The Ultimate Enticement

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Amidst the search for Classic Coke at our local King Kullen, here are more songs from June 29th, 1985 that may or may not have been playing from the supermarket speakers.

26. The Beach Boys – Getcha Back

Mark on the Big 80s countdown mentions that this wasn’t one of their best tunes. No duh. It didn’t have to be. It was just nice to hear them on the radio and see Brian back with the guys looking semi-healthy and having a little success again. Little did we know the hell Brian was in the middle of or the kokomo that lurked around the corner.

25. Kool & The Gang – Fresh

Kool & the Gang has given us a lot of classic funky stuff- Jungle Boogie, Hollywood Swinging, and of course Funky Stuff – but this has to got to be the lamest bass line I’ve ever heard. It sounds like they hired Van Halen’s Michael Anthony, handed him a bottle of Jack and told him to go for it.

And what the hell is going on with the line “I wanna take her by the hand and pray she’ll understand.” Sounds like JT Taylor’s getting fresh.

24. Harold Faltermeyer – Axel F

OHW – Harold has already peaked in the Top 5 with this track which would help him win a 1986 Grammy for Best Motion Picture score from the movie Beverly Hills Cop. He has recorded with and produced many artists over the last few decades with the Pet Shop Boys album Behavior as one of my favorites, and of course the ultra-hummable theme music to Fletch.

23. John Cafferty & Beaver Brown Band – Tough All Over

The pride of Rhode Island almost never leftt the Worcester bars.  They received a big break when they were hired as the band behind the 1983 movie Eddie & the Cruisers, but initially bombed when it was released and left theatres in three weeks. Maybe because the film which had flashback scenes to 1963 had a group that sounded like Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band. Bruce wasn’t even Bruce in 63.

One year later the movie found an audience on cable and home video, and the soundtrack was re-released with JC picking up a few hits in the process, enough to get a follow-up album from which this single comes from. It’s not a surprise that JC & the BBB had all of their hits during Bruce’s most successful on the Pop charts. When that slowed down for the Boss, it also dried up for the brown beaver.

22. Kim Carnes – Crazy In The Night (Barking At Airplanes)

This was Kim’s first Top 20 solo hit since Bette Davis Eyes but her last Top 40 hit overall. I also imagine that her name is what people in Boston say when they see this.

Also please explain the barking at airplanes bit.

21. Wham! – Everything She Wants

“My God! I don’t even think that I love you.” – the words every woman yearns to hear when they tell their partner that they’re pregnant.

Also, quick math lesson – your best needs to be good enough for three, not two. You’re having a baby! Congrats, George!

20. Night Ranger – Sentimental Street

Night Ranger’s heading back up into the Top 10 with another power ballad, one that will peak at #8, a story of love lost and one that yearns to be found again in the avenues.

19. Sting – If You Love Somebody Set Them Free

ML – Sting’s first solo single showcased a funky jazzier side from the former Police frontman and did for the tambourine what Blue Oyster Cult did for the cowbell. I hear this and I’m right back in that Summer, holding a frozen can of Hawaiian Punch, watching the video produced by Godley & Creme and trying to figure out which Shakespeare character Sting is dressed as. And yes there’s Branford Marsalis in the back playing sax rather than fake laughing at Leno’s Michael Jackson jokes.

Also, I thought he was singing just remember you aren’t after the first chorus rather than if it’s a mirror you want. Either one works.

18. Billy Ocean – Suddenly

There are more boring songs than this to dance to at a wedding or a prom, but not many. The world can’t hold the four oceans we have, let alone William J. Ocean.

Suddenly, Florida is under the sea.

17. Bruce Springsteen – Glory Days

Hey look it’s the Boss singing a tale about a lonely alcoholic who uses the excuse of bumping into old classmates as a reason to keep swigging down a bunch of drinks. This was the apex of misunderstood Bruce songs. People mistake this for some blue-collar pride of America bullshit, so much so that they love to play this at baseball games. Folks, these are three miserable people who hate their life. And the irony here is that even though their lives suck now they weren’t much better back then. And that’s what they consider their glory days which makes them even more depressed and hate their life in the present. And on and on and on. Time to take a trip down to the well.

