Okay, so I know this is going to sound weird, but there’s a song on my iPod and I have no idea how it got there. Maybe someone sent it to me (if so, thanks!), or I downloaded it, but the simple fact of the matter is that I don’t remember it at all. Better yet, I know nothing about the group or the song except that it’s clearly ’80s and quite good. The group is called Music for Pleasure and the song is “The Human Factor.” So who can tell me something about this mysterious group and song that’s shown up in my world?
Even if you can’t, that’s okay. You can still listen to the songs below. Two more weeks to go until we end the letter M, so here’s the next-to-last one. Enjoy more songs from the ass end of the Billboard Hot 100 chart during the 1980s.
Can you possibly believe that “I Melt With You” didn’t go Top 40? Hell, I can’t believe it didn’t go Top 10. This would definitely go down as a nominee for most recognized Bottom Feeders track. If you’ve never listened to it, tracking down After the Snow, the album whence it came, would be worth your while. “Hands Across the Sea” is from the good but not great follow-up, Ricochet Days.
The first three songs here were produced by none other than Tom Werman, so I’ll let you go back and read about his experiences with Molly Hatchet. “Satisfied Man” was produced by Terry Manning for the album The Deed Is Done, the first less-than-stellar release from the group. I’m not just saying that because Werman didn’t produce the album — their next studio record, 1989′s Lightning Strikes Twice, was produced by him and kind of sucks too.
You know, I have to vent a bit here. I own the whole ’80s catalog of Molly Hatchet, so it’s not a big deal right now. But I was at a record show over the weekend flipping through $2 records and every one of these albums was in there. It made me remember what a pain in the ass it was to find them. No, they aren’t rare or anything. It’s simply that, other than 1983′s No Guts … No Glory, every album cover of theirs looks exactly the same at first glance. Even at second glance they all look the same. So I remembered back to when I was trying to find them without a list in front of me — I’m pretty good at remembering album covers, but damn if it isn’t confusing with this group.
“Primitive Love Rites” — 1987, #71 (download)
Mondo Rock were an Australian band that had a decent string of hits from 1981 to 1990 in their homeland. “Primitive Love Rites” is a pretty cool song, and the only one that caught on in the U.S.
“Running Back” — 1980, #78 (download)
“Let’s Be Lovers Again” — 1980, #65 (download)
“Shakin’” — 1982, #63 (download)
“Big Crash” — 1983, #54 (download)
“Club Michelle” — 1984, #66 (download)
“We Should Be Sleeping” — 1987, #90 (download)
“Let Me In” — 1989, #60 (download)
I was surprised to see that Eddie Money had 13 Hot 100 hits, enough to put seven of them on my list. Money’s first three records are pretty boring and uneventful, but 1982’s No Control added the slicker arena-like sound that pushed him to the next level with songs like “Shakin’” and “Think I’m In Love.” “Big Crash” is the other one that should be immediately recognizable even if you don’t know his catalog. Both that and “Club Michelle” are from 1983′s Where’s the Party? Obviously he hit the big time in ’86 with the release of Can’t Hold Back and “Take Me Home Tonight.” “We Should Be Sleeping” was the fourth and final single from the record. Overall though, Eddie Money’s catalog kind of puts me to sleep. I mean, what’s with the snail-like pace of “Let Me In” anyway? He’s an artist that I don’t necessarily consider bad, but he’s just not my cup of tea.
“Bon Bon Vie” — 1981, #63 (download)
This isn’t some ordinary funk artist here — this is the son of jazz great Thelonious Monk. Thelonious Sphere Monk Jr. had three records in the ’80s with his band T.S. Monk. (Later in the ’90s he went solo, also billed as T.S. Monk. Creative bastard, ain’t he?) What’s occurring as I’m writing this is actually a rare thing: this is a song that I’ve always liked very much, but I’m listening to it right now it really isn’t anything special. It’s got a nice sing-along chorus, but not much else.
Why why why was this necessary? Seriously, was there anyone clamoring for a Monkees reunion, or better yet a very slight remix of “Daydream Believer”? That said, “Heart and Soul” is a pretty damn good tune from the miserable reunion album Pool It!, featuring all the members of the original group except for Michael Nesmith (which kind of makes it not a “reunion” at all, does it?). I’m just extremely excited that I didn’t have to talk about the 1987 New Monkees album, too, because then I would’ve been ripped a new one for not owning two houses in Los Angeles. Thank heaven luck is on my side.
“What Do All the People Know” — 1982, #59 (download)
I don’t know if I can necessarily say this is a rare song, but the Monroes are a pretty obscure new-wave band from the early ’80s thanks to the fact that they released just one self-titled five-song EP. Unfortunately, their record label, Alfa, failed to promote them and ultimately dropped them; they never got another record off the ground. The EP is pretty solid if you can find it cheaply.
I think the Moody Blues are my mother’s favorite band. I don’t know that for a fact, but the last time I looked at her CD collection it included Billy Joel’s Greatest Hits and a Moody Blues box set. That’s it. They are not her son’s favorite band, though they are another group I know I should give a closer listen to. I thoroughly enjoy all their ’80s albums, and what can you say about those harmonies — on pretty much every song they’re magnificent. Justin Hayward has the absolute perfect voice for these songs. Sooner or later I’m going to hit the Moody Blues’ back catalog and catch up on what I’ve been missing.
Best song: Modern English, “I Melt With You”
Worst song: Eddie Money, “Let Me In”
Next week we finish up the letter M with some light-rock sappiness, more Werman, and the song I proposed to my wife with.