Bottom Feeders: The Ass End of the ’80s, Part 67

Written by Bottom Feeders, Music

Dave Steed’s got, Steed’s got, Steed’s got what you need — which is, of course, another incredible installment of Bottom Feeders. This week: the letter P!

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Well, here’s another week of the letter P. And while I hate to say it up front, I think this might be the weakest post of the series.

I know that’s not the best way to promote something, but since it’s alphabetical here at Bottom Feeders, it’s all just luck of the draw, and we all know bad weeks are going to come along now and again. I’m curious to see what you’ll think of it. Let’s get started with more of the songs that charted at #41 or lower on the Billboard Hot 100 during the 1980s.

dolly-partonDolly Parton
“But You Know I Love You” — 1981, #41 (download)
“The House of the Rising Sun” — 1981, #77 (download)
“I Will Always Love You” — 1982, #53 (download)
“Save the Last Dance for Me” — 1983, #45 (download)
“Downtown” — 1984, #80 (download)

Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers
“The Greatest Gift of All” — 1984, #81 (download)
“Real Love” — 1985, #91 (download)

How could you not love Double-D, as I like to call her? Okay, so there are plenty of other ways to look at breasts that might be more interesting than these, but as a kid growing up in the ‘80s, I knew nothing of Dolly Parton’s except for “9 to 5” and ginormous cans. But I have to give respect to Miss Dolly as she’s had a great career and despite making traditional country (something I have no interest in) she made it quite tolerable.

If I’m not mistaken, “The Greatest Gift of All” might be the first Christmas song in this series.

The Pasadenas
“Tribute (Right On)” — 1989, #52 (download)

It’s not a shocker that the Pasadenas never blew up. Their music is more ‘60s and ‘70s soul than ‘80s. And while this song (thankfully not a mash-up of hits) is actually damn good, it was about 9 years too late to be a major hit for them. If this had been released in ’80 or ’81, I have no doubt this would have gone top 10.

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Robbie Patton
“Smiling Islands” — 1983, #52 (download)

Robbie Patton’s major breakthrough was in 1979 when Fleetwood Mac asked him to open up for them on tour. After that Christine McVie played keyboards and produced both his solo records and Stevie Nicks sang on “Smiling Islands” which was his second and final Hot 100 hit. Stevie’s contribution to this track actually makes it worse in my opinion.

Henry Paul Band
“Keeping Our Love Alive” — 1981, #50 (download)

Henry Paul was an initial member of the second incarnation of the Outlaws, in the early ‘70s. He left the band around ’79 or so and formed the Henry Paul Band which yielded only this one hit (maybe because everyone was deaf after the ear-bleeding falsettos at the end of this track). In ’92 he teamed up with Van Stephenson to form the country band Blackhawk.

Teddy Pendergrass
“Can’t We Try” — 1980, #52 (download)
“Love TKO” — 1980, #44 (download)
“You’re My Latest, My Greatest Inspiration” — 1982, #43 (download)
“Hold Me” — 1984, #46 (download)
“Joy” — 1988, #77 (download)

Growing up in Philadelphia, I remember the Teddy Pendergrass story vividly. My mom talked to me about “TP” being on Lincoln Drive in Philadelphia when his brakes failed and he plowed into a tree, paralyzing him from the waist down. And I guess I heard so much about it that I always thought he had a bigger career than he really did. Granted, he had a ton of hits on the R&B charts, but his only Top 40 entries after he left Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes were 1978’s “Close the Door,” which reached #25, and “Two Hearts,” a Stephanie Mills duet that hung around at #40 for two weeks in the summer of ’81. Key tracks here are “Love TKO,” one of his best minor hits, and “Hold Me,” a duet with Whitney Houston from his 1984 album Love Language that also appeared on her self-titled debut a year later.

Pendulum
“Gypsy Spirit” — 1980, #89 (download)

Here’s another one of those songs that if you look on ‘80s message boards, collectors will always list. “Gypsy Spirit” is an impossible to find 45 on Venture records. And while I do own a copy of the single, I’ve never seen a copy of their album Just Bitchin’. A quick ebay search yields neither result. And if you’re thinking this is a pretty shitty sounding MP3 — well, the actual record doesn’t sound much better than that and I’m listening to a copy that’s as mint as you are going to find these days.

Pepsi & Shirlie
“Heartache” — 1987, #78 (download)
“All Right Now” — 1988, #66 (download)

Background singers made good – these two ladies were both backing singers for Wham! early on in their career. Shirlie’s original partner was Dee C. Lee, who also sang for Wham! before marrying Paul Weller and singing backing vocals for the Style Council. Both these tracks come off their lone ‘80s record which shares the title of the Free cover song here.

Bernadette Peters
“Dedicated to the One I Love” — 1981, #65 (download)

Bernadette Peters may be a great Broadway actress but he voices translates better on stage than on disc. This is a pretty tepid version of a song that’s been done by many artists, most famously the Shirelles and the Mamas & the Papas.

QUICK HITS
Best song: Dolly Parton, “I Will Always Love You”
Worst song: Pendulum, “Gypsy Spirit”

TOP 40 ONLY
Partland Brothers (1); Peaches & Herb (1); Leslie Pearl (1); Pebbles (2); Nia Peeples (1); Steve Perry (5)