We’re gonna wrap up our review of The Other Sixty by taking a look at the back end of the decade – 1984 to 1989. Let’s what missed out during chart week thirty-five.
September 1st, 1984
85. Everly Brothers – On The Wings Of A Nightingale
Seventeen years after their last chart hit – Bowling Green, which peaked at #40 – Don & Phil get back together one more time on an original song written by Paul McCartney. I assume he was just trying to give something back. Produced by Dave Edmunds, this very catchy song still had its wings clipped at #50. They would release two more albums together in the 80s.
Bill Withers was pretty much done with the music. He released one more album in 1985, and the retired, like for real, retired, stopped working, enjoyed life and his family. When buddy Ralph, who had co-written Just The Two Of Us, asked Bill for a favor for his Universal Rhythm album, Bill agreed to sing lead on the sweet soulful ballad. It will stall at #58, but reach #13 on the Soul charts.
August 31st, 1985
Uh-oh. What’s with the double billing? Looks like someone’s being groomed for a solo career. In reality, the Rhythm Of The Night LP didn’t have much use for El’s siblings, using them as occasional background singers. So the billing is apt. I remember El showing up The Facts Of Life to sing this song with the girls showing how disposable the rest of the family is by stepping in for them as singers. [Check out George Clooney diggin’ it in the corner.] It’s pretty good for synth dance-pop, but the groove gets worn out at #46.
The leader of the best funk groups of all time, Earth, Wind & Fire, get his highest-charting solo single on the Hot 100 with a groovy cover of the Ben E. King classic from 1961. The land will get dark at #50. Guess folks really prefer the original cause Ben will show back up in the Top 10 with it one year from now.
The Romantics switched out drummers for their fourth release, Rhythm Romance, settled into a steady set of potent power pop. This is a great single, but not the explosive lead off that they needed. Still, it should have climber higher than #71. It will be their last chart hit.
Believe it or not, this is the first chart entry for this L.A. New Wave octet, and it’s their best showing. Released as the title track to the Anthony Michael Hall/ Kelly LeBrock film, it will also be included on the group’s fifth album, Dead Man’s Party. Their creation will only reach #45.
September 6th, 1986
What? Why? I think we’re all searching for something to say after hearing this. Chicago decided the best way to usher in a new era without Peter Cetera in the band was to tear down their history. Thankfully this heavily overproduced cover of their 1970 Top 5 smash will do that much damage crashing at #48. But from here on out, it will be mushy ballad city for these guys.
John caps off his welcome mid-80s comeback with another album that was not as inviting as Centerfield was. The production had too much reverb and synth drums for me, and it ruins even the bones of a good song like this. This one does the Thriller dance up to #81 before losing an arm. His next album, Blue Moon Swamp in 1997, was a great return to favor.
All of the debuts from 1987 made the Top 40. Bully for them. Let’s move on.
September 3rd, 1988
Jane follows up her only Top 40 hit, Rush Hour, with another pop confection which could have easily followed it in. The future Joan of Arc will not be as lucky as this wakes up at #57.
How exactly do two people with the last name of Ottaviano meet up, form a band, and remain unrelated? I don’t buy it. I think it’s some dumb press release blurb that no one’s denied. Anyway, this Philly synth quartet gets their only chart hit with this synth disco number, which was a reflection of the safe sex-AIDS era. It was hot in the clubs, but here, it debuts at its peak.
This will be the fourth different time Holly has appeared on the Hot 100 – as the lead singer of Spider, Device, a songwriter and now a solo star. She brings Daryl Hall with her to sing backing vocals on this moody mid-tempo pop ditty, but all she has to show for it is a heart failure at #59.
I had been rockin’ the In My Tribe album since the summer before this single debuts here. It addresses the issue of child abuse with very frank but fair lyrics. Produced by Peter Asher, it’s one of my favorites on the album, but it’s absolutely heartbreaking. Rather than beating around the bush, as Suzanne Vega does on Luka, this one directly talks about the cuts and sores that don’t heal with time. Pop radio prefers metaphors and similes, so this one won’t get any higher than #80.
September 2nd, 1989
After nabbing a leftfield hit with I Beg Your Pardon, this Toronto duo decided to mash up a little Led Zeppelin and Nancy Sinatra, but no Adam Ant. This hip-hop-inspired dance track will not get automatic airtime in the States and will do some walkin’ off the charts after hitting #58.