Friday, May 5, 2023

"Steamy Windows" by Tina Turner

Song#:  4119
Date:  11/25/1989
Debut:  83
Peak:  39
Weeks:  11
Genre:  Pop, Rock

Pop Bits:  Although it would go on to be one of her signature songs, the first single from Turner's album Foreign Affair, "The Best," would stop shy of the Pop Top 10 at #15. With the song not becoming a bigger hit, album sales were sluggish and it would stall at #31. Hoping to boost sales, this second single would be pushed out. It wouldn't do all that well peaking just inside the Pop Top 40 while getting to #33 Dance. A third single, "Look Me in the Heart," would be a hit at AC getting to #7, but would fail to make the Pop chart. With those results, Foreign Affair would only obtain gold status.

ReduxReview:  This swamp rock tune was a good fit for Turner. She gave the groovy, sexy tune a hot, sensual reading and as an album track it worked. As a single, not so much. There was just no way this was going to be a hit. I was even surprised it cracked the Top 40. Dan Hartman served as producer on the majority of the album and while he did a nice job, the main issue was material. Besides "The Best," which didn't do all that great in the US, there were no surefire hits. Guided by manager Roger Davies, several of the folks who participated in her Private Dancer comeback album were along for Foreign Affair and that probably wasn't the best move. After the lackluster Break Every Rule, Turner needed an update and perhaps they thought bringing Hartman aboard would do the trick. It didn't. Turner had such a rock edge and loved rock 'n' roll, so it would have been the coolest had she been hooked up with hot songwriter/producers of the time like Desmond Child or Robert John "Mutt" Lange. They would have taken her to a new level and the tunes would have been ripe for chart action. Instead, we got bluesy tracks from Tony Joe White, a lackluster pop tune from the Steinberg/Kelly team, a bland Graham Lyle track, stuff from Holly Knight, and another Rupert Hine production. The album wasn't bad, it just wasn't all that good, which was disappointing considering all the names involved. Maybe a matter to too many cooks and it didn't gel into a solid work. "The Best" would end up surviving over the years, but the rest, including this track, have pretty much gone the way of the dodo.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) This song was written by singer/songwriter Tony Joe White. He would supply this song and three other compositions for Turner's album. The connection most likely came via White's friend Mark Knopfler, who had previously worked with Turner. White began his career as a solo artist in the late 60s. He would have his lone major hit in 1969 with "Polk Salad Annie" (#8), a song that would famously be covered by Elvis Presley. White would have another major hit as a songwriter in 1970 when Brook Benton took White's song "Rainy Night in Georgia" to #4 Pop/#2AC/#1 R&B. White would record albums for a few different labels over the years, but nothing really advanced his solo career. In the early 80s, he would basically set aside solo aspirations and work behind the scenes as a writer and musician. After getting paired with Turner for her LP, Turner's manager Roger Davies decided to take White on as a client. White would record his first solo studio album in eight years, '91's Closer to the Truth. For the LP, White would do his own version of "Steamy Windows" along with another track he supplied to Turner. Although the album sold well in Europe, it didn't get much attention in the US. White would still continue to record over the years and would give Turner another song for her '95 album Wildest Dreams. The song "On Silent Wings," which featured an appearance by Sting, would be issued out as a single and would get to #24 AC.  2) Turner would grab one last Pop Top 10 in 1993. "I Don't Wanna Fight" would get to #9 Pop/#1 AC/#51 R&B. Turner recorded it for the soundtrack to her own autobiographical film What's Love Got to Do with It, which featured Angela Bassett as Turner in an Oscar nominated performance. Turner would record one more album in 1999, Twenty Four Seven (#21, gold). Although she would do a couple of tours and appearances, Turner would basically retire from music. She would write books, work on a Broadway musical titled Tina, receive a Lifetime Grammy, and be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.


Thursday, May 4, 2023

"Janie's Got a Gun" by Aerosmith

Top 10 Alert!
Grammy Alert!
Rated 10 Alert!
Song#:  4118
Date:  11/25/1989
Debut:  85
Peak:  4
Weeks:  18
Genre:  Hard Rock, Glam Rock

Pop Bits:  Aerosmith's second album in their late 80s comeback phase, Pump, got an immediate boost when its first single "Love in an Elevator" got to #5 Pop/#1 Rock and went gold. It set the band up for further success and that indeed happened with this next single. It would nearly replicate the results by reaching #4 Pop and #2 Rock. While the single wouldn't go gold, it along with a popular MTV video would certainly help sales of the album. By the time spring of '90 rolled around it would have crossed the triple platinum mark. By the end of the year it would sell another million. This song would earn Aerosmith their very first Grammy. They picked up one for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.

