Bottom Feeders: The Ass End of the ’80s, Part 29

We’re going to jump right into the songs this week as we have an extended post in order to finish up the letter E in just two weeks. Enjoy the 26 tracks below as we continue digging through the bottom of the Billboard Hot 100 charts.

Dave Edmunds
“Almost Saturday Night” — 1981, #54 (download)
“High School Nights” — 1985, #91 (download)

I’d love to hear a remastered version of “Almost Saturday Night.” It’s a good song written by John Fogerty, but it would be nice to see how great it would be with better production. “Almost Saturday Night” was off Twangin …, which would be Edmunds’s final album with his group Rockpile. In 1985 Edmunds put together the Porky’s Revenge soundtrack, which included the theme song “High School Nights.”

Dennis Edwards
“Don’t Look Any Further” — 1984, #72 (download)

This is an absolute classic R&B song from Edwards — one the lead singers of the Temptations. This is another one of those ‘80s R&B tracks that I feel has been used in a billion samples in the past few decades. The only one I can pick out off hand is 2Pac’s “Hit ‘Em Up” but I know there must be more. It was actually covered unnecessarily in 1988 by the Kane Gang. The female voice in this is an artist we will get to very shortly – Siedah Garrett.

Walter Egan
“Fool Moon Fire” — 1983, #46 (download)

Walter Egan is pretty much known for one song, 1978’s “Magnet and Steel” but this cool track was his fourth and final charting single. According to the ”official” Walter Egan website this song charted in the Top 40. Who am I to call bullshit on that? Wait, I guess by posting this I’m doing just that.

Eight Seconds
“Kiss You (When It’s Dangerous)” — 1987, #72 (download)

Eight Seconds was a Canadian pop band that started out doing covers in local Ottawa bars. Canada apparently loved their first original song so much that Polydor decided to snatch them up and get an album — Almacantar — out of them to capitalize on that success. Clearly they didn’t do so well on that front.

Eighth Wonder
“Cross My Heart” — 1988, #56 (download)
“Baby Baby” — 1989, #84 (download)

Until I saw it here, I would have assumed “Cross My Heart” was a Top 40 hit, as it sounds recognizable to me. Neither of these songs are bad, but they’re both pretty generic. The real interesting thing about Eighth Wonder is that this was the band that was led by Patsy Kensit — the English actress who’s been married to Jim Kerr of Simple Minds and most famously to Liam Gallagher of Oasis.

Electric Light Orchestra
“Four Little Diamonds” — 1983, #86 (download)

“Four Little Diamonds” was from ELO’s Secret Messages album which caught them as their popularity was starting to dwindle and band members started working on other projects. The album suffered from lack of promotion from the label and Jeff Lynne and company didn’t tour in support of it. That has to explain why this wasn’t a bigger hit since every one of the other eight singles in the decade went Top 40 and it wasn’t like “Four Little Diamonds” was any radical departure from the typical ELO sound.

Emerson, Lake & Powell
“Touch and Go” — 1986, #60 (download)

Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s final LP was in 1978 and when Keith Emerson and Greg Lake decided they wanted to reform the band, Carl Palmer was performing with Asia. So, they went out and got another “P” in the form of drummer Cozy Powell and rechristened themselves Emerson, Lake & Powell — or ELPowell for short. They only committed one album to tape, their self-titled effort in 1986 which was a grand prog-rock effort with some epic classical themes.

England Dan & John Ford Coley
“In It For Love” — 1980, #75 (download)

“In It For Love” was the 9th and final single for Dan Seals and John Ford Coley off their first Best of album released in 1980.

Jackie English
“Once a Night” — 1980, #94 (download)

The book On This Day in Black Music History says the following about Jackie English:

“Jackie English, a white songwriter known for only having songs recorded by black artists, including George Benson, Patrice Rushen, Ronnie Laws and Eloise Laws finally had a hit by a white artist when she herself charted with ‘Once a Night’ (from the movie Hopscotch).”

This is another one of those 45s that was extremely difficult to find for the collection.

