Bottom Feeders: The Rock End of the ’80s, Part 14

It’s the last week for the letter D, as we take a look at more tracks that hit the Rock charts but failed to cross over to the Billboard Hot 100.

Dire Straits
“Expresso Love” 1981, #39 (download)
“Solid Rock” 1981, #56 (download)
“Twisting By the Pool” 1983, #12 (download)
“One World” 1985, #8 (download)
“Ride Across the River” 1986, #21 (download)

If you only know Dire Straits from “Money For Nothing” or “Walk of Life” then you’ll be surprised at how different the songs here are.

“Expresso Love” and “Solid Rock” are from their third album, Making Movies. “Expresso Love” is almost a perfect Dire Straits song showcasing Mark Knopfler’s great guitar skills.

“Twisting By the Pool” is the one that non die-hards might not recognize. It’s from a four-song EP they put out called ExtendedancEPlay and sounds different from all their other singles.

Both “One World” and “Ride Across the River” come from their first really commercial record in Brothers in Arms. Both the tracks fit the album very well but outside of listening to the record in full, neither do much for me.

“Breaking the Chains” 1983, #32 (download)
“Into the Fire” 1984, #21 (download)
“Just Got Lucky” 1985, #27 (download)
“The Hunter” 1985, #25 (download)
“Dream Warriors” 1987, #22 (download)
“Prisoner” 1988, #37 (download)
“Walk Away” 1989, #48 (download)

My opinion on Dokken changes based on which way the wind is blowing. I’ve always though they were good and could have been excellent had Don Dokken and George Lynch not been dicks to each other.

Dokken has a great hair metal voice and Lynch was one of the best hair metal guitarists of the time however their long standing feud over money, power, respect essentially overshadowed the music after a while.

Under Lock and Key (’85) is a pretty great album from start to finish and all the others have moments – like “Prisoner” off Back for the Attack. But then again, maybe I’m overrating them as “Breaking the Chains” and “Walk Away” pretty much suck. So maybe I’m just not sure how I feel about them after all.

Thomas Dolby
“One Of Our Submarines” 1983, #17 (download)

“One Of Our Submarines” used to be my second favorite Thomas Dolby song behind “She Blinded Me with Science” but it’s become my favorite over the years simply because I’m tiring of hearing the big hit at this point.

It was released in the US on the Blinded By Science EP and then subsequently put on the second and future pressings of Dolby’s first album, The Golden Age of Wireless.

Doobie Brothers
“South of the Border” 1989, #30 (download)

If I didn’t have Joel Whitburn to tell me so, I would have never figured this to be from 1989. Written solely by Tom Johnston this pedestrian number comes off their 1989 reunion album Cycles – which contains some of the most uninspired crap you’ll hear coming out the decade.

“Last Cigarette” (Modern Rock) 1989, #13 (download)

Here’s one of those group that you just can’t fathom how they missing hitting the big time. So many power pop bands site Dramarama as an influence and yet they never had any real hits. Every album they made before they broke up in 1994 was an excellent slab of catchy as hell pop with some blues thrown in for good measure. The guys should have had some mega-hits like “Last Cigarette” but for some reason, just never did get their big break.

Dream Academy
“The Edge of Forever” 1986, #37 (download)

The Dream Academy’s self-titled debut is an incredibly underrated album. “Life in a Northern Town” is simply a brilliant song and tracks like “The Love Parade” and “The World” are wonderful pieces of pop music.

“The Edge of Forever” is known less as being a Dream Academy single than for it is being played in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off though.

Dreams So Real
“Rough Night in Jericho” 1988, #28 (download)

I’ve never heard anything from Dreams For Real other than this track, but if they are like this one, then it might be worth me picking up their album which shares its name with the single.

They were a rock group from Athens, GA that released three studio albums before breaking up in 1992. Their first indie record was produced by Peter Buck which got them a deal with Arista for release of this album.

