Archive for the 'Chart Attack!' Category

CHART ATTACK! #45: 8/25/84

Friday, August 24th, 2007

1984, you never fail to disappoint me.  Here are the songs topping the charts on August 25, 1984!

10.  If Ever You’re In My Arms Again – Peabo Bryson  Amazon iTunes
9.  She Bop – Cyndi Lauper  Amazon iTunes
8.  Sunglasses At Night – Corey Hart  Amazon iTunes
7.  State Of Shock – Jacksons  Amazon iTunes
6.  I Can Dream About You – Dan Hartman  Amazon iTunes
5.  Missing You – John Waite  Amazon iTunes
4.  When Doves Cry – Prince  Amazon iTunes
3.  Stuck On You – Lionel Richie  Amazon iTunes
2.  What’s Love Got To Do With it – Tina Turner  Amazon iTunes
1.  Ghostbusters – Ray Parker, Jr.  Amazon iTunes

10.  If Ever You’re In My Arms Again – Peabo Bryson

Something about Peabo Bryson makes me really happy.  I don’t know if it’s just the fact that his name is Peabo.  I kind of want to name my first child Peabo.  Peabo Hare.  It has a nice ring to it.  (Actually, it has a horrible ring to it, but so do most names that precede the last name Hare, and yes, no matter what you’re thinking, I’ve heard it.)  It may also be the fact that his voice is smooth as silk.  Peabo doesn’t get enough respect.  Sure, he’s had a ridiculous amount of hits on the R&B charts, but "If Ever You’re In My Arms Again" is the only Peabo solo song to make a dent in the Top 40.  (Every other Peabo song to reach the Top 40 has been a duet.) 

I hope my wife never gets wise and drops me (although the chances are increased exponentially if I insist on naming our child "Peabo"), but if she does, I’m pretty sure I’ll wind up huddled in the fetal position in the corner, weeping and singing this song to myself.  Which actually seems oddly comforting so long as I have Peabo to keep me warm.

Here’s a YouTube slideshow set to this song.  I was having a hard time finding anything on YouTube, actually, until, on a whim, I changed "you’re" to "your."  Bingo!

[youtube]1h4ridjFGSc[/youtube]

Jess, can I at least name our next pet Peabo?  Or rename one of the cats?  Or can I call you Peabo?

I love you, Peabo. 

9.  She Bop – Cyndi Lauper

Yes, blah blah blah, female masturbation, blah blah blah.  This song had some staying power (sorry, I couldn’t help it): we covered it back in our very first CHART ATTACK!, which looked at a chart from late September.  Maybe I should have chosen a different chart for this week.  Oh well, too late to turn back now.  Anyway, Lauper was intentionally vague in her lyrics for a couple of reasons: one, so the song could get airplay, and two, so kids could listen to it and think it was about dancing.  Well, as I mentioned, I was seven when I heard this song and I didn’t think it was about dancing.  And when I got older, I didn’t think it was about masturbating, either.  I didn’t think either of these things because I’ve never bothered to listen to the lyrics.  And I’m not about to start now.

Anyhoo, "She Bop" was declared obscene by the PMRC (remember the PMRC?) and rounded out their "Filthy Fifteen" list of dirty songs.  (#1?  "If Ever You’re In My Arms Again.")

8.  Sunglasses At Night – Corey Hart (download)

Is it just me, or is that opening synth part something of a rip-off from "Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)?"  According to Wikipedia, the original idea for "Sunglasses" was for it to reflect "a totalitarian society that made everyone wear their sunglasses at night."  Such lofty ideas are not suited for hunks like you, Corey.  I like Corey.  Here are some words that rhyme with Corey:  Gory. Story. Allegory. Montessori.

I know you’ll all be shocked and amazed, but Hart re-did his vocal in 2002 for…wait for it…"Sunglasses At Night 2002."  You can hear a snippet at his website, but I wouldn’t bother if I were you: it’s 30 seconds, and it sucks.  However, Hart seems to be pretty well-grounded about his success and his place in history.  Here’s his stream-of-consciousness piece on his site:

I wrote and recorded "Sunglasses at Night" in the summer of 1983…I just turned 21…I was working in what was at the time my musical mecca, England. Eric Clapton had just played dobro guitar on one of my songs and I was hanging out at Pete Townsend’s house chatting with him about the best London studio rooms and his favorite vocal mic pre-amps…cool…Heady times for a kid from Montreal with a dream ……So "Sunglasses at Night" was my first ever single from my debut album "First Offense"…It was a last minute addition to the disc…After it was released in November 1983, my life and the world around me changed forever.A major hit song was born, International success…cool….Was it the melody? or the lyric? Was it the video driven imaging? Luck of the draw or simply the sound of the times?…I suppose it was all of the above and none at all….From Bob Hope to Wyclef Jean the song struck a chord and understanding this alchemy remains mystery to us all…

Okay, points off for misspelling Pete Townshend, but I like the rest of it.  Can someone tell me what Bob Hope has to do with it, though?

One more thing.  I know this is all much ado about nothing, but does that guitar riff in the chorus sound familiar to anyone else?

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

Behold:  Corey Hart, in all his pouty-lipped glory!

[youtube]PXw4qqQqTrY[/youtube]

When I was a kid, I thought that Corey Hart was Han Solo after being unfrozen from carbonite.

7.  State Of Shock – Jacksons

"State of Shock" was the biggest single from The Jacksons’ Victory album, reaching #3, and the group’s last hit to reach the Top 10 – not surprising since Michael left the group shortly after "The Victory Tour," which was strolling through towns this summer in 1984.  As you probably know, "State of Shock" was a duet between Michael Jackson and Mick Jagger – and then, a year later, a duet between Jagger and Tina Turner at Live Aid.  However, didja know that the song was originally recorded by Jackson and Freddie Mercury?

