CHART ATTACK! #27: 4/12/86


You guys, not for nothing, but in my humble opinion, 1986 was a totally kick-ass year for music.  As I listen to the Top 100 for the year overall, I find myself skipping over only a few of them.  (I happen to like "Words Get In The Way," okay?  Shut up!) 

I wasn’t going to attack this chart, since Matthew did such a fantastic job of attacking 1986 just last month, but I couldn’t help it.  I hope you like 1986, because I have a funny feeling it may replace 1988 as my favorite year of the ’80s.  Why don’t you decide for yourself whether it’s a year worthy of attacking, as we take a look back at April 12, 1986!

10.  Tender Love – Force M.D.’s  iTunes
9.  Harlem Shuffle – Rolling Stones
  Amazon iTunes
8.  West End Girls – Pet Shop Boys  Amazon iTunes
7.  Let’s Go All The Way – Sly Fox  iTunes
6.  Addicted To Love – Robert Palmer  Amazon iTunes
5.  What You Need – INXS   Amazon iTunes
4.  R.O.C.K. In The U.S.A. (A Salute To 60’s Rock) – John Cougar Mellencamp  Amazon iTunes
3.  Manic Monday – Bangles  Amazon iTunes
2.  Kiss – Prince And The Revolution  Amazon iTunes
1.  Rock Me Amadeus – Falco  Amazon iTunes

10.  Tender Love – Force M.D.’s (download)

See, here’s a song that I’m not quite sure could exist today.  I don’t know about you, but when I hear the name "Force M.D.’s," I’m thinkin’ gangsta.  Right?  It just sounds like a tough name.  Then they come out with this gentle thing – dare I say, the Mellow Gold of 1986 – and nobody knows what to think.  The only thing I’m sure of is that these guys would most likely get their asses kicked for this song in 2007.

Force M.D.’s, at least according to the Wikipedia, were "recognized by their street attitude."

Apparently, Force M.D.’s lived on Dumpster Clothing Street.

"Tender Love" was written by none other than Janet Jackson’s hitmakers, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.  The group did have one further success – a #1 on the R&B charts a year later – but "Tender Love" was the one and only time they’d make any significant impact on the Hot 100.  It should be noted that only one week prior, "Secret Lovers" had spent its last week in the Top 10 at #3.  I can’t even imagine the chart wussiness that would have ensued had these two groups shared a Top 10.

Still, when hearing this song – specifically the piano part – I can’t help but smile, and feel a wave of nostalgia wash over me.  I don’t know what it’s for, as I was 8 at the time.   What the hell did I have to be nostalgic about – that I apparently didn’t know how to comb my hair?  (Still haven’t learned this lesson.)

"M.D.," by the way, stood for "Musical Diversity."  I still hold out hope that, one day, a proctology practice will open up by the name of "Force M.D.’s."

9.  Harlem Shuffle – Rolling Stones

With songs like "Let’s Go All The Way" and "Rock Me Amadeus" appearing this week, I find it incredible that the Stones were responsible for the dumbest tune on the chart.

(Disclaimer: I’ve never been a Rolling Stones fan.  I think at some point, most people are forced to make a choice between The Who and the Stones, and I went with The Who.  I think I made the right choice.  We may have less living members, but at least our lead singer doesn’t look like an inside-out cat.)

"Harlem Shuffle" is a cover of the song originally performed by the R&B duo Bob & Earl in 1963.  Apparently it was a favorite of Keith Richards’, and he had been running through the song in the studio with Ron Wood and Bobby Womack while waiting for Jagger to show up.  Jagger dug the groove, recorded his vocals, and a shitty hit (which I suppose we can just refer to as a "shit") was born.  Womack’s on backing vocals, as is Tom Waits and Patty Scialfa, to which I say "if you say so."

And the video!  Oh, the stupid, stupid video!