The Dregs
“Cruise Control” 1981, #46 (download)
“Crank It Up” 1982, #18 (download)

Jazz Fusion really isn’t my thing at all, so I have very little knowledge of the Dixie Dregs, who called themselves simply The Dregs starting in 1981. “Crank It Up” isn’t a bad tune though – coming from Industry Standard – their only album featuring vocals. They are courtesy of Alex Ligertwood of Santana.

David Drew
“Green-Eyed Lady” 1988, #29 (download)

David Drew was a rocker from Manhattan. This was his only taste of success – a cover of the Sugarloaf hit. Is it a crime to say that I enjoy Jordan Knight sampling the original for a track on his solo debut more than I like this song?

Les Dudek
“Déjà Vu (Da Voodoo’s In You)” 1981, #52 (download)

Les Dudek is a name you should know, but he could have been known even more had he chosen a different career path. He started out as a session guitarist for the Steve Miller Band and Boz Scaggs and was offered a place in Journey, but chose to go solo instead. Despite making some pretty good music, he didn’t have much chart success.

Duran Duran
“Girls on Film” 1983, #19 (download)

Strangely enough, “Girls on Film” never crossed over to the Hot 100. Duran Duran broke big time in the US of course with Rio in ’82 and then Capitol decided to re-release their self-titled debut with a slightly different track listing. The bigger hit, “Is There Something I Should Know” was added to the record and the single version of “Planet Earth” shows up but the lead track “Girls on Film” still gets played today. Without the re-release it might have ended up being a deep cut instead.

Bob Dylan
“Shot of Love” 1981, #38 (download)
“Neighborhood Bully” 1983, #37 (download)
“Tight Connection To My Heart (Has Anybody Seen My Love)” 1985, #19 (download)
“Band of the Hand (Hell Time, Man!)” 1986, #28 (download)
“Got My Mind Made Up” 1986, #23 (download)
“The Usual” 1987, #25 (download)
“Silvio” 1988, #5 (download)
“Slow Train” 1989, #8 (download)
“Everything Is Broken” 1989, #8 (download)

I don’t like Dylan’s voice and therefore that pretty much makes it impossible to like him. But I can’t bash the guy, I mean he is one of the greatest artists alive. I recognize that, but he just doesn’t float my boat. So rather than embarrass myself by talking about shit I don’t know (though I own and have listened to all his ‘80s stuff and even think Biograph is kind of good) – I’ll just mention where each of these is from and let you do the talking about him.

“Shot of Love” is the title track from his 1981 album which was his last Christian album.

“Neighborhood Bullies” is from Infidels, which musically is very strong.

“Tight Connection To My Heart” comes from Empire Burlesque which I understand is considered his strongest album of the decade.

Some of his collaborations I like a little more than his solo work, like “Band of the Hand (Hell Time, Man!)” which is Dylan with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and was the theme song to the movie of the same name.

“Got My Mind Made Up” is also a decent track featuring Tom Petty on guitar and featured on Knocked Out Loaded.

“The Usual” is my favorite heard probably because of it sounding more like a track from the guy that plays guitar on it – Mr. Eric Clapton. You can find this track on the Hearts of Fire soundtrack.

“Silvio” was a collaboration with the Greatful Dead that appeared on Down in the Groove which would be released a year before Dylan & the Dead. Of course in typical fashion, not liking Dylan and hating the Dead, somehow I kind of enjoy this live record while it seems like every critic in the world hates the crap out of it. Eh, what can I say? It’s not like I ever pull it out or anything.

And then finally is “Everything is Broken” from the rather decent Oh Mercy, his last album of the decade.

