Welcome back, everybody, to another week of CHART ATTACK! This week’s another good one for the charts; I had a great time writing about every single one of these songs. Hope you enjoy reading about them. Because 1984 was one of those years when just about every song had a visual counterpart, every single entry is accompanied by a music video. Feel free to waste your entire day here, as we attack April 28, 1984!
10. To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before – Julio Iglesias & Willie Nelson Amazon iTunes
9. Automatic – Pointer Sisters Amazon iTunes
8. They Don’t Know – Tracey Ullman Amazon iTunes
7. You Might Think – The Cars Amazon iTunes
6. Love Somebody – Rick Springfield Amazon
5. Miss Me Blind – Culture Club Amazon iTunes
4. Hold Me Now – Thompson Twins Amazon iTunes
3. Footloose – Kenny Loggins Amazon iTunes
2. Hello – Lionel Richie Amazon iTunes
1. Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now) – Phil Collins Amazon iTunes
10. To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before – Julio Iglesias & Willie Nelson
This is probably the only time I’m going to say this during this Chart Attack!: what is this shit? And who can I blame for this one? I suppose some of the blame has to go to Dick Asher, the CBS executive who plays a big role in the oft-recommended book Hit Men (I’m still reading it, don’t spoil the ending!), and was Iglesias’ primary champion when it came to bringing the biggest Spanish singer of all time to the U.S. But enough blame has been thrown Asher’s way, according to the book, so I’m going to leave him alone. Instead, let’s blame Willie. Fuckin’ Willie. Tell me the idea for this song wasn’t concocted while stoned. I dare you.
I can get behind this duet, though it’s mainly for its unintentional humor. I mean, as unlikely duets go, this is pretty unlikely. Way more unlikely than Diddy and Sting, or Elton John and Axl/Eminem/Rick Santorum. (That last one may not have happened, I’m not sure, but man, does Elton love him some homophobes.) The differences between the two accents are hysterical, and I’m not positive that either one of them actually knows what they’re saying.
What’s that? You want to see if it’s funny visually as well? You got it!
You know how artists mainly just "know" how to duet in concert? They know how to look at each other, at the audience, etc. (See Cliff and Olivia in Mellow Gold.) Willie and Julio have no idea how to do it. When they look at each other, they look like they’re in love. When they look at the audience, they look like they’d rather be anyplace else but the stage. And Julio makes a few inappropriate gestures, too: check out the moment at :40 when he says "for helping me to grow" and then runs his hand down his stomach towards Lil’ Julio! Or how about when he touches Willie’s stomach? Julio, didn’t anybody tell you that Willie’s from Texas? Did the fact that you’re in a tuxedo and he’s wearing jeans and a t-shirt not tip you off? Not okay, Julio! Not okay!
As for the song’s lyrical content, well…take a second to try and envision the girl that might have heard this song and thought, "holy shit…I slept with both Julio Iglesias AND Willie Nelson!" Both attracted the ladies (in vastly different ways, of course), and saw their share of action. Perhaps they should have left in the line "To all the girls I’ve loved before…you may want to get that rash checked out."
Here’s a little-known fact about "To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before": it actually came with its own disclaimer.
Effective upon the listening of this song, all the girls Mssrs Nelson and Iglesias have loved before, for themselves and for their successors, heirs, assigns, agents and representatives, completely, unconditionally and forever release, acquit and discharge Mssrs. Nelson and Iglesias, together with their respective successors, heirs, assigns, representatives, agents, affiliated entities, employees, attorneys, and partners, of and from any and all actions, causes of action, claims, contracts, debts, demands, liabilities, losses and damages of every kind and nature whatsoever, whether known or unknown, including but not limited to, alimony, paternity, loss of consortium, emotional distress, assault, abuse of controlled substances, sexually transmitted disease (including syphilis, gonorrhea, Chlamydia, crabs, and etc) or which in any manner relate to any and all whispering of sweet nothings, serenades, moonlit walks, hand holding, necking, heavy petting, french kissing, tender, sensual lovemaking, drug fueled orgies, quasi-satanic sex rituals, gay French sex farces, and all other instances of "before loving" between the Parties.
This disclaimer, of course, was only included on the 12" mix.
(thanks to the lawyer I stole the above from.)
9. Automatic – Pointer Sisters (download)
I took stock of all the Pointer Sisters songs that I know. (I know a lot: in the ’80s, I think they played all of them in my mother’s aerobics class.) This one would easily be one of my favorites. It’s not as good as "Pinball Number Count" from Sesame Street ("12345, 678910, 11 12!"), but it’s still up there. Apart from the era-appropriate synth-and-guitar funk, it’s one of the few hits sung by Ruth Pointer, or as I like to call her, "Mr. Pointer." (I’m on my way, Satan!) I mean, I went through puberty at least a year or two ago, and Ruth can still sing lower than me. She’s
once twice three times the man I’ll ever be. That’s just embarrassing. In all honesty, though, I love her voice, and it’s the main reason why I really dig "Automatic."
