Week 15 brings us the start and the finish of the letter E. Gotta love when that happens. Well, gotta love it when it includes some better songs. I don’t think E was too kind to us here, but you be the judge. Enjoy more songs from the ’80s rock charts that failed to cross over into the Billboard Hot 100.
The two albums that these hits came from – Exit 0 and Copperhead Road are pretty different in styles. Exit 0 was credited to Steve Earle & the Dukes and featured the great “I Ain’t Ever Satisfied” which was country with a little pop influence. Copperhead Road is a brilliant mix of heavy rock with bluegrass and blues. The title track is one of the best tracks he’s ever done.
“(Wearing Down) Like a Wheel” 1985, #36 (download)
I was a little surprised to hear a track like this from Elliot Easton, the lead guitarist of the Cars. Easton released one solo record called Change No Change in which he co-wrote all the songs with Jules Shear. That probably explains the difference in sound as you’d expect his material to have a sound closer to that of his band.
“Bring Me Edelweiss” 1989, #24 (download)
“Bring Me Edelweiss” was one of a handful of songs supposedly created by reading the book that the KLF wrote called “The Manual (How To Have a Number One Hit the Easy Way).” The book is a tongue-in-cheek look at the art of just tossing samples over top of one another to create a monster hit. The KLF did it themselves as The Timelords with “Doctorin’ the Tardis” and Chumbawamba did it later with Tubthumping. “Bring Me Edelweiss” didn’t go to #1 in the US, but it did sell more than five million copies worldwide. The two heaviest samples are “S.O.S.” by Abba and “Last Night a DJ Saved My Life” by Indeep.
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Dave Edmunds is another guy that should have had a bigger career in the US as he was loved by critics and peers. It probably would have helped if the majority of the songs he released wouldn’t have been covers though.
Bruce Springsteen wrote “From Small Things” for the River, but it didn’t make the cut. He then offered it to Edmunds backstage at one of his concerts in ’82. The song definitely sounds better suited for Edmunds than the Boss.
“Me and the Boys” was from the same album as the previous track – D.E. 7th – and was a cover of an NRBQ tune.
“Something About You” was off his album Riff Raff and was a cover of the top 20 hit for the Four Tops in ’65.
“The Wanderer” was a #2 hit for Dion in 1962 and was performed by The Dave Edmunds band for their live album I Hear You Rockin’.
“Young Boys” 1982, #37 (download)
Maybe you can help me out with this one, as I know absolutely nothing about 805 and never bothered to find the record since this track is pretty poor.
“Musta Notta Gotta Lotta” 1981, #40 (download)
I’m kind of surprised this was a hit song even in 1981. There wasn’t a whole lot of honky-tonk on rock radio in the ‘80s, so where this blended in, I’m not sure. It’s a decent song from Ely, but not a sound I’m particularly into.
“Talk Dirty” 1981, #41 (download)
The now departed John Entwistle was the bassist for the Who and was joined by Joe Walsh and Joe Vitale on his only ‘80s record – Too Late the Hero. The record and this song frankly are pretty terrible.
“Drama!” 1989, #11 (download)
“Drama!” was the lead single and best track from 1989’s Wild! which I have mixed feelings on. Overall, it’s not a bad album, but following the almost perfect, The Innocents, it pales in comparison.
Unfortunately, the letter E doesn’t seem to be all that spectacular, but three tracks from Melissa Etheridge certainly turn it up a notch. Outside of the ‘80s I’m not familiar with Ms. Etheridge past her singles, but her self-titled debut in ’88 is a wonderful album. Brave and Crazy followed that one and isn’t as good, but still has some great moments on it.
All three of these tracks are pretty great, “Let Me Go” being one of the highlights of the latter album. I have a feeling that after this I’m going to go and acquire the rest of her records and give them a listen – which might be the very first time I’ve hunted down the catalog of any female singer. Breakthrough!
“I Love You Like a Ball and Chain” 1985, #36 (download)
I really like “I Love You Like a Ball and Chain” though it’s easy to see why it wasn’t much of a hit. It appeared on the Be Yourself Tonight album which was the most straightforward sound the Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart had put to disc at this point. Around singles like “Would I Lie To You?” and “Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves”, this track doesn’t really have a place but it’s still a nice change of pace on the album and reminiscent of their more experimental pop stuff before ’85.
“Kid Ego” 1989, #39 (download)
Extreme’s self-titled debut isn’t even close to the quality of their next two releases when they became a household name. This album isn’t as polished and features just way too many songs about childhood, like “Kid Ego”, “Mutha (Don’t Wanna Go To School Today), “Teacher’s Pet”, “Little Girls” etc… “Kid Ego” is the best track on the disc so it was the natural choice for the single, but if you’re unfamiliar with the group, start with ‘90s Pornograffitti.
Best Song: Melissa Etheridge, “Bring Me Some Water”
Worst Song: Edleweiss, “Bring Me Edelweiss”
Also appeared in the Hot 100
Easterhouse (1): “Come Out Fighting”
John Eddie (1): “Jungle Boy”
Eddie and the Tide (1): “One In A Million”
Dave Edmunds (2): “Almost Saturday Night”, “Slipping Away”
ELO (3): “Hold On Tight”, “Rock ‘N’ Roll Is King”, “Calling America”
Emerson, Lake & Powell (1): “Touch & Go”
Enuff Z’Nuff (1): “New Thing”
Enya (1): “Orinoco Flow”
Erasure (3): “Chains of Love”, “A Little Respect”, “Stop!”
The Escape Club (1): “The Wild Wild West”
Melissa Etheridge (3): “Like the Way I Do”, “Similar Features”, “No Souveneirs”
Eurogliders (1): “Heaven Must Be There”
Europe (4): “The Final Countdown”, “Rock the Night”, “Carrie”, “Superstitious”
Eurythmics (6): “Sweet Dreams”, “Here Comes the Rain Again”, “Would I Like To You?”, “Missionary Man”, “I Need A Man”, “Don’t Ask Me Why”