Bottom Feeders: The Ass End of the ’80s, Part 60

Written by Bottom Feeders, Music

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There’s something terribly wrong with me right now. Just like everyone, there are points when I get a song stuck in my head that I just can’t get rid of. But right now I have a medley stuck in my brain which apparently only comes out when I’m singing in the shower (thankfully). It goes like this: “I’m gonna take you by surprise and make you realize / Amanda / I’m gonna tell you right away / I can’t wait another day / Amanda / I’m gonna say it like a man and make you understand / Amanda / I love you / You know it’s you babe / Giving me the courage and the strength I need / Please believe that it’s true / Babe, I love you.” Every morning for at least the last two weeks I’ve found myself singing some ungodly blend of Boston’s “Amanda” and Styx’s “Babe.” And I don’t even know why. I don’t remember hearing the tunes lately and it’s not like they are my favorite songs. Why couldn’t I just be singing a medley of “Danger Zone” and “Who’s Johnny” instead?

Here’s another week of Bottom Feeders where we chat about songs that reached no higher than #41 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the ’80s. We have a mess more of M to continue with this week, so stream away and enjoy.

Millions Like Us
“Guaranteed for Life” — 1987, #69 (download)

I mentioned a few weeks ago how this song got me buying ‘80s CDs again. I can state for a fact that before I started writing this up I had heard this song only once — back when I was listening to my whole collection from start to finish. The number of plays column on iTunes is at 0 which means it’s never shuffled to it and I’m 100% sure I’ve never pulled this out on my own. I knew nothing about the group and with a generic (and pretty bad) name like Millions Like Us a google search doesn’t turn up anything and the 45 only said the song was written by the group.

So, I went out and got the CD. If I had just listened to it a little bit I probably could have figured it out, but when I first heard this song, I thought it was a soulful young black man. But no, Millions Like Us is more like Go West — two soulful middle-aged white dudes. The singer is John O’Kane and the other guy goes by the name of “Jeep”. And that still tells me virtually nothing about the band. The track is pretty damn good though.

Stephanie Mills
“Sweet Sensation” — 1980, #52 (download)
“The Medicine Song” — 1984, #65 (download)
“Bit by Bit” — 1988, #75 (download)
“(You’re Puttin’) A Rush on Me” — 1987, #85 (download)

MillsStephanie Mills is really the person that shaped my collection into what it is today. Okay, maybe not Stephanie directly, but The Best of Stephanie Mills is one of the first CDs I ever purchased once I decided to pursue collecting the whole chart. That has 15 songs on it of which three are “mixes.” Stephanie had 22 songs on the R&B charts in the decade, so clearly I’d need more. It took a while, but this made me realize why I needed to collect the original albums rather than greatest hits collections. By the time I bought the albums to get the songs that weren’t on the hits record, I owned all but two of the songs on the CD anyway, so that became a pretty useless disc. So I have Stephanie Mills to thank for the 3,000-plus LPs that fill up my entire spare bedroom.

Ronnie Milsap
“He Got You” — 1982, #59 (download)
“Don’t You Know How Much I Love You” — 1983, #58 (download)
“She Loves My Car” — 1984, #84 (download)

RonnieMilsapRonnie Milsap has had not one, not two but 32 country #1 hits in his career. Now of course while country music is not my specialty upon looking at those charts it seems all you had to do was shit on a fiddle and you had a #1 song and once you had one #1 you were guaranteed hits into your mid-60s as long as you just kept releasing songs that every other country artist in the history of music had recorded. So, I don’t know if that’s impressive or not. But compared to my zero hits, I suppose I have to give him props.

None of these however are country songs. I mean sure, both “He Got You” and “Don’t You Know How Much I Love You” were two of those #1 hits, but these guys are pop songs if you really want to break it down proper. I don’t even think “She Loves My Car” was pushed to country radio at all, as it’s the only song in a gaggle of tunes from ’73-’93 that didn’t chart.

The biggest question here is really for myself I suppose. I’ve never had one desire to pull out a Ronnie Milsap record yet having just listened to all three of these songs — they are excellent. So why the hell ain’t I listening to him? This is going to suck now though because I just can’t get “She Loves My Car” out of my head (except when I’m singing “Amanda Babe” I guess).

