CHART ATTACK! #41: 7/25/87


Welcome back to another fun-filled edition of CHART ATTACK!  I really love this week.  At the time, I was 10 years old, and was starting to listen to the radio constantly – almost exclusively of other formats.  And the two best stations in NY – WPLJ and WHTZ – were both playing these songs, so if I didn’t care for the song on one station, it was almost guaranteed I could switch to the other and hear something I liked.  So regardless of whether these songs are actually any good, to me, most of ’em are perfect.  Just an irresistible week.  Let’s start attacking July 25, 1987!

10.  Point Of No Return – Exposé  Amazon iTunes
9.  Don’t Disturb This Groove – The System  Amazon iTunes
8.  Heart And Soul – T’Pau  Amazon iTunes
7.  Something So Strong – Crowded House  Amazon iTunes

6.  Rhythm Is Gonna Get You – Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine  Amazon iTunes
5.  I Want Your Sex –  George Michael  Amazon iTunes
4.  I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me) – Whitney Houston  Amazon iTunes
3.  I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For – U2  Amazon iTunes
2.  Shakedown – Bob Seger  Amazon
1.  Alone – Heart  Amazon iTunes

(Here’s an important thing you should know: yesterday, I told Jeff I was covering 7/25/87, and he accurately guessed songs 10, 9 and 8.)

10.  Point Of No Return – Exposé (download)

I’m pretty sure my love for Exposé is completely irrational.  I mean, what’s so special about Exposé?  They’re a female dance-pop group – so what?  I know.  I can’t explain it.  I love every one of their hits.  Exposé had five top 10 singles in the ’80s, and three this year alone.  All their songs sounded vaguely similar, to the point where I might have heard the beginning of one and started singing the wrong song, but yet each one kicked ass.  In fact, all three in 1987 – "Let Me Be The One," "Come Go With Me" and this one – all sorta sound pretty much the same, right?  No matter.  They’re all great songs.

The history of "Point Of No Return" is interesting, and by "interesting" I mean "interesting only to music nerds."  Exposé were, like countless other bands before and since, a manufactured image, assembled by a management company.  The three original members released "Point" in 1985 on an indie label, which hit #1 on the US Club Play charts.  (Digital Eargasm has the original version, featuring a much weaker vocal.)

Within a year, though, all three Exposé members were out of the group, and three new members were selected.  I cannot find any documented proof of anyone protesting.  In any case, the group re-recorded "Point" (with, mind you, the original members still on the backing vocals!), which reached #5.  And I know what question is on your mind – yes, each replacement had to actually prove that they intended to feel the passion to the point of no return – oh, oh, oh.

Exposé broke up in ’96, but no weeping, Chart Attackers – they’re baaaack!  Yes, just last Saturday, the three girls (’87 version, y’all) reunited to play the Starlight Concert Series in Palmdale, California!  Appearing tomorrow:  The Village People!  Insert frowny face here.

9.  Don’t Disturb This Groove – The System 

Up until recently, you could have put a gun to my head and I wouldn’t have been able to tell you who sang "Don’t Disturb This Groove."  But you know who could have told me instantly?  Jeff.  (And probably half of you.)  Jeff loves this song.  I don’t know if it’s his "What A Fool Believes," but he loves it.  He even had the album.  It came with an instrumental mix of the song, simply entitled "Groove."  And that’s not all – he also had a 12" remix! 

Sadly, though, his groove was disturbed.  Yes.  Even after the pleas to not disturb aforementioned groove.  Everything System-related was lost in The Jefito Great Hard Drive Crash Of ’06.  So now poor Jeff is groove-less.  But I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing.  Too much System isn’t good for you, y’know.  Last year, my officemate overheard me playing the song.  He asked for a copy.  I sent it to him, and he turned it up, and together, we made sure our collective groove went generally undisturbed.  But then he played it again.  And again.  He left it on repeat.  I heard the opening drum/synth combo of this song around 20 times a day for a month.  Finally, he moved on to other types of music, and I can once again appreciate the song.  For a while there, it was dicey.