It was rumored that Jackson (who owns the rights) was planning on releasing the track back in 2002, but it still hasn’t officially seen the light of day.

Michael Jackson & Freddie Mercury – State Of Shock (demo) (download)


6.  I Can Dream About You – Dan Hartman

How can you not love "I Can Dream About You?"  It starts with that great drum track (where I’m thisclose to singing Sheena Easton’s "Strut"), and doesn’t do any of this "we’ll do two verses before we reward you with our kick-ass chorus" bullshit.  There are three (three!) phrases before Hartman wisely jumps straight to the chorus!  40 seconds don’t even go by!  That’s what I’m talkin’ about!  Everybody should do this! 

What else do I love about this song?  Well, I love that nifty little guitar riff over that chorus.  I love that the lead vocal is doubled an octave lower.  I love the blue-eyed soul backing vocals.  I’m willing to bet that tons of people thought this was a Hall & Oates song.  And Hall & Oates actually did cover it, except it was an absolutely terrible cover (I refuse to even link to it).  However, all you ever cared to know about Dan Hartman can be found over at Ye Olde Jefitoblog, where Jeff covered the entire album a year ago this week!  (I asked Jeff to update the YouTube link, but he refuses to do anything for you if you’re coming to his site from mine.  I think he’s jealous.)

I should also mention that the always-awesome Retro Remixes is currently offering four versions of "I Can Dream About You."  A few of ’em have some skips, but still – like, totally awesome!

5.  Missing You – John Waite

Missing you!

Missing you!

Missing you!

Missing you!

(You’ll forgive me if I leave it at that.)

4.  When Doves Cry – Prince

There’s really nothing to say about "When Doves Cry" that hasn’t been said before. except when I was a kid, I thought the lyrics were: "maybe I’m just like my father, too cold" and "this is what it sounds like when she does cry."  Because why, as a kid, would I think he was fucking talking about doves?

My favorite thing about the song is not the fact that it manages to be incredibly funky without a single bass note, but its opening guitar riff and closing classically-influenced synth riff which, unfortunately, tends to be missing from the radio edit.  A song like this deserves better than a fade-out.

Mike and I performed this at our first Acoustic ’80s gig.  It fell flat on its face.  I also asked the crowd what it looked like for an animal to strike a curious pose, and if it looked anything like the look on my dog’s face when someone passes gas near him.  That joke also fell flat on its face.  We don’t perform "When Doves Cry" anymore.  But you know who does?  Barenaked Ladies.  They’ve been doing a quiet, classy version of it for years.  Here’s the best version I can find, taken from the Andrew Denton Breakfast Show, a popular Australian radio program.  (If anybody has the Denton CDs and wants to hook a brotha up, let me know.)  I’m not a big fan of the keyboards, but will deal with ’em just to hear Jim Creeggan on bass.

Barenaked Ladies – When Doves Cry (live) (download)

3.  Stuck On You – Lionel Richie (download)

Remember that episode of CMT Crossroads with Lionel and Kenny Rogers that I really, really love?  (I’ve mentioned it at least five times on here.)  Well, Lionel shared an anecdote before he played this song.  He recounted a tale of a trip he took down by his hometown of Tuskegee, Alabama (response from Kenny: "you live in Beverly Hills.") and took a break at a truck stop.  A trucker approached him, and told him how he really loved his song about "three times a woman" (laughter from audience) and said to him, "I have a woman too.  And you know, Lionel, I’m stuck on that woman."  And Lionel then knew what he had to do.  He went home and wrote "Stuck On You."

I recount this story because it’s the biggest pile of bullshit I’ve ever heard.  No way did this happen.  But it is a good lead-in for the song.  Just like when I saw him in concert and he said, "we’re going to party all night long!" and then played "Penny Lover."  (I’m totally kidding!  He played "All Night Long!")

Still, it’s hard to criticize Lionel when he’s playing live.  For example, here’s a live performance of "Stuck On You."  It’s on an untuned piano, and it still sounds awesome.  I love Lionel Richie.  Can’t help it.

[youtube]SuD7P1lUrjY[/youtube]

2.  What’s Love Got To Do With It – Tina Turner

I’m sure there are others, but at the moment, I can’t think of many artists who deserved a comeback more than Tina Turner.  It’s one of the biggest comebacks ever, and certainly the biggest of 1984.  It also almost didn’t happen.  Turner had just signed with Capitol Records.  Her manager, Roger Davies, presented her with a demo of this song, written by Terry Britten (one of her producers) and Graham Lyle.  Turner despised it, but Britten assured her that he’d change the arrangement to better suit her voice and style.  Davies convinced her to record it.  "What’s Love Got To Do With It" remains Turner’s only #1 single, and also set the record for longest gap between chart debut (with Ike) and #1 – 24 years, usurping poor old Robert John.  There are claims that the gap was 24 years to the exact week, but I’m calling bullshit on that one: "What’s Love" hit #1 on June 23, 1984, but as far as I can tell, her first single with Ike, "A Fool In Love," entered the charts on August 29, 1960.  I’m such a nerd.  It’s close enough, I guess.

By the way, back in CHART ATTACK! #1, I called the harmonica solo a "Korgmonica" solo.  Oh, how cute I was before I did research that nobody cared about!  The harmonica sound is actually from a Yamaha DX-7.

1.  Ghostbusters – Ray Parker, Jr.

In an interview with USA Today, Parker said that the hardest thing about writing "Ghostbusters" was rhyming the actual word.  "I figured the best thing to do was to have somebody shout, ‘Ghostbusters!’  In order for that to work, I had to have something come before or after it.  That’s when I came up with the line, ‘Who you gonna call?’"