Quick Hits
Best Song: Thomas Dolby, “One Of Our Submarines”
Worst Song: Doobie Brothers, “South of the Border”

Also appeared in the Hot 100
Dire Straits (5): “Skateaway”, “Industrial Disease”, “Money For Nothing”, “Walk of Life”, “So Far Away”
Diving for Pearls (1): “Gimme Your Good Lovin’”
Divinyls (1): “Pleasure and Pain”
Dokken (3): “Alone Again”, “In My Dreams”, “Burning Like a Flame”
Thomas Dolby (3): “Europa and the Pirate Twins”, “She Blinded Me With Science”, Hyperactive”
Doobie Brothers (2): “The Doctor”, “Need a Little Taste of Love”
The Doors (1): “Gloria”
Dream Academy (1): “Life in a Northern Town”
Duke Jupiter (2): “I’ll Drink To You”, “Little Lady”
Duran Duran (10): “Hungry Like the Wolf”, “Rio”, “Is There Something I Should Know”, “Union of the Snake”, “New Moon On Monday”, “The Reflex”, “The Wild Boys”, “A View To A Kill”, “I Don’t Want Your Love”, “All She Wants Is”

  • jack

    “I don’t like Dylan’s voice and therefore that pretty much makes it impossible to like him… though I own and have listened to all his ‘80s stuff…”

    The juxtaposition of those two lines made me laugh so hard!

    You are truly dedicated to your craft. What did you think as you purchased each one?

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think anyone considers the bland, slick and overproduced Empire Burlesque Dylan’s best 80’s album…

  • steed

    Really? I used to hang out with a group at work that would rave about this album constantly – how both Empire Burlesque was great and Oh Mercy was underrated.

  • steed

    I’m 100% positive that I thought, “oh crap, now I have to waste my time listening to this” for each and every one of them. There’s many things in my collection that I hated listening to – but I did. Like it or not, I like learning about music.

    And the bigger part that should make you laugh is the fact that I’ve listened to all his ’80s stuff but have never heard his classic records all the way through!

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, as I recall it was reviewed poorly for the most part and I don’t think it’s fondly remembered by his fans, either…that said, Christgau gave it a B+ and called it his best since Blood on the Tracks, so there’s that. If anything, I’ve always thought Oh Mercy was overrated…but that’s Dylan for ya. Everybody’s got an opinion.

  • Russ

    This week really reminds me of how much rock radio went into the pits after ’83. Prior to that you could actually hear Dixie Dregs, Les Dudek, Thomas Dolby, R.E.M. on the same station. After that rock radio focused on metal/blues and all those listed artists were discarded. Modern Rock radio started after that and picked up Thomas Dolby and R.E.M. et al but the Dregs and Les Dudek were left out in the cold.

    I think Steve Morse of the Dregs replaced Blackmore in Deep Purple. Which isn’t so odd when you remember Ian Gillan quit Deep Purple at the height of their popularity in the 70’s to start a fusion band. Some of those post-Blackmore albums aren’t half bad.

  • Anonymous

    Excellent work, as always…and you really should track down some more Dreams So Real. They were THE heavy hitters in the Athens scene of the late ’80s…I must’ve seen them 20+ times. “California”, “Bearing Witness” (both from the album Rough Night in Jericho) and their cover of Neil Young’s “Cinnamon Girl” are stone cold classics.

  • Jeff Dancer

    The Dream Academy’s self-titled debut album is pure musical genius, and sadly, sadly underrated. I still listen to it at least once a month, and encourage anyone and everyone I know to give it a listen.

    Plus, any band that cites Nick Drake as one of their influences gets an automatic bump in my book.

  • Anonymous

    I’ll second that. They played the hell out of “Rough Night in Jericho” and “Bearing Witness” here in Hampton Roads, VA, and although the second Arista album (Gloryline) didn’t match its predecessor, it did feature a really nice take on Badfinger’s “Day After Day.” Also, if you can hunt it down, you should definitely investigate their debut, “Father’s House,” which was produced by Peter Buck and features just as much jangle as you’d expect.

  • steed

    I’ll have to track it down. I don’t believe I’ve ever looked for it before – but if it’s that good, then I’ll have to check it out.