8.  Heart And Soul – T’Pau  (download)

And speaking of Jeff, he has much hate in his heart and soul for "Heart And Soul" (while still admitting that the song is "damn near flawless"), claiming it was overplayed.  He may be right.  It didn’t bother me – not once. Maybe this is another age thing – at 10, I didn’t care that these songs were played every two seconds on the radio.  (I didn’t experience that kind of irritation until "Two Princes," but that’s another story.)  I love the chorus, I love the counterline in the verses (which makes the entire verse unintelligible to me), and I love the fact that it this was just IT for them.  (More info on Jeff’s site.)  It’s one of my favorite one-hit wonders from the ’80s, along with "Electric Blue" by Icehouse.

Since Jeff loves the song so much, let’s throw in a 12" remix for fun, shall we?  This is encoded at 256kpbs, so it’s about 10 MB.

T’Pau – Heart And Soul (12" Remix) (download)

Ahhh, what the hell.  Let’s throw in another remix!  (I like this one better – what about you, Jeff?)

T’Pau – Heart And Soul (12" Remix 2) (download)

(Okay, so both of ’em kinda suck – but I’ve made both my points:  1)  Jeff is wrong, and 2) Jeff is wrong.)

Two more versions available on their live album!  Walk, don’t run!

7.  Something So Strong – Crowded House

I have yet to find anybody on this planet who doesn’t like Crowded House.  So if you don’t, lay it on me.  I have to admit that I only became a fan of the band and the Brothers Finn over the past few years, but I’m playing catch-up and loving every minute of it.  I’m sure you know that Crowded House are touring this summer.  Here’s some fan-footage of the band playing "Something So Strong," the very first song written for the band, earlier this year.  Not professional video or audio quality, but it illustrates how great these guys sound after all these years.  Love the audience singing, too.

[youtube]alNyY1BqzpI[/youtube]

6.  Rhythm Is Gonna Get You – Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine 

There’s a lot of things I love about this song.  Here are two.

1)  "Tonight! (Duh DUH, Duh-Duh DUH!)"

A couple of years ago, I decided that just about every song could be improved upon if you threw in the above line at the end of a phrase.  Especially if it makes no sense.  It’s actually funnier if it makes no sense.  You have to sing the horn part, too.  Try it with, like, "Time In A Bottle" or something.  Here, it even works with "Something So Strong:"  "something so strong could carry us today…tonight!  Duh DUH, Duh-Duh DUH!"

2)  "Oh-ay-oh-ay" Or However You’d Spell It

Okay, so here’s what I’m thinking: imagine what an interesting social experiment it would have been if, back in 1987, you walked into a random crowd, sang out "Oh-ay-oh-ay!" and waited to see if anybody either a) echoed it back to you, or b) sang the "oh-ay-oh-oh-ah" line in response.  You know, kind of like "Tastes Great!/Less Filling!" but much lamer.  I thought about this on the subway last night (to give you an idea of how long and boring my commute is), and thought to myself, "If I was more of a man, I’d try this right now."  I wussed out.

Of all the videos no longer available on YouTube due to the Viacom suit, this is one of the ones I miss the most.  Remember how smokin’ Gloria Estefan looked in this video?  Mrrrowl!

5.  I Want Your Sex – George Michael 

Well, here’s a song that would barely register in 2007.  Can we even remember the controversy in the first place?  It certainly wasn’t the first song to extol the joys of bumpin’ uglies, but it probably the first popular song to be so goddamn direct about it, especially at a time where the AIDS epidemic was finally making a public impact.  If I recall correctly, BBC Radio 1 only played the song after 9 PM, and MTV demanded 3 re-cuts before they would allow it to air.  Michael had to not only record an intro to the video, explaining "this song is NOT about casual sex," but also wrote "explore monogamy" on his then-girlfriend Kathy Jeung’s body in lipstick.  However, the best factoid about "I Want Your Sex" comes from its Wiki page:

Also because of the song’s controversial content, on American Top 40, host Casey Kasem refused to announce the name of the song; only its artist. Also, due to the song’s suggestiveness, the show’s structure was altered slightly, so stations could opt out of the song. The only time the title of the song was announced on AT40 was when it left the charts several weeks later.

