Bottom Feeders: The Ass End of the ’80s, Part 49

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.

Kiara
“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.

Greg Kihn Band
“Happy Man” — 1982, #62 (download)
“Every Love Song” — 1982, #82 (download)
“Love Never Fails” — 1983, #59 (download)
“Love and Rock & Roll” — 1986, #92 (download)

greg_kihn

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.

Tom Kimmel
“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.

King
“Love & Pride” — 1985, #55 (download)

king

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.

Carole King
“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.

Evelyn “Champagne” King
“Betcha She Don’t Love You” — 1983, #49 (download)
“Action” — 1984, #75 (download)
“Your Personal Touch” — 1986, #86 (download)

evelyn_king1

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.

Kingbees
“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.

Kingdom Come
“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.

Kings
“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.

The Kinks
“Lola” — 1980, #81 (download)
“Destroyer” — 1981, #85 (download)
“Better Things” — 1981, #92 (download)
“Do It Again” — 1984, #41 (download)

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.

QUICK HITS
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.




  • jack

    I have no idea why I got into the band King in early middle school. I probably saw one of their videos on MTV or USA's Night Flight or something. Maybe I could only listen to so much Duran Duran and decided to branch out. The lyrics are incomprehensible/nonsensical but at least they had a real guitarist.

  • http://www.whatisthatsong.net skip

    The Kings song was one of my favorites from the 80's.

  • http://playitandbedamned.blogspot.com Rob

    Kinks were totally underrated and deserved a place in the big three (Beatles, Who, Stones), but never really got there. Ray Davies' musical genius and creativity is nearly up there with Paul, John, Pete, Mick and Keith. Too British I guess for the American public,

    Was “Do It Again” the video sequel to “Come Dancing” or am I thinking of another song?

  • JonCummings

    “TBGO/S2G” is “a decent little song”?!?!?!?!?! I'll have you remember, sir, that it came in at #92 on the Popdose 100 GREATEST songs of the last 50 years!!!!!

    http://popdose.com/the-popdose-100-our-favorite

    (Of course, all you had to do to reach #92 was have a couple of outliers on the panel rank your song absurdly high…)

  • http://www.wordsandrewtonkin.com Andrew Tonkin

    I know the Kings track is popularly recalled as the medley included here, but did it chart that way? I have a promo 45 that only includes “Switchin' To Glide.” (Wish I could get both together!)

  • http://www.bastardradio.com steed

    Holy shit, it did. How about that. I read the list, vaguely contributed to it and still I would have never remembered this was on it.

  • http://www.bastardradio.com steed

    I own the LP, which has them back to back. This was one of the more confusing ones…in the chart it's listed with a “/” after “Switchin' To Glide” which should indicate that it was a double A-Side and “Glide” was the main track, but then I've also seen this listed various ways as well “Switchin' To Glide/This Beat Goes On”, “Switchin' To Glide (This Beat Goes On)” etc…both songs definitely did chart.

  • Jude

    cool little video montage of The Kings track done by someone:

    http://thekingsarehere.com/thisbeatswitchin.html

    just love the zebra(?) print outfit — almost looks like a onesie. Holy shit, they were on Bandstand??

  • http://www.bullz-eye.com DavidMedsker

    I think you're thinking of “Don't Forget to Dance.”

  • http://www.bullz-eye.com DavidMedsker

    I love all of those Kinks songs, and it should be known that I was one of those outliers that propelled “This Beat Goes On/Switchin' to Glide” into the Popdose 100. Nothin' matters but the weekend…

  • dk

    I had “The Kings Are Here” vinyl back in the day. Boston radio, college and commercial gave them a lot of play, always “Beat/Switchin'” together. More info at: http://thekingsarehere.com/
    Thanks for a great Feeder post.

  • http://www.bullz-eye.com DavidMedsker

    That video is AWESOME!

  • http://www.bastardradio.com steed

    Thanks for sharing the link dk – I'm surprised I never located that before. Watching the videos, seems like they are a fun band live. Didn't know they were still around.

