Bottom Feeders: The Ass End of the ’90s, Vol. 49


With Bottom Feeders we take a look at the songs on the Billboard Hot 100 that only got a little love. 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

cyndi_lauperCyndi Lauper
“Hey Now (Girls Just Want To Have Fun)” 1995, #87 (5 weeks) (download)

It was pointed out that I missed this in last week’s post and maybe that was for good reason. This is a total shit stain on a great career. It was performed in concert first with Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love” interpolated within. Then she recorded it for her hits package Twelve Deadly Cyns… and Then Some before being used over the closing credits to To Wong Foo.

The Lemonheads
“Into Your Arms” 1993, #67 (14 weeks) (download)

The Lemonheads took a long time to catch on not having a hit until their 5th record and second major label disc, It’s A Shame About Ray. Surprisingly too, that everyone knows their cover of “Mrs. Robinson” but that only charted on the Mod Rock chart. It only bubbled under on the Hot 100. “Into Your Arms” was a college radio staple in 1993 but that’s really the extent of their success. Evan Dando’s drug problem contributed to the demise of the band but he reformed the band in 2005 and they are still putting out music now.

Annie Lennox
“Little Bird” 1993, #49 (12 weeks) (download)

I’ve always liked “Little Bird” because of her singles, it’s probably the closest to her Eurhythmics sound than any of the adult contemporary songs she would put out. I’m still a big fan of “Walking On Broken Glass” and others but this one really has stuck with me. I guess it has with others too, as she performed it at the closing ceremonies of the 2012 Olympics.

“Fulton St.” 1997, #90 (2 weeks) (download)

Leschea was part of Masta Ace Incorporated for their few years of existence and released just one album which was big in New York but virtually nowhere else.

Letters to Cleo
“Here & Now” 1995, #56 (13 weeks) (download)
“Awake” 1995, #88 (3 weeks) (download)

Here’s another band that was huge at my college radio station. This was my sophomore year at WTSR and the music director at the time was totally into this type of music so Letters to Cleo was a monstrous band for us. I’m glad I was around to absorb this all in and while this overall sound never became my thing, I did like the girly pop that had some rock riffs in it. I bet if we could locate chart information from back then, “Awake” would have been in the top 10 of 1995 for us. Fuck, I remember playing it all the time like it was yesterday.

“Good Ol’ Days” 1993, #78 (11 weeks) (download)
“abc-123” 1993, #46 (17 weeks) (download)

Levert was Sean and Gerald Levert, both the sons of the O’Jays Eddie Levert joined by Marc Gordon. Frankly, I didn’t know these songs existed. They had a nice run on the R&B charts but after the flat out fantastic “Cassanova” in 1987, I stopped paying attention. Seems like the group is still together however it consists of no one named Levert now since both Gerald and Sean passed away already.

Gerald Levert
“Can’t Help Myself” 1994, #98 (5 weeks) (download)
“Already Missing You” 1995, #75 (10 weeks) (download)

Gerald split from Levert in 1991 to go solo and released nine solo records, two with LSG and one with his dad before he overdosed in 2006. Gerald was a little too quiet storm for my tastes but “Already Missing You” with pops Eddie, is a fantastic song.

Donna Lewis
“Without Love” 1996, #41 (15 weeks) (download)

Dream Pop was never my thing at all and therefore I never paid much attention to Donna Lewis. “I Love You Always Forever” was hard to ignore though. “Without Love” not so much.

(We’ll discuss her Richard Marx duet when we get to him.)

Ephraim Lewis
“Drowning In Your Eyes” 1992, #72 (9 weeks) (download)

Although I’m not a huge fan of this song in particular, Ephraim Lewis’ neo-soul sound is often compared to Seal and from the sound of his lone album (Skin), if he continued on the path, he might have had a pretty great career. He died in 1994 after jumping off a balcony (however that’s disputed as some say he was tazed by police and fell to his death).

huey-lewisHuey Lewis & the News
“(She’s) Some Kind Of Wonderful” 1994, #44 (12 weeks) (download)
“But It’s Alright” 1994, #54 (20 weeks) (download)

I am not ashamed at all to say that Huey Lewis & the News are one of my favorite bands of all time. Sure, they were a bar band done good and “Hip To Be Square” is a little silly but these cats made fantastic music as a whole. These came from Four Chords and Several Years Ago which was a cover of blues songs that influenced the group. It wasn’t the greatest effort they’ve put forth for sure, however the cover of J.J. Jackson’s “But It’s Alright” is irresistible and one of my favorite songs of the decade.