I’d love to hear an aircheck of this.  How did he do it?  "And now, here at #2, is ‘I Want Your Mmmph’ by George Michael."  Anyone know how he handled "Humpin’ Around?"  Anyway, you go, George Michael.  Anyone who manages to piss off Casey Kasem is a true hero in my book…although we do know that apparently, it’s not that hard.

For an artist who was trying to remove himself from Wham! and be taken seriously as a solo artist, you couldn’t beat this kind of publicity – and it was a great start to a phenomenal couple of years for him.  15 years later, he released a song called "Freek!" with the lyrics "I’ll be your sexual freak…your one-fuck fantasy."  I don’t really remember hearing much about it…do you?  Then again, we’re not hearing much about George Michael at all on these shores anymore.  (I’m still holding out hope he’ll tour…seriously.)

4.  I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me) – Whitney Houston 

Do you think maybe Whitney Houston hallucinates about this video on a semi-regular basis?  "The frizz!  Get it off!  GET IT OFF!!!"

[youtube]YYTD6hQh6xs[/youtube]

Still, Whitney’s version has nothing on David Byrne’s version.  What, you don’t think I’m serious?

David Byrne – I Wanna Dance With Somebody (live) (download)

3.  I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For – U2 

I’ve already offered my opinion on U2 in a previous Chart Attack!:  I have nothing against them, but I just can’t bring myself to like them as much as I feel I should.  That being said, as long as I don’t have to hear the gospel-choir Rattle And Hum version of this song, I’m okay with it.  You know why?  Not because of its message, or the iconic video, or that beautiful riff from The Edge.  No, this song gets credit from me because Bono and co. had the balls NOT TO ADD PARENTHESES TO THE TITLE.  They could have easily – easily! – released it as "(I Still Haven’t Found) What I’m Looking For" or "I Still Haven’t Found (What I’m Looking For)" or "I Still Haven’t (Found What) I’m Loo(king) Fo(r)."  I think you already know The JasonHare.com Official Stance On Parentheses In Titles:  Fuck ‘Em.  Terje, I’m speaking to you.  (By the way, everybody, check out Terje’s site this week – he has a nice original song up for download!)

2.  Shakedown – Bob Seger

Every week, Glenn Frey receives flowers on his doorstep from Bob Seger.  (Not true.)  See, "Shakedown" was intended for Frey, who had recorded "The Heat Is On" for Beverly Hills Cop,  but according to Wiki, Frey was either "sick or unavailable."  (This means that Seger was told "Glenn’s sick," but the producers were told "Glenn wants too much money.")

Either way, Frey receives the flowers because this song wound up being Seger’s biggest hit.  ("Old Time Rock & Roll" only made it to #48.)  I wanted to show you the video because it’s one of those classic "half video, half movie montage" videos, but it doesn’t seem to be available on YouTube.  (Seger’s not on iTunes, either – why the hell is he holding out?)  If you’d like, though, you can check out Seger performing it live in 1996 (in a lower key, of course).

1.  Alone – Heart 

Damn, it’s the fourth mention of the songwriting duo Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly on CHART ATTACK!  These guys are on their way to being mentioned on here more often than McD.  (Perish the thought.)  It’s about time we show you who these two are:

I don’t know which one is which, but I know one looks like Tom Green.  Seriously, how rich are these guys, do you think?

Here’s an interesting fact I only learned in the past year or so:  the Heart version is actually a cover of a version released by the writers themselves.  Kelly and Steinberg were the principal members in a rock group called i-Ten, who released the song on their one and only album Taking A Cold Look.  The group featured some of the most amazing West Coast AOR players around:  Steve Lukather, Steve Porcaro, and David Paich from Toto, Mike Baird from Journey, Richard Page from Mr. Mister…I need to find this album, like, yesterday.  You can hear the i-Ten version of "Alone" on Coverville #205, which is where I first heard about the song.  It’s featured at around the 19-minute mark.

