Reputation’s Changeable, Situation’s Tolerable

Let’s wrap up chart week forty-three with a review of The Other Sixty from the back end of the decade starting in 1986 up thru 1989.

November 1st, 1986

90. The Monkees – Daydream Believer

Surprised to see a song that was #1 in 1968 charting here in 1986? Well, Rhino Records owned the Monkees’ catalog now, and with the band’s resurgence on Nickelodeon, they wanted to make good on their investment and sell more albums. The Monkees had made a music video back in the 60s for this song, which is why it was chosen as it was MTV/VH-1 ready. It didn’t get to 7A, but it did reach #79.

98. Commodores – Goin’ To The Bank

By 1986 those trips to First Federal Savings were becoming few and far between. It’s tough to replace a dude like Lionel, who seemingly turned out one great song after another. And although he wasn’t the only writer in the band, he was definitely the one with the most talent. Most likely, that’s why they had many outside people giving them songs such as this. It makes its last withdrawal at #65

October 31st, 1987

84. Dionne & Kashif – Reservations For Two

Miss Warwick follows up her successful duet with Jeffrey Osborne, with another twosome, this time with singer/songwriter Kashif. He wrote a hit for her cousin, Whitney called You Give Good Love. No such luck here as this ballad will have a #62 zenith.

88. Beau Coup – Sweet Rachel

Here’s a rock quartet from Cleveland with an A.O.R. album and single that was slowly falling out of favor at pop radio. Seven years prior, it might have had a chance or seven years in the future, if it was used on an episode of Friends. But in 1987, their only chart hit will reach #53.

89. Glenn Jones – We’ve Only Just Begun (The Romance Is Not Over)

If you’re looking for a sequel to Gregory Abbott’s Shake You Down, here it is. (I would love to hear someone mash these two up.) Glenn was on album number four when he finally crossed over to the Hot 100. He had amassed four Top 40 hits on the R&B charts when this will climb all the way up to #2. It will be his only Hot 100 entry, reaching #66, even though he’d have a #1 Soul hit in 1991, Here I Go Again.

93. Earth, Wind & Fire – System Of Survival

It had been four years since the last E.W.F. LP, a lifetime in that universe. But it was also the first break the band had in a decade and a half. Touch the World was a pretty good album. My only complaints are the programmed drums and the new horn players. But funk was in short supply during the white-washed 80s, so I’ll take what I can get. This became a #1 hit on the R&B charts as well as the Dance Club charts. It will wash out at #60 on the Hot 100.

October 29th, 1988

80. .38 Special – Rock & Roll Strategy

If there is one, I’d like to know. But I’m sure it doesn’t include letting your lead singer and founding member walk away and pivoting towards an Adult Contemporary career. And songs like this aren’t going to win any new fans or keep the old ones. Not sure your coach had a #67 zenith in mind.

83. Traveling Wilburys – Handle With Care

Fuck Asia. This is a supergroup. There are no other supergroups that ever existed, except this one. You want to put Jeff Tweedy, Rufus Wainright, and Father John Misty together? Sure, I’ll listen to it, ya hipster. But it ain’t a supergroup. You need at start with a least one Beatle (Ringo counts), a folk icon and early rock legend, current rock legend, and a studio whiz to produce it. What started out as a recording session for a George Harrison B-side became The Wilburys. How this stalled at #45 is beyond me.

This group and album are essential for five reasons:

  • It gave Tom Petty the freedom and confidence to make Full Moon Fever and then the superior Wildflowers, five years later.
  • It will be the last studio recordings of George Harrison.
  • It will be the most accessible music Dylan records in a decade, on either side, and showcases his true collaborative spirit.
  • It will boost the production career of Jeff Lynne, who had just shut down E.L.O.
  • It will also boost the career of Roy Orbison, who will have his first hit in two decades in early 1989. Sadly, he will be gone within six weeks of this debut, which is also a reminder to do it now, not later.

88. Peter Cetera – Best of Times

Peter follow-up to his Top 10 hit, One Good Woman, which out-Cartmens his other hits, is this slice of pop-rock which has nothing to do with Styx. Maybe if it were a cover, it would have risen higher than #59.

91. Alphaville – Forever Young

Hey look who’s back? A song that has been adopted  by proms, weddings, sweet sixteens, Bar Mitzvahs and lots of other celebrations where we’re supposed to never grow up or at least remember the moment we’re experiencing for all time as if it’s the best one we’ll experience. It will be used in Napoleon Dynamite to demonstrate this to great effect. Released to promote their recent greatest hits compilation, which had a slow and fast version, this will chart higher than its 1984 entry hitting #65.

(Thank you victorvector for catching this missing re-entry.)

93. D.J. Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – Girls Ain’t Nothing But Trouble

After the success of He’s the D.J., I’m the Rapper, Jive Records decided to re-release a remixed single originally recorded on this hip hop duo’s first album, Rock The House. It’s built around a sample of the I Dream Of Jeannie theme, and it’s about as goofy stupid as you could imagine. Also, the lyrics have not aged well. Thankfully it will top out at #57.

October 28th, 1989

95. Tracy Chapman – Crossroads

Tracy co-produced her second album, taking a more active role in her sound. It pays off, and the title track illustrates the move as she tries to protect herself and art while others try to make her a commodity. This single will only move up five spots, but the album will go platinum.

98. Shirley Lewis – Realistic

Here’s a U.K. singer who had sung backup for George Michael and released a handful of singles in the mid-80s with her sisters Linda & Dee under the name Lewis Sisters. This was the first single from her solo debut, Passion, produced by Shep Pettibone. It’s a nice mix of catchy pop with some house music vibes, but it gets a dose of pragmatism at #84.

99. Grayson Hugh – Bring It All Back

Here is the pride of Hartford, CT following up his Top 20 smash, Talk It Over, from his album, Blind To Reason. This track is as soulfully mellow as the other, but for some reason, it won’t move up any higher than #89. Although I must say, I still hear it quite often rummaging around a Goodwill for vinyl or waiting in line at a Rite Aid.

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