Funny.  All this time, I thought the hardest thing about writing "Ghostbusters" was trying not to make it look like he blatantly ripped off "I Want A New Drug."  Or maybe the hardest thing was keeping the out-of-court settlement to Huey Lewis & The News quiet.  Or maybe it was his countersuit after Lewis revealed that Parker paid them off in an episode of Behind The Music.  It’s so hard to keep track! 

More on Parker’s "Ghostbusters" recording here.  I’ll just reproduce one part – my favorite part:

And who was the lively chorus shouting out “Ghostbusters!” with such gusto? Parker laughs: “I was 28 years old and I was dating this young girl — 17 years old — and I told her my idea and she quickly got a bunch of her high school friends to come by and yell on it. They were genuinely excited to be in there recording, and that was exactly what the track needed.”

I can’t tell you how happy I am to be ending on this note.  Have a great week and see you next time for another CHART ATTACK!

CHART ATTACK! #44: 8/16/86

Friday, August 17th, 2007


Hooray!  CHART ATTACK! is back and this time, it’s personal.  Won’t you join me in attacking yet another pop chart?  This time, let’s take a look at August 16, 1986!

10.  The Edge Of Heaven – Wham!  Amazon iTunes
9.  Take My Breath Away – Berlin  Amazon iTunes
8.  Rumors – Timex Social Club  Amazon
7.  Dancing On The Ceiling – Lionel Richie  Amazon iTunes
6.  Venus – Bananarama  Amazon iTunes
5.  We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off – Jermaine Stewart  Amazon
4.  Higher Love – Steve Winwood  Amazon iTunes
3.  Mad About You – Belinda Carlisle  Amazon iTunes
2.  Glory Of Love – Peter Cetera  Amazon
1.  Papa Don’t Preach – Madonna  Amazon iTunes

10.  The Edge of Heaven – Wham! (download)

We all know that I have an unexplainable, slightly embarrassing affection for most Wham! songs, right?  Okay, good.  Then I can just go right ahead and say that I love this song.  I think it’s absolutely stupid, but extremely catchy and I love the horn section.  Taken from their last album – The Final in the UK and Music From The Edge Of Heaven in the US – this song was promoted as the band’s "swan song", and featured yet another video proving that Andrew Ridgeley had little else to do other than pretend to play guitar.  Plus, as it’s their "goodbye" message, there are tons of clips from previous videos, and a poignant "goodbye" message at the end.  What?  It’s not poignant?  Well, I sure as hell thought so when I was 9.  Either way, though, you gotta love George Michael in fringe.

[youtube]dy14ywPAnLQ[/youtube]

George has actually performed this song on his recent European tour, which shocks the hell out of me.  Now all I need to hear is "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" live and I’ll be set.

9.  Take My Breath Away – Berlin 

Here’s what you may already know about "Take My Breath Away:"

– from the soundtrack to Debbie Does Top Gun
– huge hit (reached #1 for a week in September, ousted by Huey Lewis, that rat bastard)
– award winning (Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Song)
– officially the last we heard, or cared, about Berlin (the band, not the city)

But here’s what you may not know about "Take My Breath Away:" technically, it could be considered a cover.  Soundtrack guru/Donna Summer svengali Giorgio Moroder, who wrote and produced the song, asked Martha Davis, lead singer of The Motels (discussed over at this week’s Chartburn, by the way) to sing on the demo.  Davis wasn’t chosen to sing the "official" version, though, and the song remained unreleased until The Motels released it on their Anthologyland CD.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a digital version for you in time for this week’s Attack, but you can still hear it at the same place I first heard it – surprise, surprise – Coverville.  (Are you still not listening to Coverville?)  The demo, although recorded in a lower key, sounds eerily similar to the Berlin version, which goes to show how much influence Giorgio Moroder had on the production of the track.

Here’s what Martha had to say about it (courtesy of Pause and Play):

"It was one of two songs I heard where I said, ‘That is a hit’ (The other being The Police’s ‘Every Breath You Take’). You can say, ‘That sounds like a hit,’ but very seldom do you go ‘That song is a hit.’ Giorgio (Moroder) called me, ‘Martha, I have this song for this movie, can you come over and see me?’ I said sure. I sang it and he gave me a cassette of what I had done that day. That very cassette is the only remaining copy. No one has the actual reel-to-reel of it. (For ‘Anthologyland,’ they used the best technology to give it a rich sound.) Next thing I know, Teri Nunn had it and I was like, ‘C’est la vie.’ I’m a writer, and I’d much rather be known for something I had done. What if I had been known for doing ‘Take My Breath Away’? Would I have been overlooked for the other things that I do? So maybe it’s better that it happened that way."

That sounds exactly like what I would say if a huge hit like "Take My Breath Away" was taken away from me!

8.  Rumors – Timex Social Club (download

I take pride in boasting that I know the majority of songs that cracked the top 10 in the ’80s.  However, I could not place this song for the life of me – and even when I heard it, I still had no recollection of ever hearing it.  Clearly I’m alone on this one – even my wife scolded me for not remembering this song.  (All night:  "Are you sure you don’t know this song?  How can you not know this song?")  So download and let me know if you have any memories surrounding it.  I did like the extreme overuse of the TR-808 cowbell (discussed in CHART ATTACK! #36).  And how about some of these lyrics:

Hear the one about Tina, some say she’s much too loose
That came straight from a guy who claims he’s tastin’ her juice
Hear the one about Michael, some say he must be gay
I try to argue, but they said if he was straight he wouldn’t move that way
Hear the one about Susan, some say she’s just a tease
In a camisole she’s six feet tall, she’ll knock you to your knees

Charming.  Please don’t make me write any more about Timex Social Club.  Watch the video if you’d like – it’s a poor mix of live-action and cartoons.  The section with the lyrics above is equally appealing.