  • David_E

    Dramarama’s “Stuck in Wonderamaland” and “Vinyl” should be required listening for anyone into the crossroads of The Rolling Stones and the Replacements. And Wire Train. With a touch (a small touch) of glam thrown in. Nary a weak track among the two releases.

    Petty’s version of “Got My Mind Made Up” (from the Playback box set) is better to my ears than Dylan’s release.

    And George Lynch … yeah, not a favorite anymore, but the dude had a signature tone and style, and his playing doesn’t sound like anyone else’s out there. Which is an achievement of sorts, to be sure.

  • Russ

    Duran Duran’s first 2 LP’s and Dolby’s debut all stiffed on Harvest upon initial release. Then MTV started giving both artists some plays so Harvest rush-released 12″ remix EP’s for both, and right as they started breaking Capitol killed the Harvest imprint. I believe the version of Girls On Film that got airplay in ’83 is the version from the EP. Finding the short/video version of She Blinded Me With Science was very hard at the time.

  • Anonymous

    Over the past two years I’ve accrued the remaster of every full-length studio album in Dire Straits’ catalog. As far as I can tell, the full EP is long out of print…something to keep an eye out for at work, I suppose.

    My favorite Dolby album from start to finish is the Cajun-tinged Astronauts and Heretics from 1992 (released the following year Stateside). It’s gorgeous, and contains a sequel to “Europa and the Pirate Twins” for good measure. It hit the cutouts pretty quickly so a dirt-cheap copy should be a cinch to rustle up.

    This week I emailed 12″ versions of “Life in a Northern Town” and their cover of John Lennon’s “Love” to friends, so The Dream Academy have been on my mind. I lost all three of their albums in an emergency bill-pay purge a few years back. They’ll return. Also recommended: The Familiar, Kate St. John’s 1993 collab with Roger Eno.

    A quick check with Rate Your Music shows a 1981 7″ release for “Girls on Film” in the US, but I can’t tell if it was reserviced to record shops in ’83 after the reissue of the debut. That might explain the lack of Hot 100 action. (I trust the original video is somewhere in your archive, Steed?)

    Which brings us to Uncle Bob. I’ve owned some of his 80s output over the years but never listened to it enough to merit keeping in the collection. Of course, I’ll probably find cheap remastered copies down the line and give ‘em all another chance, such is his pull. But nothing’s ever gonna touch Highway 61 Revisited or Blood on the Tracks.

  • Anonymous

    I remember the scarcity of the original mix of “Science”; I don’t think I found it on CD until the early 90s, thanks to a compilation either on EMI or Oglio. Incidentally, I bought the 7″ the day before my 13th birthday…along with the Harvest pressing of “Hungry Like the Wolf”. How ’bout that?

  • Anonymous

    That’s not quite right, re: Duran Duran. Rio was released and didn’t do much in America (although it was huge overseas) — in part because of allegedly subpar sound. But after the band started being marketed as more of a dance band – see the Carnival EP — Rio was remixed by David Kershenbaum and reissued in late ’82.

    Finding the original mixes of the DD stuff is actually kind of easy — because all of the CDs manufactured until *last year* were apparently taken from the original UK release, which coincided with the original US release. The remixed US LP versions weren’t on CD until the reissue.

    In the late ’90s, there was a special Duran Duran “night versions” CD compilation of these songs that I think is now out of print. It’s worth tracking down, though.

    Confused yet? Yeah, exactly. See here:

    And then go watch/listen go the disco-riffic version of “My Own Way,” which I think is superior to the album versions:

  • Anonymous

    Where do you get that original mix of “Science”? I’ve heard both versions, but I’m not sure which is the holy grail.

  • RoyBatty

    I’m with you on Dokken. Sometimes good, sometimes shite, to my ears. What do you think of Tooth and Nail? (Which is as of this writing, the only thing I can stand by them.)

  • Dan

    I’m a fan of Les Dudek. Give everyone a taste of City Magic and I’ll bet a bunch of people will look into his catalogue.

