Archive for October, 2006

CHART ATTACK!#4: 10/22/88

Friday, October 20th, 2006


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!

[youtube]sSh3RIA-Swo[/youtube]

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!

Birthdays and Wet Dogs

Thursday, October 19th, 2006

Happy Birthday to my longtime friend JT, who turns 29 today.  Although I already got her a gift (don’t click on that link until you get home, young lady!), apparently all she really wanted for her birthday was a pic or two of some wet dogs we saw on the beach in Sanibel a few years ago." ((1Well, we tried to see them, anyway.  Note to self: do not use JT’s ghetto Eckerd-brand sunscreen anywhere near eyes EVER AGAIN.))"

Your wish is my command –  especially since you’ve been faithfully reading my website(s) for ages, despite probably not caring about what I’m discussing half the time.  :)

Hope it’s a great one!

Adventures Through The Mines Of Mellow Gold 4

Wednesday, October 18th, 2006

mellowgoldlogo.jpg

Welcome back, my wussy and wimpy friends! Are you ready for some more of the soft, smooth, sweet and sensitive music we call MELLOW GOLD? Well, too bad, you’re getting it anyway.

Sergio Mendes – Never Gonna Let You Go (download)

Did you know this song was by Sergio Mendes? Be honest. ‘Cause I didn’t.

I like Sergio Mendes. Here’s a picture of him with a pepper in his mouth.


¬°Cuidado Sergio, ese pimiento es muy picante!

Most know Mendes, the popular Brazilian pianist and bandleader of Brasil ’66, from his album, the appropriately-titled Herb Alpert Presents Sergio Mendes and Brasil ’66. Promoted by, uh, Herb Alpert, the album featured an extremely popular cover of “Mas Que Nada.” Mendes had a number of hits (mostly on the Adult Contemporary charts) throughout the late ’60s and early ’70s but then faded from the public eye. Personally, I think much of this had to do with his math trouble. The name of the band was changed to Brasil ’77 in…1971. (1977 brought the introduction of “The New Brasil ’77.”)

Anyhoo, with the release of his self-titled album in 1983 (a return to the label he belonged to during the height of his popularity, A&M), Mendes wound up with the biggest hit of his career – namely, “Never Gonna Let You Go.”

I am the first to admit that I don’t really know much about Sergio Mendes or his famous bossa nova sound. However, here’s what I do know: this sounds nothing like any Sergio Mendes I’ve heard. Tell me it’s Ashford and Simpson – I’ll believe you. Hell, tell me it’s Dan Hill and Vonda Shepard and I’ll go along with it. But Sergio Mendes?

First thing you need to know is who’s singing this song. (Not Ashford & Simpson.) It’s Joe Pizzulo and Leza Miller, two vocalists given no freakin’ credit in the public eye for catapulting this song to a hit. Why is Sergio getting all the credit? Is it because of his fantastic ’80s keyboard sound, which was stolen just 6 years later for the theme song to “Doogie Howser, M.D.?” C’mon, man – even Santana gives his vocalists credit from time to time. The last two people to be dissed like this were the duo that sang the opening verse of “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life.” Go ahead, tell me who they are without looking it up. I dare you! You don’t know, because nobody knows. (Jim Gilstrap and Gloria Barley.)

If you want to give Sergio Mendes credit for something on this song, give him credit for his frequent key changes. And I mean it when I say “frequent.” The intro is in one key. The first verse is in two different keys. Pre-chorus? Two keys. Chorus? 2 keys. And so on. Seriously, I think the song is in at least six or seven different keys. I’m too cheap to buy the sheet music. But judging by the chords here, you get the idea.

And let’s talk about that site I just linked to for a quick moment. Once you’re done scratching your head over the cheesy romantic paperback artwork on the left, I double-dog dare you to play the MIDI file. Oh, the horrible MIDI file. You have to love how the vocal line, replicated by some sort of horrible synth saxophone, is not what you would exactly call “on pitch.” It almost hurts to listen. Really, you have to hear it.

This site seems to be some sort of repository for chords and MIDI files of some horrible (meaning awesome) music. Check out the master list. If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to play gems such as “Hard Habit To Break,” “Faithfully,” or “Can’t Fight This Feeling,” then this site is going to make you very happy. And very unpopular.

Okay, I’ve said enough – some might say, too much – about “Never Gonna Let You Go.” Let’s move on.