Enuff Z’nuff
“New Thing” — 1989, #67 (download)

Enuff Z’nuff were really one of the better glam bands to come out of the ‘80s, though I guess they barely qualify since this was their first single, released late in ’89. While they certainly played up the glam look, their music was a bit more refined than most of their peers. If these guys had come out a few years earlier I’d have to think they would have been a much bigger hit. Or maybe if “New Thing” wasn’t one of the worst videos of the decade.

Erasure
“Stop!” — 1989, #97 (download)

Erasure’s a group that we all know, even though they are yet another great example of how different music is in the UK. Erasure has had 28 top 20 tracks in the UK and only six Hot 100 tracks in the US. “Stop!” is my favorite single from them, off the Crackers International EP.

Escape Club
“Walking Through Walls” — 1989, #81 (download)

Escape Club had a handful of good singles but really weren’t that great of a band. “Walking Though Walls” is the third single from their breakthrough second album Wild Wild West which contained “Wild Wild West” and “Shake For the Shiek” and very little else of substance. They released one more album in 1991 and then broke up.

Joe “Bean” Esposito
“Lady, Lady, Lady” — 1983, #86 (download)

“Bean” was part of the band Brooklyn Dreams who were the backing band on Donna Summer’s “Bad Girls”. As a solo artist he released two records in the ‘80s and was like Kenny Loggins Jr. when it came to soundtrack songs. “Lady, Lady, Lady” was from Flashdance and he had solo tracks from Zapped!, Thief of Hearts and The Karate Kid as well as a duet with Laura Branigan from Coming to America.

Melissa Etheridge
“Similar Features” — 1989, #94 (download)
“No Souvenirs” — 1989, #95 (download)

Melissa Etheridge is exactly the type of artist I hate — except shockingly, I actually think her two ‘80s albums are quite good. Both her self-titled debut and 1989’s Brave and Crazy are a bit less polished and a bit more rock than her later slick pop efforts. The two songs here were the only ones from those albums that hit the Hot 100, though four others had decent success on the modern rock side.

Eurogliders
“Heaven (Must Be There)” — 1984, #65 (download)

An Australian band, this was the Eurogliders only hit in the U.S. “Heaven” went to #2 in Australia, which helped get them national attention for their second album This Island. It’s a shame the song is so boring.

Europe
“Cherokee” — 1987, #72 (download)


Europe was a pretty shitty band so I’d rather not be writing about them at all. But since I have to, I would have expected a few more tracks. Instead, four of their five songs to hit the Hot 100 made top 40, with their biggest hit being the ballad “Carrie”. “Cherokee” was the fourth and thankfully the last single off The Final Countdown album.

If you go back to their first two records, 1983’s Europe and 1984’s Wings of Tomorrow, you’ll hear much less hair metal and much more hard rock, especially on the debut disc. That doesn’t make it any better, just different. If I gave you the debut record without telling you what it was, it would be tough to indentify it as a Europe album. And the weird part about it, is that I actually can give it to you without telling you what it was. One of the most fascinating pieces in my collection is the Johnny Hates Jazz Turn Back the Clock CD – which doesn’t play that album. Instead it plays the self-titled Europe disc. Imagine my shock when I go to play that sugary pop disc and I get bad hard rock instead. I don’t really know how this happened, as it’s definitely a factory made disc with the Johnny Hates Jazz label, but “Shattered Dreams” is nowhere to be found on it. That’s completely irrelevant to this post, but I wanted to fit it in somewhere.

Eurythmics
“Sexcrime (Nineteen Eighty-Four)” — 1984, #81 (download)
“It’s Alright (Baby’s Coming Back)” — 1986, #78 (download)
“Thorn in My Side” — 1986, #68 (download)
“I Need a Man” — 1987, #46 (download)
“You Have Placed a Chill in My Heart” — 1988, #64 (download)

Eurythmics are of course Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart with a host of guest musicians sitting in at various points. For my money, they are one of the most consistent pop acts of the decade. Album after album they cranked out catchy pop numbers, but they also did so while experimenting with different sounds and pushing the envelop a bit. They took less and less chances as the decade rolled on, but from the very start of their partnership even with their previous group — The Tourists — they weren’t quite satisfied with run-of-the-mill songs. The Eurythmics had a total of 15 tracks in the Hot 100.

