Eddie Vedder

Bottom Feeders: The Ass End of the ’90s, Vol. 70.

BF90With 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 and 3.

Section 1: The Ass End

Pearl.Jam-band-1993Pearl Jam
“Spin the Black Circle” 1994, #58 (6 weeks) (download)
“Jeremy” 1995, #79 (9 weeks) (download)
“Yellow Ledbetter” 1995, #79 (9 weeks) (download)
“Daughter” 1996, #97 (2 weeks) (download)
“Wishlist” 1998, #47 (20 weeks) (download)

If you own the Billboard Top Pop Singles book (known as “the bible” in these here parts), check out the complicated beast that is Pearl Jam.

Pearl Jam was a mod rock hit from the very start but that didn’t translate to hot 100 success right away. And when it did, Epic tried making up for it by re-releasing songs, making the Pearl Jam radio timeline totally jacked. And remember in the MTV era they stopped making videos after “Jeremy” which had to piss MTV off to no end, so you had to listen to the radio or simply buy the record to hear these guys (and of course people bought albums back then).

As far as these five songs go, “Spin the Black Circle” was released as a double A-side with “Tremor Christ” and while that went to #18, “Spin the Black Circle” made it to only #58 but won a Grammy for best Hard Rock Performance.

Ten came out in 1991 and “Jeremy” was the third single released the following year. It wasn’t initially issued on hard copy and didn’t actually hit the airplay chart until December, 1993. It was then reissued on CD in 1995 and that’s what charted. “Yellow Ledbetter” was the part of that double A-side release. But stations liked the live version of “Yellow Ledbetter” more it seems and played that – which was the B-Side to “Daughter.” In terms of what should be in this post, honestly, I’m not sure. The live version simply says “flip” next to it without a charting position.  I understand the concept of “flip” but the word isn’t defined in this context within Joel Whitburn’s rules.  So I’m thinking both charted but I’ve giving you only one anyway.  Eh, not like you can’t get both versions a million places.

So then “Daughter” hit #33 on the airplay chart at the tail end of ‘93/beginning of ’94. It was finally released on CD in 1996 but then only hit #97.

And finally, “Wishlist” is the most straightforward of them all, released as a single in 1998 from Yield.

Check out the third page for an interesting fact about Pearl Jam in the bubbling under section.

“Backyard” 1991, #73 (7 weeks) (download)

Although just as good as any of Pebbles other hits and featuring Salt-n-Pepa, the climate was changing when “Backyard” came out and thus, this would only be a minor hit and her last one at that.

Nia Peeples
“Kissing the Wind” 1992, #76 (5 weeks) (download)
“Faces of Love” 1992, #88 (4 weeks) (download)

The Fame actress had a decent voice but a lot of pretty dull songs. “Kissing the Wind” is a little bit rock, a little bit Madonna and a lot of boring. “Faces of Love” was a better song and featured her husband Howard Hewitt on background vocals but wasn’t very unique. As I listen again, I hear pieces of Wilson Phillips and George Michael.

Teddy Pendergrass
“Don’t Keep Wastin’ My Time” 1997, #90 (6 weeks) (download)

As a PA guy, I’m always going to have a soft spot for Philly’s own Teddy Pendergrass. “Don’t Keep Wastin’ My Time” is a fantastic song though didn’t really give him the comeback he was looking for.

cece-peniston (1)Ce Ce Peniston
“Inside That I Cried” 1992, #94 (3 weeks) (download)
“Crazy Love” 1992, #97 (2 weeks) (download)
“I’m Not Over You” 1994, #41 (14 weeks) (download)
“Hit By Love” 1994, #90 (3 weeks) (download)
“Movin’ On” 1996, #83 (7 weeks) (download)

If you weren’t into dance music in the ‘90s, then you’ll simply remember Ce Ce Peniston for “Finally” which has stood the test of time. She had a few more hits on the Hot 100 but mostly minor things which is what happens when your best song is your first single. However, she did have four #1’s and two #2’s on the dance chart, so over the course of four records (one gospel disc), you can certainly say she was successful.

Dawn Penn
“You Don’t Love Me (No, No, No)” 1994, #58 (12 weeks) (download)

“You Don’t Love Me” took an interesting journey to get to the Hot 100. This was Dawn Penn’s only charting hit, off her first album, at the age of 42. But she originally did this track back in 1967, with a bit of a slower groove to it. But even that was taken from the blues version from Willie Cobbs back in 1960. And Cobbs’ version was interpreted from Bo Diddley’s “She’s Fine, She’s Mine.” Since then, it seems like a million R&B artists and rappers have taken either her chorus or simply the “No, No, No” part from the tune and worked it into a song of their own.

Michael Penn
“This & That” 1990, #53 (8 weeks) (download)

Man, I thought Michael Penn was going to be a star after “No Myth” came out. I mean, not as big as brother Sean Penn but maybe on par with other brother Chris Penn. But “This & That” was his only other song to chart on the Hot 100. His first two albums, 1989’s March and 1992’s Free-For-All are pretty great pop records but after a dispute with RCA he wasn’t able to put out another pop record for five years. Although his last pop album was in 2005, he’s continued to stay busy by producing other artists and guesting on a ton of tracks including quite a bit of material from wife, Aimee Mann. He’s also scored more than a dozen pieces of film, his biggest being Boogie Nights (as well as creating music for the TV show Girls).