Taking A Cold Look flopped and the band broke up, but obviously Steinberg and Kelly went on to write some of the most successful hits of the ’80s.  Upon hearing that Heart was looking for a Big Ballad, Kelly suggested they present the Wilsons with "Alone."  They did, and the rest is history.  I do love Heart’s version of "Alone," mainly because I’d listen to Ann Wilson sing just about anything.  Even "All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You," which does get minor props from me (see song #3).

Well, folks, I’d stick around to chat more, but I’m off to greater things – tonight, I’m taking my mom to see Air Supply!  (Good son?  Pathetic son?  You make the call!)  John Waite is opening.  I’ll let you know what he plays after he’s done playing "Missing You" three times in a row.  Just for fun, I’m thinking about screaming out, "PLAY ‘MAN IN MOTION!’"  Think he’ll be pissed?

Have a great weekend!  See ya next Friday for more CHART ATTACK!

  • D. I. G.

    More pathetic than taking your mom to see Air Supply: seeing them lip sync some hit or other at a Miss Teen USA pageant in 1982 or 1983. Yeah. I went to take photos for a local paper. I was only about 17 at the time, but I realized the shame of the situation during the show.

    This is the first time I’ve mentioned that evening to anyone since the week it happened.

  • Wow.  I feel like we’ve opened up some kind of Mellow Anonymous group here.  Welcome.  We don’t judge you.  And don’t feel ashamed.  You were on assignment.  I’m going willingly.  I bought the tickets.

    Air Supply was my first concert, when I was 8, in the very same venue I’m attending tonight.  Full circle, y’know?  (Also, the concert actually is full circle – it’s in the round.)

  • jb

    Saw Air Supply live in 1981. They were, against all expectations, loud.

  • Tonight, my only expectation is "grey."

  • *The guy who produced and discovered Expose, Lewis Martinee, also is responsible for the fine "Domino Dancing" from the Pet Shop Boys which deifintely had a lot of latin flavor.
     

  • David

    I would like to think that, if you and I were to ever coincidentally invent separate time machines, both travel back to 1987, and somehow meet at a bar (you’d be 10, I’d be 17, so, um, maybe meet at a Pizza Hut), (no, wait, that sounds creepy too), the moment before I cast a disgusted look your way for grooving to ANYTHING on the 1987 juke box … a nice, mellow tune from Ambrosia would pop up, and we would decide to be friends.

    Crowded House aside (of course), I can find no love for this week in pop. (My problem, not yours. I just never dug the “written on a casio” era of pop, and to this day U2 gets on my nerves.)

    By the way, I found another picture of Steinberg & Kelly:

    http://www.mortystv.com/showcards/perfect_strangers_tvg_1986.jpg

  • Jeremy

    You arent the only one who still loves Expose. All of their songs are good. Yeah Ive still got some Air Supply 8 tracks floating around but Expose is the best. They really carried the torch for mellow gold of the late 80s early 90s.
    George Michael is also great. As socially liberal as I am, sometimes I wish we could go back 20 yrs where a song like I want your Sex was considered controversial. Many of todays songs are not only way more sexual then back then, but they just down right suck. We have seemed to accept that crappy music is fine as long as the videos have a bunch of people with hot bodies gyrating around. When the 2 Live Crew did it, it was fairly tame and the songs were even decent yet our society villified them. Todays crap far outweights it in offensiveness yet we just let it go. I guess im still stuck in time from 20 yrs ago.

  • Christian

    I recall taping George Michael’s “I Want Your Sex” off of American Top 40, and Casey Kasem absolutely said the title. The reason I remember this is because Casey Kasem saying the words “I want your sex” is hilarious and completely disturbing. I just discovered this blog and love it, by the way!

  • I believe any music fan loves Crowded House. 

