I love collecting music, that’s a given. As with most collectors of something, it’s the thrill of the find that really does it for me. Two weeks ago I was at a place called Positively Records in Levittown, Pennsylvania, which is a store I visited weekly while I was in high-school living with Mom and Dad. Of course, Positively CDs would have been a better name, as no records were ever present. This was my first visit in at least two years and I walk in and run right over to the cheap used CDs as I always did and after about 15 minutes I happened to turn to the left and blam! — there they were. Records! Tons of them. $2 each and on the floor of course. So now I’m excited and sitting on the floor flipping through vinyl when I see a sign that says “$1 records in the middle aisle.” So now of course I have to run over there, because if there’s ever a place where you are going to find shitty records from the ’80s, it’s in the dollar bins. So I’m sitting in the middle of an aisle big enough for only one person to begin with, looking under the CD racks where all the records are. Every time I move a record, I get dust flying and I’m slowly but surely losing feeling in my right leg. But I can’t get over how exciting it to find cheap records in the store. I end up leaving with about 25 records no more than $2 each and of course I look like a gimp doing it since I have to walk around the store unable to feel my leg from the knee down from sitting on it for an hour. But that’s part of the fun. No matter where the records are located and how dirty and dingy it is on a floor or back room, I’m there. The only thing that would stop me is if they were covered in feces or something equally as gross.
However, it’s inevitable that with every purchase of records now that at least half of them are going to sound like the feces I just mentioned above. Case in point, the album I’m listening to right now as I type this — Frehley’s Comet by Ace Frehley. I listen to everything I buy, but I don’t buy them because they are good or bad. Now and then I find a gem, but for some reason it’s just as satisfying for me to find the train wreck too. I’m not saying Frehley’s Comet is a train wreck per se, but it’s certainly a big old brick of shit. The difference between the two is very subtle but there’s still a difference. My buddy Andy repeatedly tells me that I’m the only person he knows that discovers new music — 25 years after it was released. I’m constantly telling him about some ’80s record that I heard for the first time that he has to listen to and he has no interest in discovering what he missed back then. And I completely understand this. It’s tough to listen to a Peter Godwin record for the first time and not think it sounds completely dated. At this point in my collection, I really just try to listen to the music for what it is. Sure, these things sound old most of the time, but I’ve listened to so much ’80s music that at least for me it fits right in. And at this point if I don’t own the record already then I’m 100% sure that I haven’t heard it before. So everything from this point out in the collection is technically “new” for me.
This week we have a short post as we trek on with our alphabetical look at the bottom of Billboard Hot 100 charts in the ’80s and close out the letter “B.”
I’ve never been a “parrothead” and even though Buffett isn’t my cup of tea, it’s hard to say anything bad about him either. I mean, the guy makes pretty fun, easy-going songs that are completely accessible to most and has had a great career as a musician, restaurateur, writer, charity worker and ecstasy smuggler (whoops, sorry that was vitamin B). And while I have no desire to pop on a Jimmy Buffett album, I really enjoy “It’s My Job”. The story of just being the best at what you do, no matter what it is — is really told very well in the song and it’s a shame it’s taken a back seat to many more memorable tunes in his catalog.
“Trust Me” — 1980, #90 (download)
Here’s a pretty decent song that I’d bet most people have never heard before. Bullens sang three tunes on the Grease soundtrack and sang backups for Elton John among others. “Trust Me” was from her second solo record in 1979 and is a nice rocker, even if the verses lack punch. Her problem just seemed to be wrong place at the wrong time as the record labels that her first two albums were on, went under shortly after each album got released.
“For the Love of Money” comes in at #49 on my Bottom 80 of the ’80s list. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — I hate shitty covers. This cover of the O’Jays classic tune is all screaming, high-pitched squealing and whining and it’s just ear-piercing.
Wikipedia says that lead singer Marq Torien could play guitar as well as Eddie Van Halen and sing as well as Steve Perry. This page must have been edited by Torien himself because I’m calling bullshit on this one. It’s kind of hard to pinpoint exactly when hair-metal really jumped the shark, but the Bulletboys could be somewhere near the top.
“Who Shot J.R.?” — 1980, #67 (download)
Cincinnati DJ Gary Burbank capitalized on the “Who Shot J.R.?” craze in 1980 by releasing this novelty tune credited to Gary Burbank & Band McNally.
“Don’t Say No” — 1980, #68 (download)
Burnette had a few hits on the Country & Western chart, but this was his only tune to cross over onto the Hot 100. Burnette was friends with Mick Fleetwood and was in Fleetwood’s band the Zoo. So when Lindsey Buckingham called it quits with Fleetwood Mac in 1987, Burnette joined the band and stayed with them for almost a decade. It’s only fitting, as “Don’t Say No” sounds like it could have been written for their Tusk album anyway.
“I Wish I Was Eighteen Again” — 1980, #49 (download)
This song comes in at #35 on my Bottom 80 of the ’80s list. But while I hate the track, there’s differing opinions even right here on Popdose. Click on over and let Will explain to you the draw of this song and Burns’s album.
Jenny Burton was the lead singer of the dance group C-Bank which had a hand in pioneering the “freestyle” genre. “Remember What You Like” was a club hit and “Strangers in a Strange World” was a duet with Patrick Jude from the movie Beat Street.
“Cleanin’ Up the Town” — 1984, #68 (download)
John C. Hughes wrote about the BusBoys back in April. This awesome track is from the Ghostbusters soundtrack.
“Follow You” — 1987, #65 (download)
A decent yet pretty generic rock tune from Burtnick, who shortly after this would go on to join Styx. Burtnick seemed to have this love for changing the spelling of his name. At various points he’s released music as Glenn or Glen and Burtnick or Burtnik.
Jon Butcher Axis
“Sounds of your Voice” — 1985, #94 (download)
It’s a shame that Jon Butcher was never a hit. He was big up in Massachusetts opening up for Boston natives, J. Geils Band on many occasions but never really hit on a national scale. Butcher was a solid guitarist and performer but “Sounds of Your Voice” was his only taste of Hot 100 success.
Something new for you this week — a few people have mentioned something like this, so for those of you that are short on time and like to skim, at the end I’ll put the songs that I think are best and worst of the particular post and you depending if you’re reading this to find the great tunes or the crap, you’ll know where to start.
Best tune: Jimmy Buffett — “It’s My Job”
Worst tune: Bulletboys — “For the Love of Money”
That’s it for the letter B, folks. Three months to get through two letters in the alphabet, only 24 more to go! Next week we look at artists that begin with the letter “C”– with an overrated funk band and some fruit.