[youtube]hOkIU8BCxgU[/youtube]

I suppose it’s too late for me to start asking "why?" about anything having to do with this song.  But I’ll ask anyway: why?  Why the animated images?  Why is Mick Jagger dressed for a guest spot on Miami Vice?  (Obvious answer: because it’s 1986.)  Even the band looks like they’re regretting the entire thing.  I mean, Charlie Watts never looks excited, I know, but he actually looks like he’d rather be playing drums for Paul Anka than be stuck in this ridiculous video.  And you wanna know the stupidest thing of all?  This was nominated for Best Group Video Of The Year at the MTV VMAs in 1986, which just goes to show you that MTV was still apparently grasping at straws five years after their debut.

So yeah, I don’t get the video.  Especially the cartoons.  However, if you think it looks a little Ren-and-Stimpy-ish, you’re right: the animation was directed by John Kricfalusi, future R&S creator.

8.  West End Girls – Pet Shop Boys

I always felt that Pet Shop Boys were one of the few groups that got the whole synthesizer domination thing absolutely right in the ’80s.  There’s not a genuine acoustic instrument to be found on this track, and it’s okay with me.  (In case anybody’s curious.)  The keyboard bass part is awesome, especially when it provides the main riff in the chorus.

This was the band’s second attempt at the song; the first version had been recorded in 1984 at a faster tempo, and was only a minor hit for the duo, reaching #1 in Belgium and appearing in dance clubs in other European territories.  Re-recorded under producer Stephen Hague (who went on to produce many other European acts…oh, and David Mead) and released in 1986, the song reached #1 in May, and became Pet Shop Boys’ first smash hit.  The song itself deals with the class differences between the two sides of London, and takes its inspiration from Grandmaster Flash’s "The Message."

7.  Let’s Go All The Way – Sly Fox (download)

Question 1:  Sly WHO, now?

Question 2: When Sly Fox (a duo, not an actual person) performed this song live, do you think they broke the audience up into two parts?:

"Okay!  Everybody on the left – you sing ‘zhung zhung!’  And you on the right!  Let me hear you sing ‘zinny ninny!’  Okay, let’s bring it all together!  Oh, this is awkward.  I knew we shouldn’t have taken this slot opening for Wham!"

There’s really not much to say about this stupid (but not as stupid as "Harlem Shuffle," thank you very much) song.  There’s something going on in the lyrics – something about the depression surrounding urban life and politics, I think – but they lose me with the "let’s go all the way" chorus, which seemingly has nothing to do with anything in the verses.  Someone on Songfacts says that "this is about someone with a humdrum existence seeking escape through casual sex."  I’m calling bullshit on that one.

I think that’s just about all I’m going to spend on this song.  I don’t hate it, I don’t love it, but if I try to think about these lyrics any further, my brain’s going to explode.  More on "Let’s Go All The Way" over at The 80s Rule!

6.  Addicted To Love – Robert Palmer

I’ll be honest – I’m one of those d-bags that doesn’t know Robert Palmer past his ’80s babe-video songs.  (And this is even with reading Jeff’s absolutely brilliant three part guide.)  So I can’t look at "Addicted To Love" as a part of his overall career and decide whether it stands up to the rest.  But given that this is a Chart Attack!, maybe I shouldn’t be doing so, anyway.  In 1986, this was a fantastic, crunchy, original song that deserved to be the hit that drove Palmer to the next level of success.  There’s more I could say about "Addicted To Love," but don’t you agree that the Week In Rock Roundtable can do it so much better? 

5.  What You Need – INXS

The very first hit for the band, I don’t think anybody can deny the infectious joy of "What You Need," which in my mind pretty much set the template for another INXS hit, "New Sensation."  I haven’t followed INXS in their 2.0 phase, and I was less of a fan by the time their story turned tragic, so I don’t find myself wistful or nostalgic for this period in their career; all I think about the fact that this was a great way for the band to make their initial mark on the charts.  Not to spend too much time quoting other sources, but whoever wrote the Wikipedia entry for "What You Need" hit it right on the nose:

The arrangement was spacious and the parts of the individual instruments simple, allowing them all to interlock easily — from the electronic drums and driving, rumbling bass line to the spare chordal strokes of the guitars and the stylish saxophone. During the chorus, the guitars suddenly kick up the intensity, hitting ringing power chords as the drums pound harder behind them. After the second chorus, there is also a breakdown in which Michael Hutchence chants the title over a drumbeat with effects layered over his voice; the guitar enters and plays a down-and-dirty single-note riff before returning to the verse figure.