What’s that? You want a video that combines breakdancing, poppin’-and-lockin’, and weird guys playing with fans? Here ’tis!
8. They Don’t Know – Tracey Ullman
You have to love Tracey Ullman. Even if you don’t love Tracey Ullman, you have to love Tracey Ullman. The woman’s got balls. Big balls. Almost as big as Ruth Pointer’s. As a performer, I can’t help but admire her for never doing a damn thing half-assed. Here in the U.S., we didn’t know much about her until The Tracey Ullman Show became a hit for Fox in 1987, but between 1983 and 1985, Ullman was known for her singing career, and had five hits in the U.K. Top 40. "They Don’t Know" was written by the late, great Kirsty MacColl (not to venture too far off-topic, but if you don’t know anything MacColl’s fantastic music and her tragic death, you should remedy this). MacColl, for reasons beyond her control, was not able to create a success out of "They Don’t Know," but Ullman (her labelmate) hit #2 in the U.K. and peaked at #8 in the U.S.
What’s that? You want a video featuring Paul McCartney in a cameo? Piece of cake!
7. You Might Think – The Cars
think wonder how I go about picking the weeks that I do for Chart Attack! (Or you might not.) Basically, I try to pick years that aren’t directly adjacent to the year I just attacked, and I pick whatever year gives me the best gut reaction. Sometimes, I’ll pick a week I don’t know if I have the time to do all the research. This week, I didn’t have much time, and thought, "awesome, two of these songs have been covered on Kurt’s This Week In Rock! Less work for me!" This song is one of the ones we covered – right here, as a matter of fact – so please stop by Kurt’s site and read what a bunch of brilliant nerds music bloggers have to say. I’ll echo what I said on TWIR: I always loved "You Might Think," but mainly because I was raised on MTV and its video was so iconic. If not for MTV, I’m fairly certain I never would have heard the song at all.
Musically, I never thought about it until my band, Evil Prince Ludwig The Indestructible, gave it a go. This song is nowhere near as simple as you might
think imagine. (groan) Sure, it’s only about four chords, but the synths and backing vocals really are so intricately layered and the production (courtesy of Mutt Lange) is so specific that it’s hard to accurately recreate the Cars/Lange sound. That being said, I thought we did a credible job, and Mike, who tackled lead vocals, sounded great. (Thankfully, he looks nothing like Ric Ocasek.)
What’s that? You want to see the video that won Music Video Of The Year at the very first MTV Video Music Awards? I’m here for you!
6. Love Somebody – Rick Springfield (download)
This is the one song on the Top 10 that I didn’t recognize, not even for a second, when I heard it earlier this week. When I saw the title, I started singing Bryan Adams’ "Somebody." That’s how much I suck.
All this being said, when I finally did hear "Love Somebody," all I could think of was how much this song rocks. Perfect ’80 glimmering rock song – perfect, perfect, perfect. I dare you to find something wrong with it. This is the sound that Adams and Eddie Money so desperately desire. There’s even a bit of the Def Leppard choppy-guitar sound in there, as well as a clear tribute to Boston’s "Peace Of Mind." Check out the bridge – I don’t know what those chords are, but I love ‘em. Great transition.
Am I supposed to say something factual about this song? Fine. "Love Somebody" was part of the Hard To Hold album, also the soundtrack to his movie of the same name, and…aw, fuck it – I’m just going to shut up and rock out to this song. If you want any factual matter on Rick Springfield, look elsewhere – like Jefitoblog’s Idiot’s Guide, for example.
But what’s that? You want to see Springfield’s performance, somewhat digitized, at Live Aid – complete with big hair? It’s yours!
And if that’s not enough – there are at least SIX other "Love Somebody" videos at YouTube. (Hopefully it’s enough.)
5. Miss Me Blind – Culture Club
Am I the only one whose childhood was a little screwed-up after seeing Boy George? Being only six when this song came out (and yes, I was watching MTV at six), I just didn’t know what to make of this guy. Girl. Whatever.
All that said, I don’t have much to say about "Miss Me Blind." I think it’s a good song, but I was never really a Culture Club fan. Wham! is another matter entirely, but one I’m not sure I should divulge. But what’s that? You want to see the video that took away a little of my childhood? Not a problem!
4. Hold Me Now – Thompson Twins
The summer I was 17, I remember going to a party and dancing randomly with this girl I had just met. "Hold Me Now" came on, and I started singing it while dancing. I remember she was really impressed, for some reason, that I could sing the harmony line in the chorus (which is stupidly simple), and moved in a little closer. It was that moment that I determined that "Hold Me Now" was the best song of all time. (Note to self: if you don’t have anything good to say about a song, just shut up.)
"Hold Me Now" was a departure from the electronic sound of the Thompson Twins’ previous work – not that many people noticed. Previous singles had made a slight dent in the charts – "Lies," in 1983, made it to #30 – but this single remains their most successful and enduring hit. Mike would like me to point out the whiny, nasal, thick-accented (or, as he just called it, "stupid") vocal of Tom Bailey. Maybe so, but you can’t deny he had awesome hair.