[youtube]DRte0S2a_dA[/youtube]

7.  Dancing On The Ceiling – Lionel Richie

Lionel Richie was on fire in 1986.  "Dancing On The Ceiling" is a testament to his popularity.  This song is really, really stupid.  However, it’s Lionel, and it’s catchy, so it was a hit.  Another song that was just perfect for MTV viewers, the video didn’t have any computer tricks:  instead, it featured an expensive rotating set that gave the effect of, yes, dancing on the ceiling (and the walls).  I vaguely remember seeing a documentary on MTV at the time of the video’s release, but doggone it, it’s not on YouTube.  The Pop-Up Video (I love Pop-Up Video) version used to be on YouTube, but it’s been taken down.  Among the facts I remember, though, are that it was the most expensive video since "Thriller" in 1984, and the director also directed Fred Astaire dancing on the ceiling in 1951’s Royal Wedding.  (!!!)

Take the time out to watch this video.  It’s really a classic.  The outfits, the hairdos, the choreography, the keytar, Lionel’s ‘stache, the inexplicable cameo by Cheech (and one other comedian, which I won’t spoil), and the fact that you’ll probably watch the video and still wonder, "how’d they do that?"

[youtube]5XxshEdcfAM[/youtube]

6.  Venus – Bananarama 

Another cover on the charts!  Actually, 1986 was the third time that "Venus" topped the charts.You may know the original version by Shocking Blue hit #1 in February of 1970, and portions of the song were included in Stars on 45’s "Medley," which hit #1 in June 1981.  Okay, maybe that last one is stretching it a bit, but what the hell, let’s include it: that way, we can say it’s the only song to hit #1 three times, ever!

5.  We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off – Jermaine Stewart

I guess, for the purposes of pop culture, we’ll consider Jermaine Stewart a one-hit wonder, although I’m sure one of you will point out that he did have a Top 30 in ’88.  Stewart was a dancer on Soul Train and American Bandstand, and also a popular session musician.  His backing vocals are all over Culture Club’s Colour By Numbers, and the band was party responsible for Stewart getting a contract with Arista Records.  Another interesting fact: he released a song called "Jody," a tribute to Jody Watley (who was still in Shalamar at the time).  However, this was his big hit, peaking here at #5 this week.  Apparently, this song was a hit because it was in support of some sexual moderation at a time when AIDS was finally national news.  Stewart unfortunately died in 1997 of liver cancer, brought on by, um, AIDS.

Honestly, I had no idea that a guy was singing this song until a few years ago.  Growing up, I was convinced it was a woman.  I don’t know if it’s because Stewart sounded feminine, or because even at the age of 9, I couldn’t conceive the thought of a guy making this kind of plea to a woman.

Here’s the video, which sadly edits out the really awkward spoken breakdown: "Yes, I want your body.  But we don’t have to rrrrush the afaihhhhr.  So you said you wanna taste my wine?  Heheheheh…not yet."  I try to never write things like this, but this sounds totally gay.

[youtube]ID_N7rv-iN8[/youtube]

Mike and I are in rehearsals for our next Acoustic ’80s gig (tentatively set for September 8th if you’re in town).  I usually don’t spoil our song choices, but I’ll tell you that we’ve figured this one out on guitar and are debating who’s going to sing it.  We both do a pretty good job.  (I have to lower the song a key, though.)

4.  Higher Love – Steve Winwood 

Embarrassing Jason Hare story: in fifth grade, our teacher decided we were going to put on a show for the school, featuring kids in the class singing, dancing, etc.  (If I remember correctly, I played a few songs on piano and bored an entire auditorium to tears.)   There was only one "group" number, and it involved the entire class doing a choreographed dance to "Higher Love."  Why "Higher Love?"  No clue.  Why was I placed FRONT and CENTER?  Well, because I was the best dancer, dammit.  It actually wasn’t even dancing.  It was very easy moves back and forth, some turns, and I’ve psychologically blocked the rest out.  My face is turning red.  I have to talk about something else.  "Higher Love" was yet another collaboration between Winwood and Will Jennings, who had been successfully collaborating for a number of years (we covered their collaboration a bit in CHART ATTACK! #28), and although it performed admirably (#1 hit, won Grammy Awards for both Best Male Pop Vocal Performance and Record of the Year), it actually wasn’t Winwood’s biggest hit – I was surprised to find out that "Roll With It" actually did just a bit better on the charts.  Still, it remained in the Top 10 for six weeks, and featured some great backing vocals by Chaka Khan.  (Chaka Khan.  Chaka Khan Chaka Khan.)

3.  Mad About You – Belinda Carlisle
 

And here we have the song that introduced Belinda Carlisle, the solo artist.  "Mad About You" was Carlisle’s first post-Go-Go’s single, and peaked this week here at #3.  Of Belinda’s Top 20 singles, I think "Mad About You" is probably the least earworm-y of the bunch.  Also, I think I may have mentioned this before, but Belinda Carlisle is ridiculously hot, and therefore I will forgive her for just about anything.  Even the stuff co-written by Diane Warren.

Here’s the video!  The object of her affection in the video is Morgan Mason, who became her husband.  Also, look for a cameo from Andy Taylor from Duran Duran.  It’s not as exciting as Cheech, but we’ll take it.