Like nearly every great pop single, "What You Need" is tightly constructed, with no wasted space or unnecessary repetition anywhere. Even though INXS would prove themselves a terrific pop outfit many times over the next few years, "What You Need" remains one of their most infectious numbers.

4.  R.O.C.K. In The U.S.A. (A Salute To 60’s Rock) – John Cougar Mellencamp

Remember back in #10 when I talked about bands getting their asses kicked?  Next in line for an ass-kicking after Force M.D.’s is John Cougar Mellencamp.  I’m not such a big fan of his, either.  No, I don’t care that he finally sold out by giving his mediocre song "Our Country" to Chevy, and I only care a little that he took Peter Sagal a little too seriously when guesting on Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! a few weeks ago.  (I don’t like anybody messing with my favorite podcast.)  So why is he getting an ass-kicking?

1)  For the parentheses.  Whose stupid fucking idea was this?  Were these necessary?  It makes the song sound less like a rock and roll single and more like a segment on the Miss America broadcast.  I will admit, though, that I didn’t know what the hell this song was about until I read them.  And neither did you – go ahead, name one lyric that’s not the chorus and that one part where they scream "they were rockin’!"  (And in reference to that one, I always thought they were giving a shout-out to Little Rock.)

2)  For the chords.  Really, John?  This is the best you could come up with?  What shall I sing over your chords – "What I Like About You" or "Cherry, Cherry?"  Your pick.

3)  For the device.  I’m not a big fan of songs that spend more than maybe 7 seconds specifically referring to other people or things that they love by name.  "R.O.C.K. in the whatever" mentions (deep breath) Frankie Lyman, Bobby Fuller, Mitch Ryder, (hey, what about the Detroit Wheels, asshole?), Jackie Wilson, the Shangri-Las, the Young Rascals, Martha Reeves, and let’s don’t forget James Brown.  The song is no better than any other song that pulls this shit:  "Vogue," "We Didn’t Start The Fire," "The Heart Of Rock And Roll," "Land Of 1000 Dances," etc.  In fact, it’s worse.  Why?  See #1.

4)  Flute solo.  Ocarina solo!

I have a terrible feeling that John Mellencamp is literally going to hunt me down and kill me.

3.  Manic Monday – Bangles

Just last week I was talking about Bangles songs I’d rather listen to instead of "Eternal Flame."  Here’s one of them: a really pretty, catchy song, written by His Purpleness.  I really adore it; it’s terribly girly but it’s never bothered me (in case you haven’t noticed, I, too, am terribly girly).

So yes, Prince wrote this song, although it wasn’t originally intended for The Bangles; it was first given to Apollonia for the album he was working on with her in late 1983 and early 1984, Apollonia 6.  However, at some point, Prince must have decided Apollonia wasn’t worth any good material.  In addition to pulling "Manic Monday" (which was included on cassette pre-releases of Apollonia 6), he also took away "The Glamorous Life" (which was actually written about Apollonia) and "Take Me With U," which was used on Purple Rain.  Daaaaamn!  When Prince got the hots for Susanna Hoffs, he wooed her the best way he knew how: he locked her in a bathroom he gave her this song for her band.  I hope Hoffs put out, as Prince gave the band their very first hit.

A rough, scratchy version of the Apollonia version is out there on the Internet – and wouldn’t you know it, I have it.

Apollonia with Prince – Manic Monday (download)

I’m pretty thankful we wound up with the Bangles version.

Here’s something else you may not know about this song: did you know that the line in the bridge is "Doesn’t it matter that I have to feed the both of us – employment’s down?"  I never would have known that in a million years had Mike not looked it up when he had to play it for a gig.  Even now, I’m a bit doubtful.

2.  Kiss – Prince And The Revolution

Here’s what I love: I love a week in which Prince can have two songs in the Top 10, and there’s absolutely no similarity between them at all.  (However, try singing "Manic Monday" over "1999" and you’ll realize that even Prince plagiarized himself every so often.)