ReduxReview:  For a hard/glam rock tune, the subject matter was certainly on the intense side. Apparently Steven Tyler got the title in his head and then later found inspiration via a Time magazine article about handgun deaths along with hearing someone talking about how many parents abuse their kids. Writing lyrics about the sexual abuse of a girl by her father and then her killing him certainly wasn't common fodder for glam tracks, but Tyler dug in and came up with an amazing song. Pair that with a great video and it provided Aerosmith with another major career moment. Everything is pretty much perfect with the track from the lyrics, to the production, to Tyler's delivery. This was the band's best moment of the 80s.


Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) The video for this song was directed by future Oscar nominee David Fincher. The intense video quickly became a favorite on MTV and would go on to receive eight MTV Music Video Award nominations. It would win two - Best Metal/Hard Rock Video and Viewer's Choice. Playing Janie in the video was Kristin Dattilo and the father was portrayed by Nicholas Guest. Lesley Ann Warren was cast as the mother. A few years prior in '83, Warren received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the musical comedy Victor/Victoria.  2) Aerosmith would score a third Pop Top 10 hit from Pump. The power ballad "What It Takes" would get to #9 (#1 Rock). The album would end up selling over seven million copies. Their next album, '93's Get a Grip (#1), would replicate those results. Then '97's Nine Lives would be able to hit #1, but would stop at the double platinum sales mark. Aerosmith would cap of the 90s with a single that would become their biggest hit. The band would record the Diane Warren-penned tune "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" for the '98 sci-fi disaster flick Armageddon. The song was instantly a hit debuting at #1 on the Pop chart and staying there for four weeks. It would be gold seller.


Wednesday, May 3, 2023

"Principal's Office" by Young MC

Song#:  4117
Date:  11/25/1989
Debut:  88
Peak:  33
Weeks:  14
Genre:  Rap

Pop Bits:  This NYC rapper scored a huge hit with the single "Bust a Move." It would end up getting to #7 Pop while spending 39 weeks on the chart. That longevity played into sales and the single would go platinum. It would also earn Young MC a Grammy. He would quickly record a debut album titled Stone Cold Rhymin' that would be released in the fall followed by this next single. It wouldn't come close to the success of his previous single, but it would make the Pop Top 40 while getting to #51 Dance. A third single, "I Come Off," would make it to #75 Pop/#36 Dance/#52 R&B. The album would top out at #9 Pop/#8 R&B and go platinum.

ReduxReview:  The one thing Young MC did well was set great grooves on a lot of the Stone Cold Rhymin' tracks and this is one of them. He weaved samples well enough to make anyone bop along. While this song paled in comparison to the classic "Bust a Move," it was still a solid track with a groove that was hard to ignore. The lyrics are certainly old school now, but they were fine back then and not as juvenile as ones by DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, who where desperately trying to be cute and funny. Although Young MC had just one huge hit, he did have other charting singles including this one, so a little difficult to call him a one-hit wonder. However, it seems he got that tag from some folks and perhaps even believed it himself because he titled his fourth album Return of the 1 Hit Wonder.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  After the success of Stone Cold Rhymin', Young MC chose to leave his label Delicious Vinyl and sign on with Capitol Records. His second LP Brainstrom would arrive in '91. Its first single "That's the Way Love Goes" would be a minor entry at Pop (#54) and R&B (#32). Still, the album would become a gold seller making it to #66 Pop/#61 R&B. A third album, '93's What's the Flavor?, would quickly come and go failing to chart. With that result, Young MC was off the Capitol roster. Some indie albums would follow with only 2000's Ain't Goin' Out Like That making the R&B chart at #85. Over the years, Young MC would also make appearance in films and on TV shows. He would end up participating in two reality TV competitions shows, Weakest Link - Rap Stars Edition and the third season of Celebrity Fit Club. He would end up being the winner of both shows.


