Throwing Down With The Radical Sacks

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Let’s review The Other Sixty from the twenty-second chart week of 1984 and 1985. Keep your expectations low.

June 2nd, 1984

82. Juice Newton – A Little Love

By 1984 Juice was a little bit Country and a little bit rock n roll. Trying to be all things to all people kept her from having hits on any chart. This one will peak at #44. Once she decided to focus solely on Country, she’d score three #1s on that chart in the mid-80s. That also meant there was an opening for a new Juice, and Oran Jones applied for it in 1986.

85. Timmy Thomas – Gotta Give A Little Love (Ten Years After)

Timmy Thomas created a stone-cold soul classic with 1973’s sparse, organ-driven Why Can’t We Live Together? Drake sampled it for his hit Hotline Bling in 2015, introducing it to an entirely new audience. That song is TT’s legacy. This track, a soundtrack cut to the Tom Hanks comedy Bachelor Party, could have been sung by anyone and made the same impact. For Tim, it’s his return to the Hot 100 after a nine-year absence. He was rewarded with a #80 showing and Cole’s Porsche.

87. Big Country – Wonderland

In an attempt to capitalize on the band’s success of In A Big Country, the record company rushed out a four-song EP called Wonderland. It may have killed their momentum here in the States as it only moved up one spot, and no subsequent singles ever charted again. That’s unfortunate because they recorded a lot of cool songs that were ignored, such as Look Away and King Of Emotion.

88. Orion The Hunter – So You Ran

Because it always takes Tom Scholz years to complete a Boston album, the other members usually get fidgety and restless. And sometimes their restlessness bites them in the ass. When guitarist Barry Goudreau recorded a solo album with the other remaining members of Boston, it pissed Scholz off so much he kicked him out of the band. So Barry formed a new band called Orion, later Orion The Hunter. Boston singer Brad Delp sang backing vocals on a few songs and made sure to let Tom know he was committed to Boston. OTH’s only charting single will shoot an arrow that hits as high as #57.

Fun fact: Brad Delp left Boston after 1986’s Third Stage LP and joined Goudreau in a new band called Return To Zero or RTZ. They would have a Top 30 hit in 1992 called Until Your Love Comes Back Around.

90. Fire Inc. – Tonight Is What It Means To Be Young

When Jim Steinman writes a song, you better take a seat. It’s gonna be a while. You could play side one of any Supremes album in the time it takes him to communicate his ideas through a single piece of music. Call it Brogressive Pop. Matching Steinman with an overblown movie such as Streets Of Fire seemed perfect to a coked-out producer with lots of cash to burn. This was one of two songs Jim recorded and produced using the vocals of Face To Face’s Laurie Sargent and singer Holly Sherwood. In the film, the song was poorly lip-synched by Diane Lane. It’s a glorious mess that sounds like a Footloose reject and more than earned its #80 showing.

95. Newcleus – Jam On It

Wikki-wikki-wikki-wikki…The sped-up vocal technology used to great effect in 1982’s Murphy’s Law by Cheri and those Cookie Puss commercials from Carvel is used here to signal folks to pull out their cardboard and start some head spinning. Hip-hop was still be treated as a novelty, and songs like this didn’t help the cause, even though it’s considered a classic now. I heard this so much back then that I never need to listen to it again. It’ll get jam-j-j-j-jammed up at #56.

June 1st, 1985

82. Foreigner – Reaction To Action

I had written about The Truth’s Weapons of Love a few weeks back, and as I listened to it, I was wondering why that song sounded so familiar. Now I know why. It’s a blatant ripoff of this single. Play the intros back to back and tell me what you think.  If you need to steal from someone, make sure the original isn’t watered down bland-tasting mush like this. That’s my reaction to this (in)action, and collectively, we put the kibosh on it at #54.

92. Nile Rodgers – Let’s Go Out Tonight

For as much as I absolutely love Chic, I did not get into Nile’s or Bernard Edwards’ solo albums at the time. I can appreciate them much more now and understand why they didn’t perform well back then. This song sounds out of place or otherworldly for 1985, even as it uses contemporary drum machines and arrangements. The night was over for Nile at #88, but I ended being named producer of the year by Billboard in 1985.

94. Go West – Call Me

Here’s the follow-up to We Close Our Eyes, another slice of catchy synth-driven pop that just didn’t catch on in 1985. Could we not have made some room for this duo amidst the onslaught back then of Bryan Adams and Springsteen? Instead, they had to settle for a #54 zenith. Also, can someone tell me why these guys continued to rock the greasy mechanic look in their videos? It reminds of something Sinatra once said – “…And what’s with the sneering? They want to like you. That’s what killed Dennis Day’s career – contempt for the audience.

 

 

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