Gawd, I love this song.  Overplayed as it is, I love this song.  I wish I could sing this song.  Okay, let me get specific: I wish I could sing this song well.  I can sing it now, but it’s not pretty.

"Kiss" is just a perfect slab of funk.  There’s not a thing wrong with it.  Prince just happened to make all the right choices: to sing almost completely in his 100% effeminate falsetto (even his screech at the end is perfect); to know exactly when to venture into his lower register; to find a chunky drum beat; and to know just how to use that wah pedal.

Believe it or not, I was more familiar with the Tom Jones/Art Of Noise version – I remember buying it on 45 at the time.  It was also, embarrassingly enough, the first time I had ever heard Tom Jones.

1.  Rock Me Amadeus – Falco

So over the course of this week, I’ve been listening to the Top 10 on my iPod.  "Rock Me Amadeus" comes on and I’m all "YES!  I LOVE THIS SONG!"  Instantly, I’m taken back to the summer I first heard this song, I’m remembering playing it on a mix cassette over and over again, rocking out to it and trying to memorize the spoken-word Mozart chronology in the middle.  I’m full of all sorts of excitement and nostalgia.

Then I hear the version I have and realize two things:

1) Wait a minute…this guy’s speaking GERMAN!
2) There’s no spoken-word part in here at all!

I figured I was going to have to come on here and tell you guys how stupid I was, how I must have dreamed the whole thing and you were there and you were there and oh Auntie Em, there’s no place like jasonhare.com…and then I realized that apparently the version I remember is the "Salieri Mix," which eliminates all of the German and does add in a spoken-word chronology.  In English. 

So nevermind.  And God bless America!

Still, I believe Falco’s success was based on the original German single, which is an impressive feat (let’s give it up for him and Nena, mentioned by Kurt in Chart Attack! #22).  "Rock Me Amadeus" eventually hit #1 before Americans realized, "hey, this song is boring – instead, let’s write parodies about it for the next 20 years!"  Seriously, there should be some law against parodying this song too many times, or at least a statute of limitations – like maybe we could have stopped after 1989.

Although Falco was the first person to record and release "Der Kommissar," we’re still going to consider him a one-hit wonder – the version we know and love is a cover by After The Fire.  Falco died in 1998, when…oh wait, I should probably say it in a format suited to the Salieri Mix:

IN 1998, FALCO DIED AFTER COLLIDING WITH A BUS WHILE DRIVING HIS MITSUBISHI PAJERO.  Amadeus, Amadeus!  Amadeus, Amadeus Amadeus!  Amadeus, Amadeus Amadeus!  Oh-oh-oh-Amadeus!

I’m going to hell.

That’s all for this week!  Thanks so much for stopping by – and see you next week for another CHART ATTACK!

  • r

    I love the chart attack feature. That Apollonia "Manic Monday" is pretty cool. I gotta say that choosing between the Stones and the Who concept is pretty whack. I never heard that before and I continue to enjoy both.

  • JT

    Great attack, J.

  • Gotta agree with JT, a fine attack. 1986 was the one year in my life that I was really into the charts. I recorded every local chart show that year, transferred the information to my notebook and calculated next weeks’ movements – it was very scientific, I promise you (girls, cars and hard liquor were light years away.) Most of these tracks were on the European charts too, but I’ve never heard of Force M.D.’s.
     
    Due to this surely fascinating backdrop, I have a special affection for music from 1986, but Jason, to go so far as to call it a totally kick-ass year for music?? I’m a little reluctant to agree…

  • How the hell did the chart chart from so bland (my week) to great (your week) in just a month’s time, Jeff? There’s got to be something to explain the vast change within a five week period.
     
    (scans history books…..)
     
    Ah! Haley’s Comet. As much of a logical explanation as anything else, I figure.

  • I totally agree with you on "Kiss", which I think may be the greatest radio song ever.  But I have to disagree with you on one point.  I believe the solo on "R.O.C.K…." is actually an ocarina, possibly in tribute to the famous ocarina solo in the Troggs "Wild Thing".  I’m more of a Mellencamp fan than you, but he still has plenty to apologize for.  And I’d like to thank my pyschotherapist and the Clonazine that I have no memory of either Force M.D.’s or Sly Fox.

