It’s week 27 of Bottom Feeders and you know what that means.
What? You don’t know what that means? Actually, neither do I. But what I do know is that we have only eight songs left to get through by artists whose names begin with the letter D, so I’m giving you a quickie this week and jumping right into it. Enjoy more songs from the ass end of the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the ’80s.
“Shine On” — 1982, #41 (download)
George Duke has his jazz side and he has the funky side you hear on “Shine On.” Duke has an eclectic resumÃ©: he’s worked with Jean-Luc Ponty, Frank Zappa, and George Clinton, and he did a few albums with jazz guitarist Stanley Clarke among countless other keyboard sessions with various artists.
Why do I feel it’s been a while since we’ve had a really decent rock song in this series? Both of these could fit the bill since Duke Jupiter has a classic ZZ Top feel that’s helped along by “Little Lady,” which is about a girl and a car. The video didn’t hurt that notion one bit either. (It seemed to teach you how to handle tricky curves while drunk.) “Little Lady” is from Duke Jupiter’s album White Knuckle Ride, which has the distinction of being the first release on Morocco Records, the short-lived rock imprint of Motown.
“Brooklyn Girls” — 1981, #54 (download)
I’ve heard on multiple occasions how Robbie Dupree’s style was a complete rip-off of the Michael McDonald-era Doobie Brothers. There are definite similarities, but Dupree handles himself well enough that he’s really a compliment to the Doobies’ sound. His first two records yielded three Hot 100 hits, but he didn’t make another album until 1989. The most startling piece of trivia about Robbie Dupree is that the WWF tag team Strike Force used his song “Girls in Cars” as their entrance music. Robbie Dupree isn’t the first person who’d come to mind if I wanted to commission a good song for wrestlers entering the ring.
It was around the time of 1986′s Notorious and 1988′s Big Thing that critics started to sour a bit on Duran Duran and sales started to dip thanks to a new, “more mature” sound. Of course in 1993 their self-titled album was the most mature thing they’d done and it was a massive hit, so maybe it just took a while to sink in for everyone. The three singles from Notorious — the title track, “Skin Trade,” and “Meet El Presidente” — were actually the only highlights from what is probably their weakest record of the decade. Big Thing brought forth a dance-ier sound but also featured some weird experimental interludes and ballads like “Do You Believe in Shame?” The album doesn’t flow well at all, but I still think it’s underappreciated.
“Sweetheart Like You” — 1983, #55 (download)
Who’s this dude with the incoherent vocals? I’ve never been a Dylan fan in the least, although I actually like this track and I think his 1985 box set, Biograph, is amazing. So maybe I just refuse to admit that I like him.
Either way, I want to know what you think about Dylan. I just don’t get what happened to him in the ‘80s. Of all the shitty music to hit the airwaves, here’s one of the most respected names in history, who releases 15 singles in those ten years and “Sweetheart Like You” is the only one to show up on the Hot 100. Coming from the perspective of a person that doesn’t like him to begin with, it’s hard to say his ’80s albums were X times as bad as his classic material. However, I clearly know that none of his seven discs in the ’80s compare to his best. But why the hell couldn’t he get any airplay? Everyone got airplay in the ‘80s! I’d love to hear what you have to say about it — maybe teach me a thing or two about Reagan-era Zimmerman. (Here’s a picture of me and Bob just chillin’. He was a little waxy that day.)
“I’ve Just Begun to Love You” — 1980, #87 (download)
Dynasty were one of many funk artists on Solar Records, a label that’s memorable to me thanks to the purple logo with the rainbow across the top. Artists like Dynasty, Midnight Star, and the Whispers all pretty much had the same groove going on — the bands on Solar sort of intermingled in the studio. Dynasty were one of the few Solar groups, however, that couldn’t muster any big hits: “I’ve Just Begun to Love You” was their only Hot 100 song.
Best song — Duke Jupiter, “Little Lady”
Worst song — Duran Duran, “Do You Believe in Shame?”
Next week we move to the letter E and reveal the artist with the second-largest number of tracks in this entire series!