  • Ted

    Thanks for shinning the spotlight on Dire Straits! I have the ExtendedancEPlay and there are some great songs on there. Too bad it’s not available digitally ’cause the song “Badges, Posters, Stickers, T-Shirts” is really quite good.

  • Anonymous

    Everything on that Night Versions collection can be found either on the first DD singles box set or the deluxe remasters of the first three albums if it proves too pricey.

    As for “Science”, neither version has any grail-like qualities at this point, but the 3:42 version was not an easy beast to locate in America throughout the 80s.

  • Anonymous

    Greatest score last year was the first DD singles boxed set for $16.

    Gotta say, the DD reissues are sublime. They did a great job w/’em.

  • Anonymous

    Packaging and content, yes; the remastering on the debut and especially 7&RT (my favorite DD album) is harsh in places. The DVDs (and the sold-separately Hammersmith package) are the big draw.

  • arensb

    Dramarama’s “Lost in Wonderamaland” was one of those albums that I used to never play because I only got it for “Last Cigarette”, and never felt like putting in the CD for just that one song.

    Years later, when I was ripping my CDs to MP3, two things jumped out at me: 1) the rest of the album was actually much better than I remembered, and 2) the line “You don’t have to read the headlines, you just hear what Johnny Carson said”.

    Replace Johnny Carson with Jay Leno or Jon Stewart, and that’s still appropriate. (As their slogan used to say: “The Daily Show: where more Americans get their news… than probably should.”)

  • DwDunphy

    Although the Dire Straits EP is rare, it’s not so rare that you couldn’t pull one down from Ebay right about now. I’ve seen it a couple times and meant to buy, but I’ve usually been cash-strapped at those fortuitous moments.

    When Astronauts & Heretics came out, I asked everyone I knew to get it for me for Christmas. Guess what? I still don’t have it.

    Every now and then, I still mix up the Dream Academy with the Dream Syndicate.

    If I recall the “Girls On Film” video correctly, there were a few shots of nipples being iced down, which meant the video never made it to MTV, which probably accounted for why Duran Duran wouldn’t hit until later on with the tamer “Hungry Like The Wolf” clip.

  • Old_Davy

    Calling The Dregs a jazz fusion group is a bit misleading. They certainly were fusion, but they were fusing jazz, rock, metal, country, bluegrass, prog, new age and (gasp) even classical music together – sometimes even in the same song! “Cruise Control” is a remake from their Capricorn debut “Freefall”. “Industry Standard” was an attempt to placate Arista records who urged the group to be more commercial and produce a hit. It sounds exactly what it is – a contractual obligation album. If you feel like delving into their superior 70’s output, try “What If” for starters.

    Seconding the suggestions to seek out more Dreams So Real – their stuff is very entertaining.

  • steed

    I dig Tooth and Nail – the title track, “Into the Fire”, “Don’t Close Your Eyes” – all really good tracks. Back for the Attack is the one that confuses me a bit – some days I love it, some days I can’t stand it.

  • David_E

    “… the dude had a signature tone and style, and his playing doesn’t sound like anyone else’s out there. Which is an achievement of sorts, to be sure.”

    I’m sorry, apparently I was just channeling my inner 16-year-old there. Upon re-listening to these tracks for the first time since high school, I can see that I am full of crap. Carry on.

  • Anonymous

    There was a re-edit of “Girls on Film” (using the LP/single mix as opposed to the Night Version) for broadcast television, though watching it recently (via the DVD from the debut remaster) I’m surprised they didn’t send it back for slight pruning.

    The next time A&H floats through work I’ll be asking for your mailing address.

  • Keith

    Oh Dramarama – not a dud album in their catalog – the earlier the album the better – but “Fireplace, Pool and Air Conditioning” and everything on Stuck in Wonderamaland is pure classic.

    I am so happy to see Thomas Dolby releasing new music for the first time in ages – worth the wait – the Amerikana EP (wasn’t that the name of a bad 80’s TV Movie?) echoes of Astronauts & Heretics Part II.

