Let’s tackle The Other Sixty from the other half of the 1980s: 1985 up to 1989.
February 9th, 1985
Toto starts us off with another single from the Isolation LP. Written by David Paich & Jeff Porcaro, Uncle Dave sings about his worries about a young wild child. It will stall at #71.
Here’s a British quintet who added a little swing to their New Wave rock. It garnered them three Hot 100 singles but no Top 40s. This one is their final, and it will peak at #76. Not sure if the band realized that their title was a euphemism for kicking someone’s ass or not.
Bruce was wondering where the lions were in 1980 and it took another four albums before he’d get another US chart entry. This was his most overtly political song, a rallying to cry for us to stop the nuclear crisis. Cause if it were up to him, some son of a bitch would die. It will only move up one more notch but will get lots of airplay on rock radio.
February 15th, 1986
This single is the follow-up to Pat’s #28 hit, Sex As A Weapon. It will lose its interest and have a cigarette at Cinquante-quatre before getting on a Vespa and leaving town.
Stereotomy is defined as the technique of cutting solids, as stones, to specified forms and dimensions. It’s also the title of the Alan Parsons Project’s ninth album and, according to the album concept, the way that famous people are ‘shaped’ by the demands of fame. The first single as the title track sung by John Miles and will get whittled down to a #81 showing.
The Be Yourself Tonight LP was still churning out singles in early ’86. This horn-driven downtempo synth track will be another UK Top 20, but will only reach #78 stateside.
…couldn’t put Free back together again. Or Led Zeppelin. Isn’t that what this is about? This scrambled egg of a tune will bow out at #61.
Poor Helen Terry. Here’s her chance to get out from under Boy George’s shadow and make her own splash. Then she finds herself stuck in this flaccid Quicksilver soundtrack duet with Ray Parker Jr., who I’m sure reminded her constantly that he wrote Ghostbusters. By the way, if you’re interested in the high drama of bicycle messengers, then this movie is for you.
I can’t believe it took me over thirty years to get it. Climax. Menopause. Good one. This electro-funk jam bubbled under at #105 when it was released in late 1984. The re-release will reach as high at #80 but will climb to #5 on the R&B charts.
The Cure had already racked up 7 Top 40 hits in the UK when they finally charted here in the US. Sadly it’s already at is peak. I never bought into the myth that if you liked the Cure, you were into goth. Their stuff isn’t as dour and dark as they were made out to be. I thought they wrote quirky pop songs sung by a dude with a unique voice.
February 14th, 1987
Sammy tries to get into the soundtrack game with a single from the Sylvester Stallone arm-wrestling movie. Yes, it’s as good as it sounds…all around. It was the red rockers’ first solo release since joining Van Halen, but it didn’t give him any juice as it stalled at #54.
94. Kansas – Power
This was not your older brother’s Kansas. Any fiddling you might have heard was left to a professional orchestra, and the lack of riffs or instrumentation was made up for by layers of reverb. Thus Power amounts to very little, and the coup d’etat happens at #84.
February 13th, 1988
I was still into EWF and bought the Touch The World LP, which included this, the second single from the album. I’ve always had a fondness for this song, which has been hard to explain. Maybe it was Maurice’s smooth voice piercing through a faintly Asian keyboard riff painted over a melancholy mid-tempo arrangement. It could have been the convex of old school vs. contemporary soul, even as the kalimba had been replaced by a Fairlight. Maybe it just cut through everything else for me at the time and hit me in the heart. That’s what great music does. It will only peak at #67, but reach #3 on the Soul charts and #1 on the Dance charts.
“Hey guys, it’s Dick Knobbs, your A&R rep. We’d like to release another single from your album. Do you think you can get Tawny to be in the video again.”
“Hey, Knobbs. We don’t need that bird to sell records. We can have hits without her.”
It will flatline at #48.
Fun fact: The guitar solo for the single release was re-recorded by a new member, Vivian Campbell, who would go on join Def Leppard in 1992.
Originally this was the title track to Steve’s third solo album in 1982. It was remixed in 1987 for the compilation, Chronicles, and was released as a follow-up to Valerie, a surprise hit. It will jabber up to #57, sell a few bottles of Michelob and then piss off.
Tommy hooked up with Terry Thomas, founding member of the band, Charlie, to produce a milk dud that wasn’t even worthy of the cut-out bin. Case in point: the opening single was written by two members of Survivor who didn’t even think it was good enough for them to record. It still made it up to #75, most likely due to the radio requests from the Anti-Dennis DeYoung Fan Club.
February 11th, 1989
Here’s the third single from the Jimmy Jam/ Terry Lewis-produced album Heart Break. It too will miss the Top 40, getting all wet at #44. It will be their fourth #1 on the Soul charts. I was stunned that they didn’t have more pop hits from this album as its a solid collection.
Fun fact: Four guys from Philly heard this album and were inspired enough to name themselves after the last song on the album. They would also cover this tune in 1997.
The supergroup. There was nothing that ever came close. And they got Roy Orbison at the very end of his life, as he would pass away in December 1988. This prophetic single will make its final stop at #63.
No one should be subjected to listening to a twelve-year-old sing this song, especially when you know there’s no understanding of the content. Thankfully we kicked it to the curb, but it still somehow reached #85. That’s still too high.