“Sexcrime” is probably the best of the group here but didn’t get a whole lot of airplay for a variety of reasons. The first being the title of the song, which seems like nothing now, but in 1984, saying “Sexcrime” on the radio wasn’t welcome in many places. That second being that the album – which was the soundtrack for the movie Nineteen Eighty-Four – was pulled from shelves because of a lawsuit, as apparently the director of the movie really didn’t want to use the songs and Annie and Dave didn’t know that the label really used the songs without the director’s permission.

“It’s Alright (Baby’s Coming Back)” is another good track, which was the fourth and final single from their album Be Yourself Tonight. While the album featured a lot of slick pop numbers, this song was a bit darker and more electronic, like previous works.

Both “I Need a Man” and “You Placed a Chill in My Heart” harken back to the more experimental side of the Eurythmics and are from their Savage album which pretty much marked the end of any major hits for them.

Everly Brothers
“On the Wings of a Nightingale” — 1984, #50 (download)

After a ten-year layoff, the Everly Brothers reunited for their EB 84 album, produced by Dave Edmunds. “On the Wings of a Nightingale” was written for the Everly Brothers by Paul McCartney.

Eye to Eye
“Lucky” — 1983, #88 (download)

Eye to Eye was a male-female duo and had two albums to their credit before they went their own ways. The first self-titled record yielded the excellent ‘Nice Girls” in 1981 but their second album — Shakespeare Stole My Baby — tanked and they broke up shortly afterwards.

QUICK HITS
Best Song: Dennis Edwards, “Don’t Look Any Further”
Worst Song: Europe, “Cherokee”

Next week, we dig into the sixth letter of the alphabet!




  • jack

    I like Rick(y) Nelson's version of “Almost Saturday Night.” There are actually two versions, one the record label released with rerecorded music after his death, but to be honest I can't remember which is which, so maybe I prefer the one the record company did!

  • WHarrisBullzEye

    I have to say, this is probably my single favorite week of “Bottom Feeders” to date, if only because I have such a love for so many of the inclusions.

    A few random comments:

    * If anyone has a demo of Paul McCartney actually singing “On the Wings of a Nightingale,” I'd love to hear it. It's a great song for the brothers Everly, but it definitely screams, “Written by Macca.”

    * Believe it or not, the “Porky's Revenge” soundtrack is FANTASTIC. If there's an award to be given to the Most Underrated Motion Picture Soundtrack, that's gotta be the winner.

    * “In It For Love” makes me wistful for the days when every other song you heard on the radio could've worked as the theme to a sitcom.

    * As cheesy as the synths on “Touch and Go” sound, I still love the song. I actually knew ELP as “Emerson Lake & Powell” before I knew anything about Carl Palmer. (Can you tell I didn't really discover classic rock 'til after '86?)

    * I actually just listened to my Eighth Wonder CD the other day. So, what, was “I'm Not Scared” actually a top-40 hit? Surely it was released as a single, given that it was written by the Pet Shop Boys…

    * That Eye to Eye song sounds like it could've been taken from an Any Trouble album…and that's high praise.

    * The Rubinoos do a really nice cover of “Thorn in My Side.”

    * Fuck the hairspray and day-glo colors of the video. Enuff Z'nuff are a great power pop / rock 'n' roll band.

  • http://www.drcastrato.blogspot.com drcastrato

    Chip Z'nuff was a guest judge at my high school battle of the bands in like '95. He looked about the same as he does in that video, and was a total joke to those of us in the bands. He was pretty gross, kept hitting on the high school girls, and after my band won the battle, repeatedly offered to take us out back to smoke some weed. We declined.

  • JohnHughes

    You passed on the chance to get high on a new thing with Chip Z'nuff? Philistine!