[youtube]KXj0QcSDVRE[/youtube]

2.  Glory of Love – Peter Cetera 

In Chartburn this week, I defend Phil Collins’ "You’ll Be In My Heart."  I knew I’d be in the minority (only Robert agreed with me), but I was comfortable standing up for the song.  My point, although somewhat convoluted, is that I can’t imagine anybody standing up for "Glory Of Love."  If you want to defend it, by all means, do so in the comments.  But this song doesn’t just suck.  It suuuuuuuuuucks.  Plus, it’s an earworm.  So take the suckiness, add the earworm, and cap it off with the fact that Mike and I were forced (forced!) to sing it in middle-school chorus, and you can see why I hate it so much, right?

And the video!  Oh, the video.  The problem with…wait a minute.  Who’s that?  Could it be…?

Yes!  It’s CAPTAIN VIDEO!  And he’s performed his bravest, noblest task of all – he’s watched extreme close-ups of Peter Cetera.  Bless you, CAPTAIN VIDEO!, for all that you have done in the name of snark.  Read on, my friends.

1.  Papa Don’t Preach – Madonna 

Madonna goes political, y’all.  And she doesn’t care what Danny Aiello says.  She’s made up her mind:  she’s keeping her baby.  Uhnnh.  She’s gonna keep her baby.  Oooh!  Ohhh!  Although Madonna refused to take a stance on the issue of abortion, the song clearly put forth a strong opinion, and marks the last time she was ever commended by Catholics.  Also, here’s a bone-chilling thought: Dave Marsh, in his review of the song, called the opening cellos "Beatlesque."

Take a look at the dramatic video!  And keep in mind, Danny Aiello was really an unknown at this point in his career.  You’re welcome, Danny!

[youtube]TgnmHbPR3ps[/youtube]

And thus concludes this week’s CHART ATTACK!  See you next Friday!

CHART ATTACK! #43: 8/1/81

Friday, August 3rd, 2007

We need to change the title of this series this week.


Don’t believe me?  Well, why don’t we take a trip together – a laaaaame trip together – back to August 1, 1981!

10. Queen of Hearts – Juice Newton  Amazon iTunes
9. Hearts – Marty Balin  Amazon
8. Boy From New York City – The Manhattan Transfer  Amazon iTunes
7. Bette Davis Eyes – Kim Carnes  Amazon iTunes
6. Slow Hand – Pointer Sisters  Amazon iTunes
5. Elvira – The Oak Ridge Boys  Amazon iTunes
4. I Don’t Need You – Kenny Rogers  Amazon iTunes
3. Theme From "Greatest American Hero" (Believe It Or Not) – Joey Scarbury  Amazon iTunes
2. The One That You Love – Air Supply  Amazon iTunes
1. Jessie’s Girl – Rick Springfield  Amazon iTunes

Am I right or am I right?  Can someone tell me what was horrible things happened in July of 1981? I checked out the Wiki for the month, and, yeah, some bad stuff happened, but I can’t find anything devastating enough that would have led the record-buying public to suddenly have an insatiable hunger for the blandest, whitest music possible.  They even accepted country music, for crying out loud!

Now, as I related this Top 10 to Mike, he insisted that this wasn’t a bad week; he feels it’s an awesome week.  He may be right.  Not all of these songs are bad.  But you have to agree that all of them are bland, right?  Except for maybe #1?  Well, you be the judge.

10. Queen of Hearts – Juice Newton

It’s obviously coincidental, but I still find it unfair that this is the third Juice Newton song we’ve covered on CHART ATTACK!. This song is stupid, but just like "Love’s Been A Little Bit Hard On Me," I find myself just completely endeared to Newton and the way she hams it up in her videos. She doesn’t get massively injured in this video like the other one, but she wears some cute costumes, and sorta comes off looking like a porn star who’s trying to act in her first Cinemax movie.

[youtube]zpo0v688ATw[/youtube]

Of her seven hits in the Top 40, this one was her biggest, reaching #2 in September.

9. Hearts – Marty Balin 

Whaddya know, it’s our Mellow Gold selection from this week!  What?  You haven’t read it?  Go, go, go!

(I’m so glad I don’t have to write anything more about "Hearts" ever again.  But apparently there’s more Balin in my future.  You guys are killing me.)

8. Boy From New York City – The Manhattan Transfer

"The Boy From New York City" was a cover of the 1965 hit by The Ad Libs. I don’t know how they did it, but The Manhattan Transfer somehow removed all soul from the original, thus continuing the rich BLAND ATTACK! tradition of August 1981. The original was a doo-wop song. This one somehow keeps the harmonies but adds in terrible, cheesy, early ’80s production values. Everyone ate it up, of course, and The Manhattan Transfer wound up winning the Grammy for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. They also won the Best Jazz Performance, Duo or Group award the same year, becoming the first group to win in both categories in the same year.

But the song still sucks.

7. Bette Davis Eyes – Kim Carnes (download)

This is the girliest Rod Stewart has ever sounded. 

Just kidding!  Y’know, I always thought that Kim Carnes could have just had one good cup of tea and a strong cough and cleared that voice right up.

Do you remember exactly how friggin’ huge this song was?  Although Jackie DeShannon had co-written and recorded it six years prior, Carnes brought the song ridiculous amounts of success.  It sold more than any other song in 1981 and won Grammy Awards for both Song Of The Year and Record Of The Year.  With 9 non-consecutive weeks at #1, it became the second-highest charting song of the year, behind "Physical."  (By the way, the song that broke up Carnes’ 9-week run?  "Stars on 45.")

Bette Davis loved the song, especially because it made her look cool in her grandson’s eyes.  She wrote Carnes a letter, thanking her for the re-introduction into pop culture, and Carnes sang the song in a tribute shortly before Davis’ death.



One day, I plan to have a hit with a song called "Kim Carnes Throat," and maybe she’ll write me a letter thanking me.

