Things Have Always Been The Same

Let’s review The Other Sixty during chart week forty from the middle of the decade by looking at the failed debuts from 1983, 1984, 1985, and 1986.

October 8th, 1983

84. Klique – Stop Doggin’ Me Around

Klique was a trio churning out electro-boogie during the early 80s, such as Pump Your Rump, but having middling success with it. Then they decided to cover a 1960 Jackie Wilson Top 20 ballad and ended up with a #2 Soul hit and #50 Pop hit. That’s not all. Lead singer Howard Huntsberry got to play Jackie in the movie La Bamba and then performed (Your Love Is Lifting Me)Higher & Higher in the movie Ghostbusters. Ride it till it dies, I say.

91. The Pointer Sisters – I Need You

This Oakland trio’s album release of Break Out did not have an auspicious beginning. RCA picked the wrong lead-off single on an album full of great upbeat dance soul, a mellow mid-tempo affair that will only reach #48. It was the first time since 1979’s Priority LP that the first single was not a Top 40 hit. The next four releases will hit the Top 10, and the album will end up as the biggest selling in their catalog. Also, timing is everything.

94. John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band – On The Dark Side

This was the first entry on the Hot 100 of this song, which will re-enter in 1984 and hit the Top 10.  I feel like I’ve written about this band and Eddie & the Cruisers’ story so much already. I can’t do it anymore. I hate you, HBO!

95. Cliff Richard – Never Say Die (Give A Little More)

This is the third and last debut song during chart week forty for Sir Cliffo. He already had a song in The Other Sixty with Give A Little Bit More. Now he gives even more than he ever did, but the effort is all for naught. This will turn up its toes at #73 and be his last Hot 100 entry.

October 6th, 1984

74. Steve Miller Band – Shangra-La

Amazingly, someone with such a common name is in the RNRHOF. It’s also amazing that we consider people like Don Henley and Glenn Frey as dicks and never mention Steve’s name. It’s probably because you would respond with ‘you mean, my neighbor Steve or my kid’s third-grade teacher? Or the guy that wrote Dragon Ship?‘ Oh, the guy who took this song up to #57. Also, if I’m harsh, feel free to write a post about it here. You might even get a response from Steve Miller. I just don’t know which one.

76. Janey Street – Say Hello To Ronnie

Here’s a very forgotten pop-rock single from New York singer/ songwriter Janey Street, who is still active today. Produced by Jimmy Ienner, this single, in no reference to Reagan, should have made the Top 40 back then, but instead waves goodbye at #68.

85. Stephen Stills Featuring Michael Finnigan – Can’t Let Go

This sure sounds like a romantic duet between two dudes. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I’m not sure that’s what Stephen intended, going after that Sergio Mendes AC money only netted him a #67 finish.

90. Ratt – Wanted Man

Ratt finally got Out Of The Cellar with their hit, Round And Round. Then they found themselves back down there with the follow-up, which will only climb up three spots before getting caught in a trap.

October 5th, 1985

89. Marillion – Kayleigh

This was the closest this UK progressive rock quintet got to garnering a hit in the States, a rock ballad about a long lost love. It will be their biggest in England, reaching #2 but will stiff here at #75. It will also inspire many newborn parents who have a baby girl.

90. Tommy Shaw – Remo’s Theme (What If)

When looking to have a memorable theme song to a potential franchise, why not ask a former Styx guitarist to provide it. Also, make it a vague question, such as Who knows?, Which one or What if? Everything involved with the film, Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins, was an unmitigated disaster, including this ambiguous single, which will peak at #81.

October 11th, 1986

75. Wham! – Where Did Your Heart Go?

How do you say goodbye to your fans, the ones that bought your cheery, upbeat pop music for the last few years? Of course, you do it with a cover of a 1981 Was (Not Was) song about a homeless man who drowns himself. George was crying for help in ’86, and we missed it back then. The single will reach #50 then take a train down to Mexico.

80. The Temptations – Lady Soul

The Temps have one of their better hits in the 80s charting this week en route to a #47 finish. From the album, To Be Continued, which contains the theme to A Fine Mess, it will become only their third Top 10 hit of the decade on the Soul charts.

97. Joan Jett & The Blackhearts- Good Music

Joan spent the mid-80s having trouble landing any of her singles in the Top 40. Maybe collaborating with Michael J. Fox inspired her because she picked it back up with her stint in Light Of Day. This hard rock stomper will languish at #83.

