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
Pet Shop Boys
“So Hard” 1990, #62 (8 weeks) (download)
“How Can You Expect To Be Taken Seriously?” 1991, #93 (3 weeks) (download)
“Where the Streets Have No Name (I Can’t Take My Eyes Off You)” 1991, #72 (7 weeks) (download)
Although the Pet Shop Boys don’t make a style of music that I really like anymore, I’ve always bought the new records from Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe when they came out. From the very start with Please in 1986 right through the current day, Pet Shop Boys have always been creative and innovative with their music, which is something I love.
Although I’m a bit surprised that “Where the Streets Have No Name” didn’t chart higher, there was really no room on pop radio for these guys once the ‘90s hit. The grunge era killed their chances of getting another hit song on the Hot 100 but they survived of course and are still making pretty great music today.
“A Face In the Crowd” 1990, #46 (8 weeks) (download)
“Into the Great Wide Open” 1991, #92 (5 weeks) (download)
“It’s Good To Be King” 1995, #68 (8 weeks) (download)
“Walls” 1996, #69 (4 weeks) (download)
If rock/classic rock radio and/or Sirius/XM were any indication of the chart success of an artist, then Tom Petty would have had a dozen #1 hits over his career. Instead in yet another oddity of the pop charts, Tom with or without the Heartbreakers had only two Top 10 hits – “Don’t Do Me Like That” and “Free Fallin’” which only hit #7.
Petty tended to make spectacular videos so watching MTV also made it seem like he had #1’s across the board. “Into the Great Wide Open” was a major hit video as was “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” which made it only to #14. Of course there’s also the rock charts of which he had most of his success having nine #1 tunes over the span of his long career.
But as for the tracks above, “A Face In the Crowd” was the fourth of five singles off the virtually perfect pop record, Full Moon Fever.” “Into the Great Wide Open” only spending 5 weeks on the chart is certainly an oddball as it continues to be a great song today.
Now, I’m not too shocked at the fact that “It’s Good To Be King” didn’t chart higher. It’s a good tune off the underrated Wildflowers record but it was a little too mellow after “You Don’t Know How It Feels” and “You Wreck Me.”
Finally “Walls” comes from the soundtrack to the Jennifer Aniston movie, She’s the One. That only spent four weeks on the chart which if I’m not mistaken was probably the same amount of time that movie was in the theater.
“Supernova” 1994, #78 (14 weeks) (download)
The year, 1993. I was a junior in high-school and had a 15 minute walk to it every morning and back in the afternoon. I listened to Exile In Guyville at least three times a week. I liked the record a lot but I mostly was horny and really liked songs like “Fuck and Run” and “Flower” which were dirty songs sung by a hot chick. What could be better at 17?
Whip-Smart came out a year later and although still intrigued, I was much less attached to that than Guyville.
Then college came and we at the radio station played the shit out of Whitechocolatespaceegg even though it was way poppier than the first two releases.
Finally in 2003 she made a song called “H.W.C.” (Hot White Cum) and I say “finally” because after that nothing in her career has really mattered.
“So Long (Well, Well, Well)” 1998, #87 (5 weeks) (download)
Fa-gia? Faz-zha? Fay-zha? If “So Long” was sung by one woman, it probably could have passed for a Toni Braxton song. But alas, this was a trio of women from Chicago, two of them sisters.
If nothing else, the Pharcyde were an extremely unique bunch of rappers. Their debut – Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde is a hip-hop classic as is “Passin’ Me By” which is still one of the greatest hip-hop songs ever made.
While “Drop” is a great track as well, only that debut record was solid from start to finish. All three records after that were still a little different but got duller with each release.
“Simon Says” 1999, #97 (5 weeks) (download)
“Simon Says get the fuck up.” They didn’t make that version of Simon Says when I was a kid.
Originally from the group Organized Konfusion, Pharoahe Monch has a great rhyming style, flow and intelligent lyrics (“girls rub on your titties!” brilliant). He released a great solo record in 1999 called Internal Affairs which had “Simon Says” on it but then didn’t put out another record until 2007.
“Take It Back” 1994, #73 (7 weeks) (download)
I was never a big Pink Floyd fan though I do love Animals for some unknown reason. However, I still bought The Division Bell CD when it came out, most likely because I bought every CD when it came out around this time frame. Of course since it’s the most commercial of their records, I do remember liking this at least for a brief minute or two. I don’t own it these days though, so I couldn’t have liked it that much.
“Feel the Music” 1996, #73 (10 weeks) (download)
Planet Soul was the mastermind of producer George Costa. While she wasn’t the singer on the bigger “Set U Free,” the hot and curvy Brenda Dee provides the great vocals on this tune.
“Hurting Kind (I’ve Got My Eyes On You)” 1990, #46 (10 weeks) (download)
Although I absolutely hate this track, I think most of Robert Plant’s solo material didn’t get the respect it deserved – after all, it’s hard to match being the singer in Led Zeppelin. Although he’s never really went away it was nice to see what I guess could be considered a career resurgence thanks to his disc with Alison Krauss in ’09.
“Don’t Stop the Music” 1997, #73 (15 weeks) (download)
Awkward beat, generic track. I’m surprised this got anywhere near the charts.
“I Saw It Cummin’” 1994, #89 (3 weeks) (download)
EPMD was legendary. Erick Sermon is an okay solo artist. PMD was average as a solo artist. They got back together in ’97. All was well again in the world.