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 and 3.
Section 1: The Ass End
“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.
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.
“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.
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.
“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.
“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).
“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.
“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.
“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.