Welcome as usual to Bottom Feeders, your weekly look at the ass end of the Billboard Hot 100 charts in the ‘80s. This week we “kihntinue” to look at artists whose names begin with the letter K.
“This Time” — 1989, #78 (download)
“This Time” is a duet with Shanice Wilson featured on Kiara’s debut, To Change and/or Make a Difference. The track was written by Charlie Singleton of Cameo and went to #2 on the R&B charts.
Here are four of the seven Greg Kihn tracks to hit the Hot 100 in the decade. The Greg Kihn Band was always missing something: the majority of the singles are good songs, but these minor hits are lacking a catchiness that would have kept them climbing. I personally love “Every Love Song” but the rhythm never really progresses anywhere. “Happy Man” and “Love Never Fails” are in the same boat for me — they have a chorus with some potential to be a sing along, but they just never make it there. My only real problem with “Love and Rock & Roll” is that it’s the name of the album as well. I mean, after four consecutive albums with “kihn” someplace in the title (Rockihnroll, Kihntinued, Kihnspiracy, Citizen Kihn) they decide to not bother anymore and really, the “Rock & Roll” part was already used. It certainly screams out that their creative peak had passed.
“That’s Freedom” — 1987, #64 (download)
Here’s another one that with a slightly catchier chorus could have been a big hit, maybe not in 1987 but at least with a revival as an Iraqi war anthem in the recent years. As it is, it’s a nice slab of alt-rock that deserved a better fate than showing up in this series.
“Love & Pride” — 1985, #55 (download)
Led by singer Paul King, King lasted just two records, “Love & Pride” coming from their debut record, Steps in Time. This was actually the second release of the track in England, where it went to #84 there in ’84, then went to #2 on the second go-round; I could be wrong, but I believe this was the first time it was released in the U.S. I’ve complained about it with the last two artists, but there’s no lack of catchiness here. I would have rather heard a horn section than keyboards in this and I wish they would have slowed it down just a little as it sounds like they are speeding through the song, but overall I think it’s one of those underrated gems.
“One to One” — 1982, #45 (download)
Carole King sounds like a man to me, and I just can’t get over that. I know, I know — I’m an idiot. (Or it’s a case of Dave thinking Todd Rundgren sounded masculine in the early ’70s. -Ed.) You don’t have to say it. But I would much rather just have other artists sing her songs than ever listen to her. And no, I’m not going to say it’s because “as a general rule I don’t like female artists” because based on my first statement that means I should probably dig this.
Another artist that grew up in my hometown of Philadelphia, I don’t remember hearing her as much as the Hooters or Robert Hazard, but then again, I don’t remember being quite as into R&B as I am now. So either I tuned her out or she peaked a little before my time. I think she adjusted her career nicely here, known more for her disco sounds from the late ‘70s, King funked it up for these three, “Action” being the best of the group (though I can picture the Jets doing an even better version). She had a nice R&B career and had four other tracks hit that chart through ’89, but “Your Personal Touch” was her final track to crossover to the Hot 100.
“My Mistake” — 1980, #81 (download)
The Kingbees were a short lived Canadian group that released two records and had quite a following in at least the Toronto area where they were from. “My Mistake” comes from their self-titled album which has an old-time rockabilly sound to it. The singer-guitarist was Jamie James, who now plays guitar for DQ and the Sharks, DQ being actor Dennis Quaid.
“Get It On” — 1988, #69 (download)
This is crazy. I mean, I don’t know how these guys could sit in a studio and honestly come out feeling good about themselves sounding almost exactly like Led Zeppelin. Well, except the fact that they made money off sounding like a cover band. Even Jimmy Page called these guys, “Kingdom Clone.” At least they didn’t put a Zeppelin cover on the album too or this very well could have been the most ridiculed band in history. There’s actually nothing wrong with the song and in fact, it might even be good, but it comes across as such a joke that it’s hard to enjoy it.
“This Beat Goes On/Switchin’ to Glide” — 1980, #43 (download)
I don’t know a whole lot about the Kings except they were a Canadian band that formed in the late ‘70s and that this was their only hit. This is a decent little song that I like more as it goes along, especially around the 4:20 mark as the really spacey keys kick in.
Kings of the Sun
“Black Leather” — 1988, #98 (download)
Kings of the Sun were an Australian group that I think their label RCA had big plans for since they opened up for the likes of Joe Satriani and Kiss in ’88. But after opening for Guns N’ Roses the singer started bad mouthing the group and well, no one fucks with Axl Rose and gets away with it. Whether that was the deciding factor or not, Kings of the Sun released another album in 1990 (Full Frontal Attack) and then faded into obscurity.
Some little British group called the Kinks here. While this rock institution may have been at the end of their career they weren’t exactly phoning it in just yet. “Destroyer” continues with the story of Lola and the riff is essentially “All Day and All of the Night.” “Better Things” is a catchy little ditty, the final track off their 1981 album, Give the People What They Want and “Do It Again” was the lead track off their 1984 album Word of Mouth.
Jim Kirk & the TM Singers
“Voice of Freedom” — 1980, #71 (download)
Jim Kirk was a jingle writer for TM productions and decided to record this track with all proceeds of sales going to the Red Cross. It spent just three weeks on the chart. It’s way too easy to make fun of this track, so I’ll just keep my mouth shut.
Best song: The Kinks, “Destroyer”
Worst song: Carole King, “One to One”
I have to offer you my apologies since I teased you last week with Barry Manilow and he didn’t show up. Upon further review, I decided that his song “Hey Mambo” with Kid Creole and the Coconuts rightfully belonged in the letter M, so Mr. Manilow was fed his dessert and ushered back to the hotel. Next week should be a fascinating post as we set a few records for this series so far. Let’s convene in the ladies room next week to discuss.