16. Glenn Frey – Smuggler’s Blues

Somehow during 1984-1985 Glenn morphed into a character in a Miami Vice episode and he never recovered. And this was before the show even debuted. Smuggler’s Blues was written and released on the album The Allnighter in the Summer of 1984. Then the show debuted and while it was an overnight success, Glenn filmed a video for this single in early 1985 most likely inspired by the show. [Love that crummy house Glenn pulls up to in a Porsche.] When the song became a hit, it inspired an episode of Miami Vice which Glenn would star in.

Ouroboros.

15. Cyndi Lauper – The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough

Another diss by Mark Goodman. This time he mentions that he’s sure Cyndi would like to take this song back. I doubt it. Let’s not mistake her for someone she’s not. She was into creating upbeat fun pop music with a thrift store style. She wasn’t looking to create The Hissing of Summer Lawns. Besides this Top 10 theme to The Goonies will constantly reintroduce her to new generations that watch the movie. That’s good enough for her.

14. Paul Young – Everytime You Go Away

Hall & Oates were on such a streak that even their deep cuts were going to #1, this one from the 1980 Voices album. Paul turns the original, which was a sad denial of a possible relationship set against a stark gospel organ that percolates until release, into a dreamy swooning pledge of forever love. And I love that 70s throwback sitar lick. It reminds me of those beautiful Thom Bell productions of the Stylistics.

13. Whitney Houston – You Give Good Love

If Whitney made more music like this, I would have been a bigger fan of hers. Unfortunately, this was as vocally subtle as she would ever get. This single would reach the Top 3 and be the only one from her debut album, Whitney Houston not to reach #1 on the Pop charts.

KEY

OHW – One-Hit-Wonder

THW – Two-Hit-Wonder

ML – Misheard Lyrics

PFK – Perfect for Karaoke

RFW – Ripped from Wikipedia

STA – Second Time Around

The Summer’s Left A Spell On Us

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The Summer of 1985 is my jam. It’s not that I think the best songs of the 80s were released then. It’s not necessarily the best Summer I ever had. But for me, my life and the music around me clicked in a profound way that is hard to describe. It’s just one those magical qualities that has music possesses  The songs on this June 29th, 1985 countdown are forever linked to my memory of that time in my life.

[I started off this blog by writing a little about the Summer of 85. You can read some of that here.]

40. Graham Parker & The Shot – Wake Up (Next To You)

OHW – After Graham left the Rumour to pursue solo ventures, he formed The Shot with his former Rumour guitarist Brinsley Schwartz and recorded the LP Steady Nerves. It’s a great slice of soulful rock, but criminally, this track has already peaked at #39. I don’t know what’s more amazing  – the fact that Graham Parker only had one Top 40 hit or the fact that he had any at all. Local Girls from Squeezing Out Sparks should have easily been a hit, but that would have meant displacing songs from Blackfoot or Jimmy Buffett and we can’t have that.

Graham is incredibly prolific and continues to record and tour. If you ever get a chance to see him live, you absolutely should. He’s a great showman.

39. Heart – What About Love?

New record label, new approach. This is the Heart era of teased hair, corsets and leg kicks. Capitol Records may have wanted it the glitz and galmour, but they didn’t need it because these songs would have been hits without that. The Wilson sisters and company effortlessly eased into to owning the power ballad market, especially with Ann’s powerhouse vocals in front.

This will become their first Top 10 hit since 1981’s Tell It Like It Is. It also features backing vocals from Grace Slick and Mickey Thomas of Jefferson Starship who were also in the process of building a city.

38. Dead Or Alive – You Spin Me Around (Like A Record)

This Big 80s countdown is a rerun from this time last year in 2018. I’m guessing it’s because the DJs are on vacation. Someone should have reviewed this broadcast for mistakes and re-recorded those segments, such as the one where Alan Hunter says this song will peak at #16. It won’t. It will make it to #11.

By the time Pete Burns came around we were already used to Boy George, so we glady accepted his look even when Pete added an eye patch to stand out more. But the real star is this song, a superb dance track that owes a big debt to late 70s disco as well as a future glimpse of late 80s pop music. This was one of the first successful productions from the law firm production team of Stock Aiken & Waterman.

37. Robert Plant – Little By Little

The former Led Zeppelin vocalist is inching up the charts, climbing the ladder rung by rung, bit by bit, piece by piece up to its eventual peak of #36, from his EP Shaken N Stirred. The title is also the name of Rich’s Little’s autobiographical one-man Vegas act.