Perfect Stranger
“You Have the Right To Remain Silent” 1995, #61 (10 weeks) (download)

This one is totally out of my ballpark. Sounds like any other country song to me but I know a lot of women in particular that simply love the tune.

Steve Perry
“Missing You” 1994, #74 (6 weeks) (download)

Without a doubt, Steve Perry is one of the greatest arena rock singers of all time. But shitballs, “Missing You” is so damn boring even that voice can’t inject any life into it.

Michael Peterson
“Drink, Swear, Steal & Lie” 1997, #86 (7 weeks) (download)

Here’s another country tune that really wasn’t in my listening range back in 1997 but hearing it now, the lyrics are cheesy but kind of fun and most songs like this in the late ‘90s were only cheesy. So this has something going for it at least.

  • MichaelFortes

    Don’t forget what prompted Epic to re-release all of those Pearl Jam CD singles in ’95. Recall that there were all sorts of cool b-sides on them but they were only available overseas initially. Many record stores were importing them and in spite of the inflated prices (about $10 each) they were selling well. Eventually Epic released them in the States all at once, and being that they were half the price of the imports and PJ was still a super hot commodity in the mid ’90s, those suckers sold very well. I for one was relieved when this happened as I couldn’t justify paying $10 just for “Yellow Leadbetter” as much as I liked it.

    Also, I had no idea “Tremor Christ” charted so high. I definitely remember hearing “Spin The Black Circle” far more often on the radio.

  • http://www.bastardradio.com steed

    I’ve always been a Pearl Jam fan but I had to even listen to “Tremor Christ” again to recall which one it was (PJ is one of those groups where I know albums front to back but for some reason I can’t put titles to a lot of the songs). So that was surprising for me as well.

    Even with the release of the CDs in the US – I guess I’m a little surprised radio would play the older tunes that much to have them chart again, even in minor positions. But, I guess if you were playing the B-side, like “Yellow Ledbetter” I guess it was also pretty easy to get the main single spinning as well.

  • MichaelFortes

    Well, Pearl Jam *was* pretty huge up through about ’96 or so. It makes sense. When ‘Vitalogy’ came out in ’94, the stations and stores in my area were going nuts about it, playing the songs early and such. The vinyl edition was even released 2 weeks ahead of the CD and I believe it actually charted too, preventing them from having a #1 debut. The furor started to die down a bit with ‘No Code’ in ’96 and then picked up again with ‘Yield’ in ’98 and their first video since “Jeremy” (remember that cool animated video for “Do The Evolution”?). And their old songs kept getting play whenever I flipped the dial. This installment just serves as a reminder of how big this band was, even after they retreated from the spotlight somewhat.

  • http://www.bastardradio.com steed

    Ah, yes – I forgot about “Do the Evolution.” I recall the hype of Vitalogy – as I was caught up in it myself. Although I don’t own it today – I bought the vinyl myself.

    I miss this type of hype – you had to get the record to hear the tunes. I haven’t had that feeling in years. I wonder if it’s the same with downloads now – hearing the new so and so record leaked two months in advance. The ’90s were the last period where I was standing at the front door of my local CD shop at 930 Tuesday morning so they would let me in at 945 to get the new CD – a whole 15 minutes before they really opened at 10.

  • MichaelFortes

    That specific type of hype, the kind that draws people to record stores, is indeed gone. The closest I’ve seen in recent years was when the Beatles CD remasters came out on 9/9/09. I was one of the geeks lined up at Amoeba for that, to buy the boxed sets and get some freebies and such. But for the most part, Record Store Day is filling that gap now. Downloads don’t generate in-person storefront hype. No one is going to rush to the record store to buy it when you can listen in full on Spotify first to decide if it’s even worth your time, let alone your dime.

  • mstgator

    In Whitburn-speak, “flip” just means the song was only listed as the B-side of the single on the chart and thus never earned a separate peak position from its A-side. It’s used in this case because he chose to lump different releases of each song back-to-back, so “Yellow Ledbetter (live)” ends up separate from its A-side “Jeremy”. The new edition of Top Pop Singles that was released this week puts everything back in true chronological order, so “Jeremy/Yellow Ledbetter” is listed together, followed by “I Got Id/Long Road”, and then “Daughter/Yellow Ledbetter (live)”. Still, that Pearl Jam entry is a mess.

  • theflax

    The Peach Union single was something of a surprise hit–the band was kinda popular among the few remaining synthpop fans, and not a lot of synthpop was hitting the American charts in the late 90s. The album did get a lot of promotion at the time, so I’d guess it got payola’d onto the pop chart. They were one of the first bands to be tagged as part of the 80s new wave revival, along with Dubstar (who had a similar sound, and who I thought would be fairly popular), Kenickie, The Pulsars and others. I think the Spice Girls/boy band explosion limited these bands’ US reception, but it was an interesting moment.