It’s amazing sometimes to see how music brings the world together.
I was food shopping with my wife last week and “867-5309/Jenny” by Tommy Tutone was playing in the store. Even though I’m not a big fan of most of the larger hits of the ’80s, it was the only song that caught my ear the entire time I was there. After the song ended, I found myself whistling it through the next few aisles. About five minutes later, this goth-looking dude with a ton of tattoos passed me and was singing the chorus. Not long after that I passed a couple that had to be in their 70s, and the old man was repeating the famous phone number to his wife. So, at least five minutes after “867-5309” was over, there was me, a goth kid, and an old man all still being entertained by it. Somewhere the guys from Tommy Tutone are smiling.
NEW SOUNDS FOR THE COLLECTION:
Riot, Restless Breed
Accept, Metal Heart
Europe, Wings of Tomorrow
Johnny Gill, Johnny Gill
This week we look at the final nine artists whose names begin with the letter C as we give you 15 more Bottom Feeders from the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the ’80s.
Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over” is my second-favorite song of the decade. Unfortunately, that didn’t translate into a love for Crowded House. I know there are a lot of people who think both their self-titled debut and their second record, Temple of Low Men, are great albums, but to me they’re both pretty boring.
“I’m So Glad I’m Standing Here Today” — 1981, #97 (download)
Here’s a sweet little funky jazz ballad, with Joe Cocker singing lead. This was off their 14th album, Standing Tall; it was their final charting song.
“You Look Marvelous” — 1985, #58 (download)
You gotta love this track, which sprung from the popular catchphrase Crystal used on Saturday Night Live when he played Fernando Lamas. The two greatest lines of the song have to be “I love you young people today with your rock ‘n’ roll, like that Eddie Van Heflin” — the background singers chime in with “Van Halen!” — and “Dancing to me is like standing still, only faster.” The only surprising thing about the song is the full-blown dance beat. It certainly works well, though, and yields the first comedy track in the Bottom Feeders series that’s actually funny.
“Let Me Sleep Alone” — 1980, #88 (download)
As far as I can tell, this disco track is the A-side to the only single Don Cugini ever released. The seven-inch was released on then-indie label Scotti Brothers, who didn’t list anything else with his moniker. Of all the songs we’ve visited in this series so far, “Let Me Sleep Alone” was the hardest to come by for my collection. An eBay search today will yield no results.
The first of multiple shockers in this week’s post, it’s unbelievable that “Fire Woman” only reached #46, as it’s one of the best rock songs of the entire decade. It’s #66 on my Top 80 Songs of the ‘80s list. “Edie” ain’t chump change, either. Both the Cult’s album Sonic Temple — which these two appeared on — and their previous record, Electric, are great albums to crank as you burn down the highway.
“In Between Days” — 1986, #99 (download)
“Why Can’t I Be You?” — 1987, #54 (download)
“Hot Hot Hot!!!” — 1988, #65 (download)
“Fascination Street” — 1989, #46 (download)
“Lullaby” — 1989, #74 (download)
Although they released great singles like “The Lovecats,” “Let’s Go to Bed,” and “A Forest” prior to these songs, “In Between Days” was the first Cure song to hit the Hot 100, but barely. Both “Why Can’t I Be You?” and “Hot Hot Hot!!!” were much better suited for college radio than the big time, but both “Fascination Street” and “Lullaby” are the other shockers of this post — knowing how huge the Disintegration album was, I’m blown away that both songs weren’t bigger hits. They’re #69 and #17 respectively on my Top 80 Songs of the ‘80s list.
Curiosity Killed the Cat
“Misfit” — 1987, #42 (download)
This is actually a pretty decent song, but the only hit for Britain’s Curiosity Killed the Cat. The terrible video for “Misfit” was directed by Andy Warhol. Doesn’t Julian look a little bit like John Cusack?
Curtie & the Boombox
“Black Kisses (Never Make You Blue)” — 1985, #81 (download)
This is a pretty craptacular song, and it doesn’t help that the band went with such a dumb name. The only reason this was even a minor hit is because it fit right in with everything else on the radio in 1985.
“(Between A) Rock and a Hard Place” — 1989, #77 (download)
Most people seem to think that Cutting Crew were one-hit wonders thanks to the #1 smash “(I Just) Died in Your Arms” being on every ‘80s compilation disc in existence. But they followed it up with “I’ve Been in Love Before,” a #9 hit, and another Top 40 song called “One for the Mockingbird.” “(Between A) Rock and a Hard Place” doesn’t get anywhere close to the quality of those songs, but at least now that I’ve listened to it again I can get the Rolling Stones’ shitty “Rock and a Hard Place” out of my head.
Best song — The Cure, “Lullaby”
Worst song — Cutting Crew, “(Between a) Rock and a Hard Place”
Next week we move to the fourth letter of the alphabet, baby! That’s hot hot hot!!!