  • Kels

    P.S. Dramarama was perhaps the best ep of VH1’s Bands Reunited. The look on the one member’s face when they told him the band was getting back together… as he sat on a bulldozer at his construction job.

  • Zedcaster

    I worked VTR on a late night Canadian video series “Good Rockin’ Tonight” and I can assure you that there was more than an iced nipple that prevented the video from going on MTV. Sheer teddys, nude mud wrestling, near nude sumo wrestling…I could go on….the VTR room was the most popular area in the building for a few days – and our stock of Betamax and VHS tapes shrunk rapidly.

    Anyway the video came out in the fall of ’81, Capitol Records sent us a copy, we aired it. Only once. Afterward the record company sent out a “cleaned up” version that was used for repeats and retrospectives. No one made copies of that one.

  • Mike

    Re: “Green-Eyed Lady” and the Jordan Knight solo album-a better example of glossy blue-eyed soul you’ll be hard pressed to find. I maintain that if people didn’t know he was a New Kid on the Block, his album would have sold like hotcakes.

  • steed

    Haha. Yeah, I don’t know about the signature tone, but he stil was really good. His Lynch Mob records are much better than Don Dokken’s solo material, so he’s got a leg up there.

  • smf2271

    Shameless plug alert: my new blog “Fixing a Hole” on popdose has begun! Check it out.

    Wasn’t there a track on Duran Duran’s first LP that got deleted from US release, or at least from the 1983 rerelase?

    I absolutely love that first Thomas Dolby LP – “Science,” though great, is very atypical for him, to the same extent that “Whip It” is for Devo. Unfortunate that he was pegged as a pseudo-novelty act and he had to write stuff like “Hyperactive” and “Airhead” to try to reprise his one big US hit. Some of his darker tracks like “Submarines,” “Airwaves” (off the same LP), “Budapest By Blimp” (from 1988’s Aliens Ate My Buick) and “I Love You Goodbye” (from 1992′ Astronauts and Heretics) are brilliant.

  • Anonymous

    No one considers it his best album of the 80s? Oh, well, everybody is wrong. B^)

    OK, I’m being a little facetious here…it’s a matter of taste whether EB is better than Infidels or Oh Mercy, and I can certainly see where some of the production on EB turns people off. But “Dark Eyes” is one of his greatest songs ever, and there’s enough else that I like (“Emotionally Yours” is another standout) that it’s my favorite of his 80s albums by a nose over Infidels.

    I’m surprised Dave said that “Twistin’ By The Pool” was the least familiar of those Dire Straits songs. In my experience, it’s the most familiar of those five. It used to get a lot of airplay and showed up on MTV in the early days. One radio station I worked at made it the “summer theme song” one year.

    I’m a huge power-pop guy and I’ve never really heard Dramarama, so looking forward to checking that out and seeing how power-pop I think it is…

  • dslifton

    Yeah, those Arista records were great, especially the first. I had them on tape but I never re-bought them on CD. Thanks for bringing back memories of me in college cranking up the tape deck on my Mazda 626.

  • breadalbane

    Yup, the whole EP is quite good. The UK version contains three tracks; only the North American version adds “Badges, Posters, Stickers, T-Shirts”, which was originally an outtake from the Love Over Gold LP, and appeared in the UK as the b-side to “Private Investigations”. On the whole, this EP is probably the most fun, rockin’ release Dire Straits ever put out.

  • Ted

    “Private Dancer” and “Badges, Posters, Stickers, T-Shirts” both outtakes from Love Over Gold! “Private Dancer” could have easily been on that album, but “Badges, Posters, Stickers, T-Shirts?” Doesn’t fit. So what’s missing from the UK version? “Two Young Lovers?”

  • Kar

    “One of Our Submarines” used to be my favorite Dolby song, but now I’d have to say that the one that I keep playing again and again is “I Love You Goodbye.”