Saturday, April 29, 2023

"Hide Your Heart" by Kiss

Song#:  4114
Date:  11/25/1989
Debut:  92
Peak:  66
Weeks:  10
Genre:  Hard Rock

Pop Bits:  Kiss had a bump in popularity with their '87 album Crazy Nights. It would return them to platinum selling status while becoming their highest peaking studio album of the 80s (#18). It got a boost from MTV exposure along with a couple of mid-charting singles including the #65 "Crazy, Crazy Nights." After pushing out a hits compilation, the band would get back into the studio to record their fifteenth studio album Hot in the Shade. This first single would be pushed out and it replicated the results of the singles from Crazy Nights stopping at #66 Pop/#22 Rock. The same week this single debuted on the Pop chart, the album would reach its peak of #29. It would quickly go gold.

ReduxReview:  This wasn't a bad tune, but it certainly wasn't a surefire hit. However, it seems like Child & Co. thought it was and were determined to make it one by farming it off to several artists (see below). Around the same time, Child had a few other tunes that circulated between several artists including "The Best" (Tina Turner, Bonnie Tyler) and "Save Up All Your Tears" (Bonnie Tyler, Robin Beck, Cher). Kiss would end up having the most success with this song, but it was nothing to write home about. It peaked appropriately.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) The second single from Hot in the Shade would end up becoming the band's second biggest hit. The power ballad "Forever" was issued out and it became a surprise hit reaching #8 Pop/#17 Rock. It was Kiss' first Top 10 hit since '76's "Beth" (#7) and their first Top 40 entry since '79's "I Was Made for Lovin' You." Oddly, that success didn't really bolster sales of the album. It would not do well enough to reach the platinum mark. "Forever" was co-written by band member Paul Stanley and a newly established star that surprised many folks. Michael Bolton would be Stanley's collaborator on the track. While the pairing may have seemed odd, folks probably forget that Bolton began his career as a rocker with a pair of solo LPs in the late 70s and a couple with his band Blackjack. This was long before Bolton became a superstar crooner. The pairing of the two may have come about via producer/songwriter Desmond Child, who had previously worked with Kiss and had been assisting Bolton on his'89 Soul Provider album.  2) "Hide Your Heart" is one of those rare songs that just happened to get recorded and released by four different artists within the same year; and all of those were actually remakes. The song was originally written by Kiss member Paul Stanley with hitmakers Desmond Child and Holly Knight. It was supposed to be recorded and included on Kiss' '87 album Crazy Nights but was ultimately rejected by the band. Around that time, Child was working on an album with Bonnie Tyler and he got her to record the song. It would be the title track to her '88 album Hide Your Heart. The tune would be issued out as a single, but it would fail to chart in most countries save for Finland (#22). The song would continue to be shopped around and in '89 three artists bought in. Molly Hatchet would record the tune for their album Lightning Strikes Twice, which was released in late summer of '89. The song would not be released as a single. Also picking up the tune was former Kiss member Ace Frehley. He recorded it for his second solo album Trouble Walkin', which was released in October of '89. Then another artist Child was working with at the time, singer Robin Beck, would get a crack at the tune for her second solo album Trouble or Nothin'. That LP would be issued out in November of '89. Then finally coming full circle, Kiss chose to record the song and get it on their Hot in the Shade album. Both the LP and single would be released in mid-November of '89. Their version would be the one to finally make the US Pop chart.


Friday, April 28, 2023

"I Didn't Mean to Stay All Night" by Starship

Song#:  4113
Date:  11/25/1989
Debut:  94
Peak:  75
Weeks:  8
Genre:  Soft Rock

Pop BitsLove Among the Cannibals was the third album released under the Starship moniker and its first single, "It's Not Enough," would do fairly well getting to #12 Pop/#10 Rock/#30 AC. However, the song wasn't doing much for album sales and it was hoped this second single, written by Robert John "Mutt" Lange, would lend a boost. Unfortunately, all it could do was peak at the three-quarter mark on the Pop chart.  With those results, the LP halted at #64 and would fail to reach the gold level sales mark.