Mink DeVille
“Each Word’s a Beat of My Heart” — 1984, #89 (download)

Although you’d never know it from listening to this song, Mink DeVille was the house band at punk club CBGB’s for a good three years in the ‘70s. I’ve never heard anything from them other but the album this came from – 1983’s Where Angels Fear to Tread – but there ain’t no punk in this track. And I’ll probably still never remember this song because every time I think of DeVille I think of C.C. DeVille from Poison which leads me to Bret Michaels, which leads me to the shot of him getting plastered by a prop at the Tonys. “Unskinny Bop (bop, bop, bop)”.

Minor Detail
“Canvas of Life” — 1983, #92 (download)

Wow, this is a terrible damn song. Minor Detail was brothers John and Willie Hughes with John providing those virtually unlistenable vocals here. The only parts I dig are the parts with the vocoder that sound remarkably like they were ripped off from Neil Young’s Trans album (then Neil re-ripped them for Landing on Water). John Hughes went on to write for Popdose (whoops, I mean manage the Coors). Boy does this scream out for a “Lost in the ‘80s” post.

Missing Persons
“Words” — 1982, #42 (download)
“Destination Unknown” — 1982, #42 (download)
“Windows” — 1983, #63 (download)
“Walking in L.A.” — 1983, #70 (download)
“Give” — 1984, #67 (download)

Obviously I have no way of verifying this tidbit, but I have to think that Missing Persons gets more recurring airplay than any other artist that never had a Top 40 hit — or at least close to it. These five songs were the only singles Missing Persons had and despite getting close, Casey Kasem never got to say their name. “Words” obviously gets the most airplay now, but “Walking In L.A.” and “Destination Unknown” are pretty close.

After Missing Persons broke up in ’86, singer Dale Bozzio had one solo track hit the rock charts, guitarist Warren Cuccurullo went on to many years with Duran Duran and drummer Terry Bozzio became a session musician. And then some heavy shit must have fell on his head as he started drumming for motherfuckin’ Korn.

Mr. Mister
“Hunters of the Night” — 1984, #57 (download)

Mr. Mister is supposed to be here, right? I have clearly learned that I am not smarter than a fifth grader as I’m not sure if this should be under “Mr” or “Mi” — but from what I remember, you spell out the abbreviations when alphabetizing. Fuck it — either way it’s here and it won’t be later, so it is what it is.

I hear Mr. Mister get their shit handed to them in so many ‘80s conversations it’s just not funny. And I like them. I enjoy “Broken Wings” and I dig “Kyrie” even more. I’m not sure why there’s such a hatred of the group out there, but everyone is entitled to a bad opinion now and then. For those that don’t like the more popular songs, “Hunters of the Night” might actually be right up your alley as it’s not nearly as polished or synthy. It’s from I Wear the Face which happens to be their best overall album.

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Mistress
“Mistrusted Love” — 1979, #49 (download)

This is one of only two songs that appeared only on the first Billboard Hot 100 of the decade — the week of January 5, 1980. It peaked at #49 the week of December 22, 1979, and then the charts were frozen the week of December 29. This ended up appearing at the tail end of the January 5 chart and then was off completely the following week. Sadly, this was kind of tough to locate as well — all for that measly little one week. So I guess you could say this is the least ‘80s song of the series. (The other song is still to come, so I won’t reveal it just yet.)

Joni Mitchell
“(You’re So Square) Baby I Don’t Care” — 1982, #47 (download)
“Good Friends” — 1985, #85 (download)

I’m invoking “General Rule” privilege here (regulars will understand). All I know is that ‘85s Dog Eat Dog didn’t sound anything like the Joni Mitchell I knew in part due to Thomas Dolby being brought on to produce the record.

Kim Mitchell
“Go for Soda” — 1985, #86 (download)

I have to admit when I first went searching for this song I figured Kim was a woman and then after finding out otherwise, I was kind of shocked how much this rocks as well. In fact both 1984’s Akimbo Alogo and 1986’s Shakin’ Like a Human Being are chocked full of crazy riffs showcasing Mitchell’s guitar skills. If I was making a CD of underrated ‘80s songs, “Go For Soda” would definitely be on it. And back in the ‘80s the dude totally looked like David Lee Roth.

QUICK HITS
Best song: Kim Mitchell, “Go for Soda”
Worst song: Minor Detail, “Canvas of Love”

Next week I’d put money on hearing some Tom Werman-produced tunes.