Tuesday, May 2, 2023

"Kickstart My Heart" by Mötley Crüe

Song#:  4116
Date:  11/25/1989
Debut:  90
Peak:  27
Weeks:  16
Genre:  Hard Rock, Glam Metal

Pop Bits:  After cleaning up their act and getting sober, Mötley Crüe recorded what is arguably their best album Dr. Feelgood. Upon its release, the LP would hit #1 for two weeks. It was bolstered by the title track lead single, which became the band's first Pop Top 10 hit (#6) and first to go gold. For a follow up, this next track was selected. The tune wouldn't do as well, but it fared okay getting to #27 Pop/#18 Rock. However, the power ballad third single, "Without You," would prove to be another winner for them getting to #8 Pop/#11 Rock. They would follow it up with the Pop Top 20 entry "Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)" (#18 Pop/#13 Rock). The hits certainly helped to sell the album, which would eventually become their best seller reaching the 6x platinum mark. The band had reached new heights in popularity, but thanks to the advent of grunge and alt rock along with inner turmoil, they would quickly descend from that peak.

ReduxReview:  This single just sounded kick ass. Bob Rock's production really took the band to the next level. It was a hooky, memorable track but it may have been a tad too aggressive for pop radio. I probably would have released "Without You" first as it had definite hit potential. Then this one fourth after "Don't Go Away Mad." Still, it ended up being no-harm, no-foul with the next two singles still doing well. The band was in their best musical period and it was a bit of a bummer that they sort of fell apart for a bit. Although they would never hit the same mark as they did with Dr. Feelgood, the band would have a long lasting career that would include breakups, reunions, feuds, tours, books, movies, etc.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Instead of recording a follow up album, the band issued out their first compilation in '91. Decade of Decadence 81-91 would be a double platinum #2 hit. Then in '92, lead singer Vince Neil would either leave the band or was fired (depending on who you talk to). That was quite a blow for one of the biggest bands in the world at the time. The remaining members decided to move forward with new lead singer John Corabi. A self-titled album would follow in '94, but the loss of Neil and the grunge factor played into results and although the LP would get to #7, it would only go gold. Neil would rejoin the band in '97 and the reunion album Generation Swine would get to #4 and go gold. There would then be another album, a hiatus, a reunion, and another album. Despite all their ups and downs, Mötley Crüe would continue to be a popular draw and one of glam metal's most legendary bands.


Monday, May 1, 2023

"Wait for You" by Bonham

Song#:  4115
Date:  11/25/1989
Debut:  91
Peak:  55
Weeks:  15
Genre:  Hard Rock

Pop Bits:  As they say, sometimes the apple doesn't fall far from the tree and that was the case with Jason Bonham who followed in his famous father's footsteps. John Bonham was the legendary drummer for Led Zeppelin until his death in 1980. Prior to that Jason had picked up on the drums at an early age and by the time he was fifteen he formed his first band. After his father's death, Jason continued on as a member of another band, Virginia Wolf, and also performed on projects with surviving members of Zeppelin including filling in for his dad when Zeppelin reunited in '88 for the Atlantic Records 40th anniversary concert. Around that time Jason had the itch to form another band and he would assemble Bonham in '88. Daniel MacMaster would provide lead vocals. The group would get signed to the Epic Records offshoot WTG and record a debut album titled The Disregard of Timekeeping with producer Bob Ezrin. This first single would be issued out and it would do well at Rock getting to #9. On the Pop chart it would get near the halfway point. Thanks to the single, MTV exposure, and hype around Bonham's new band, the LP would reach #38 and go gold.

ReduxReview:  Well, it was probably inevitable that Bonham's band would have shades of Led Zeppelin. They don't sound like a knock off or an imitation, but there are various reminders in the tracks. Actually, I think Whitesnake sounded more like Zep than Bonham. I liked this track. It had a good feel, a nice chorus, and terrific drum/guitar work. It was a bit shy of being mainstream enough to do well at Pop, but it found a home at Rock and did well. Sadly, unlike his dad's band, Bonham didn't have longevity and it all ended after a few years.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  After a long supporting tour, Bonham would get back into the studio to record their follow up album. Mad Hatter would be released in '92. Its first single, "Change of a Season," would make a minor impact on the Rock chart at #32. With that result, the album would fail to chart. The band would split soon after. In '94, Jason would get together with two of his former bandmates and with new lead singer Marti Frederiksen would become Motherland. An album, Peace 4 Me, would be issued out that same year, but it would not make an impression. The next year two members would leave and Jason would hire in two newbies to form The Jason Bonham Band. A debut album, When You See the Sun, would arrive in '97. Since then, Jason has performed with many artists and has been a part of several bands including Sammy Hagar and The Circle, who released three albums between 2019 and 2022.