ReduxReview:  Although Mutt Lange didn't produce this track, his fingerprints were on it via the arrangement and backing vocals. That's why it kind of sounded like a reject from a Hysteria-era Def Leppard recording session (Lange served as producer/co-writer on that LP). It didn't really fit the band well. By this point in time, Starship was more pop and less rock so trying to make them sound tougher and denser was like putting lipstick on a pig. The song was average to begin with so that didn't help. Starship were passed their expiration date with this album, but they gave it one last go before getting the heave-ho.

ReduxRating:  3/10

Trivia:  After the supporting tour for the album was finished, some members of the band including long time guitarist Craig Chaquico would depart. Lead singer Mickey Thomas would carry on and with some replacement would record a few new tracks. Two would show up on a '91 compilation album Greatest Hits (Ten Years and Change 1979-1991) including the single "Good Heart" (#81) which would be the last Pop chart song for any iteration of Jefferson Airplane/Starship. As for Starship, they would come to a crashing halt in '91 with the band's manager declaring the band done. In turn, they would be dropped from their label. In '92, Mickey Thomas would pick up the torch and form a new band that he would be able to call Starship featuring Mickey Thomas (legalities, don't ya know). The band would tour around and eventually record an album in 2013 titled Loveless Fascination.


Thursday, April 27, 2023

"Everything You Do (You're Sexing Me)" by Fiona (Duet with Kip Winger)

Song#:  4112
Date:  11/25/1989
Debut:  95
Peak:  52
Weeks:  12
Genre:  Hard Rock, Glam Rock

Pop Bits:  Fiona's 1985 self-titled debut album was a modest success (#71) that spawned the #12 Rock/#64 Pop single "Talk to Me." It was enough for her label, Atlantic, to call for a second effort and for her second album, '86's Beyond the Pale, Fiona would be hooked up with producer Beau Hill (the pair would later be briefly married). Neither the album nor its two singles would chart. Still, Atlantic invested in a third album from Fiona. Hill would once again sit in the producer's chair while Fiona would co-write all but one track for the LP Heart Like a Gun. This first single, which paired Fiona with Kip Winger, would make a slight impression getting to #22 Rock while stopping near the halfway point on the Pop chart. Two others singles would not chart. In turn, the album would only get to #150. It would be Fiona's last effort for Atlantic.

ReduxReview:  There was some good stuff happening in this tune including Hill's production, the vocals, and the fun chorus. Still, it didn't add up to an indelible hit. Fiona had everything in place to become an 80s rock star except for that one song that could break wide. By the time she signed on with Geffen it was pretty much too late with grunge being the flavor of the day. She was quite lucky though that despite chart results she was able to record four major label albums and gain a cult following.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Fiona's next move was to form her own band. Conveniently titled Fiona, the band would be signed to Geffen and release an album titled Squeeze in 1992. Unfortunately, it didn't get anywhere and Fiona's major label days came to an end. Afterwards it seems she returned to college and got a degree, briefly worked for an accounting firm, and then raised two kids. She would return to music in 2011 with the indie album Unbroken.  2) After her second album, Fiona would branch out into acting. After an appearance on TV's Miami Vice and in the '86 film Quicksilver, Fiona would be cast in a lead role alongside Bob Dylan in the '87 musical drama flick Hearts of Fire. The film also co-starred Rupert Everett. For the soundtrack, Dylan would supply two new songs and one cover. Fiona would record five tracks while Everett would sing two. First release in the UK, the film was drubbed by critics and box office receipts were poor. It would get a limited release in the US before quickly disappearing. Needless to say, it didn't lead to bigger acting career for Fiona, who would later make a brief appearance in the '91 biographical flick The Doors.


Wednesday, April 26, 2023

"I Remember You" by Skid Row

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  4111
Date:  11/18/1989
Debut:  63
Peak:  6
Weeks:  20
Genre:  Hard Rock, Glam Metal

Pop Bits:  Skid Row's self-titled debut album had already reached gold level sales even before its second single "18 and Life" made the Pop Top 10 (#4). It quickly turned platinum after that hit and it would sell even more following the release of this third single. The power ballad would be a hit at radio and on MTV with the song making it to #6 Pop/#23 Rock. By mid-January of 90, the LP would reach the triple platinum mark. A few years later it would hit the 5x platinum mark. Oddly, the label would opt to not release a fourth single for the album, although a video for the track "Piece of Me" would be filmed and promoted on MTV.