  • JohnHughes

    “Jackie English” sounds like it could be the name of a character from SNL's “Deep House Dish.”

  • WHarrisBullzEye

    Apparently, Mr. Z'nuff did not change his habits dramatically in the next half decade or so, since Jenn and I were invited onto the band's tour bus when they were touring with Warrant, Quiet Riot, and Poison, and we also were invited to partake (and also declined).

  • Pete

    The two singles from the 1984 soundtrack, “Sexcrime” and “Julia”, are still two of my favorite songs from Eurythmics. Interesting to learn they could have possibly gone unreleased due to not being used.

  • Malchus

    Thanks to Popdose and Jeff Giles, I can now, at long last, listen to Emerson Lake and Powell and “3″ back to back!

    AWE-some!

    Bring on the GTR!!!

  • Malchus

    There is a second song on “ELPowell” that is pretty good: “Love Blind.”

  • http://www.bastardradio.com steed

    I've listened to these songs – all of them – three times at work today. This IS a really good set of songs. The more I listen to it, the more i like “Kiss You (When It's Dangerous) ” too. I think this becomes my favorite week.

  • http://www.popdose.com DwDunphy

    The bonus track “Vacant Possession” is pretty good too. In fact, I think they could have pulled off a Yes-like comeback if they had focused more on just tackling songs.

    I feel an ELP fit coming on.

  • http://www.popdose.com DwDunphy

    Reminds me of that anti-marijuana commercial with the guy constantly going back to smoking his joint why the world passes him by.

  • http://www.popdose.com DwDunphy

    It's Jackie Rogers Junior's Jack… Pot… Waaaaaaaaaad!

  • http://www.popdose.com DwDunphy

    Sure you want to go there? An album of ten songs and only four of them are good, and two of those are instrumental. Nah, I'd rather revisit ABWH.

  • http://www.popdose.com DwDunphy

    “The first being the title of the song, which seems like nothing now, but in 1984, saying “Sexcrime” on the radio wasn’t welcome in many places.”

    What would they have done with Notorious B.I.G.'s “F****** You Tonight”?

  • Flaregun

    Wowzers! one of the best ass-ends to date – especially liked both Kiss You (When It’s Dangerous) and It’s Alright (Baby’s Coming Back) – parenthetically speaking. (Insert Patsy Kensit comment here). Thanks.

  • Cary

    Martika also recorded the Eighth Wonder song “Cross My Heart” on her debut album.

  • http://twostepcub.blogspot.com twostepcub

    Great piece – as always, Dave. I always had a love for both the “1984″ and “Savage” Eurythmics albums. (Especially on Savage's “I Need You” with its bad-cabaret backdrop)… It took me a trip to New York to get 1984 on CD.

    Yeah I thought “Cross My Heart” was familiar, cuz I have the Martika album as well.. Though it's driving me crazy somehow I can't download this one (and half the ones this week) here. Danged DSL!

    I do have to defend Ms. Etheridge, since I have loved her music from the start (I had seen her back before her first album and still have the signed promo, what a dork I am…) She did veer into Bryan-Adams land frequently but I felt “yeah, she's REALLY different that the other women out there”…little did I know..

    And only in the 80's could EUROPE have happened.

    Lastly, M People from Britain do a pretty respectable version of “Don't Look Any Further” as well…Not as classic as Edwards', but top notch..

    Cheers,
    Ernie
    2sc

  • David_E

    Eh, I'll take those four (and I'm assuming The Hunter is among them) in place of the noodle-y masturbation of ABWH any day. Only a couple of good tracks there.

    What is more interesting, now, is how GTR and 3 almost folded into the same band together, and how Howe claims there are some lost GTR tracks, prepped for a second album and co-written by the boys in 3, that would have blown “When The Heart Rules The Mind” out of the water.

    Lo, they would have out-Asia'd Asia!

  • http://www.popdose.com jefito

    Sessions were held for a GTR 2 — I used to sell CD copies of them during my bootleg-selling days. Never listened to them, so I can't vouch for their quality, but I do know they were legit, because the drummer who played on some of the sessions got in touch with me for a copy at one point.