  • Hahahah, Matthew, you called me Jeff.  (I take it as a compliment)

    Ocarina!  Thank you!  I kind of thought it wasn’t a flute, but wasn’t sure.  I’ll make a correction.  Where would I be without you, um, Dr. Corndog?

    Terje, okay, then maybe it IS just me.   You know, it’s all so subjective.  These songs apparently take me back…or something.

    And thank you, JT.  :)

  • Jason, yup, it’s subjective. I’m not sure about my favorite year, but it probably includes a lot more sensitive, bearded men – maybe it has something to do with my age: I was 8 in 1979.

  • I think I made the right choice.  We may have less living members, but at least our lead singer doesn’t look like an inside-out cat.

    Hahahahahahahaha!

    Also, re: Manic. I looked up the lyrics while going over it with Marissa, and she decided that particular line was far too stupid for her to sing. She ended up singing "Doesn’t he realize that I have to bring the Benjamins home" (sans backup vocals). Which is kind of adorable, because she is adorable, and pocket sized.
     
    Fine Chart Attack, love the Amadeus rewrite.

  • I won’t go so far as to say this line-up of songs is a "best week ever". It’s good. It’s chocolate pudding pie good, but not chocolate pudding pie with graham cracker crust and Cool Whip good. I have a soft spot for "Tender Love" because it managed to be pop/soul without making me want to jam D-Cell batteries in my ears – like "All My Life" by K-Ci and Jo-Jo. Lord, how I hate that song ("you picked me up when I was dow-ow-own!!")       The Stones are on the list solely for sentimental reasons – we thought the band had broken up for good / everyone had died. Not dead! Huzzah!    I’m not a major Mellencamp fan either, so "R.O.C.K. In The USA (Because We Couldn’t Afford To Cover Back In The USSR)" retards the list considerably… "Our Country" is similarly retarded – seemingly an ode to simple Woody Guthrie patriotism, but executed with Woody Harrelson ineptitude. At least it ain’t Bob Seger’s "Chevy Truck": Chevy Truck! / It’s as strong as it can be / Chevy Truck! / If you’re fat, it handles three! / Chevy Truck! / Though it kills the ecology / Chevy Truck!!    DwD

  • Crap Jason, I’m sorry! I had Jefito’s blog open in the other tap while writing my dashed off comments.
     
    Okay, here’s the meaty comments:
    (10) The Force M.D.’s song has to be one of the woosiest silky smooth songs ever. So woosy, in fact, that the second half of the song does not seem to fewature any lyrics. I swear, a majority of the song is the coda! Did someone forget the sheet music and lyric sheets when they were cutting the record.
    (8) Love the Pet Shop Boys. Love ’em. (Okay, get the gay jokes out of your system…okay…ready to continue?) One of the most important acts to come out of the 1980s. If this song came out today, it would still be a hit. Why? Because not only is it damn good, there’s nothing like it. Even though countless acts have copied or incorporated the sound of their early singles into their music, nobody has been able to match–to "get" it. And Jason, I agree re: the "bass" line. It defines and yet crushes the "New Romantic" music movement of the time. Hypnotic and creepy, mixed together like a candy bar made of peanuts and melancholy.
    (6) This is a great song. It divides people into two camps: those like Jefito, who really dig early Robert Palmer and think this pales in comparison, and those who were introduced to Robert Palmer via this song, and either love it or were overexposed to it to the point of hating it. I think it’s great. I "reintroduced" myself to this song a couple of years before Plamer’s death when he appeared on VH1’s "Live @ the Hard Rock" with the Max Weinberg 7 as his backing band. The version of this song was kick ass! R.I.P., oh tastefully dressed one.
    (4) I really like Mellencamp. In fact, I’ll hit you with Confession #3: If I was to induct someone in the R&R Hall who hasn’t gotten in but obviously will at some point, it would be the former Johnny Cougar. Why? My dad’s from Indiana; I like the story of how he went from a record-company creation to his own man, and finally, he’s put out some f’ing awesome records. ROCK is probably the worst thing on Scarecrow, so obviously, that was the biggest hit (OTOH, Lonely Ol’ Night is one of the greatest Top 10s of 1986, I will not argue this). But y’know, as the final song on the album, it fits, especially as a way to "take you home" on a lighter note after the down note of most of the tracks on side 2. It’s one of those songs that works better as part of a set than on its own (like Bily Joel’s "Tell Her About It", for instance).
    (3) True fact right from Vicki Peterson of the Bangles mouth (from an interview she gave to my best friend while promoting the 2nd Continental Drifters album): Prince wanted Hoffs REAL BAD. Only thing is, he’s actually a really, really shy guy in person. So, when the group was in the studio with Prince recording the song, he spent the entire time just looking at Susanna, but not saying anything; and apparently Prince doesn’t know the difference between a come hither look and THE PIERCING STARE OF A MADMAN! So, needless to say, it was a creepy session, though it produced a great track.
    (2) Prince also apparently has a wicked sense of humor in private, something that also doesn’t come to the surface because of his shyness (get the dude some Paxil, stat!). This video show’s a rare public example of it. The look on his face after the "video girl" lipsychs "Yeah" is priceless. Great video, and fantastic song, which, though credited to him and the Revolution, is apparently pretty much a Prince-only demo he did for another Paisley Park signee named Mazzaratti, with the original guide vocal replaced by the polished final one.
    (1) Cool song. Pretty much a novelty hit. I will say two things about it though: 1. When Falco "sings" the title, it sounds like he’s trying to hold in one of those awful mini-vomit burps. 2. You know who loves songs in German? David Hasselhoff.