To Fantasize Of Memory Lane

As we enter the fourth quarter of the year with chart week #40, let’s review The Other Sixty from 1980, 1981, and 1982.

October 4th, 1980

72. Kim Carnes – Cry Like A Baby

Kim follows up her first solo Top 10, her version of the Smokey Robinson & the Miracles hit, More Love, with another 60s cover, this time from the Box Tops. It was a #2 smash for them in 1968. Kim’s recording minus the sitar would make up to #44.

97. Zapp – More Bounce To The Ounce (Part 1)

The Troutman brothers would carry the funk flag into the 80s as an unofficial Parliament offshoot. Their signature was thick synth-funk, and singer Roger using a talk-box so much you’d think Frampton got the idea from him. Pop radio was completely ignored, which was turning away from most dance music after the ’79 Disco backlash. It will be a #2 Soul smash and lay the groundwork for most Wes Coast hip-hop through the 90s. On the Hot 100, the bouncing stops at #86. Roger will have a #3 solo hit in 1988 called I Want To Be Your Man.

October 10th, 1981

78. Streek – One More Night

Here’s a ballad from an L.A. quintet, which should have been perfect for 1981’s inoffensive soft rock pop playlists. It’s reflected in a #47 zenith and probably didn’t go much higher because it’s boring as hell.

Fun fact: Before forming this band, singer/songwriter/keyboardist Billy DeMartines performed on Iron Butterfly’s last album, Sun And Steel.

80. Joey Scarbury – When She Dances

Look at what’s happened to Joey. I can’t believe it myself. Suddenly he has a hit from a goofy TV show. It could have been anyone else. Believe it or not, this follow-up will crash at #49.

83. Cliff Richard – Wired For Sound

Cliff has racked up four US Top 40 hits so far in the 80s, which is more than the previous three decades combined. The pop-rock title track to his new Alan Tarney-produced album should have added to that total, but instead will short out at #71, even as it hits the UK Top 5.

84. Johnny Lee – Bet Your Heart On Me

Johnny Lee is looking for another Top 40 hit, but Pop radio stations are all the wrong places. The midtempo song will hit #1 on the Country charts but will fall off the bull at #54. Johnny is also in the middle of looking and finding some love with Dallas’ Charlene Tilton, whom he’ll marry in 1982.

89. Tight Fit – Back To The 60s (Medley)

Inspired by Stars On, this medley of 60s hits sounds like it belongs on a Donny & Marie variety show sketch. It was the brainchild of UK producer Ken Gold, and it made the Top 5 in England. I guess this stuff is big over there because they have no Vegas to go to. In the States, it debuts at its peak.

90. Savoy Brown – Run To Me

Savoy Brown was a blues-rock group formed in the 60s. Bu the early 80s, they had multiple personnel changes, including three members leaving to form Foghat. This will be their biggest hit on the Hot 100, a studio cover of a Smokie song found on their Greatest Hits Live In Concert LP and will run up to #68.

October 9th, 1982

74. Cliff Richard – The Only Way Out

This will be the second of three debuts on the Hot 100 during chart week forty for Cliff, and they will all be in The Other Sixty. It’s the lead single to his new album, Now You See Me…Now You Don’t, which perfectly describes his presence at Pop radio in the early 80s. This UK Top 10 will only reach #64.

81. Cheap Trick – She’s Tight

I’m glad this Rockford, IL quartet is in the RNRHOF if only to make up for solid Power pop like this not getting its due the first time around. MTV played this video a lot back then, and that was my first time seeing this band. Between Bun E. Carlos barely playing the drums with a cigarette in his mouth to Rick Nielsen’s five-way guitar action, I was immediately a fan. This one gets the stop sign at #65.

83. Eddie Money – Shakin’

I’m not much of an Eddie Money fan, but I find that I like his non-hits way more than what got on the radio, such as this one. Maybe its because he snuck the word tits into this song, and no one noticed. The follow-up to his recent Top 20 smash, Think I’m In Love, will get lots of Rock radio airplay but will only peak at #63.

