An interesting group of debuts this week that would languish before hitting #40. Personally, I find most of these stinkers, deserving of their place in The Other Sixty, a few I liked back then and a few I still love today. So let’s review chart week sixteen from 1985 up to 1989, shall we?
April 20th, 1985
If you want to know the difference that a producer can make with a band’s album. They make calculated decisions to help you sound better than you thought you could be. Listen to this song, then listen to anything else on their follow-up Slippery When Wet. There’s a marked difference in quality. These guys are lucky that they even got another chance and were able to record with Bruce Fairbairn. Most likely, that made all the difference between these guys recording bland rock songs like this one, a #54 zenith, eventually imploding and playing sea shacks when they finished rehab or becoming Rock & Roll Hall of Fame members.
Dave had a bit of a resurgence in the States in the 80s, which is why he was tapped to record the title song to Porky’s Revenge. Now that I’ve written that statement, it seems like a punishment. This retro-rocker is debuting at its peak and will be Dave’s last Hot 100 entry.
Eric had a surprise Top 40 hit with I Wanna Hear It From Your Lips earlier in the year. It was his first in seven years. Then he followed it up with this snoozer ballad, and the momentum was gone when it peaked at #87. Meanwhile somewhere someone was writing a script about people who danced dirty.
April 26th, 1986
Even though he has had success with his homies David, Stephen, and sometimes Neil, Graham is a solo one-hit-wonder. This single was his first charting 45 since 1971 and his last. It valiantly tries to overcome its mid80s production and drum machines, but enough hippies cared, and it went blind at #85.
“Speck! Put Dottie on!” The film and TV actress, most recently seen in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, released her debut album in late 1985. Produced by Harold Faltermeyer & Keith Forsey, this synthpop track became a #1 Dance hit. It didn’t translate into Pop success and fizzled at #70, #70.
This sounds like a lost soundtrack tune scored to frantic movie scene montage. And Mike Reno sounds like he watched MTV for the first time and decided that he needed to sound like a Devo/ David Byrne hybrid. It’s not bad. It’s just odd. And I’m sure it confused their audience, which is why it peaked at #68. Also, it’s their first album not produced by Bruce Fairbairn, and we covered why producers are important.
April 25th, 1987
Raised On Radio was Journey’s attempt to go all out commercially, with Steve Perry as the producer and an eye on Thriller-like success. They would end up having four Top 20 hits from this LP, but this would be their only whiff, a meandering momentum-killing ballad that might have worked better live than it does on the radio. The night will end at #60.
The NY electro-funk trio gives their codpiece a workout and pulls another great dance single off of the Word Up! album. But unlike the first two, it will stop outside the Top 40 at #50. It will reach #3 Soul, their twelfth Top 10, and #11 in the UK.
I know how folks like to make fun of Winger when it comes to glam metal band fails. But right behind White Lion are these guys. I can’t take any of their music as seriously as they seem to do. It all seems like a joke that they’re playing on the audience, Andy Kaufman-style. Or this is what I choose to believe in helping me rationalize how many millions of albums they sold. This will be rescued from going any higher than #66.
I used to really like Pete Burns and the gang. I thought they created lots of great catchy synth disco back in the day. So much of it sounds dated now, but it always a fun trip to take. The follow-up to Brand New Lover will top out at #85. Add this to your next Halloween playlist.
Also, if you have the album Mad, Bad & Dangerous To Know, give I’ll Save You All My Kisses. That one was my album favorite.
Out of the ashes from Canada’s The Payola$ comes the duo of Bob Rock & Paul Hyde. I picked up this 45 back then after hearing it on Joel Denver’s Future Hits and thought it would be a big hit. I listen to it no, and I’m not sure what my thinking was. The anthemic shuffled, produced by Bruce Fairbairn, will wash out at #60.
Fun fact: Bob Rock would go to produce The Cult’s Sonic Temple, Motley Crue’s Dr. Feelgood, and Metallica’s breakout 1991 album as well as many others.
April 23rd, 1988
If someone ever tells you that talent equals success, they are morons. Case in point. What this used lacked in singing skills he made up for in persistence and dumb luck. He hustled like crazy getting his 12″ singles to club DJs in Miami and NY, where he found financial backers in the LeFrak organization, the same dudes that built giant housing projects all over the city. They kept pumping money into Stevie’s career, one boring freestyle tune after another until pop radio gave in. This dream will end at #80, but another one awaits.
Also, check his discography. He has released about seventeen greatest hits collections.
Cartman meets ABBA. What could go wrong? This is probably what made Agnetha quit singing and become a recluse. It’s not as bad as I’m making it sound, but this AC ballad will only move three spots before disappearing. In the late 80s, if there was no room for this on the sappy-happy Pop playlists that were being created, that says a lot.
Jesse is a talented funk guitarist, but he could never decide if he wanted to sound like Prince or Janet Jackson. For this track, he decided he wanted to know what you’ve done for him lately. The answer was to abandon this track at #78. Thankfully the Time would get back together in two years….time.
April 22nd, 1989
On first listen, it sounds like Eddie gets caught up with a gearhead producer playing with his new 80s tech toys who didn’t realize that he made Eddie Money track sound like a bad Prince rip-off. And that intro is clunky as hell. Cringeworthy may be a better word. Then I listened again, and I softened up a bit. Eddie is valiantly trying to do his best to put his stamp on an otherwise dated track. Now I’m surprised it didn’t make it past #60.
I blame this album, actually this whole project on Phil Collins. More than Phil the Shill’s solo career, this group really contributed to the idea that Genesis was nothing more than an adult contemporary outfit. And while I applaud a song for bravely starting off with a line like I believe in Jesus without it being a religious song, there’s nothing else in this song to hold my interest. Or anyone else’s as the single fizzled at #62.
If you record a Bad Company album without leader Paul Rodgers, does it make a sound? Scientists can’t figure it out or may have jammed ice picks in their ears and discontinued the project. These guys should have done the same. The shaking stops at #82.
I love New Order, but I’m not that keen on this phase of their career where they let technology take over their sound. This dance hit will bounce up to #64, but if you’re looking for good songs on their Technique LP, go to Vanishing Point or Fine Time.