ReduxReview:  The success of "18 and Life" really set this song up well. Following up that harder edged story tune with this power ballad was a brilliant move and it sent sales of the album soaring. There were a lot of metal power ballads at the end of the 80s, but this one ranks among the best. It has terrific melodies and a big hooky chorus with standout vocals by Sebastian Bach. Oddly, the band chose not to capitalize on their mainstream success with their second album and opted for more aggressive tracks that weren't necessarily radio friendly. The LP still sold quite well, however, grunge and inner turmoil would do in the band in the mid 90s. 

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  For Skid Row's next album, '91's Slave to the Grind, the band would go for an even heavier sound than their debut. Anticipation was high for the LP, which was released just a few weeks after Billboard changed their chart methodology for sales over to the point-of-sale Nielson SoundScan system. That change had a definite impact on the charts. Stats for sales was immediate and that led to many albums hitting their peak position right out of the box in the first week on the chart. Slave to the Grind would be one of them. It would debut at the #1 spot thanks to sales of over 130,000 in its first week of release. The LP would only spend a week at the top. While fans and some critics liked the band's direction, it didn't bode well for mainstream singles. Only one track, "Wasted Time," would make the Pop chart peaking at #88 (#30 Rock). Another song, "Monkey Business," would make it to #13 Rock. Yet despite the lack of hits, the LP would go double platinum. The band would then take a bit of a break due to the advent of grunge, but would return in '95 with the dark Subhuman Race. It would top out at #35. Lead singer Sebastian Bach would leave the band in '96 and the band would go on hiatus. They would reform in '99 without Bach and would continue on with various lead singers. They would record a few albums along the way. Bach would go on to a solo career and also work as a vocalist for other bands. He would branch out into reality TV and appear in several shows including the competition program Gone Country, which he would win. Perhaps most surprising is that Bach would perform in Broadway musicals. It began when he took over the lead role in Jekyll and Hyde in 2000. He would follow that up with a role in Rocky Horror Picture Show along with being in the touring cast and having the lead role in Jesus Christ Superstar.


Tuesday, April 25, 2023

"Pretending" by Eric Clapton

Song#:  4110
Date:  11/18/1989
Debut:  83
Peak:  55
Weeks:  11
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Navigating the musical waters of the 80s was a bit difficult for Clapton. Although out of his first four studio LPs of the decade two would go gold and one platinum (thanks in part to a rabid fan base and three #1 Rock track), Pop Top 10 hits eluded him with the exception of the '81 #10 "I Can't Stand It." That streak would continue with this first single from his last studio album of the 80s Journeyman. While the tune would shoot to #1 at Rock, it didn't fully register with Pop listeners and the song stalled short of the halfway mark on the chart. A second single, "Bad Love," would hit #1 at Rock, but stall at a minor #88 at Pop. Another track from the LP, "No Alibis," would reach #4 at Rock. The hits at Rock along with a renewed interest in Clapton thanks to the successful '88 compilation Crossroads (#34) helped the album reach #16 and go double platinum. It would be the start of a career revival for Clapton that would take him to new heights in the 90s.

