Welcome back to another edition of CHART ATTACK! This week, I’m covering my favorite year of the ’80s. So let’s take a trip back, shall we, to October 22, 1988, a truly unoriginal week for our Top 10, with 40% covers!
10. The Loco-Motion – Kylie Minogue Amazon
9. Don’t Be Cruel – Cheap Trick Amazon iTunes
8. Don’t Be Cruel – Bobby Brown Amazon iTunes
7. Don’t You Know What The Night Can Do? – Steve Winwood Amazon iTunes
6. Kokomo – The Beach Boys Amazon iTunes
5. Wild, Wild West – The Escape Club Amazon iTunes
4. Love Bites – Def Leppard Amazon iTunes
3. What’s On Your Mind (Pure Energy) – Information Society Amazon iTunes
2. Red, Red Wine – UB40 Amazon iTunes
1. Groovy Kind Of Love – Phil Collins Amazon iTunes
10. The Loco-Motion – Kylie Minogue Much like Robbie Williams, Queen post-1982 and George Michael post-1996, Kylie Minogue is one of those artists that has enjoyed massive success in many, many parts of the world – but not the U.S. Here, she’s known for this ridiculously popular (and, dare I say, annoying) earworm (originally by Little Eva) and her (slightly less annoying) 2001 hit "Can’t Get You Out Of My Head." However, she’s a cultural icon on par with Madonna in her native Australia, and has been featured in the tabloids and pop magazines in the U.K. for just about as long as I can remember. If you have a few free minutes, I highly recommend checking out her Wikipedia entry: from her days on Australian soap Neighbours to her recent bout with breast cancer, she’s had quite a career and life. And INXS’s "Suicide Blonde?" That’s about her.
Oh. I was supposed to talk about "The Loco-Motion," wasn’t I? The song sucks. Moving on.
9. Don’t Be Cruel – Cheap Trick The first of our back-to-back "Don’t Be Cruel" entries in this week’s chart. 1988 was the year of the Inexplicable Cheap Trick Comeback; after all, just a few years prior (as documented in Darren’s excellent Idiot’s Guide over at Jefito’s place), they were relegated to Opening Act For Ratt. How exactly they wound up with any kind of radio airplay in 1988, I’ll never know. Either way, after the success of "The Flame," the band was able to ride this Presley cover to #4 just a few weeks prior. I still have this one on 45 somewhere. Incidentally, Cheap Trick’s "Don’t Be Cruel" was the first Elvis Presley cover to hit the US Top 10 since his death in 1977.
8. Don’t Be Cruel – Bobby Brown And thus began four years of The Unsinkable Bobby Brown. (Heh.) Although this track peaked at #8 this week in 1988, it was the first of five top 10 hits from the album of the same name that surfaced later in 1989 (and in the middle, he had a hit with "On Our Own" from the Ghostbusters II soundtrack). Produced and written by the hot hitmaking team of L.A. Reid and Babyface, the entire Don’t Be Cruel album showed Brown’s skills in R&B, hip-hop, rap, dance, soul, and ballads. This track was a good, solid start, showcasing his smooth voice and passable rap flow, although to be honest, most of his other hits sounded pretty similar to this one. The only thing wrong with "Don’t Be Cruel" was that, in my opinion, it ended too soon; it went straight from a rap into the fade. But what do I know?
7. Don’t You Know What The Night Can Do? – Steve Winwood When I hear this song, one word comes to mind: Michelob.
Listen, I have no problem with rock songs being used in commercials. (As a Who fan, I’d be a hypocrite if I did.) This will be an argument for many until the end of time, but I don’t have an issue with it. That being said, this was pretty blatant advertising – other than maybe U2 and the iPod, are artists appearing in commercials like this anymore? See, Steve Winwood was in the commercial, and there are people in a bar and…oh, why bother explaining it when someone has actually gone to the trouble of uploading the commercial to YouTube? God Bless The Internet!
And since I know somebody will ask if I’ve done the research, I want you to know I have, and I’ve verified that in 1988, the night did indeed belong to Michelob.
6. Kokomo – The Beach Boys The less said about "Kokomo," the better, right? I felt the same way until I read this article in Entertainment Weekly, written by one of my favorites, Scott Brown. Seriously, go read it. I’ll be here when you get back.
You may think there’s nothing interesting about "Kokomo," but with a history involving John Phillips, John Stamos, Van Dyke Parks, Terry Melcher, Ry Cooder (!) and
the Walking Asshole Mike Love…there’s gotta be at least one or two interesting tidbits. And there are. Like most other people, I can’t stand the song, although it was nice to see Carl Wilson on television again. Of course, for every Wilson moment, you’re also stuck with a moment from Love, who still thinks that his co-writing credit on "Kokomo" (which was a huge hit for The Beach Boys) is something to hold over Brian Wilson, whose song "Love And Mercy" was released around the same time and failed. I’m not the first to say it and I certainly won’t be the last, but man, does Mike Love need a kick in the teeth.