92. The Time – 777-9311

The first single from this septet’s second album, What Time Is It? is another synth-funk jam. Amazingly, the performance is mostly Prince in the studio with Morris Day singing vocals. I don’t know why it was done this way when you have such talented musicians in this group. I’m sure it was an event to see these guys live back then. This will be a #2 Soul hit, but get disconnected at #88 on the Hot 100.

A Way To Talk Around The Problem

Let’s finish up our review of The Other Sixty from chart week thirty-nine with a look at who fell short in 1986, 1987, 1988, and 1989.

October 4th, 1986

91. Billy Squier – Love Is The Hero

Bill tries to resuscitate his flagging career with a new album, Enough Is Enough, and this, the leadoff single. It sounds like a song that Queen would throw away, and having Freddie Mercury singing backup just accentuates that point. Love will turn into a meatball sub at #80.

93. Far Corporation – Stairway To Heaven

Here’s the single that you absolutely needed but just didn’t realize it. Just kidding. No one needs to hear Stairway any more than we need a cover version by a group with corporation in its title. Nor do we need one by producer Frank “Milli Vanilli” Farian. Somehow he got members of Toto, including former singer Bobby Kimball to play on this project, so the guy must have had some dynamite coke. The hedgerow stops bustling at #89.

96. R.E.M. – Fall On Me

This Athens, GA quartet released its fourth album, Life’s Rich Pageant, with this song as their first single and one of my faves of theirs. Even though this single would fall after a #94 zenith, it was a big step forward for the band, garnering more fans, critical praise, and setting up the future success they would have with Document.

October 3rd, 1987

78. The Hooters – Satellite

This was the second single from the Philly quintet’s third album, One Way Home, about the correlation of televangelists preaching about how they’re God’s servant, while the transmission literally beams down from the sky to your TV. This was a breakthrough hit for them all over Europe, but Pop radio turned its back on this song, and it crashed at #61.

October 1st, 1988

90. Tracy Chapman – Talkin’ Bout A Revolution

The revolution will never be loud, brash, and quick. It will be quiet, subtle, and happen over time. This was the song that garnered a recording contract for Tracy, and I can’t for the life of me understand its #75 peak, especially as the follow-up to her Top 10 hit, Fast Car. It will become a big hit for her in Europe, though.

94. Transvision Vamp – Tell That Girl To Shut Up

Here’s the only US chart entry for this UK quintet, a cover of a 1981 Holly & the Italian’s New Wave single that these folks dip in sugar. This faux-punk track will get silenced at #87.

98. Night Ranger – I Did It For Love

I’m sure these guys wanted to be a part of the Glam metal scene or at least its rewards, but it wasn’t gonna happy with this uninspired power ballad. It was the leadoff single from their album Man In Motion, but even Rick Hansen would have rolled over these guys. The future lies in a #75 high.

100. Britny Fox – Long Way To Love

This is our third and final entry of the 1980s at #100. Sixty notches would be a long way to travel for this Philly hair metal quartet. Unfortunately, this generic rocker debuts at its peak.

September 30th, 1989

89. Donny Osmond – Hold On

Donny had a #2 hit this year, Soldier Of Love, thirteen years after his last Top 40, C’mon Marianne. He wore out his welcome fast with lame-ass New Jack-lite tracks like this, that try to sound important by dialing the reverb on the snare drum up to 1000. We all let go at #73.

93. The Cult – Edie (Ciao Baby)

Was this ever used in a Francesco Rinaldi commercial, or am I dreaming that up? I see songs like this as music for folks who want to hear grunge music but don’t know it yet. Not that the Cult was grunge, but there’s a short line that can be drawn from this to say, Alice In Chains. It debuts at its peak.

94. Giant – I’m A Believer

The first chart single from the Nashville quartet led by Dan & David Huff is not a Monkees cover, but an original that’s not half bad, even with the blustery guitar intro. It did try to sneak through the hair metal door, but that got shut on them at #56. Their second single was the power ballad I’ll See You In My Dreams. In 1990, that was allowed in all the way up to #20.

Leave The Things That Separate

The middle of the decade during chart week thirty-nine has a handful of songs that were my favorites then and still are now. Let’s review The Other Sixty from 1984 and 1985.

September 29th, 1984

81. Glenn Frey – The Allnighter

The title track to Glenn’s second solo album opens with Glenn either peeing on or lighting his enemies on fire. Then he begins singing an uptempo tale about a male prostitute that is either his fantasy or is about his weed dealer. Hard to tell which. This follow-up to Sexy Girl will fall asleep at #54.