36. Limahl – Never Ending Story

OHW – A one hit wonder with Kajagoogoo, Limahl left the band and became a one hit wonder as a solo artist as well with the Giorgio Moroder title track to The Neverending Story, a disturbing German children’s film (Is there any other kind?) that was released in the Summer of 1984. I don’t remember hearing it very much especially for a track that would peak in the Top 20.

Also where did that horse go?

35. Tears For Fears – Shout

The first of two TFF #1 songs in the 40, one former and one future. The future first. This will hit the top for the charts for three weeks at the beginning of August and it’s one of the songs that defined my Summer. It was so abundant and powerful it even hit #56 on the R&B charts.

34. Corey Hart – Never Surrender

This makes a nice counterpoint to Shout – a power ballad to chill you out after you’re done yelling and protesting. If you’re feeling frustrated by the lack of social progress, Corey urges you to keep going and do some more shouting. This multi-Juno winner would have his biggest US hit with this track where it would peak at #3 later in the Summer.

33. Debarge – Who’s Holding Donna Now

PFK – Debarge would finally breakthrough on the pop charts with a couple of Top 10 singles, just in time for El to go solo and the family to fall apart. This was the second single released from Rhythm of The Night, produced and co-written by WestCoast legend Jay Graydon. It’s on its way to a #6 peak on the pop charts, #2 on the Soul charts and #1 on the AC charts. It also features backing vocals from Richard Page & Steve George who were mere months away from their first #1 with Mr. Mister.

32. Depeche Mode – People Are People

ML – It was definitely bizarre to have this band in the Top 40 in 1985 but also incredibly justified. Their edgy style of synth pop was one that mainstream listeners had to catch up with but true New Wavers already knew them as one of the best electronic bands around. The song was released one year previous in the UK and had been a Top 5 hit. In the US, this song about the lament of ongoing racism would hit #13.

Until I read the lyrics to this song, I thought each line was something completely different from what they were saying.

31. Daryl Hall & John Oates – Possession Obsession

The fourth Top 40 single from Hall & Oates’ Big Bam Boom features a rare lead vocal by John Oates and a commentary on materialism run rampant in the 80s. The doo-wop throwback is only one notch away from its peak of #30.

30. The Power Station – Get It On (Bang A Gong)

In 1985 we were treated repeatedly to the Madonna-Duran Duran-Chic musical triangle. Here’s two sides of that presented as the supergroup, The Power Station featuring Andy & John Taylor from D2 with drums from Tony Thompson and production from Bernard Edwards. This would be their second Top 10 single, which was a cover of T. Rex’s 1972 Top 10 hit. The Power Station would also launch lead singer Robert Palmer into the most successful stint of his career.

29. Supertramp – Cannonball

Supertramp survived the departure of one of its founding members Roger Hodgson who took the hella long way home and wrapped up their ten-year Top 40 career with one more Top 30 hit and a rare Top 10 dance hit. Even though Supertramp, led by Rick Davies periodically play gigs to this day, the two original keyboardists Davies & Hodgson have never performed in public together since their Famous Last Words tour in 1983.

28. Air Supply – Just As I Am

I give Air Supply a lot of slack but by 1985 they were just phoning it in with this sub-Manilow dreck. If you were at a wedding or were forced to listen to this during lovemaking, I truly feel for you. This would thankfully be the final Top 40 hit for the Australian duo before they went on to do Time Life Soft Rock collection infomercials.

27. Paul Hardcastle – 19

OHW – British synth jazz wizard scored an oddball electro-funk smash in 1985 with the dance track 19, the average age of US soldiers in the Vietnam War. It featured narration by Peter Thomas sampled from an ABC News report on Vietnam veterans who suffered from PTSD. Depending on your point of view, this is most insensitive thing you’ve ever heard regarding Nam Vets and their plight or you regard it as a miracle considering that this info reached a new generation of ears, a generation who would come to respect and empathize with those soldiers rather than spit on them.

The stutter effect of n-n-n-nineteen was created by Paul via an E-Mu Emulator. Reflecting on me and my friends’ insensitivity, if anyone asked us a question which required a numerical answer chances are we would stutter the response.

It would peak at #15, but guess what number it would stumble to the week of August 3rd?

KEY

OHW – One-Hit-Wonder

THW – Two-Hit-Wonder

ML – Misheard Lyrics

PFK – Perfect for Karaoke

RFW – Ripped from Wikipedia

STA – Second Time Around