Gino Vannelli – I Just Wanna Stop (download)

You can thank our good reader Carlos for this one. He mentioned a friend of his mistaking Mardones for Vannelli in last week’s MG post, and it reminded me of this Mellow Gold gem. But it actually has some relation to the first song featured here: like Sergio Mendes, Gino Vannelli owes a good portion of his success to Herb Alpert. In a move that would definitely get you tasered today, Vannelli essentially stalked Alpert outside of his offices at A&M Records one day, chasing him down in the parking lot, running past security, and playing his songs on acoustic guitar. Alpert signed him two days later to A&M. The early ’70s were a magical time, boys and girls.

There are many reasons to love “I Just Wanna Stop” and, more specifically, Gino Vannelli. You can love him for his name, as it’s so smooth. You can love him for his impressive vocals, or the way he and his brother Joe craft a pop song around synths. You’ll love him for all of these reasons after you hear the song. But right now, I just want to focus on his hair. Gino Vannelli has hair that must make Brian May’s stomach wrench with envy.

Here’s Gino, just chillin’:


‘Sup, ladies? My coiff glows a radiant blue, no?

Here’s Gino on the beach. LOOK AT THAT HAIR, GODDAMMIT!


I don’t know what’s going on around his head, but it’s clear that it’s an aura of some sort.

Here’s one of Gino’s album covers:


Gino’s head grows out of a piano, film at 11.

And here’s Gino in more recent times, Soul Glo’in it up.


“Yeah, you want my hair, don’t you? DON’T YOU?”

Here are My Top Six Reasons Why Gino Vannelli Is Cool:

1) His name almost sounds like “Milli Vanilli.”
2) He’s Canadian. Given the state of our country, this is now a cool thing.
3) To that point, the first line of “I Just Wanna Stop” is “when I think about those nights in Montreal.” That takes balls.
4) He used to open for Stevie Wonder. Sadly, Stevie Wonder is blind and can’t appreciate how the hair looks – only how it feels.
5) He was the first white artist to appear on Soul Train.
6) Did I mention he fucking stalked Herb Alpert and emerged victorious?

Vannelli’s online biography boasts that his songs “came wrapped in elaborate arrangements dominated by multiple synthesizers while being totally bereft of guitars.” When was the last time you heard the term “totally bereft of guitars” as a bragging point?

“I Just Wanna Stop” is some clear-cut Mellow Gold, people. It’s not “totally bereft of guitar,” but it’s damn close. It’s all synths, but they’re used tastefully. The voice is smooth. The fine ladies singing those backing vocals are clearly having a good time, especially singing “ahhhhhh…stop!” And ooh, sax solo, y’all. I’m not calling it rock by any means – it’s a little bit soul and a little bit R&B – but it fits the MG category, no?

Vannelli only had a few hits on American Pop and AC charts, most notably the song above and “Living Inside Myself,” but has remained popular outside of the U.S. And the man truly has talent; he’s recorded a classical album, a jazz album, and one entitled Inconsolable Man, where, according to his discography, “Gino once again takes on societal ills: child abuse and prostitution, drugs, and complacency with his trademark urgency.” Wait, isn’t that the soundtrack to Into The Night: The Benny Mardones Story?

(I had to. I’ve been holding back on the Benny jokes all week. I had to make just one.)

Anyway, if you’re seriously interested in picking up a Gino Vannelli album, I’d suggest These Are The Days, which combines 7 new songs with 7 remastered hits (and, to my ears, they do actually sound better). Or, if you’re happy with just this one smooth track, then download away.

UPDATE: Reader Dan has noted in the comments that, just last week, Gino appeared on CBS’ Second Cup Caf√©! Enjoy the video – I did! Thanks, Dan!

So the next time you’re sitting outside Herb Alpert’s place, waiting to bombard him with your smooth acoustic music, be sure to stop and thank him for today’s two tracks, okay? And see you next week for more Mellow Gold!

    I Will Be Buying This Post-Haste

    Tuesday, October 17th, 2006

    The ultimate box set to end all freakin’ box sets will be released on November 28th.



    Superman: The Ultimate Collector’s Edition

    The full specs are here, with more information here, but this includes the 2 disc Superman Returns, the 4 disc Superman: The Movie, the 2 disc Superman II, Superman II: The Donner Cut (which I’m thinking will be interesting but not all that good), Superman III and IV, as well as lots of additional documentaries and the 1904s Max Fleischer cartoons.  14 discs for $70!

    Will I ever get through all this stuff?  No.  But I gotta have it anyway.