6. Slow Hand – The Pointer Sisters

Almost Mellow Gold, this one bordered on a country song – so much so that Conway Twitty covered it a year later and wound up with a #1 on the Country charts.  Personally, there are a number of Pointer Sisters songs I prefer to this one – I think this one is on the bland side – but the country clearly disagreed, making this song the most successful song the women ever released.  Yes – it’s even more successful than "Jump (For My Love)" or "I’m So Excited," although you probably wouldn’t know it from airplay.  The song was co-written by John Bettis, who’s had his hand in quite a few successful pop singles, including Michael Jackson’s "Human Nature" and Madonna’s "Crazy For You."

5. Elvira – The Oak Ridge Boys 

That’s it.  I’ve officially lost my patience with August 1, 1981.  I’m not taking the blame since I was only four, but I ask this to any of you who were buying records at the time (and that includes you, mom): what the hell was wrong with you people?

"Elvira" is not a tribute to, y’know, that Elvira.  That would have been an improvement, I think.  At least we would’ve gotten a good video out of it.  In actuality, the song was written and recorded back in 1966 by Dallas Frazier, and recorded a number of years later by Kenny Rogers and The First Edition.  However, The Oak Ridge Boys hadn’t heard the song until ’78, when a guy named Rodney Crowell recorded it on his debut album.  Why so many people got such a kick out of combining a doo-wop sound with country is absolutely beyond me, but like every other shitty song this week, the public ate it up, taking it to #5 on the Hot 100 and all the way to #1 on the country charts.

So let’s place blame where blame is due: Frazier wrote a ridiculously stupid song.  My favorite lyric is "’Cause I know that my Elvira’s mine."  You already implied that when you said "my" Elvira, you imbecile!…oh wait, now you’re saying some random giddy-yup-hi-oh-Silver-away crap.  You’re on a horse?  Great.  And don’t think those two key changes are going to save you here.

You gotta check out this video.

[youtube]9VJ6RUmlbLE[/youtube]

We’ve made fun of a lot of bands on here, but I’m willing to go out on a limb and say none have been uglier than Oak Ridge Boys circa 1981.  Is that Charles Manson?  My favorite is the lead singer, who looks like the love child of Oates and Lionel Richie.  And check out the audience shots:  they love this song!  I hate them!

4. I Don’t Need You – Kenny Rogers

This song was Rogers’ twelfth #1 on the Country & Western charts (out of an eventual 20), and the third of eight AC chart-toppers.  We don’t usually discuss these charts ’cause they suck, but I need to mention them in order to illustrate the fact that, whether we like it or not, Kenny Rogers was untouchable between 1977 and 1983.  Also, I have no problem mentioning those charts because they clearly both infected the hell out of the Hot 100 this year.

I was all set to snark on this song, but the truth is…I kinda like it.  I just can’t figure out why.

3. Theme From "Greatest American Hero" (Believe It Or Not) – Joey Scarbury (download)

Oooh, another Mellow Goldie on the charts this week!  Scarbury was hired by the famous Mike Post to record the vocal for the "Greatest American Hero" theme.  Smelling a single, Elektra quickly released an extended version of the song, which made it to #2.  They also released a video, although sensing that Scarbury kind of looked like a male porn star (which meant he was butt-ugly with a big moustache), they kept him safely in the shadows.

[youtube]8b2NBemvt7c[/youtube]

Quite honestly, I really like this song.  I can’t help it.  And it’s actually quite hard to sing – especially when he throws in that key change.  I realized there’s a big difference between quietly singing it to yourself and actually trying to perform it.  I won’t make that mistake again.

Scarbury had another minor hit, but couldn’t match his TV theme success – although apparently he tried, recording "Flashbeagle" for It’s Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown, and this video just made this entire CHART ATTACK! worthwhile. 

[youtube]5nXl93ji30M[/youtube]

I can’t believe this is real…but it is.

2. The One That You Love – Air Supply

The other day, I went over to Hype Machine and looked at their stats on Air Supply. Eight tracks listed. Five were from this site.  I think I’ve said enough about Air Supply recently, don’t you?  So I’ll just say that obviously I love this song, and leave it at that.

1. Jessie’s Girl – Rick Springfield

Finally, some rock on this chart!  I really like this line from the "Jessie’s Girl" wiki"While some try to highlight deeper symbolic meanings of the piece, most enjoy it for its catchy tune and memorable lyrics."  (This Wiki would have been much better had it linked to the "some" trying to analyze it, but they get high marks for calling it a "piece.")

Anyway.  Overplayed?  Yah.  Awesome?  Yah.  And remarkably hard for me to play on guitar.  I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for any song utilizing the word "moot." 
Deserving, I’d even say, of the Best Male Rock Vocal Performance Grammy.  (You can argue me, but the point is probably moot since nobody gives a shit about the Grammys.)  And just think – if he hadn’t changed the name to protect the innocent, we’d be singing about "Gary’s Girl."  (Actually, no, we probably wouldn’t.)

I found this nifty little album on iTunes called 80s Hits Stripped, and it included an acoustic version of "Jessie’s Girl."  Sadly, it’s in a lower key and I could do without the slide guitar, but have a listen anyway:

Rick Springfield – Jessie’s Girl (acoustic) (download)

…and that does it for this week’s CHART ATTACK!, although I still maintain it was more of a limp slap on the arm than an actual attack.  Will we recover from this wussy Top 10 output?  Only one way to find out: come back next Friday!

CHART ATTACK! #42: 7/30/83

Friday, July 27th, 2007


Welcome back to another exciting Friday!  Before we start this week’s attack, I just want to thank those of you who e-mailed and offered to send me the i-Ten album that we referenced last week.  I now have it, thanks to Kurt (who, like all rock stars, is out of retirement), and I think it’s the greatest album Foreigner ever released.  So here’s their original version of "Alone," later made hugely famous by Heart.