85. Freddie Mercury – Love Kills

Here’s another track from the well-intentioned but poorly performing soundtrack to the film restoration of the movie, Metropolis. Produced by Giorgio Moroder, it was Freddie’s first official solo single. Imagine a faster Radio Ga-Ga without any guitars or harmonies. It’ll reach the UK top 10, but in the States, the murdered love lies still at #69.

87. Rickie Lee Jones – The Real End

Rickie spent some time in Paris getting her life together and writing her third album, The Magazine, a wildly eclectic long play that illustrates how much she likes to dabble in all genres, moods, and themes. This was the lead single released to promote the album, and its way too good and sophisticated for Pop radio, so its #82 zenith isn’t a surprise. I always like to throw this in when I close out a set of DJ’d Westcoast music.

88. Peabo Bryson – Slow Dancin’

The pride of Greenville, SC, is back with a Marvin Gaye-styled two-stepper perfect for that Quiet Storm playlist. The song is pretty much Peabo, a Memorymoog, and a Simmons drum pattern, but it sounds anything but cold and synthesized. As it was the follow-up to If Ever You’re In My Arms Again, I’m sure Pop programmers got flustered and didn’t know what to do with it. That’s why the guilty feet lost their rhythm at #82.

95. Evelyn Thomas – High Energy

What better way to cap off the faltering genre of Hi-NRG music than a song with that title? This was a massive club hit, reaching #1 on the Dance charts. The Brits loved it too, as it hit #5. The Americans kept this underground at #85, so if you weren’t in a club, you probably never heard it. That is unless you lived in New York, where it got plenty of airplay.

September 28th, 1985

75. The Family – The Screams Of Passion

When the Time split up in 1984, Morris went solo (see #84), Jesse Johnson formed the Revue, the rest of the members joined the Family, led by St. Paul and Susannah Melvoin, Wendy’s twin sister and Prince’s fiance at the time. The Purple One wrote and recorded this album just after the Around The World In A Day sessions, so there’s still some hints of funky psychedelic pop on this LP, especially on this lead single. It will get quiet at #63. The album is also notable for the first released recording of Nothing Compares 2 U, which Sinead O’Connor found, covered, and had a huge #1 with, in 1990.

81. Howard Jones – Like To Get To Know You Well

I’m a huge HoJo fan, have seen him live many times, and continue to buy his records. I also had a chance to interview him, and he’s as polite and humble as you would imagine. Dream Into Action is my favorite album of his, and it’s loaded with catchy synth-pop. Five of these tracks were smash hits in the UK, but only two made the Top 40 in the States. [ed note – The original version of No One Is To Blame is on this album, but it was the re-recording with Phil Collins in 1986, which became a Top 5 hit.] This reggae-tinged single was first released in England in August 1984 for the Summer Olympics, reaching the Top 5. One year plus later, it will peak in the US at #49.

82. Rene & Angela – I’ll Be Good

Here is the highest-charting crossover hit for Rene Moore and Angela Winbush from their final album, Street Called Desire. This funky little jam will reach #47 on the Hot 100, #4 on the Soul charts, and #22 over in the UK.

84. Morris Day – The Oak Tree

Now that Jerome was in The Family, who was holding the mirror up for Morris? He could have been a bigger star. The dude was talented and quite a character. He just didn’t have the material for that one big hit to get him over. This #3 Soul hit will shake its leaves at #65 Pop. Morris will eventually have a solo Top 40 in 1988 called Fishnet, which will reach #23. Its basically The Time but credited to Morris Day.

90. Jane Wiedlin – Blue Kiss

The solo bug hit Jane as well in 1984 as she was the first to split the Go-Go’s, which broke up soon after. She had already charted in 1983 with Sparks on Cool Places, but this was her first chart hit by herself. This sweet little pop song will only climb up to #77.

91. Go West – Eye To Eye

This is the third chart single from the UK duo’s and my favorite from their debut. They still can’t buy a Top 40 appearance, and this mid-tempo soul-pop ditty about a cheating dude looking for some redemption will blink at #73. For a time capsule on how pop was invading the Soul charts in the mid-80s, here’s a clip of Soul Train dancers groovin’ to this song while “Flip Wilson” is on the scramble board.