    And so do you.

    CHART ATTACK!#3: 10/16/82

    Friday, October 13th, 2006


    It’s Friday, and that means it’s time for another CHART ATTACK!  We’ve got some great songs from the week ending October 16, 1982!

    10.  I Ran (So Far Away) – A Flock Of Seagulls Amazon iTunes
    9.  Heart Attack – Olivia Newton-John
    Amazon iTunes
    8.  You Can Do Magic – America Amazon iTunes
    7.  Somebody’s Baby – Jackson Browne Amazon iTunes
    6.  I Keep Forgettin’ (Every Time You’re Near) – Michael McDonald Amazon iTunes
    5.  Abracadabra – The Steve Miller Band Amazon iTunes
    4.  Hard To Say I’m Sorry – Chicago Amazon iTunes
    3.  Eye In The Sky – The Alan Parsons Project Amazon iTunes
    2.  Who Can It Be Now? – Men At Work Amazon iTunes (Colin Hay)
    1.  Jack & Diane – John Cougar Amazon iTunes

    10.  I Ran (So Far Away) – A Flock Of Seagulls  I pride myself on being able to hear most ’80s songs and know instantly the year they were hits.  I think it has to do with the fact that I listened to the radio constantly throughout my childhood, and am able to remember where I was or the grade I was in when I first became familiar with the song.  However, if you had asked me when "I Ran" became a hit, I would have bet money on 1984.  I’m not sure I can explain why; it just has a 1984-sound to me.  Plus, if you look at the rest of the songs on the Top 10 above, it really doesn’t fit in, does it?  The artists listed are mostly rock artists.  "I Ran" has a new-wave sound that didn’t seem to fit in, at least not to me, at the time it was a hit.  Does this make A Flock Of Seagulls…pioneers?

    9.  Heart Attack – Olivia Newton-John  I can’t think of anything particularly special to say about "Heart Attack" other than it just represents yet another hit for Olivia Netwon-John during her 10 years on the US charts (1974-1984).  "Heart Attack" was her 14th and penultimate appearance on the top 10 ("Twist of Fate" hit #5 in 1984).  Yes, eventually it all fell apart, as our good friend Jefito mentioned a few weeks ago, but damn, was Olivia hot in the early ’80s.  Fun Fact: in 1975, she won "Female Vocalist of the Year" by the Country Music Association, which angered so many CMA members that they left the organization and formed the Association of Country Entertainers.

    8.  You Can Do Magic – America (download)
     
    I know, I know: I’m treading very close to Mellow Gold territory.  If that’s the case, then go ahead, enjoy an additional song for your wussy arsenal.

    Despite some truly lame lyrics (nobody should ever use the phrase "you know darn well" in a song) and more than a passing resemblance to a few of their other songs (and I’m not just talking about the wimpy vocal), there are some fantastic backing vocals on "You Can Do Magic."  I don’t have anything else to say about this song, except I love it and I guarantee Mike and I will be playing it at an upcoming gig.

    7.  Somebody’s Baby – Jackson Browne  I was trying to think of an appropriate word to describe Jackson Browne based on his hits.  "Wussy" doesn’t quite fit.  "Harmless" fit until I remembered he allegedly beat up Daryl Hannah.  Any suggestions?  In any event, "Somebody’s Baby" was Browne’s biggest (and only second) top 10 hit.  Suitably catchy with a pretty vocal, it sounded instantly to me like a "movie soundtrack song," and this was before I figured out it was on the soundtrack for Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

    6.  I Keep Forgettin’ (Every Time You’re Near) – Michael McDonald  Michael McDonald is the king.  What more needs to be said.  Did I tell you that I bought a Michael McDonald baseball cap at his concert this summer?  It’s awesome.  Where was I?  Oh yeah, back to the song: it’s fantastic.  I do have two minor issues with it, though: first of all, Maureen McDonald, the female vocalist (and Michael’s sister) who sings the chorus halfway through the song (while McD’s totally riffin’ with "babyyyy" and "yeah yeahhhh" and other great ad-libs) never gets any credit.  Second, why the parentheses?  We’ll discuss this in further Chart Attack! postings, but I just don’t understand the need for the parenthetical titles of songs most of the time.  Why in this case?  Was it to separate this tune from a similarly titled song by Leiber and Stoller?  Does it help us understand it’s a love song?  Does Michael McDonald just like a good set of parentheses every once in a while?  The world may never know.  Or care.