I-Ten – Alone (download)

Now, back to this week – July 30, 1983!

10.  Our House – Madness  Amazon iTunes
9.  Stand Back – Stevie Nicks  Amazon iTunes
8.  She Works Hard For The Money – Donna Summer  Amazon iTunes
7.  Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ – Michael Jackson  Amazon iTunes
6.  Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) – Eurythmics  Amazon iTunes
5.  Is There Something I Should Know? – Duran Duran  Amazon iTunes
4.  Never Gonna Let You Go – Sergio Mendes  Amazon iTunes
3.  Flashdance…What A Feeling – Irene Cara  Amazon
2.  Electric Avenue – Eddy Grant  Amazon
1.  Every Breath You Take – The Police  Amazon iTunes

10.  Our House – Madness (download)

In general, I really don’t have a problem with artists who sell their songs for commercial use.  (You know, being a Who fan and all.)  However, if you’re gonna use the song, at least keep the original version, huh?  This Maxwell House off-key mangling of "Our House" really gets on my nerves.  Anyway, like System last week, I had no idea who sang this song until recently.  (No word as to whether Jeff has, had or lost the Madness CD – although he now has the System CD, heh heh.)  I’d love to call Madness a one-hit wonder, but I’m sure a number of you would remind me that they also had a #33 hit with "It Must Be Love" – which was also altered for use in a commercial for a British bank. 

Anything else interesting I can tell you about Madness?  They released a song called "Michael Caine" that actually featured Michael Caine in the video, but that’s not really so interesting.  Everybody knows Michael Caine will appear in anything.  I have the feeling there are probably some Madness fans reading this, so I’ll leave you to educate the rest of us regarding the finer points of the band.  (Yeah, I get lazy sometimes.)

Enjoy this version of "Our House," which is a slightly extended mix!

9.  Stand Back – Stevie Nicks 

All that I know about "Stand Back," I learned from our reader Elaine.  Elaine informed me that "Stand Back" was written by Stevie after hearing "Little Red Corvette."  You can find more information here.  Here’s a portion of the story, bolded emphasis mine:

I got married the day I wrote this song. We were driving to Santa Barbara and a new song by Prince came on, so we pulled over somewhere and got the tape. It just gave me an incredible idea, so I spent many hours that night writing a song about some kind of crazy argument, and it was to become one of the most important of my songs.

News Flash: don’t marry Stevie Nicks.  Worst wedding night ever!  Thanks, Elaine, for relaying the story and pointing out that Nicks is, apparently, a dedicated musician but a piss-poor wife.

As you’ll read in that link, Prince actually played the synths on "Stand Back" but declined to be credited.  (Wonder why.)  Elaine has requested that Mike and I, for Acoustic ’80s, perform a "Stand Back"/"Little Red Corvette" medley.  As soon as we stop obsessing over the chord changes in "Caribbean Queen," we’ll give it a shot.

By the way, I saw Fleetwood Mac live in 2003, when they were touring in support of Say You Will.  It’s always interesting to see how Fleetwood Mac fans are really split – they’re either Stevie fans, or they’re not.  Much like the Eagles a few years back, long ago the Mac decided it was in their best interests to include her massive hit in their set.  (What, no "Holiday Road" in tribute to Lindsey?  Grrr.) 

Well, there’s this one moment during "Stand Back" where she spins in a circle.  Maybe 10 times.  Not very fast, because she’s a big girl.  But the crowd goes wild.  It’s like when Townshend smashes a guitar.  I don’t get it.  She’s just spinning.  Now, if she fell down afterwards, I’d go wild.  Or if she did it while eating a pizza (a whole pizza, not just a slice) or maybe a donut.

There are a zillion "Stand Back" videos on YouTube (because Stevie Nicks fans are rabid), but I really like this one.  Liberty Devitto is on the drums.  Nicks is dancing all over the place.  The best part, however, is when a d-bag in pleated khakis and a leather jacket leaps into frame and starts this dramatic pas de deux with Nicks.  All she does is flip her head back on each cymbal crash, oddly reminding me of Miss Piggy.  Then, suddenly, he’s gone again.

[youtube]En_-Iwyypx0[/youtube]

Jesus.  Seven paragraphs on "Stand Back."  Shoot me.

8.  She Works Hard For The Money – Donna Summer
 

As the legend goes, Donna Summer was eating at Chasen’s Restaurant in Beverly HIlls.  When she went to the bathroom, she found the attendant fast asleep.  The attendant woke up and apologized, explaining that she was dog-tired after working two jobs.  Summer found her inspiration for the song from this incident, and featured the attendant, Onetta Jackson, on the back cover of the LP.  (Unfortunately, time constraints have prevented me from finding an image, but if you can track it down, let me know.)

I remember the original video fondly, although I’m not sure if I realized how similar she looked to Rick James at the time.  However, here’s a video of an "acapella mix" of the song.  I’m at least calling partial bullshit on this clip (at around 2:13, she sings but the microphone’s point out to the audience), but I have to admit it’s really well done – and does showcase Summer’s wonderful voice.  She-male comments aside, she gets nothing but love from me.  She’s one of the staples of CHART ATTACK!, after all, along with Tom Kelly.

[youtube]Dr2oygZjL2E[/youtube]

7.  Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ – Michael Jackson

A couple of years ago, I wrote a post entitled "Thriller Revisited" over at my previous blog which pretty much sums up my feelings about this album.  Written back during the Off The Wall sessions, "Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’" is an unbelievable track, and the perfect lead-off to Thriller: full of energy and promises, and thankfully, none of the tracks that follow disappoint.

