Bottom Feeders: The Ass End of the ’90s, Vol. 18
With Bottom Feeders we take a look at the songs on the Billboard Hot 100 that Casey Kasem never got to announce. It’s an A-Z look at songs that charted no higher than #41 in the decade. Take a listen, enjoy and comment. And don’t forget, information on the top 40, airplay and bubbling under charts are on pages 2-4.
Section 1: The Ass End
The Crooklyn Dodgers
“Crooklyn” 1994, #60 (12 weeks) (download)
Crooklyn Dodgers ‘95
“Return of the Crooklyn Dodgers” 1995, #96 (2 weeks) (download)
Although listed as one group in the Billboard bible, I think each group should have its old boldface. The original Crooklyn Dodgers were Buckshot, Masta Ace and Special Ed and were put together to record “Crooklyn” for Spike Lee’s movie of the same name.
The ’95 version was also put together by Lee to record “Return…” for his movie, Clockers. This version had a little more star power with the trio being Chubb Rock, O.C. and Jeru the Damaja.
David Crosby & Phil Collins
“Hero” 1993, #44 (20 weeks) (download)
Man, there’s nothing about “Hero” that I can stand in the least bit. The whole song sounds cold and synthetic and frankly a little amateurish. And Crosby and Phil Collins singing together, sounds horrible. And this was the lead track off Crosby’s Thousand Roads album. I’ve never heard the disc and have no desire to based on this tune. Phil recorded his own version of this and put it on the b-side to “We Wait and We Wonder.”
Just like seven million other people in the US, I owned a copy of Tuesday Night Music Club and also followed it up with a copy of her self-titled second record. And then I realized I couldn’t fucking stand her. Why it took me so long, I don’t know, expect for the simple reason that we’ve established many times in this series already – from 1992-1999, I did most of my thinking with my dick and chicks dig the Crow, man.
However, I am relatively certain that I grew to like the first album at least after a couple dozen listens. I listen to “Leaving Las Vegas” now though and cringe at her vocals. Granted, there are better songs on the disc but nowadays I try to avoid her at all costs.
“Anything But Down” was off The Globe Sessions and honestly is a song that I don’t know if I’ve ever heard before right now.
“Fall At Your Feet” 1991, #75 (6 weeks) (download)
Not that I would anyway but I really can’t say anything bad about Crowded House around the Popdose staff that simply adores them. And while I and a lot of Americans failed to follow them into their ‘90s output, Woodface is definitely an underrated record now that I’ve had the years and time to catch up and “Fall At Your Feet” a perfectly fine song.
“Just Another Case” 1997, #68 (8 weeks) (download)
I don’t know how you take a group seriously when they go by the names Yogi, Chadio and Mighty Ha. However, “Just Another Case” both sampling and featuring Slick Rick, was a pretty good song off Cru’s only album, Da Dirty 30. And that 30 meant 30 tracks on the record, in only 55 minutes. How many times did you see this in the ’90s? A rap group with one record that’s double the size it should be. And rappers have still never learned that less is more in most cases.
“Cold Shower” 1992, #90 (7 weeks) (download)
I hadn’t heard this song in ages but I remember needing my own cold shower after seeing the smoking hot Erin Cruise and listening to her sultry voice on this track. If this has been released in 1987 rather than ’92, I’d bet it would have been a bigger hit but I still loved the tune and it brings back a ton of memories for me being 16 at the time. Cruise is still playing music in PA as the Cruise Control Band, so I tracked her down and asked her about “Cold Shower” (Thanks Erin!):
“Cold Shower” ended up being the hit song for you, being on the Billboard Hot 100 for seven weeks. I know you had a few songs in the clubs before then but how excited were you at the time to see your name on the charts?
Bruce Sudano, my producer, and his brother Barry and everyone involved, worked very hard to first get exposure through and support from the clubs. That’s where the “buzz” was created. Radio was the next step and recognition from the folks at Billboard Magazine was very satisfying! I was thrilled for all of us for landing a spot on their charts! It was very cool!! One of my best moments in my career!
Can you talk about what you were doing at the time you first heard the song on the radio and do you remember your reaction?
I was living just outside of NYC and like any other morning, woke up to my alarm which was set to one of the Top 40 radio stations. This particular morning my song was playing when the alarm went off. That was really weird! Ha!
When “Cold Shower” came out, I was 16 and while I remember liking the song, I remember liking the artwork just as much. That was quite a sultry picture of you, maybe the best possible choice for a song like that. Whose decision was it to go with the steamy and seductive look?
