Bottom Feeders: The Ass End of the ’80s, Part 36
Hey! It’s Wednesday, so let’s continue taking a look at the letter G and the ass end of the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Andy Gibb and Victoria Principal
“All I Have to Do Is Dream” — 1981, #51 (download)
This checks in at #24 on my bottom 80 songs of the ‘80s list. I’m a fan of the Bee Gees, and since Andy could have very well fit right in with his brothers, I can’t say I dislike him either. This shit just wasn’t necessary, though. At the time he recorded this he was dating Victoria Principal, but getting a little vajayjay shouldn’t translate into a record. I wonder whose idea this was — Andy’s, Victoria’s, or the drugs? Whichever way, someone should have spoken up and convinced them just to make this a “special” gift to each other rather than subject us to it.
Robin Gibb and Marcy Levy
“Help Me” — 1980, #50 (download)
Here’s another pretty shitty track from a Gibb brother, a duet with Marcy Levy off the Times Square soundtrack. In the ‘70s Levy sang with Bob Seger’s band, the Gap Band and then Eric Clapton’s band, among others. In 1988, she became half of Shakespeare’s Sister (under the name Marcella Detroit). Robin also recovered from this mess, releasing two decent solo records in the coming years (1983’s How Old Are You and 1984’s Secret Agent).
“Rich Man” — 1981, #89 (download)
This has never really been on my radar before, but after listening to it again, I had to pull out the album (1981’s Somebody’s Knockin’) and give it another shot. It’s definitely a country record, but with some nice bluesy influences that make it worth a second listen. Gibbs made herself a decent career through the country charts, and then in 1987 took more of a gospel turn and began to fade away. She’s one of the few blind artists to have hits in the decade, having been so since birth.
“We Could Be Together” — 1989, #71 (download)
With how well-known Debbie Gibson was, it’s kind of hard to believe she really only had a three-year run at the charts. Her first album, Out of the Blue, gave us five hits in ’87 and ’88, and her second record, Electric Youth, gave us four more, including “We Could Be Together,” which was the final one. From 1990 forward she only had two more charting singles. Deborah now has a decent theater career, and in 2007, she even introduced the public to Electric Youth: The Musical, which is something I hope I never, ever stumble across. And of course, the little girl didn’t exactly age poorly, as proven when she displayed the ta-tas for all to see in the March ’05 edition of Playboy.
“Seasons of Gold” — 1982, #82 (download)
You know by this point that I hate these stupid mash-up tracks, but maybe it’s because we haven’t had one in a while that I don’t find this to be so offensive. Gidea Park is essentially Adrian Baker, who is probably best known as one of the touring vocalists with the Beach Boys on three separate occasions, beginning in 1981. In addition to “Seasons of Gold,” Gidea Park also did “Beach Boy Gold” and “California Gold” in ’81-‘82 and released various remakes of Beach Boys songs in the next couple years.
Johnny Gill and Stacy Lattisaw
“Perfect Combination” — 1984, #75 (download)
This is a pretty great R&B ballad from friends Johnny Gill and Stacy Lattisaw. Lattisaw had already had 10 songs on the R&B charts, while Gill was just starting his career, having had only two singles before this. Lattisaw was 18 at this point, and her sound and songs were starting to sound a bit more mature than when she started out at the age of 13. While she had a significant amount of hits, Johnny Gill became the household name as a member of New Edition and with hits like 1990’s “Rub You the Right Way.”
Mickey Gilley was already a country superstar at this point in his career, but adding a slightly poppier feel to his songs helped him cross over a few times. His biggest Hot 100 hit was his cover of “Stand By Me,” off the Urban Cowboy soundtrack. “True Love Ways” began a string of six straight and 10 of 11 to chart at #1 on the country charts as well.
“Blue Light” — 1984, #62 (download)
Off David Gilmour’s second solo record, About Face. I’ve read that this track has been voted in the past as the worst solo song from any member of Pink Floyd. It’s no surprise how great I think it is, then, as I don’t like Pink Floyd and, well, my taste usually sucks.
“I Can’t Face the Fact” — 1989, #78 (download)
Although quite a different style, this would have almost been the perfect moniker for the solo career of Go-Go’s drummer Gina Schock. “I Can’t Face the Fact” is actually the only charting hit for Latin dance artist Gina Gomez.
Ah, such pathetic bullshit. First of all, guitarist Gregg Giuffria needed to be slightly more creative than naming his band after himself (we’ll revisit this in week #40), which doesn’t flow off the tongue very well (it’s okay if it rolls nicely — like, say, Van Halen). Then, of course, there’s the problem of calling yourself a hard rock band and creating sappy-ass crap like “Lonely in Love.” Now I know that last statement isn’t quite fair, as every arena rock band in the ‘80s created ballads, but there’s just a much different feel to this track as compared to “Open Arms” from Journey. “I Must Be Dreaming” is slightly better, but not unlike 100 other bands in the same timeframe.
“On a Carousel” — 1982, #50 (download)
The rarest track of this post, Glass Moon was led by British singer Dave Adams. This Hollies cover was their only charting single.
“Solid Rock” — 1983, #71 (download)
Named after Australian monitor lizards, this Aussie band’s only US hit comes from their first full-length, Spirit of Place. Whether actually true or not, Sprit of Place is billed as the first successful rock record to feature a didgeridoo as a main instrument.
If you look at the charts, the Go-Go’s really didn’t have much success. They only had four top 20 hits and eight total hot 100 tracks. But of course it was the fact that they were an all-woman band, with punk influences, that wrote their own songs and played all their own instruments, that really made them what they are. “Get Up and Go” is the second single from Vacation and the only song that charted on that record aside from the title track. “Yes or No” is their final single from the ‘80s, off Talk Show, and is actually my favorite Go-Go’s song.
Golden Earring only charted five songs in the US, while nearly 40 made it in their home country of the Netherlands. “The Devil Made Me Do It” was the second single from their 18th album, Cut, which featured the bigger hit “Twilight Zone.” It’s also one of only a handful of songs in this series with curses in it! Oooh, naughty. “When the Lady Smiles” probably should have been another big hit for them, but the lack of US success seems to be at least partially blamed on MTV for banning the video, which featured two rapes (one of a nun) and a dog eating part of the singer’s brain. Banned. You don’t say?
“Got a New Love” — 1988, #86 (download)
Back when we were covering the letter F, I mentioned how I thought The Family was one of the worst projects Prince had some physical presence on. Good Question probably released the worst album on Paisley Park Records. “Got a New Love” is by far the best song on the self-titled record, which isn’t saying much. It’s just a ridiculously bad mix of pop, dance and R&B from this duo out of Philadelphia, PA. I’m not sure what Prince saw in these guys to sign them in the first place, though in reality if you look at the stable of Paisley Park artists, almost all of them were one and done. Prince is a brilliant artist but not the greatest talent scout.
“Someday, Someway” — 1981, #76 (download)
One of three songs penned by Marshall Crenshaw for Gordon’s album Are You Gonna Be the One, “Someday, Someway” didn’t propel this rockabilly legend to stardom like many hoped, but at least partially paved the way for The Stray Cats to become huge in the following years.
Best song: Johnny Gill and Stacy Lattisaw, “Perfect Combination”
Worst song: Andy Gibb and Victoria Principal, “All I Have to Do Is Dream”
Next week, we’ll finish up the letter G with an extended post featuring one of the top Christian artists of all time and some classic rap tunes.