeners looking for big hooks like ones supplied by the likes of Bon Jovi, this tune wasn't going to cut it.

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  The cover art for Warrant's debut album was created by Mark Ryden. From the late 80s through most of the 90s, Ryden mainly worked as a commercial artist creating album and book covers. The style of his work was known as Lowbrow (aka Pop Surrealism). Although Lowbrow had been around since the 60s, it started to become more recognized in the early 80s. Ryden's works would be associated with the art form especially after he left commercial art behind and had his first exhibition in 1998. He became a prominent figure in Lowbrow art with Interview magazine even calling him "the god-father of pop surrealism." For Warrant's album, Ryden created a figure known as Fugazi who is described as "an overpaid, amoral infrastructure manager and archetypal business psychopath." For the "Big Talk" video, Fugazi was brought to life by someone in a replica head/mask and costume. In the video the character's name is Cashly Guido Bucksley. During his commercial period, Ryden would do album covers for several artists including Michael Jackson (Dangerous) and Red Hot Chili Peppers (One Hot Minute). He also did a couple book cover designs for Stephen King.


Monday, April 3, 2023

"You Are My Everything" by Surface

Song#:  4091
Date:  11/04/1989
Debut:  97
Peak:  84
Weeks:  5
Genre:  R&B, Quiet Storm

Pop Bits:  The R&B trio landed their first Pop Top 10 hit with the ballad "Shower Me with Your Love." It was the second single lifted from their second album 2nd Wave. The gold single was also the group's second #1 at R&B. To follow it up, this next track was issued out that featured a guest appearance by Regina Belle. It would end up becoming their third consecutive #1 at R&B, but it didn't get far on the Pop chart stalling out after a few weeks. A fourth single, "Can We Spend Some Time," would miss the Pop chart, but get to #5 R&B. Thanks to the three R&B #1s, the album would get to #5 R&B/#56 Pop and go platinum.

ReduxReview:  This was a sleek and sexy soul track that was prime for R&B radio. Unfortunately, it didn't have as much of a mainstream-lean as "Shower Me" and so it stalled early at Pop. The trio became more known for their big crossover ballads, but quiet storm grooves like this one were certainly highlights from their albums.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  The trio would return later in 1990 with their third album 3 Deep. Its first single, "The First Time," would be an across the board smash getting to #1 at Pop, R&B, and AC. It would be a gold seller. A second single would get to #8 R&B while a third one would make it to #17 Pop//#24 R&B/#17 AC. Despite the album containing their biggest hit, it wouldn't do as well as their previous effort. It would stop at #19 R&B/#65 Pop and only reach gold level sales. The trio most likely could have recorded a fourth album, but by 1994 they decided to call it quits. They would reunited for a Japan-only album in '98 and then later in 2005 the trio made plans for a new album and tour, but it was cut short when member David Townsend suddenly passed away.