  • JonCummings

    After writing my comment above, I was compelled to go relive the Popdose 100. One of this site's finest achievements. And Medsker, I'll always be proud that we shoehorned the Kings onto the list (without colluding in any way, of course).

    Can't wait to see what we do for an encore.

  • JonCummings

    While I'm thinking about it–if you ever want to have a digital copy of “TBGO/S2G,” you should be sure to download it here, because otherwise you'll have to get “The Kings Are Here” on CD. The iTunes and Amazon download versions of “The Kings Are Here” separate “TBGO” from “S2G.” It's annoying — just like owning the single was, back in the day. I finally burned an MP3 of the medley from an old “Sedated in the '80s” anthology.

  • http://www.bullz-eye.com DavidMedsker

    I got it from one of those Richard Blade's Flashback CDs from the '90s, and you can hear the splice in between the two songs. Still, I have it, and that's all that matters.

    How is the rest of the record?

  • JonCummings

    I only had “The Kings Are Here” on vinyl for a brief time, but it's decent–there's nothing else that even sort of approaches the hit, though.

    You gotta give these guys credit for chutzpah: On their website they encourage folks to buy “The Kings Are Here” directly from them–but then they say, “BTW, please do not buy the two-for-one “Are Here – Amazon Beach” CD that is out there! We do not endorse or see a dime from this project, and the guy who runs the label is a dork! If you must have 'Are Here', buy it from us, if you must have 'Amazon Beach' (which is a lousy record) buy it from iTunes!”

  • breadalbane

    The Kingbees were reasonably popular in Toronto all right, but I think you'll find they were actually an LA band. Perhaps you mistook them for The Kings, who really were from the area. (You can tell, because they pronounce Toronto correctly in the song…ter-on-ah.)

  • forwardgirl

    “Love and Pride”! “Black Leather”! It's like visiting my old 45's that are still stored at my parents' house. I'm glad to hear that I still like them. And the Kinks 'Better Days' was one of my mix tape staples. What a perfect three minute pop gem…
    Rock on, letter K!

  • forwardgirl

    If “Voice of Freedom” had a sleigh bell in it, it would be tailor-made for Mellowmas.

  • http://www.popdose.com jefito

    We're less than eight months away from Mellowmas '09. I can hardly wait!

  • forwardgirl

    I need eight months to recover from the singing saw…

  • Eric S.

    I love this column, but I can't help but think that this week's artists got shortchanged a little bit. The Kinks were obviously well know coming into the 80's, but Greg Kihn, Tom Kimmel, The Kingbees, and The Kings all were more than just their singles. I own albums and/or CDs for all these groups. There aren't too many of these posts that feature at least five solid artists in a given week.

  • Eric S.

    As long as we're talking about Mellowmas, The Kings have a great Christmas song called “This Christmas”. It's on a Canadian compilation that also has “Takin' Care of Christmas” by Randy Bachman.

    http://www.cduniverse.com/search/xx/music/pid/5

  • http://jabartlett.wordpress.com jabartlett

    “Switchin' to Glide” was released as a single first, but when some radio stations jumped on the full 5:40 version, it was rereleased as “This Beat Goes On/Switchin' to Glide,” which accounts for the way it's listed in some reference books. And yeah, they were on “American Bandstand” in January 1981.

    Shameless self-promotion department: I interviewed Mister Zero of the Kings just last week at my blog, where we discussed “Beat/Glide,” “Bandstand,” and lots more. It's right here: http://jabartlett.wordpress.com/whats-cool/.

  • http://playitandbedamned.blogspot.com Rob

    Wasn't familiar with the song – until I heard the line “Nothing matters but the weekend” , a snippet that WNEW in NYC used to use to use with a lot of other songs that mention the weekend. (Loverboy, anyone? Thank you, no). That was kind of weird.

  • JP

    That's a common mistake…I seem to recall that both the Kings and the Kingbees' debut albums were released around the same time, within a few months of each other.

