We finish up the ninth letter of the alphabet today as we look at the last half of the letter I and chat about all those glorious songs that charted no higher than #41 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the 1980s.
“There’s No Easy Way” — 1984, #58 (download)
James Ingram sang on two Quincy Jones tracks and had two duets with Patti Austin and one with Michael McDonald, all of which reached the Hot 100, before he released his debut album, It’s Your Night, in 1983. “There’s No Easy Way” was his only pure solo track to chart during the ’80s. (Thanks to “Crockett,” who pointed out that I missed this song as part of last week’s post. It’s only the second time I’ve missed an artist in the past 43 weeks; the last time was in the very first Bottom Feeders post. A pretty good hitting streak, I’d say, but it was bound to end at some point.)
“Don’t Change” — 1983, #80 (download)
“Original Sin” — 1984, #58 (download)
“I Send a Message” — 1984, #77 (download)
“This Time” — 1985, #81 (download)
“Listen Like Thieves” — 1986, #54 (download)
INXS and Jimmy Barnes
“Good Times” — 1987, #47 (download)
It’s good timing to have INXS appear in Bottom Feeders thanks to them being back in the spotlight right now, even if just for a moment, thanks to singer J.D. Fortune’s claim that INXS fired him with a handshake in a Hong Kong airport (which the band denies). I think CBS’s Rock Star: INXS (2005) is the reason I love music-based reality shows so much. No one can really replace Michael Hutchence, but it was great seeing a bunch of singers try, even some female ones. There definitely needs to be more rock ‘n’ roll reality shows, but the dismal Rock Star: Supernova (2006) really killed the format.
Anyway, we’re talking about the ’80s, right? INXS had a string of really awesome albums, starting with their third, Shabooh Shoobah, in 1982, which produced their first two U.S. hits, “The One Thing” and “Don’t Change.” With each new album you could see INXS growing as a band and polishing their sound, moving from a mix of new wave and ska to more of a pop-funk feel. It was 1985′s Listen Like Thieves that certified them as hit makers in the U.S. before the almost perfect Kick (1987) blew the roof off. At that point they graduated from Bottom Feeders status. (The Easybeats cover “Good Times,” featuring Cold Chisel singer Jimmy Barnes, was featured on the soundtrack of The Lost Boys.)
Donnie Iris might very well be the most underrated artist of the decade, in my opinion. At least once a week I can be heard singing either 1980′s “Ah! Leah!” or 1981′s “Love Is Like a Rock” in the shower. He had seven total Hot 100 hits, including 1982′s “My Girl,” and all of them are totally awesome. “Tough World” is my favorite of the Bottom Feeders here, though “Do You Compute?” has the catchiest chorus.
“What’s Your Hurry Darlin’” — 1980, #89 (download)
“What’s Your Hurry Darlin’” is another tune that was very difficult to find for my collection, which was a surprise since the group was formed by Randy Bachman of Bachman-Turner Overdrive. This was the second and final Hot 100 hit for Ironhorse.
Isle of Man
“Am I Forgiven” — 1986, #90 (download)
Here’s a group I know very little about. I know they aren’t from the U.S. I know they have at least one self-titled LP on Pasha Records, which is where “Am I Forgiven” comes from. And I know a Google search on the band members — Robere Parlez, Raun, Jamie Roberto, and Ronnie Lee Sage — turns up nothing. “Am I Forgiven” is a decent track that suffers a bit because of Parlez’s thick accent.
“Hurry Up and Wait” — 1981, #58 (download)
This was the final Isley Brothers song to chart on the Hot 100 until 1996, when “Let’s Lay Together” hit #96. “Hurry Up and Wait” isn’t a bad song, but it’s uninspired. Fortunately, the Isleys found the inspiration again in ’83, when their best track of the decade, “Between the Sheets,” was released. It was subsequently sampled by every rapper in the world.
Isley Jasper Isley was Ernie and Marvin Isley and brother-in-law Chris Jasper, otherwise known as the younger half of the “3 + 3″ Isley Brothers lineup that was so successful in the ’70s (“That Lady,” “Fight the Power”), but due to infighting with older brothers Ronald, Rudolph, and O’Kelly, “3 + 3″ became “6 – 3″ after 1983′s Between the Sheets. On their own, Isley Jasper Isley released three albums with only moderate success before going their separate ways in ’87, but they adapted nicely to the R&B sound of the mid-’80s, and they at least sounded like they had some musical energy left in them compared to the senior Isleys. “Kiss and Tell” is from their first release, 1984′s Broadway’s Closer to Sunset Boulevard, and “Caravan of Love” is the title track from their second album and the best R&B song of ’85 (it hit #1 on that chart).
Best song: Isley Jasper Isley, “Caravan of Love”
Worst song: Ironhorse, “What’s Your Hurry Darlin’”
Next week, well … I can’t even hide this one — it’s all Jacksons all the time! A full post of nothing but Michael and his siblings. Oh, and that unrelated guy named Joe.