A Democracy of Sorts

Let’s continue our review of those unlucky tracks held down by Pop radio programmers as they Bubbled Under the Hot 100 during chart week twenty-two from 1983 to 1985.

Mary Jane Girls – Candy Man (debuted on 6/4/1983, peaked at #101)

What started out as an attempt to get Motown to sign singer Jojo McDuffie turned into a contract for a four-woman group of singers who called themselves the Mary Jane Girls. Named after Rick James’ song, Mary Jane, these ladies had been mining backup for the superfreak on tour for a few years. But when Prince created Vanity 6, Rick kicked into gear to show he could do the same but better. Well, Rick was right. Their debut was a funky delight and spawned three R&B Top 40 hits as well as endless grooves to sample.

Roxy Music – More Than This (debuted on 6/4/1983, peaked at #102)

How does an established band that heavily influenced many 80s New Wave bands create a critically revered album at the height of New Wave and fail to have any of their songs played on Pop radio? This classic was a smash worldwide, including reaching #6 in the UK a year previous. Bryan Ferry would split the group up and Avalon remains their last studio album. Fourteen years later, a Merchant-less 10000 Maniacs would grab their only Top 40 hit with a cover of this song. But that pales in comparison to tastemaker Bob Harris.

Spandau Ballet – Lifeline (debuted on 6/4/1983, peaked at #108)

Here’s a band who enjoyed the second British Invasion. Their third album, True gave us the title track and the #29 single, Gold. This was the first single released from the album in the Uk and peaked at #7. In the US, it was the third and it stalled in the Bubbler zone.

Amy Holland – Anytime You Want Me (debuted on 6/4/1983, peaked at #110)

This synthy pop-rock track, written by Paul Bliss, was the first single from the Michael McDonald-produced sophomore effort from Amy called On Your Every Word. It did not plan any Hot 100 entries after Amy’s debut gave us How Do I Survive and garnered her a nomination for Best New Artist. It is still a smooth recording with my favorite track, Rollin’ By, featuring a tasty guitar solo by Steve Lukather. Amy & Michael got married in 1983 and are still together.

Herbie Hancock – Mega-Mix (debuted on 6/2/1984, peaked at #105)

Herbie had his biggest R&B hit with Rockit in 1983 reaching #6. It also hit #1 on the Dance charts. So the thinking was, why not take all of the tracks on Future Shock, throw in 1974’s Chameleon and mash it all together? Well, mash it what it sounded like, and it may have killed the momentum of Hancock’s future electro-funk experiments.

Roger Waters – 5:01 A.M. (The Pros And Cons Of Hitch Hiking) (debuted on 6/2/1984, peaked at #110)

After years of leading Pink Floyd, Roger finally left the quartet and released his first (non-soundtrack) solo album, The Pros and Cons Of Hitch Hiking. He started working on this idea at the same as The Wall, revolving around a man having a midlife crisis in real-time from 4:30AM to 5:11 AM, hence the title, the tenth cut on the LP. It’s bizarre as shit but somehow makes sense if you enter Roger’s world. Clapton’s guitar meanders throughout.

Jesse Johnson’s Revue – Can You Help Me (debuted on 6/1/1985, peaked at #110)

The guitarist for The Time released his first of three solo 80s albums, Jesse Johnson’s Revue, in 1985. This was the second single released after Be Your Man reached #61 on the Hot 100. I have to believe that had Jesse put this out on any other label than square-ass A&M, which was in the midst of screwing up Janet Jackson’s career,  this might have heard by more folks. As it stood, it will be his second straight R&B Top 10, peaking at #3.


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