A Million Ways To Bury You Alive

We’re gonna finish up chart week thirty-eight with a large group of singles that’s unusual for the late years of the 80s. Let’s review from 1987 to 1989.

September 26th, 1987

83. Starship – Beat Patrol

There’s a lot to slog through, and this five pack of singles from ’87 isn’t gonna inspire many programmers, let alone the corporate version of Jefferson Airplane. You can talk all you want about how bad We Built This City is. That is Let It Be compared to this. If it makes Grace Slick want to leave, you know you’re scraping the bottom. This climb close enough to the Top 40 [#46] to make you honestly question if there are any qualifications needed to be a radio station program director.

85. John Waite – Don’t Lose Any Sleep

We won’t, John. And neither should you. In fact, if you’re gonna record soulless unimaginative rock songs like this, just form a band again. That way, you can take the praise when it works and share the blame when it doesn’t (see Bad English). And you’ll get more zzzzs. Starship will cover this four years from now if that tells you anything. It will nod off at #81.

89. The Monkees – Heart And Soul

Thanks to the Nickelodeon channel reairing old episodes and a Rhino Records reissue, three of the Monkees decided to record a new album, Pool It!, their first in seventeen years. There’s a reason why Nesmith sat this one out. Ignoring what they titled this single, there was little of each, and they would have been better off just covering T’Pau or Hoagy Carmichael than putting this out. This effectively killed all of the Monkees’ love, and their next album wouldn’t get made for another nine years until Mike was back on board.

91. Glen Burtnick – Follow You

Imagine recording songs that sound like White Lion without having the money or groupies. Welcome to the solo career of Glen Burtnik, who managed to place this single as his only entry on the Hot 100. It will peak at #65, but Glen will join Styx in the early 90s and get to play Renegade three hundred times a year.

Fun fact: Glen will co-write the 1992 Patty Smyth hit, Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough.

94. KISS – Crazy Crazy Nights

After the make-up came off, after their disco exploits, disastrous TV special, the lack of any other gimmicks, these guys are still around, presumably to latch onto the burgeoning Glam metal MTV phase. It’s been eight years since they were in the Top 40, and singles like this will continue to keep them out, hitting the crazy, crazy, crazy high of #65.

September 24th, 1988

88. Robert Cray Band – Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark

This former Albert Collins sideman follows up his Strong Persuader album with the title track to his new album. It wasn’t as popular as the previous LP, but personally, I think it’s stronger. By the way, this single isn’t about telling some it’s OK to go to sleep at night. No sleeping is happening here, not until Robert makes you feel the power if you know what I mean. Unfortunately, the lights come on at #74.

Fun fact: In the film Animal House, Robert is onstage playing bass as one of the bandmembers of Otis Day & The Knights

94. L’Trimm – Cars With The Boom

Like all innovative genres of music which rise from the underground, music executives are there to stomp on its neck and ring every dollar out of it they can. That’s why you get singles like The Fat Boys doing Wipeout with the Beach Boys and stuff like this. This is god awful. There’s no flow. Their voices are grating. And the beat is as dumb as the lyrics. So, of course, this will low ride all the up to #54 while nothing from MC Lyte’s Lyte As A Rock will even chart.

95. Tommy Conwell & The Young Rumblers – I’m Not Your Man

Here’s a quintet from Philly, who had their biggest success with their second album, Rumble. Their songs got a lot of rock airplay, including this single, which reached #1 on the Mainstream Rock charts. But it was hard to cut through all the fake metal, teen pop, and freestyle dance acts on the Pop charts. So this will languish at #74.

98. Deniece Williams – I Can’t Wait

After Neicy hit #1 in 1984 with Let’s Hear It For The Boy, she released a well-regarded gospel album that effectively killed her Pop career. In fact, she didn’t chart any singles on the Hot 100 from her next releases until this one, which tried to get some of those Footloose fans back. This is a catchy Motown-inspired affair that should have done the trick, and fans of Merry Clayton’s Yes would have loved this. I bought the 45, but it will not spend another lazy night in anyone’s arms after it hits #66. It will be her last chart hit.

99. Sa-Fire – Boy, I’ve Been Told

This was the third single but first chart entry from this East Harlem singer’s foray into freestyle. It had a long way to climb and ultimately reached #48. It was written by Marc Anthony, who will have a successful singing career in a decade from now, starting with 1999’s I Need To Know.

September 23rd, 1989

71. Soulsister – The Way To Your Heart

Does Holland-Dozier-Holland get some royalties for this? It’s a total earworm, but like most Motown-ripoffs, they try to capture what those songs sounded like but not what made them great. This Belgian duo just misses getting the Shadoe call stopping at #41 while becoming a massive hit throughout Europe.

77. Teddy Riley Featuring Guy – My Fantasy

Producer Teddy Riley gave himself top billing over his fellow Guy bandmates on this soundtrack cut from Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing. I played this all Summer, and the single had already hit #1 on the Soul charts by the time it crossed over here. This will only climb to #62. Guy will have their only Top 40 in early 2000 with Dancin’.

80. Debbie Gibson – We Could Be Together

Finally, the electric youth has been shorted out. I genuinely feel pity for anyone who has any important memories in their life tied to Debbie’s music. Mediocrity will always seem to thrive as long as someone is getting rich off of it. After eight straight Top 40 hits, this will die at #71.

84. Sinitta – Right Back Where We Started From

The 70s revival bandwagon was still parked at the station in the late 80s, but folks were starting to get on, mostly Europeans, who never felt the stigmatization of the ME decade like we did here in the States. Thus a dance-pop update of the Maxine Nightingale 1976 smash will stall out at #84.

Fun fact: Sinitta’s mom is Miquel Brown, who had a huge club hit in 1983 with So Many Men, So Little Time. She is also the niece of Amii Stewart, who had a #1 smash with her cover of Knock On Wood in 1979.

87. Love And Rockets – No Big Deal

Did Love And Rockets write So Alive to get on Pop radio? Maybe. Were they surprised when they did, and the song reached #3 in the U.S.? Probably. Did they collectively laugh when the record company released this as the follow-up? Definitely. It will have a #82 zenith.

88. White Lion – Radar Love

By recording a cover of this 1974 hit, all White Lion did was prove that Golden Earring is twelve hundred times better than they are. I’ve seen NC’s The Pressure Boys do an energizing version of this. This recording sounds winded and lethargic. They should have donated any money made from this to a charity to help restore their good karma. When it hits #59, it will be their last Hot 100 entry.

92. Winger – Hungry

This New York glam metal quartet racked up two Top 40 hits from their debut, and they had an appetite for more. Don’t let the opening synth strings fool you. They are here to rock or to sound like they are. This 45 will die of starvation at #85.

One Reply to “A Million Ways To Bury You Alive”

  1. Strange coincidence: it was just earlier today I learned of Soulsister, via a thread about #41-peakers over at the AT40 Fun and Games Casey/Shadoe message board. Don’t remember ever hearing it before, somehow. When I looked up its chart entry date, I realized you were just about to write it up. Your assessment is very fair.

    Liked by 1 person

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