Well, it was unanimous!! What else would you do?? Of course, we could have gotten a little steamier, naked in a shower instead of the raincoat but I liked that too. Double entendre!
Upon reading your bio a bit, while you didn’t have another Billboard hit, you’ve maintained a nice singing career since that point. When you look back on those days are you happy with how everything played out?
Oh my gosh, the “what-ifs!” I think for huge success in the music business, you have to breathe it, sleep it, eat it, drink it, live it. I had other priorities after my hit, a marriage and then kids. So I started my own music business that kept me local. Would I have loved a tour?? Hell yeah! I do wish I had the knowledge and maturity and experience and level of talent I have NOW, back then when I had my hit record.
I watched a YouTube clip of the Cruise Control Band the other day and you still have a fantastic voice. You’re playing a lot in Western PA with your band these days. Tell us a little about the group and what you’re up to next?
I’m actually in South Central PA. Yeah, I’ve been singing almost every weekend for 20 years. My business, Cruise Control Music, provides “live” music for all kinds of events with ensembles ranging from a soloist up to a 10-pc. band. I live close to Baltimore, DC, Philadelphia, NYC, so I work those areas. This year is the 20th anniversary of “Cold Shower”. I’m hoping to get into the studio and re-record it. Working on funding! Plan to use my daughter on vocals as well, although she’s not the least bit interested in the business.
“Jellyhead” 1996, #72 (21 weeks) (download)
Crush was the duo of Donna Air and Jayni Hoy both stars on the UK series Byker Grove. They were originally a trio known as Byker Grooove! and then dropped to a duo and changed their name to Crush. Their album was originally only released in Japan, then Air left the group and the album was remixed while new songs were added with a different vocalist before being released as a self-titled record. The song itself is one that you still hear on ‘90s stations and really is flat out fantastic.
Oh and speaking of sexy ladies, Donna Air’s a British supermodel.
“You Are the One” 1992, #58 (11 weeks) (download)
Even back in 1992, cheesy shit won competition shows. “You Are the One” hit the charts exactly one week before Cuevas’s 19th birthday and 4+ years after he won the Junior Vocalist competition on Star Search. It was actually Debbie Gibson and her staff that helped him get signed to Atlantic for his 1991 CD release. These days, Chris is a country artist living in Mississippi. A far cry from “You Are the One.”
“Pictures Of You” 1990, #71 (8 weeks) (download)
“Never Enough” 1990, #72 (4 weeks) (download)
“Close To Me” 1991, #97 (3 weeks) (download)
“High” 1992, #42 (12 weeks) (download)
“The 13th” 1996, #44 (4 weeks) (download)
“Mint Car” 1996, #58 (5 weeks) (download)
Four of the six tunes here were in the midst of the Cure’s peak period – ’87-’93. “Pictures of You” was that dreaded 4th single that was so prevalent in the ‘80s, off what may very well be the best album of 1989, Disintegration. If for some reason, you aren’t familiar with the Cure, starting with this album is the right thing to do.
For the follow up record, Robert Smith wanted to do something fun which seems to go against everything you know about him. But “Never Enough” was a new song and “Close To Me” was a new mix of a tune off The Head on the Door, both featured on the Cure remix album, Mixed Up. While “Never Enough” is a fantastic song, it pains me to listen to the almost hip-hop beat behind “Close To Me” which is gorgeous in its original form.
1992’s Wish was really the last moment of glory for the Cure for quite a few years, thanks to the major success of “Friday, I’m In Love.” But it was “High” that was the first single off the record and paved the way for the lighter and more upbeat sound of the record.
After a bit of a dead period, the Cure put out Wild Mood Swings which, along with ‘84s The Top, are considered the low points in their catalog. The album title is perfect to describe the album, one moody track followed by one lighthearted upbeat track, throughout the disc. It’s an album that has moments of brilliance and moments like “The 13th” that we could have done without.
Cut ‘N’ Move
“Get Serious” 1991, #76 (6 weeks) (download)
This is the only track I know from Cut ‘N’ Move, consisting of two Danish producers, MC Zipp and singer Thera Hoeymanss. You will certainly notice a slight resemblance to C&C Music Factory here.
Bronx singer Cynthia Torres hit at the peak of the freestyle movement and while not the biggest name in the scene, at least to someone like me that was never in the middle of that crowd, her duet with Johnny ‘O’, “Dream Boy-Dream Girl” is really the song she’s known for. I’m a little surprised that “If I Had the Chance” actually charted. Though I think it’s the best of her singles, it’s a little dated for 1998.