  • http://www.bastardradio.com steed

    D'oh. Yeah, you're right breadalbane – L.A. it is. Didn't confuse the bands, just moving too quickly I guess – I knew Jamie James was from Toronto and my two-and-two led me down the wrong path.

  • Pingback: Four From Greg Kihn…Including “Every Love Song”. Plus Kingdom Come, and a Batch From The Kinks « Rock God Cred()

  • DonW

    Hey, Skip…check out The Kings at http://www.thekingsarehere.com You can order the new DVD at the website.

    Where are you located? We are putting together a grassroots effort to bring The Kings back to the United States for a number of shows.

  • DonW

    The video was compiled and produced by none other than Mister Zero from The Kings.

  • DonW

    Jon,

    Thanks for listing The Kings at #92. If you are interested in communicating with Mister Zero (John Picard), you can contact him directly through the band's website. Maybe you can do a feature story for Popdose…the band has a very interesting history. And for all those other fans of The Kings, please let Zero know where you are…we have been working together the last couple of years, locating fans one by one all across the U.S. in attempt to help put some type of mini tour together. Every little bit helps.

    Thanks,
    Don

  • oldskoolpdx

    I can think of at least a dozen songs by The Kings that should have charted. Absolute nuggets to be found on every album. They should have stayed on big music's radar for a heck of a lot longer – unfortunately it's the listeners who were short changed. But you can still get most of their music and their new DVD on their website.

  • JonCummings

    Me and Zero (bad grammar courtesy of “This Beat Goes On”) exchanged e-mails yesterday.

  • JonCummings

    If we put up fifty bucks and a case of beer, can Popdose get a sponsorship credit on the Kings' mini-tour?

  • DonW

    Sounds like a plan…

  • bama

    Me, too. Both my Mom and I were obsessed with “swtichin' to glide.” I think she got it for me on 8-track.

  • el bandito

    Kingbees have a great tune…”ShakeBop” LOVE that tune.

  • http://myspace.com/DJChrisXmusic Chris X

    wow, two weeks in a row of nothing that interests me? Unheard of.

    Also, how the HELL did “Lola” only hit #81?

  • Malchus

    Man, “Love and Rock and Roll” is a catchy song. I'm not sure if I've heard it before, but I feel like I have.

  • David

    The version of 'Lola' that hit the charts in 1980 was a live version. The original version hit #9 in 1970.

  • wags

    Glad to hear the kink songs on here… they were wrapping up their moment of greatness as I was becoming aware of pop music…

  • litlnemo

    I used to have — maybe still do, somewhere — a vinyl promo album, one of those “these are the new tracks this week, give them lots of airplay!” sort of things, and it had the Kings track, as a medley. So they were sending the medley out to at least some radio stations.

  • Ray

    There were actually a couple of 45 issues of “Switchin' To Glide” released by Elektra. The first featured “Switchin' To Glide” as the A-side, with the song “My Habit” on the B-side. Once radio caught wind of it and played it back to back with “This Beat Goes On”, Elektra issued the double-sided single most of us remember.

  • Ray

    There were actually a couple of 45 issues of “Switchin' To Glide” released by Elektra. The first featured “Switchin' To Glide” as the A-side, with the song “My Habit” on the B-side. Once radio caught wind of it and played it back to back with “This Beat Goes On”, Elektra issued the double-sided single most of us remember.

  • Ray

    There were actually a couple of 45 issues of “Switchin' To Glide” released by Elektra. The first featured “Switchin' To Glide” as the A-side, with the song “My Habit” on the B-side. Once radio caught wind of it and played it back to back with “This Beat Goes On”, Elektra issued the double-sided single most of us remember.

  • Allcharps

    download and listening links aren’t working….

  • aaaaa

    Greg Kihn Band had SIX bubbling under songs in the first half of the 80s. That could be a record for the 1980-85 time period for sure.  No Bubbling Under chart from August 1985-December 1992.