  • breadalbane

    Let me second the thumbs-up for the Porky's Revenge soundtrack. I know what you're thinking — that we're being all ironic or tongue-in-cheek or something. Nope. This soundtrack not only wins the “Most Underrated Motion Picture Soundtrack” award, but is also a prime contender for the coveted “Best Soundtrack From A Really Terribly Embarrassingly Bad Motion Picture” prize.

    With regards to Walter Egan's claim, “Full Moon Fire” peaked at #38 nationally on the Cashbox charts in May, 1983.

  • WHarrisBullzEye

    I had to delve back into the archives to find this review I wrote for another Pop site – PopMatters – back in the day, but if you're interested…

    http://www.popmatters.com/music/reviews/soundtr

    I'd forgotten that I'd described the amount of talent on the soundtrack to a “Porky's” sequel as being “like taking a film from Troma Studios and having Bruce Springsteen do the score.” Damn, that was a good line…

  • http://www.popdose.com jefito

    Holy shit, I just read your review. You and Kelly need to collaborate on a Soundtrack Saturday for this thing, pronto!

  • http://www.disarranging.com/review/ Marie_Carnes

    I like the Everly Brothers. I love Dave Edmunds. And I can tolerate Paul McCartney, who I had no idea wrote that song. Thanks for such a great blog and for such an intelligent community.

  • ElCartero

    About that Europe-not-Johnny Hates Jazz CD of yours… it's rare, but it happens. I bought a Killing Joke album once at a used-CD store, then took it home, pressed play and discovered WHY it was dumped at a used-CD store :-P (I did get my money back.)

    Also, I'm surprised nobody's brought up THE notorious Chip Z'Nuff story. It involved Chip, Madonna and… I ain't even getting into it here. Just Google “Chip Z'Nuff”, Madonna and “Howard Stern”. You have been warned.

  • ElCartero

    I have to concur with you, Flaregun and WHarris: killer selection this week. Especially the Eurythmics and Everlys tracks. The Eye to Eye wasn't bad, but it SO makes me wish Julian Marshall's previous duo, Marshall Hain, had released “Dancing in the City” a couple of years later than they did. It still may not have gotten any higher than #43, but it would have been great (eventually) hearing it here.

  • ElCartero

    About that Europe-not-Johnny Hates Jazz CD of yours… it's rare, but it happens. I bought a Killing Joke album once at a used-CD store, then took it home, pressed play and discovered WHY it was dumped at a used-CD store :-P (I did get my money back.)

    Also, I'm surprised nobody's brought up THE notorious Chip Z'Nuff story. It involved Chip, Madonna and… I ain't even getting into it here. Just Google “Chip Z'Nuff”, Madonna and “Howard Stern”. You have been warned.

  • ElCartero

    I have to concur with you, Flaregun and WHarris: killer selection this week. Especially the Eurythmics and Everlys tracks. The Eye to Eye wasn't bad, but it SO makes me wish Julian Marshall's previous duo, Marshall Hain, had released “Dancing in the City” a couple of years later than they did. It still may not have gotten any higher than #43, but it would have been great (eventually) hearing it here.

  • ElCartero

    About that Europe-not-Johnny Hates Jazz CD of yours… it's rare, but it happens. I bought a Killing Joke album once at a used-CD store, then took it home, pressed play and discovered WHY it was dumped at a used-CD store :-P (I did get my money back.)

    Also, I'm surprised nobody's brought up THE notorious Chip Z'Nuff story. It involved Chip, Madonna and… I ain't even getting into it here. Just Google “Chip Z'Nuff”, Madonna and “Howard Stern”. You have been warned.

  • ElCartero

    I have to concur with you, Flaregun and WHarris: killer selection this week. Especially the Eurythmics and Everlys tracks. The Eye to Eye wasn't bad, but it SO makes me wish Julian Marshall's previous duo, Marshall Hain, had released “Dancing in the City” a couple of years later than they did. It still may not have gotten any higher than #43, but it would have been great (eventually) hearing it here.