If youâ€™re just joining us here, Bottom Feeders is a look at both the awesome and terrible songs that came out of the â€˜80s — each week we cover about 20 songs that peaked no higher than #41 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart that decade. Weâ€™re moving alphabetically from A to Z, so we still have a long way to go. After many weeks stuck on M, we finally move to the letter N and more songs from the ass end of the â€˜80s.
â€œInnocent Eyesâ€ — 1986, #84 (download)
Ooofah. When I first heard this, I was shocked that this was the same Graham Nash that I knew. I donâ€™t blame the guy for trying to stay relevant, but his album that bears the same name as the single above is a crappy overdubbed jumbled mess. â€œInnocent Eyesâ€ is definitely the best track on it and that may very well be because of the presence of Kenny Loggins on background vocals.
â€œHolidayâ€ — 1980, #87 (download)
Nazareth released a ton of records with very little success on the Billboard singles charts in the US. And while this single isnâ€™t the worst thing Iâ€™ve ever heard, itâ€™s got no punch. Nice riff in the verses, but the chorus turning into light rock schlock just doesnâ€™t do it for me.
â€œI Like Youâ€ — 1986, #61 (download)
This was a #1 dance hit for Nelson, her only song to cross over to the pop charts in the US. Her earlier â€˜70s and â€˜80s appearances in music were mostly with disco oriented tracks so itâ€™s not a surprise she jumped on the mid-â€˜80s dance wagon for her 15 minutes of fame.
â€œMy Heroes Have Always Been Cowboysâ€ — 1980, #44 (download)
Pure country may not be my thing, but this is a really nice song off his soundtrack to Sydney Pollackâ€™s The Electric Horseman. Gotta love it when Willie starts talking about picking up hookers in the middle of a track. Iâ€™ve never paid attention to the Willie Nelson story in full but what a crazy trip his life must be. Close to 100 albums, been on probably hundreds more, smoked hundreds of pounds of weed — Iâ€™m assuming this guy has had one crazy, eventful life.
â€œFade Awayâ€ — 1983, #82 (download)
Loz Netto was the original guitarist for Sniff â€˜nâ€™ the Tears and performed on their first two albums. The day before the 1980 tour began, Netto broke his arm and that sort of got him on the path to a solo career. â€œFade Awayâ€ is his only U.S. hit and super hard to find — the 45 easier to find than the full length Loz Nettoâ€™s Bzar. Though, on his website heâ€™s since remastered it himself. I still want that original though!
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/_Kx31AonYjA" width="600" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
â€œSomebody Like Youâ€ — 1989, #63 (download)
Iâ€™ve always liked Robbie Nevilâ€™s writing style. You could hear the R&B influence in most of his songs, but he would toss a lot of pop, some calypso even a little reggae in on top. He had five solo hits in the decade, this being the final one off his second album A Place Like This. Robbieâ€™s written quite a few R&B songs for other artists and can be found writing music for the tween fans of High-School Musical and Hannah Montana these days.
â€œFalling Out of Loveâ€ — 1989, #91 (download)
The son of Aaron Neville (the most famous guy to have a milk-dud glued to his face), Ivanâ€™s 1988 solo record If My Ancestors Could See Me Now is simply an awesome pop record and includes one of my favorite songs of the decade in the #26 hit â€œNot Just Another Girl.â€ These days Ivanâ€™s in a damn fine funky jam band with his son Ian called Dumpstafunk.
Hereâ€™s another band that could be used to define this series. Two cover songs that certainly arenâ€™t better than the originals and a fine example of hair metal gone wrong. The cover of Zepâ€™s â€œBlack Dogâ€ is an ear-bleeder and the cover of Treatâ€™s â€œRev It Upâ€ was never a good song to begin with. I mean those cheesy lyrics â€œhit the streets/have a wild night/rev it up/and never see a red lightâ€ are just over the top.
â€œJam on Itâ€ — 1984, #56 (download)
Iâ€™m surprised Newcleus werenâ€™t the founders of Wikipedia. When you give a listen to some of their tunes, at first glance it appears that every one of them is based around them saying â€œwikki-wikki-wikki-wikki.â€ Their debut album, Jam on Revenge, included this and the title track with a parenthetical of (The Wikki Wikki Song). Then thereâ€™s about 12,000 different remixes and extended versions of both of these songs floating around. â€œJam on Itâ€ is a cool song, no doubt â€“ but they tried to extend their 15 minutes of fame a little far. At least the group had a life together outside of music as members Lady E and Cozmo D are married and so are the other two participants Nique D and Chilly B.
â€œCandy Girlâ€ — 1983, #46 (download)
â€œIs This the Endâ€ — 1983, #85 (download)
â€œCount Me Outâ€ — 1985, #51 (download)
â€œWith You All the Wayâ€ — 1986, #51 (download)
â€œYouâ€™re Not My Kind of Girlâ€ — 1988, #95 (download)
â€œCan You Stand the Rainâ€ — 1989, #44 (download)
â€œCandy Girlâ€ may be the greatest song of this series if only because it gets an interpolation credit as the chorus to a Bottom Feeders favorite, D4Lâ€™s â€œLaffy Taffy.â€ One wonders if back in 1983, Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky and Mike ever thought their song would be used in a tune about loose vaginas? Bobby Brown was 14 at the time so itâ€™s definitely possible they were thinking about the vajayjay, but probably not like this.
New Edition were always very hit-or-miss for me. Their big hits like â€œMr. Telephone Manâ€ and â€œCool It Nowâ€ were excellent. But I also thought that some of the more minor hits like â€œIs This the Endâ€ are almost unlistenable. For me this is especially true of the early ballads where the kiddie crooning could just be ear piercing. Iâ€™m not sure any LP from New Edition is worth a full listen, but I prefer their last from the golden era, 1988â€™s Heart Break which was a Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis record. And I also think the branches that spawned from the group, Ralph Tresvant, Johnny Gill and Bobby Brown solo as well as Bel Biv Devoe were all better than New Edition as a whole. I have to give it up though as without New Edition we might not have gotten â€œMy Prerogative.â€
Hereâ€™s both of Randy Newmanâ€™s â€˜80s hits. â€œThe Bluesâ€ is a duet with Paul Simon off Newmanâ€™s Trouble in Paradise album. â€œItâ€™s Money That Mattersâ€ is from his next album, 1988â€™s Land of Dreams and features Mark Knopfler on guitar.
Whether you like dance music or not, you have to give credit to New Order for being a pioneering act that influenced so many bands. â€œRound & Roundâ€ has an interesting story behind it as itâ€™s about tension with Tony Wilson who owned their record label â€“ Factory Records. Wilson actually chose this as a single though New Order didnâ€™t want it released. â€œBlue Monday 1988â€ is the 7â€ version released as a standalone single and on the Best of New Order (1994).
Best song: Ivan Neville, â€œFalling Out of Loveâ€
Worst song: Newcity Rockers, â€œBlack Dogâ€
Next week we get a few rare tunes, visit three of the major female artists of the decade, and listen to a trivia question designed just for me.