What? You want to see a "live performance" where Bailey plucks every note on his Rickenbacker with determination and fervor? Here you go!
3. Footloose – Kenny Loggins
What’s the definition of pathetic? When you’re in your late teens, hear "Funk #49" by The James Gang for the first time and think, "hey, they stole this guitar riff from ‘Footloose!’"
Kenny Loggins – and his neverending soundtrack hits – have become an easy punchline, but I think "Footloose" is actually a very good song. It’s light, it’s fun, and it’s no slouch in the music department, either: just listen to the extremely busy guitar and bass in the chorus. Sure, it’s a blatant "Funk #49" rip, but I’m sure Joe Walsh was too coked up in ’84 to even care. "Footloose" remains Loggins’ only #1 single, and he’s nowhere to be seen in the video. And hey, isn’t this the height of cuteness: The Bacon Brothers covered the song on the Will & Grace soundtrack, which you can hear as part of Coverville #151 if you’d like.
What? You don’t care about the official music video, but sure would love to see the scene from the movie? Hot diggity-dog!
2. Hello – Lionel Richie
I started taking piano lessons when I was seven. By the time I was eight, I knew my way around the keys and could work my way through basic music. However, since my teacher only taught classical music, I didn’t think too much about using the piano for contemporary songs I had heard on the radio. So I guess it was 1985 when my mother bought me my first piece of pop sheet music: an easy piano version of "Hello." I think even she’s a little scared that it’s 2007 and I’m still performing it. Mike and I play it as part of our "Acoustic ’80s" set, and I think it’s probably my favorite of the bunch, because we were able to transform it into an uptempo guitar version. A few people have asked to hear some mp3s from our gigs; here’s a 60-second segment of our version of "Hello," from December ’06.
But I suppose I should talk about Lionel Richie. The second single from Richie’s highly successful (over 20 million sold!) album Can’t Slow Down, "Hello" was a sensitive ballad of gargantuan proportions. Hard to believe that it almost didn’t make the album – Richie didn’t think much of the tune, having written it before his first solo album and abandoned it a few years prior, but his wife Brenda, um, smacked some sense into him.
These days, the song is really known for its video, which I wouldn’t dare snark. Not for the reasons you think, however. It’s just that Stereogum did such a brilliant job with it a number of years back (before they jumped the shark) that I’m unconvinced I could improve upon their take, which you should read now.
What? You want to see the video in its entirety? You don’t? Well, write your own goddamn Chart Attack!, then!
1. Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now) – Phil Collins
Here’s another one that we covered over at The Week In Rock. (I tell another story about learning it on the piano, but I’m not going to bore you any more than I already have.) I have to admit, I was surprised at how many other music bloggers like this song. Like Kenny Loggins, Phil Collins is something of a punchline now, but you can’t deny that this is a fantastic ballad. Collins has a hell of a voice, and makes this song sound much simpler vocally than it really is. He screams his way through a good portion of this song in such a way that never sounds harsh, and is perfectly appropriate for the ballad. I love it.
An Arif Mardin production, "Against All Odds" began life as a reject from the Face Value album, entitled "How Can You Just Sit There." I wrote a similar song after my college roommate wouldn’t clean up his fucking dirty dishes. Anyway, Taylor Hackford, director of the movie Against All Odds (and future Ray director) asked Collins for a song for the film, and he went back and found this one – one of many "dedicated" to his ex-wife. According to the extensive Wiki for this song (which, sadly, devotes almost as much room on the Mariah Carey cover version), it’s one of six songs that Collins wrote specifically for soundtracks. Eat it, Loggins!
Collins earned a nomination for Best Song at the Academy Awards, and rearranged his tour so he could attend the telecast. However, he was not invited to perform it himself (rumor has it that the Academy didn’t know who he was). Collins was stuck sitting in the audience, watching Ann Reinking perform his number:
That night, I was sitting in my seat and poor old Ann Reinking, who was singing the song, came in. She knew I was there and knew about all the fuss that had gone on about it. And … well, she may be a dancer, but she can’t sing. She was awful. I felt sorry for her. Kenny Loggins was sitting behind me and he said, "I can’t believe what they did to your song." He wasn’t performing his, either, so all I could say was, "You’ve got yours to come, mate."
Eat it, Loggins!
Regarding the disappointing evening, Wiki says: "His perceived negative reaction shown on the telecast is considered to be one of the most awkward moments in the history of the ceremony, and has been a favorite reference for Dennis Miller to relate someone reacting in a horrified fashion."
What? You’d like to see the video with his negative reactions? Well, too bad, I can’t find it. You’ll have to settle for the original video. Here at Chart Attack!, we always try to end with disappointment!
Okay, I’m spent. I can’t possibly write anymore. Hope you enjoyed the content, the downloads, and the videos – and see you next week for another CHART ATTACK!