Granted, I have no idea what MJ is talking about when he puts forth accusations of the listener being either a vegetable or a buffet, but I agree that if you can’t feed the baby, then don’t have the baby.  And I haven’t even mentioned "mama-se, mama-sa, ma-ma-coo-sa," which was lifted from saxophonist Manu Dibango’s "Soul Makossa," widely considered to be one of the first disco songs.  Thanks to Robert, here’s the track:

Manu Dibango – Soul Makossa (download)

Dibango did sue Jackson, incidentally, and wound up with an out-of-court settlement.  I’m not sure of the terms, but I’d be willing to bet that he wound up with more money than Jackson has at this point in time.

6.  Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) – Eurythmics 

I feel no shame in telling all of you that, as a kid, Annie Lennox scared the crap out of me.  What, she didn’t frighten you?  I mean, I just didn’t know what she was:  Boy?  Girl?  Bowie?  It was a mystery to me.  It’s true that I was six and also in the habit of confusing Cyndi Lauper with Madonna, but I don’t think I can be blamed for this one.  "Sweet Dreams" remains the group’s only chart-topper, which is a shame when you think of some of the other fantastic songs they’ve released.

Here’s a nifty mash-up of "Sweet Dreams" and "Seven Nation Army," notable because the video is a mash-up as well.  I can’t even imagine how much time it took to put this together.

[youtube]hT5eJwgAtvY[/youtube]

5.  Is There Something I Should Know? – Duran Duran

I know it’s my fault ’cause I pick the weeks, but man, I can’t believe I have to write about Duran Duran again.  I’d just like to give the Durans credit for adding to all the exciting punctuation happening this week.  Parentheses!  Apostrophes!  (That wild man Michael Jackson had TWO!  Two in one song!)  And now, a question mark!  Bravo, Durans!

"Is There Something I Should Know?" was only included on an album in the U.S., specifically when Capitol re-issued their ’81 debut album following the success of "Rio."  In England, it was released as a stand-alone single.

Did I mention the question mark thing?

4.  Never Gonna Let You Go – Sergio Mendes

What?  You haven’t read Mellow Gold #4, where we totally discussed this song, its multiple keys, its phantom singers, and featured a picture of Sergio Mendes with a pepper in his mouth?  Go, go, go!  (Psssst…the download’s back up, too.)

3.  Flashdance…What A Feeling – Irene Cara 

Punctuation rules 7/20/83 once more!  An ellipsis!  And a completely unnecessary ellipsis at that!  I mean, with all the parenthetical abuse going on at the time, why didn’t they just throw ’em in here?   "Flashdance (What A Feeling)" works just fine.  So does "Fl(ash)dance (What A Fee)ling."

Anyway, "Flashdance…………..What A Feeling" went on to win Best Song at the Academy Awards, as well as Best Female Pop Vocal at the Grammy Awards.  Just one of many Giorgio Moroder soundtrack hits, you cannot beat a song that features backing vocalists enthusiastically insisting "I am music now!" and "I am rhythm now!"  You can almost see the jazz hands, can’t you?  And as you may recall, a few months ago, Jeff and I totally outed Joe "Bean" Esposito as one of the backing vocalists.  We asked him if he had any qualms about singing those lines (he wa$ plea$ed to $ing them), but forgot to ask him about the jazz hands.  Dammit!

2.  Electric Avenue – Eddy Grant (download

Hey, have you seen Eddy Grant lately?  He looks great:

Oh wait, my bad.  That’s not Eddy Grant.  That’s Billy Ocean.  I shit you not.  He played his first concert on U.S. soil in 18 years last week – a free show in Coney Island with Air Supply.  Couldn’t we have done something a bit better for Mr. Ocean?  His first show in 18 years?  Jesus.

Anyway, about Eddy Grant and "Electric Avenue."  I love this song.  It’s ’80s synth mastery at its very finest.  Name the last time you heard a song this varied and funky that only contained one (one!) chord.  Plus, it’s about social ills!  (Not that I’ve ever taken the time to figure out the lyrics!)  Grant was doing a good thing with this song.  And how did we repay him?  Well…we didn’t.  Although I’m certain he’s probably doing pretty well off the "Electric Avenue" royalties.  Catch up with Eddy Grant at his MySpace page, where you can purchase the two-disc (two!) Hit Collection.  (Two!  Good God!)

Here’s the video, featuring Eddy Grant’s death stare, as well as a scene where the living room floor becomes water.  I think Billy Joel did this in "Pressure," too.

[youtube]vtPk5IUbdH0[/youtube]

1.  Every Breath You Take – The Police

it’s hard to come up with anything interesting to say about this song that hasn’t been said before.  I know I liked it at one point – it’s a good song  but I can’t remember the last time I allowed it to play on either my iPod or the radio from start to finish.  (Guess it’s just me: according to CBS News, Sting pulls in almost $2000 a day from this song’s royalties.)  I do love the guitar riff, and I love loving the guitar riff, since Sting brought the just-about-completed song to the band and Andy Summers recorded his part on the spot, in one take.

I’ll be seeing The Police next Wednesday, so it’ll be interesting to hear the band’s 2007 interpretation of this song.  (I’m just kidding: no, it won’t.  It’s likely to sound exactly the way it did back in 1983, and the audience will go wild, and I’ll patiently wait for Summers to play a bum note and get the stare-of-death from Sting.)

Another week, come and gone.  Dry your eyes – we’ll be back next Friday for another edition of CHART ATTACK!  Thanks for reading!

CHART ATTACK! #41: 7/25/87

Friday, July 20th, 2007


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!