Section 1: The Ass End
“Love Me Just For Me” 1990, #91 (4 weeks) (download)
I was never a huge fan of this song nor the group. These guys didn’t have that one killer voice in the mix and thus never really stood out from the crowd. “Love Me Just For Me” is one of those three-and-a-half minute songs that feels like it’s seven.
I have to keep reminding myself that Tracie Spencer was a teenager during her big run in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. Her music and voice were way more adult sounding than her age would indicate but after this period she focused on acting more than music and only released one more record, in 1999. She’s now known more as a model than anything else.
Five million records. That’s how many copies of the Spin Doctors Pocket Full of Kryptonite sold back in the day. It’s not surprising that the second record, Turn It Upside Down went Platinum but looking back at it now, the Spin Doctors quick fall from the charts seemed to be inevitable, didn’t it? They were kind of unique yet at the same time fit right in with that Blues Traveler, Seven Mary Three crowd. Back in ’93 when you didn’t know what future years were going to sound like, you surely could imagine these guys being even bigger than they were but they really didn’t have a commercial sound that was sustainable over time.
“Molly (Sixteen Candles)” 1995, #55 (18 weeks) (download)
Unlike the Spin Doctors, I never saw the talent in Sponge. I had yet to come to that “this is what’s wrong with music” point in my life so I didn’t hate them but I turn this off if I hear it today mainly because I can’t stand Vinnie Dombrowski’s voice.
“57 Channels” is really a horrible song (kind of funny though) but it will forever be in every conversation of songs that are dated. 57 channels. Ha. Man, I probably have 657 channels that I never even look at to see if anything is on.
On the other hand, “Secret Garden” is a great song. It peaked at #63 when it was first released but gained some steam after being included in Jerry McGuire which then shot the re-release up to the top 20 where it deserved to be.
As you can imagine, listening to Lisa Stansfield was never really my priority as a teen but I can’t say that the video for “Never, Never Gonna Give You Up” didn’t intrigue me, you know, her naked and all.
“Music Sounds Better with You” 1998, #62 (8 weeks) (download)
This was a one time only collaboration, yielding just this one song but this tune was a club hit around the world and became more interesting over the years due to one member of the trio being Thomas Bangalter of Daft Punk.
“She’s Gone (Lady)” 1991, #59 (8 weeks) (download)
Steelheart was not a good band, plain and simple. And as a hair metal band, they probably should have released an album before 1990. However, the band’s career path took an interesting turn when Michael Matijevic sang some of the vocals for Mark Walhberg in the movie Rock Star and the band in the movie re-recorded a song of theirs called “We All Die Young.” And as for “She’s Gone” – well, it seems a contestant in a Chinese singing competition performed it and people are flocking over to Youtube now to hear the original version. New life for Steelheart!
“Step It Up” 1993, #58 (13 weeks) (download)
During their heyday, Stereo MC’s had only three albums but all three were a decent mix of eclectic white hip-hop and dance music. These guys founded the Gee Street recording studio in Great Britain which was used to put together a lot of the music found on Gee Street records in the ’80s and ‘90s. Rob Birch and Nick Hallum were also the official remixers for the label and have continued their careers under the name Ultimatum. Every now and then they do release another Stereo MC’s record though.
“Forever More” 1991, #96 (4 weeks) (download)
Would the Latin Freestyle movement in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s have ever really been big if it wasn’t for Stevie B?
I have this affinity for Stevie B music that really can’t be explained easily but I think I was simply always impressed by his voice, his hooks and then eventually with songs like “Forever More,” the ability to maintain his sound but grow up from album to album. I always think of him as an ‘80s artist but he had a much bigger career in the ‘90s. And if you look at the freestyle movement, I doubt there are too many artists that had success for as long as he did, having hits well into the latter half of the ‘90s.
The Billboard bible taught me something about Rod Stewart that I didn’t know. The ‘90s were actually his biggest decade in terms of charting hits. He’s listed as the 16th biggest artist of the decade according to them, while he was 22nd in the ‘70s and 23rd in the ‘80s. And here I thought “Love Touch” would have pushed him to the top in the eighties.
“Your Song” was a great tune when Elton John sang it and it was great when Rod covered it for The Two Rooms tribute record.
“Leave Virginia Alone” is another great Rod tune from A Spanner in the Works and written by Tom Petty.
“If We Fall In Love Tonight” was the title track from the compilation of ballads he released in 1996. The smooth R&B drumming you hear on the track can be attributed to the song writers, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis.
While I really like all three of these songs, I’m pretty sure that 1991’s Vagabond Heart is the last full record I’ve heard from him.
Curtis Stigers confused the shit out of me in 1992. I looked at the album cover and figured I was getting some AOR balladry and instead I got pop tunes not unlike what I would have heard a half a decade earlier from Steve Winwood or Joe Cocker. I never really got into him, likely because of that. It does of course take tremendous talent to have two songs spend only one week on the Hot 100.