  • Much as many a German would love to be in David Hasselhoff? Do they make breakaway leiderhosen?

  • Great comments Mark, er, Matthew.  Especially the Prince tidbits.  The first one – about his piercing stare – sounds very similar to the impression Fred Armisen does of him on SNL.  As for Prince’s sense of humor, I think I’ve seen it in a few videos of live performances.  Have you seen the Super Bowl press conference video?  He tells the crowd he’d like to take a few questions, and just as the first reporter starts talking, the band goes into their first song.  Priceless.  That guy got OWNED!

  • thefax

    Re: “Rock Me Amadeus”: there are a lot of remixes of this song, and I’m not certain that any one became the “definitive” radio version. (I believe a short version of the Salieri version was the one used on American Top 40, so that’s close to canonical, but I remember my local station playing a version closer to the album version. And the video used the original German. If the Mona Lisa is in the Louvre, where is “Rock Me Amadeus”?

    Also–Falco’s not an according-to-Hoyle 1-hit-wonder: “Vienna Calling,” IIRC, made it to #17.

    Also, I’d no idea the “R.O.C.K…” had a subtitle. Urgh, it’s icky now.

    The link to “The 80s Rule” in the Sly Fox entry was fascinating–I would never, never, never have imagined a P-Funk/Sly Fox connection. Wasn’t “Let’s Go All the Way” a “rescued by an Arizona DJ” song? Also, I wouldn’t dismiss “casual sex in a world gone mad” interpretations of the song.

    Force MD’s were a fairly credible hip-hop band before (and after, I think) the Big Ballad. Hated it when it was out; upon review it’s an amazing ballad with an awesome piano hook. I wish Jam/Lewis had given this one to the Human League…

    “What You Need” is INXS’s peak–I’ll take Listen Like Thieves (a deeply underappreciated record, I think) over the bland-o-rama Kick any day.

  • Elaine

    Interesting about the “Manic Monday” line. I always thought it was some line trying to say that she wouldn’t have to deal with all the train and boss crap if “I’d just employ myself.” At least I got the word employ correctly.

    Regarding Falco, “Vienna Calling” was my favorite. He’s a three-hit wonder! I have a remix version of Vienna which includes a “Der Kommissar” interlude around the 4 minute mark. That’s what I’m talkin’ bout.

    The only songs I’ve ever liked by INXS were the fabulous “The One Thing” and, later, “Suicide Blonde.”

    I love Chart Attack, Jason. Brings back memories every week!

