Today we’re going to finish up with the story of my collection.
As I mentioned last week, I consider “The Collection” to be complete, i.e. I own a hard copy of all but one impossible song that charted in the Hot 100 during the 1980s. But just because it’s complete doesn’t mean I stopped collecting. I’m currently working on obtaining the entirety of both the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop chart and the Dance chart from the ’80s. And I’m not against also getting stuff from the Adult Contemporary, Rock, Country, and Bubbling Under charts, but those aren’t ones I’m targeting directly at this point.
As of today, my entire stash of ‘80s music consists of 2,117 LPs, 1,127 CDs, and 949 45s; I’ve listened to every single one of them from start to finish, note for sometimes painful note. Throughout all of this I’ve learned that the differences between Def Leppard and Scott Baio songs are more immense than you could ever imagine. So, I consider myself an expert in ‘80s music. I don’t know the stories and facts of every band in the decade, but I do know every song that was a hit and tens-of-thousands that weren’t. And I enjoy the songs that most people either have never heard, or haven’t heard in 20-some years. “Walk Like an Egyptian” does nothing for me. However, Alfonso Ribiero’s “Dance Baby” brings a joyful tear to my eye. I’m a total music geek and I’m okay with it.
This week we continue looking at the bottom of the Billboard Hot 100 chart with more artists that begin with the letter “B.”
The charts don’t tell the full story with Berlin in my opinion. Here’s an excellent group that really had only one major hit. “No More Words” hit #23 but of course the song that really made them was the #1 worldwide smash, “Take My Breath Away”. That’s a great song, but their sound was defined by their Pleasure Victim EP from 1982, which included “Sex (I’m a …),” “The Metro,” and “Masquerade.” How incredibly hot is “Sex” when Terri Nunn sings about being “a hooker,” “a slut,” and “a little girl”? I’m getting all hot and bothered right now just listening to it. By the time “Like Flames” was released they had moved into a more commercial pop territory and broke up shortly after their final ‘80s record Count Three and Pray didn’t sell as well as expected.
“Rock Lobster” is one of my favorite song breaks in Family Guy, when Peter uses it to console Cleveland after his wife has an affair with Quagmire. But “Private Idaho” is the best of the three songs here. I completely understand how hard these guys can be to love and how easy they can be at the same time. I mean, these are definitely some quirky songs, but at the same time they are just so much fun to party to. It took me a long time to appreciate the early B-52s, but now that I do, I can’t get enough of them.
Last week I hinted at something “big” coming and well, those of you following the series know I’m working on this in alphabetical order and therefore might have realized I was talking about artists starting with the word “big”. The first of five artists that fit that bill, Big Country is clearly the cream of the crop. Wikipedia says that most critics feel that “Wonderland” is their best song. I guess by doing this, that kind of makes me a critic as well — and I’d have to agree in this case. The thing that I really dig about Big Country is that a lot of the Scottish sound (bagpipes, fiddles, etc.) are guitar effects rather than the instruments themselves. Kind of cool.
“Name and Number” — 1989, #97 (download)
It is remarkably strange that this is now the second time Big Noise has appeared on Popdose, quite possibly doubling the amount of times this crap was mentioned in 1989. No way I waste any more time on this, so check out the existing Big Noise chatter here.
“Breakaway” — 1988, #60 (download)
Jeff Giles pointed out that Big Noise was a seven-piece band that really only needed three members to create generic pop music. Big Pig is pretty much the same thing, though for some reason their music fit well with the visual arts: this song was used in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, two other tracks from their Bonk album were used in the movie Young Einstein, and even more tracks were used on Miami Vice.
“Take Away” — 1983, #91 (download)
A really tough one to find for the collection, Big Ric was a four-piece band from Los Angeles. This was their only song to chart on the Billboard Hot 100.
“Crazy World” — 1987, #71 (download)
Put together by TV executive Fred Silverman, Big Trouble’s only claim to fame was that lead singer Bobbi Eakes was Miss Georgia in 1983.
Billy Satellite were a pretty generic rock band from California, but they did give us “I Wanna Go Back,” which Eddie Money later spiced up with some guitar and horns to make it a little less dreary than the original. Guitarist Danny Chauncey joined .38 Special in their late-’80s adult-contemporary pop period.
“Unfaithfully Yours (One Love)” — 1984, #87 (download)
Another rarity for the collection, this song only exists on a promo 45. Bishop performed the song for the movie Unfaithfully Yours, but the soundtrack never got released and the studio owns the rights to the track. Therefore “Unfaithfully Yours”Â has never appeared on any of the Bish’s albums.
“The Part of Me That Needs You Most” — 1980, #98 (download)
The third difficult to find track of this post, this is a solo release from the lead singer of Jay & the Americans. Due to financial problems and lawsuits “The Voice” is unable to perform under the Jay & the Americans name anymore, but at least he keeps an American flag as the background on his website to help you remember. I’ve been trying to find out if there was an album that included this song, but typing in “Jay Black” on eBay yields only hundreds of copies of Jay-Z’s Black Album.
“Fly Away” — 1981, #42 (download)
A decent slab of southern rock, this was the third and final single to crack the Hot 100 from these Floridians.
“Taxi” — 1984, #90 (download)
J. Blackfoot was the lead singer of the Soul Children, which had a successful R&B career in the ‘60s and ‘70s. This was his first and only solo track to cross over into the Hot 100.
That about does it for this week, but next time we get to hear the start of Lisa Stansfield’s career and the hard rock roots of one of the worlds sappiest crooners. But, before you leave this page, you absolutely must show your love for the B-52’s. No matter where you are right now, stop what you are doing and scream, “Tinnnnnnn roof … rusted!” Oh, c’mon, it’ll be fun.