ReduxReview:  His Journeyman album was considered by many to be a return to form for Clapton after attempting to keep pace with the slick pop sounds of the 80s. While the LP still featured a lot of modern production techniques, the material didn't necessarily pander to the mainstream. Still, it needed a good track for pop and rock radio and this Jerry Lynn Williams tune seemed to fit the bill. Indeed it played well at rock radio and got to #1. The song didn't fully click with a pop audience, but it really didn't matter. Clapton's fans appreciated the back to basics approach and embraced the LP. It was a smart move that set him up well for the 90s. For me, the song was on par with "Forever Man" (#26), another song Williams had written for Clapton.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Clapton's 90s revival period would start off with a huge hit that stemmed from a personal tragedy. In 1991, Clapton's 4- year-old son Conor sadly fell to his death from a window located in a high rise apartment building in NYC. After taking time off to deal with the horrible accident, Clapton eased himself back into music by writing songs for an upcoming crime/drama movie title Rush. For the soundtrack. Clapton would collaborate with Will Jennings on a very personal song inspired by Conor titled "Tears in Heaven." Released as a single early in '92, the ode struck a chord with people and it would go on to reach #1 AC/#2 Pop/#9 Rock and go platinum. Not long after the single was released, Clapton would perform the song live in England in a set he did for the MTV show Unplugged. Thanks to "Tears in Heaven" along with an acoustic rendition of Cream's '71 #10 hit "Layla," which got to #12 Pop/#8 AC/#9 Rock. Unplugged would hit #1 and over time go on to sell over 10 million copies. The two hit singles and the album would end up winning Clapton six Grammys including Album of the Year and Record/Song of the Year for "Tears in Heaven." His '94 studio album From the Cradle would also reach #1 and go triple platinum. Then in '96 Clapton would grab another hit from a film. "Change the World" from the Phenomenon soundtrack would get to #5 Pop/#1 AC/#54 R&B and go gold. It would earn Clapton two more Grammys including Record of the Year. While hit singles slowed after that, Clapton's albums would continue to be successful and earn him four more Grammys in the 2000s. In 2000, Clapton would be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist. He had previously been inducted twice as a member of The Yardbirds and Cream. As of this posting date, Clapton is still the only artist to be inducted three separate times.


Monday, April 24, 2023

"Tender Lover" by Babyface

Song#:  4109
Date:  11/18/1989
Debut:  85
Peak:  14
Weeks:  17
Genre:  R&B, New Jack Swing

Pop Bits:  Babyface's second album, Tender Lover, was shaping up to be a hit thanks to its first single "It's No Crime" getting to #1 R&B, #7 Pop, and #5 Dance. Next in line to keep album sales going was this title track second single. Once again the tune would end up topping the R&B chart. It was Babyface's third straight R&B #1 counting his duet with Karyn White, "Love Saw It," which was from her self-titled debut album. "Tender Lover" would cross over to the Pop chart, but would stop a bit shy of the Top 10. The hit helped the album reach platinum sales by the end of '89. It would go double platinum in the summer of '90 following the release of the LP's third single "Whip Appeal." That track would get to #2 R&B, #6 Pop, and #36 AC. A fourth single, "My Kinda Girl," would get to #3 R&B/#30 Pop. Eventually the album, which topped out at #1 R&B/#14 Pop, would go triple platinum and earn Babyface three Grammy nominations including one for Producer of the Year.

ReduxReview:  This was an appropriate follow up to "It's No Crime," but it didn't show anything different from Babyface. It was a good, hooky new jack track that had a sweeter tone than his previous hit. He'd change to a quiet storm mood next with "Whip Appeal," which suited him well. While Babyface had hits, most were less memorable that ones he wrote for other artists. Still, he carved out a pretty good solo career in the 90s.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  After Tender Lover, Babyface would score a couple of hit duets with Pebbles and Toni Braxton, the latter of which appeared on the soundtrack to the hit flick The Bodyguard. Also on that album was "End of the Road" by Boys II Men. That single would be a massive hit that set a new record by spending 13 weeks at #1 on the Pop chart. However, that record was short lived when Whitney Houston's big hit from the soundtrack "I Will Always Love You" would spend 14 weeks at the top. Babyface would return to solo work in '93 and issue out For the Cool in You. Four singles from the LP would make the R&B Top 10 including the #6 "When Can I See You," which also reached #6 Pop and #10 AC. The album would be another triple platinum seller (#2 R&B/#16 Pop). Then in '94 another song Babyface wrote for Boys II Men, "I'll Make Love to You," would tie Houston's #1 streak by spending 14 weeks atop the Pop chart. The streak of successes continued with his '96 album The Day. It would be a #4 R&B/#6 Pop double-platinum seller thanks to a pair of platinum hits, "This Is for the Lover" (#2 R&B/#6 Pop) and "Every Time I Close My Eyes" (#5 R&B/#6 Pop). While his solo hits would cool off later in the 90s, Babyface had further successes with other artists such as TLC. Grammys would come his way and he would win 10 of them in the 90s.