  • Lyle

    Great Chart Attack and comments.  Just a footnote or two.  Falco was born Johann Holzel on 2/19/57 in Vienna, Austria.  He died 2/6/98 in Puerto Plata, Dom. Rep.  At http://www.80smusiclyrics.com/artists/falco.htm "Rock Me Amadeus" is called a cheese-classic.  I don’t know about that, but I like the writer’s statement that "Der Kommisar" is reminiscent of "Super Freak".  I never thought of that.  So, a funky Austrian?  What other Austrian funksters and charting pop artists have there been?

  • Old Davy

    I’d like to nominate the INXS song as the greatest radio song ever.  Whenever it comes on, I crank it every time.  I agree with thefax that "Listen Like Thieves" is the band’s artistic peak.Am I the only one that hates "Rock Me Amadeus"?  Gawd, what an awful piece of audio poo-poo.  I mean, really, who needs a freakin’ music history lesson in the middle of a pop song?  (Hmmm, maybe that’s why I hate the Mellencamp track too…)I can handle the Bangles track, though it pales in comparison to anything they did on their previous album "All Over The Place".  "Kiss" is one of Prince’s better songs and I love the eerieness of "West End Girls" (especially that haunting background vocal).  The Robert Palmer track grooves nicely, but the rest of the chart is fulshable.

  • Old Davy

    I meant "flushable".

  • That was a fucking brilliant Attack! 

  • Lyle, apparently one of the singers in 1970s disco group Silver Convention (Fly, Robin, Fly and Get Up and Boogie) was Austrian. Penny McLean, aka Gertrude Wirschinger, was a part of the group between 1975 and 1978. In 1977 she released a German version of "Torn Between Two Lovers" entitled "Zwischen Zwei Gefühlen", probably in disco format. Not that I expect you were that eager to know… but you brought it up! I think that concludes the list of Austrian funksters.

  • A German version of “Torn Between Two Lovers”? A movie featuring a motorcycle race between Robert “The Deadliest Little Rascal” Blake and Peter Cetera? I’m receiving a wonderful trivial education this week.

    Great Chart Attack! and great comments. This particular Chart Attack! seems to have hit a nostalgic nerve. I don’t know if 1986 was the best year of the ’80s for music—I have a friend who would say there was NO best year of music in the ’80s since she hates ’80s music in general—but I do know that between June of ’85 and August of ’86 there were a ton of songs on the radio that I liked then and still like now.

    One of them is “Tender Love,” a song that brings back memories of my 4th-grade crush on one Melissa Huser. This song is light years ahead of “Secret Lovers,” and I don’t think Force M.D.’s were primarily known for ballads. (Maybe TheFax can settle that one for us.) I seem to remember a rap number of theirs called “Itchin’ for a Scratch” being played on “Nick Rocks: Video to Go” for a while in ’85 or ’86. Dw., I too hated that K-Ci and JoJo song in early ’98, when it seemed to be on R&B stations every 20 minutes. (I loved your “Chevy Truck” lyrics, by the way.)

    I thought the eternal debate was whether or not you loved the Beatles or the Rolling Stones more, not the Stones vs. the Who. Or is it Elvis vs. the Beatles? Whatever the case, I’ll take the Beatles over all others … and the Replacements over R.E.M. (a.k.a. the Stones and the Beatles, respectively, of the ’80s college rock scene).

    No denying it—”West End Girls” is a classic. “Like a candy bar made of peanuts and melancholy”—I loved that line, Matthew.

    I’ve always liked “Let’s Go All the Way.” It doesn’t transcend its time period the way “West End Girls” or “Kiss” does, but it’s still fun. I also agree with TheFax that the theme of “sex as an escape from the problems of your life and the world at large” isn’t that hard to buy, but since AIDS was really starting to scare the bejesus out of the general public in ’85 and ’86, I’m not sure if casual sex is being encouraged here. For all we know, the P-Funk alumni of Sly Fox were giving a shout-out to the Raspberries.

    Jefitoblog’s Complete Idiot’s Guide to Robert Palmer is the first one I read for which I was able to download the songs he was talking about. I now like early Robert Palmer, and I still love later songs like “Addicted to Love” and “I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On.” The bridge in “Addicted to Love” is probably my favorite part of the song.