    If you only know this song because of Warren G and Nate Dogg’s "Regulate," then I’m very, very old.

    5.  Abracadabra – The Steve Miller Band
      Despite Steve Miller’s penchant for writing the most inane, idiotic lyrics known to man, the dude knows how to craft a hook.  This was Miller’s last real dent on the singles chart, not that it must have bothered him any; between the sale of his greatest hits album and nostalgia tours, the man is…shall we say…."comfortable."  Example: I saw The Steve Miller Band in 1995 when they were touring with The Doobie Brothers (with McD, I might add).  About three or four songs, he finally spoke to the audience.  "We’re nearing the end of this tour," he exclaimed, "and we can’t wait to go home!"  That’s all he said.  Thanks, dick.  Nice to see you too.

    By the way, "Abracdabra" is two minutes longer than it needs to be.  I’ve decided.

    4.  Hard To Say I’m Sorry – Chicago  For better or worse, I grew up on this incarnation of Chicago.  Y’know, the David Foster, sappy ballad stuff.  And I don’t think I’m the only one who grew up in this era of Chicago, either.  In fact, I think Ben Gibbard was secretly a fan of Chicago 16.  Am I the only one who hears the verse similarity between "Hard To Say I’m Sorry" and "Such Great Heights" by The Postal Service?  Take a listen.  To help, I’ve lowered the pitch on "Such Great Heights" to match the same key as the Chicago tune.

    [audio:http://www.wwmmd.net/tunes/inline/hardtosayheights.mp3]

    If it’s just me, let me know.

    Here’s the big tragedy of "Hard To Say I’m Sorry:"  when the single is played on your Lite-FM station, it always fades out while a piano part is still playing something that certainly doesn’t sound like the final portion of a song.  In fact, if you listen closely (or your station is really lazy), you’ll even hear a drum fill.  What you’re missing is the second part of the song, which I think is the best part, entitled "Get Away:"

    [audio:http://www.wwmmd.net/tunes/inline/getaway.mp3]

    Not bad, right?  And, according to our walking music encyclopedia Jefito, legend has it that it was a fragment that keyboardist Robert Lamm had lying around.  Why they decided to add it to the end of this song, I’ll never know, but it resulted in Lamm getting his only writing credit on Chicago 16.
    So don’t go blaming Chicago for becoming complete pussies.  They were trying.  Radio just wouldn’t allow it.

    3.  Eye In The Sky – The Alan Parsons Project (download)  Here’s a case where I love the song itself, but dislike the performance.  In fairness, I only had a passing acquaintance with the original version: I knew the chorus, but not much else.  Recently, I’ve heard two versions of this song – one by Jonatha Brooke, one by Achinoam Nini (through Coverville #225) – and I’ve decided that I much prefer a female singing, even if it’s at the expense of the harmonies.  The melody against those beautiful chords in the chorus is haunting when sung by the right voice.  So here’s a bonus download for this week.  You be the judge.

    Jonatha Brooke – Eye In The Sky (download)
    From Back In The Circus

    2.  Who Can It Be Now? – Men At Work  One hell of a debut single, huh?  Being the snarky bastard that I am, I keep trying to think of some kind of criticism towards "Who Can It Be Now?" – but I can’t.  It’s a finely crafted song written by a gentleman with an amazing voice.  I suppose we should all give Zach Braff a big hug for giving Colin Hay some well-deserved publicity and a resurgence of sorts via his TV show, "Scrubs."  I always smile when I hear his acoustic versions on television.  Do yourself a favor and check out one of his solo albums – either Going Somewhere or Man @ Work – and you’ll realize what an underrated songwriter and performer he is.

    1.  Jack & Diane – John Cougar  Call him whatever you like (actually, only call him John Mellencamp or he’ll probably try to choke you with his bare hands), the man has more hits than you can shake a stick at – and yet, "Jack & Diane" remains his only #1.  I’d argue that Jack & Diane are one of the best-known couples in rock.  I’m trying to think of other couples now: Brenda & Eddie – also high schoolers who peaked too early; Tommy & Gina, high schoolers who went nowhere; and the two idiots from Steve Miller’s absolutely moronic song "Take The Money & Run." (Steve Miller pissed off the wrong blogger this week.)  I’m sure you can think of others; feel free to post in the comments.

    And this brings another edition of CHART ATTACK! to a close.  I’m thinkin’ we’ll hit 1988 next week – but who knows for sure?  Only way to find out is to come back next Friday!