  • OMG so Jeff is Systemless? I’ll have to email him a copy (yes I have the CD of the album as well) so I can get it back to him.I even posted on it myself on my own blog a bit ago. I’ll search as soon as I get home from vaca.
    Cheers
    Twostepcub

  • I love you, Twostep…

  • Dw Dunphy

    Why do Steinberg and Kelly look like a sitcom itching to happen? They could call it: Itching To Happen… or I Have Two Daddies.

  • Elaine

    I got Crowded House tickets for next month. I’m so psyched. I felt bad, missing out on the Police reunion, until this came up. Now I’m like, Sting who.

  • Dw Dunphy

    Elaine, you really need to get their new CD. Very, very good.

  • I concur!

  • Beavis: What does "T’Pau" mean?

    Butt-Head: I think it’s Spanish for "this sucks".

    Oh, and count me in the pro-Exposé group. A bright light in that darkest era of music.

  • Elaine

    OMG!  I almost forgot they had a new CD out!  Thanks for the reminder.Beatin’ feet to Best Buy…

  • I don’t feel the Exposé love, but I definitely feel that System love. HARD. At least for “Don’t Disturb This Groove.” It’s one of my favorite songs from that era. It reminds me of listening to WDMG in my grandparents’ house in the summer of ’87. My mom later told me that when she was a teenager her friends said those call letters stood for “Worst Damn Music in Georgia.” One funny thing I remember about this Douglas, Ga., station in 1987 was that on the weekends there were no DJs, so songs would be introduced by a monotone recorded voice that just gave the artist and title, e.g. “Janet Jackson … ‘Diamonds.'” The robots have taken over!

    Well, just like with “Buffalo Stance,” I now like “Heart and Soul” two decades later. Tragedy + time = comedy, but overplayed pop songs + time + nostalgia = new appreciation for songcraft.

    Crowded House are good, but I can’t say I’m a fan. I mean, are they a fan of me? No. So there.

    Gloria Estefan’s up-tempo numbers are so much more easier to handle than her ballads, but to be fair, those ballads were overplayed 20 years ago. I mostly remember “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You” from the movie “Stakeout.” I connect it with Madeleine Stowe’s shower scene. Not a bad connection to have.

    I’d forgotten that was George Michael’s girlfriend in the video for “I Want Your Sex.” Not bad, George! Now that you’re gay, would you mind passing along her number? She must be quite a cougar now.

    Wow, 2 Live Crew nostalgia? I guess there’s a time and a place for everything.

  • Oh yeah, the “Man in Motion” comment made me laugh. And speaking of ’80s pop stars lip-synching …

    http://smoothjacket.blogspot.com/2006/12/introducing-mr-john-parr-2006.html

  • Yes, another comment. I’m scattered this weekend.

    Here’s one way to look at parentheses in song titles (I must share this with the world right this instant!): when saying the name of the song, you can choose to ignore what’s in parentheses. For instance, when you go see a movie, do you say to the box-office person “One for ‘Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith'”? Well, maybe you do, but I doubt it. So when talking about (the) Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This),” just say “Sweet Dreams.” The part in parentheses is just icing on the cake, Jason. Now go back to bed, sweetie.

    [For a song like Donny and Marie Osmond’s “I’m Leaving It (All) Up to You” or the Stranglers’ “(Get a) Grip (On Yourself),” you may just have to grit your teeth, but I doubt those two will come up in conversation too often.]

  • KRL

     
    I bough 2 Tapes in 87, and they played constantly all year in my 1980 VW rabbitt which had a broken shifter and no reverse…hehe  I always had to make sure I parked facing out  so I did not have to use reverse…anyway..those 2 tapes were  License to Ill..Yeahhh Kick it!!;;….and Crowded Houses 1st…Almost like a Beatles album..Every track ruled. Thank god for Something So Strong!! It was the hit that would never give them the status of a One Hit Wonder ..so those jackasses on VH-1 would not have to sit there and make comments (un-funny of course) about Neil and the boys (RIP Mr Hester).

  • angela

    Thank you for the T’Pau. I heard this song in the grocery store last night and couldn’t get it out of my head. I always assumed it was by Roxette!