    “What You Need” is INXS’s best song, if you ask me. Nothing else really came close.

    Matthew, I agree that the look Prince gives Wendy (or is it Lisa?) in the “Kiss” video is hilarious. And lines like “Act your age, mama, not your shoe size” and “You don’t have to watch ‘Dynasty’ to have an attitude” are great. In Alan Leeds’s 1993 liner notes for Prince’s “The Hits 2,” “Kiss’s” origin as a demo for Mazarati is mentioned, as Matthew noted, as well as this tidbit: “Prince … thought the song strange and temporarily shelved it. It was actually included [on] ‘Parade’ as an afterthought and I’m not sure that Prince was ever fully convinced that it worked on that album. Every time he plays it on tour, he changes the arrangement. I don’t think he’s ever performed it like it is on the record.” If you’re looking for some good Prince rarities for free, go here: weatherreport.wordpress.com/2006/06/22/prince. I think you can still download three discs’ worth of songs. “Wonderful Ass” and “Do Yourself a Favour” are two highlights. Also, Wednesday is Prince Day over at lookingatthem.blogspot.com.

    This week’s Chart Attack! cleared up something for me: Falco didn’t leave After the Fire for a solo career. I remember seeing Falco’s version of “Der Kommissar” on MTV sometime in the ’80s and thinking, This must be After the Fire’s original version of the song, like the German version of “99 Red Balloons.” But I didn’t think the English version was a cover by another artist.

    When “Rock Me Amadeus” was becoming a hit in early ’86, the play “Amadeus” was being mounted at my hometown’s biggest community theater. My brother played a palace guard, I think, and “Amadeus” got its fair share of local press coverage because the actor who was cast as Salieri dropped out a week or so before the show opened. I don’t think opening night was delayed; instead a new actor was brought in who held the script in his lap (it was placed inside a large, vintage-looking book to help you suspend your disbelief as an audience member) and read from it whenever he could. The show must go on, but guess what song the headline in the Macon Telegraph & News referenced in regard to all the turmoil?

    I remember that when Falco died in that car crash in the Dominican Republic, “The Daily Show” reported that it was “his biggest hit.” That was back when “The Daily Show” was a lot meaner. It was still funny, but you had a feeling everyone involved was going to hell, JUST LIKE JASON HARE. I do remember “Vienna Calling” being a hit after “Rock Me Amadeus,” although it wasn’t anywhere as huge. Speaking of supposed one-hit wonders, many people wonder what the hell happened to F. Murray Abraham after he won Best Actor for playing Salieri in the movie “Amadeus.” Take heed, Jennifer Hudson!

  • Wow … in my defense, my comments don’t look so disgustingly long and self-important when I’m writing them. But I do apologize.

  • dan s.

    Hey where did my post go?!!?!?

  • dan s.

    Shit… basically I was commenting how many truly great songs there was this week West End Girls, Manic Monday , Kiss…And as a bonus I recommended My Robot Friend’s PSB homage (/parody?) "We’re the pet shop boys". Really good musical humour, well worth checking out.

  • Damn. In a week where a lot has been said about ho’s, the original ho has left the building. Three cheers to Don Ho: may those tiny bubbles sail him on to the champagne-soaked hereafter.

  • BD

    I feel compelled to point out that INXS’s best work came before "What You Need." You simply can’t beat "Don’t Change."

  • For my money, the greatest Falco moment of all time occurs in a really bad German movie from the ’80s called "Feel the Motion."  (Well, that’s what it was called when they dubbed it into English and released it in the States; in Germany, it’s called "Der Formel Eins Film.")  Falco plays himself, and he’s being hustled to a performance when the car he’s riding in breaks down.  When a taxi drives by, he attempts to catch a ride, but when the driver realizes he has no money, he leaves.  Falco is left sputtering, beating his chest, and yelling, "But I’m Falco!  I’m Der Komissar!"Genius.

  • Sibella

    Wonderful time travel there. Thanks.

    Check out the cover of “Kiss” by Richard Thompson, if you can. He has fun with it.

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