“If I Can’t Have You” 1998, #70 (4 weeks) (download)

If you looked at a picture of the group from 2009, you’d never realize that these guys with full sleeve tattoos were part of a boy band. “If I Can’t Have You” is one that has fallen off the radar thanks to two of the best songs in that genre, “Summer Girls” and “Girl on TV” (and yes, I did just say that).

A Lighter Shade of Brown
“Latin Active” 1991, #59 (12 weeks) (download)
“Homies” 1992, #57 (19 weeks) (download)
“Hey D.J.” 1994, #43 (18 weeks) (download)

LSOB were a Mexican rap duo with the fantastic monikers of “One Dope Mexican” and “Don’t Try To Xerox.” You probably remember “On A Sunday Afternoon” and “Hey D.J.” simply because of the samples used.

The Lightning Seeds
“The Life Of Riley” 1992, #98 (2 weeks) (download)

Man, I had totally forgotten about the Lightning Seeds. Something tells me I should go back and listen to more of these guys as they are probably one of those bands that I’d appreciate more now than I did when I was a teenager.

  • aaaa

    The Lennox/Green duet peaked in early 1989, not in the 90s.

  • jackson

    Wow, I checked Wikipedia to see a pic of LFO looking tough with tattoos and learned that “Cronin died on September 8, 2010, at the age of 36 after a long battle with leukemia and a stroke.” I was never a fan of the band, but 36 is way too young to die.

  • steed

    No kidding. I’m 36 – scary thought.

  • David_E

    “It’s A Shame About Ray” is a damn near perfect album. Highest recommendation.

  • hemisphire

    The Letters To Cleo tracks don’t seem to exist. Shame, as they’re my favorite songs this week.

  • KingP

    The singer from Letters to Cleo had this power pop thing called “Palmdale” a few years ago that was pretty good.

    Also, Huey Lewis always gets coolguy cred due to his early affiliations with Nick Lowe and the pub rock crowd. There is even an album credit on Thin Lizzy’s “Black Rose” for a “Hughie” Lewis and his harmonica – a side gig that nearly atones for “Hip to be Square.”

  • Keith

    There is a metric TON of Gold in them there Lightning Seeds hills. After that, dive into CARE (Ian Broudie and Paul Simpson who sang for Wild Swans). Then dive deep into Wild Swans — such an incredible band from the Sire “Just Say” era). And while you’re at it, The Coral’s self-titled debut produced by Broudie. And then there’s Big in Japan…

  • steed

    They do but they are M4A files, so you can stream them – it often takes a little time for Quicktime to load up and play them though.

  • steed

    I’ve heard it before but it’s been years, so maybe it’s time to revisit.

  • steed

    Way too deep for me, I’m going to figure but maybe I’ll have to get some Lightning Seeds on Spotify one of these days at work.

  • hemisphire

    Ah – that explains why I get a Quicktime error, I refuse to install it. Surprised that Firefox doesn’t have an extension to handle those.

  • Annie Zaleski

    Second the great album. It was reissued as a double disc a few years ago. Worth tracking down.

  • Annie Zaleski

    Keith’s totally right. Wild Swans’ first record is wonderful ’80s synthpop–used to be MAD hard to find (I think I paid $30 for the CD on eBay), but was reissued in recent years. The second album isn’t as good, but has its moments.

    I also recommend I Am Kloot, Shack + that Subways record he produced. Plus, he produced Echo & the Bunnymen’s review–what’s not to love?

  • Annie Zaleski

    Kay Hanley toured with Hannah Montana as a backup singer for a while. Why? L2C’s drummer, Stacy Jones–also in American Hi-Fi–was their musical director.

  • D. ‘Beauty’ Bancroft

    I always forget there was actually a semi-hit single from “Wholesale Meats & Fish”. The album is way better than the other two L2C albums, and that’s one of the most generic songs on it.

    The Leschea song is a gem. Can’t believe I never heard that on Power 99 in Philly.

  • drcastrato

    I always liked That Dog better than Letters To Cleo.

  • walloffsound

    Houston, we have a problem …. “404 error”on all links !

  • steed

    that’s odd. I haven’t touched the tracks at all. Thanks for letting me know, I’ll look into it.

  • walloffsound

    still no go on all links ….