5. Wild, Wild West – The Escape Club (download) My instinct is to call The Escape Club one-hit wonders, but I’m sure Jeff, Carlos or somebody else smarter than yours truly would remind us all that they actually had a #8 hit in
1992 1991 (Jeff, you scare me) with a tune called "I’ll Be There." I don’t think I’ve ever heard this song. In any case, I absolutely loved "Wild, Wild West." Maybe it’s because it was 1988, I was young, and would always giggle when they said the words "safe sex." Either way, I had the cassingle as well as the 12", which had two unnecessary seven-minute remixes. That’s how much I dug this song.
But now that I’m older…well, okay, I’m still liking it, I admit. Yeah, I can now recognize that the verse style is a lift from "Pump It Up" by Elvis Costello, but the novelty of the song in general – as well its obvious frozen-in-time quality – is still there for me. See if it’s still there for you, too.
I could be making this up, but I could have sworn that the song was eventually re-released with the line "Ronnie’s got a new gun" changed to reflect the fact that Bush had just won the election. Can anybody confirm?
4. Love Bites – Def Leppard (download) The only thing I can say about "Love Bites" in particular is this: if you liked the rest of the six songs that hit the charts from Hysteria, you probably loved this one as well. Please understand, I don’t want to love any of these songs, but in truth, I love all of them. I love the huge Mutt Lange production. The consistent, full sound of the backing vocals. The pre-chorus. Oh, the pre-chorus! All the big Def Leppard songs on Hysteria had ’em, and you can thank Mutt. So again, if you love that stuff, or if you loved it back then, "Love Bites" was right up your alley. Originally, the song was a country ballad – we can all be thankful that it didn’t wind up in Shania’s pile.
All this talk about "Love Bites" has put me into a nostalgic mood. Good thing Hysteria: Deluxe Edition is coming out next week, according to Def Leppard News.
3. What’s On Your Mind (Pure Energy) – Information Society Like The Escape Club, I’d like to peg Information Society as one-hit wonders as well, but shit, apparently their followup single "Walking Away" (which, to my ears, sounds quite similar to this one) hit #9 in February of 1989. They’ve also had a number of Top 20 hits on the Dance charts, and members of the band are currently getting back together.
One person who will not be a member of the reunion is founding member Kurt Harland. Kurt was approached by the VH-1 Show "Bands Reunited" in 2004 and, while the broadcast episode makes it appear that Kurt agreed and then backed out, Kurt tells a very different story. You can read the whole thing here. If you’ve got a few minutes, check it out – it’s a great tale of being ambushed by a scummy production company.
Again, I’ve strayed from discussing the song itself. (In this case, it’s because I don’t want to write the title all over again.) Balancing the lines between electronic, dance and industrial, the song features a couple of Star Trek samples (that’s Spock saying "Pure Energy"), courtesy of Adam Nimoy, Leonard’s son.
I’ve always found it fascinating how many British artists seem to lose their accents when they sing. Elton John doesn’t sound especially British, nor does George Michael, Freddie Mercury, Roger Daltrey, etc. So how come Information Society sounds British when they’re from Minnesota?
2. Red, Red Wine – UB40 Okay, listen up. We’re not going to have this argument again. I want to preface this by saying that I do not think the members of UB40, either separately or collectively, are hacks. There is no denying the fact, though, that UB40 have never had an original hit in America. "I Got You Babe," "Red, Red Wine," "The Way You Do The Things You Do," "Here I Am (Come And Take Me)," and "(I Can’t Help) Falling In Love With You" are all covers. I’m just making the statement. I would argue that every cover has had a UB40 flavor (and nevermind that this flavor is the same across the board), and I especially like "Red, Red Wine" more than any of the others. Still, America has not taken kindly to the original works of UB40.
Remember the Benny Mardones post where we discussed the DJ in Phoenix, Arizona? The one who resurrected "Into The Night" nine years after its inital peak on the Billboard charts? Well, UB40’s "Red, Red Wine" had actually reached #34 back in March of 1984, but after their performance of the song at the "Nelson Mandela’s 70th Birthday Tribute" in July of 1988, it was resurrected and brought back into rotation…by a DJ in Phoenix. Same DJ? No clue. Still, a cool story.
1. Groovy Kind Of Love – Phil Collins As you have seen this week, we’re all about the covers. "Groovy Kind Of Love" was a cover of The Mindbenders’ #2 hit in 1966….who took it from Patti LaBelle and The Blue Belles the same year…who got the song originally from Carole Bayer Sager (her first pop hit) and Toni Wine….who copped the melody from Clementi’s Sonatina Op. 36: No. 5 in G Major. Everybody got that?
This specific version of "Groovy Kind Of Love" was from the soundtrack to the movie Buster, also starring Collins. I remember it being tremendously overplayed at the time. I think that this is the first time I’ve really heard the song in many years, and surprise surprise, I think that it’s actually a very simple and sweet song, despite it being bathed in typical ’80s/Collins vocal and keyboard effects.
If you know this song purely because it was played at Monica and Chandler’s wedding, you’re too young.
And with that, we’re at the end of another week! As always, thanks for stopping by and leaving your thoughts in the comments. See you next Friday for another edition of CHART ATTACK!