Bottom Feeders: The Rock End of the ’80s, Part 17
So a few weeks ago I get this e-mail from a girl named Liz which directs me to her website. Now normally, I don’t really post links to other people’s site here though I thought this one was worth it.
Liz and I seem to be cut from a little bit of the same cloth. She says she never really knew much about music so she decided to take on a task that I had often thought about but was too chickenshit to do – listening to albums that comprised the book 1001 Albums You Must Listen To Before You Die. She’s listening to each album and posting her thoughts each day on one record. She’s over one year in and hasn’t given up yet.
How could I not share this blog with you, as just like this journey through the world of Bottom Feeders – that shit’s crazy as well. So read this and then head on over after you’re done. I still have 362 album reviews I have to read.
But before that, we continue with the letter F, looking at songs that hit the rock charts but failed to cross over into the Hot 100.
“Rattlesnake Shake” 1981, #30 (download)
A little bluesy number for Mick Fleetwood off The Visitor, the only solo song of his that would chart. It’s a remake of the Fleetwood Mac track on 1969’s Then Play On album and features original member Peter Green on vocals and guitar.
It’s understandable why none of these four tracks crossed over into the Hot 100. None of them are radio friendly or even very good for that matter. I’ve always been a fan of Fleetwood Mac but I can do without any of these songs.
“Tango in the Night” is the best of the bunch written solely by Lindsey Buckingham off their ’87 album of the same name. The two Stevie Nicks tracks are truly boring – “Straight Back” from Mirage and “No Questions Asked” – one of two new tracks on Fleetwood Mac’s 1988 Greatest Hits disc. The other track – “Isn’t It Midnight” was written by Christine McVie and Lindsey Buckingham.
Flesh for Lulu kicked ass. Their 1989 album Plastic Fantastic was a brilliant piece of goth/alt rock with a bit of a punk sensibility to it. “Decline and Fall” is my favorite Flesh for Lulu song as it’s just catchy as hell. “Time and Space” is a bit different, being more of a goth-pop song – nonetheless cooler than the previous track though. And they featured Mike Steed on bass. Impossible for me not to like them.
Dan Fogelberg wasn’t all cheesy ballads. The guy had some serious talent and could crank out a rock tune as well. His 1980 album Phoenix, is one of my favorite records of the decade, very unexpectedly. Songs like “Lost in the Sun” and “Gone Too Far” are pretty damn cool, the former being the best track off The Innocent Age.
How many times did John Fogerty rip himself off? I mean, it might be me but “Change in the Weather” has a very similar feel to “The Old Man Down the Road” just two years earlier and of course pretty much everything on his solo record Eye of the Zombie sounded like CCR. Both of these songs are off that album. If you’ve never heard it you’re better off just sticking with Centerfield or any Credence record because it’s basically just a rehash of previous material.
Maybe I’m just not that familiar with my Foghat, but “Live Now-Pay Later” seems like a surprisingly limp track from these rockers compared both to their ‘70s output and even directly to “Slipped, Tripped, Fell In Love”. But by this point Foghat were a shell of themselves anyway, still getting hits most likely only because they were still Foghat.
“Ya Ya (Next To Me)” 1982, #54 (download)
Steve Forbert is totally underrated! Between “Ya Ya” off his self-titled record, “Romeo’s Tune” and really the whole Jackrabbit Slim album he created some of the catchiest pop songs of the early ‘80s and yet his success was fairly minimal.
“Gotta Let Go” is the gem here and if you don’t know the former Runaways’ guitarists’ solo work before she hit the commercial rock market in ’88 then you are missing out on something special. Her album Dancin’ on the Edge is a fabulous record full of blistering guitar solos and well crafted songs. Everything after that was made for radio and really didn’t showcase her talents well at all.
Two hard rockers and a mid-tempo ballad here and I’m surprised none of them hit the Hot 100, especially “Can’t Wait” which sounds primed and ready for the big time.
“Night Life” is the really good track here though – another hit off the monster 4. “Tooth and Nail” was the second charting rock hit from Agent Provocateur.
Best Song: Flesh For Lulu, “Decline and Fall”
Worst Song: Lita Ford, “Back to the Cave”
Also appeared in the Hot 100
Fleetwood Mac (8): “Fireflies”, “Hold Me”, “Gypsy”, “Big Love”, “Seven Wonders”, “Little Lies”, “Everywhere”, “As Long As You Follow”
A Flock of Seagulls (4): “I Ran”, “Space Age Love Song”, “Wishing”, “The More You Live, The More You Love”
Dan Fogelberg (4): “Hard To Say”, “Missing You”, “The Language of Love”, “She Don’t Look Back”
John Fogerty (4): :The Old Man Down the Road”, “Rock and Roll Girls”, “Centerfield”, “Eye of the Zombie”
Lita Ford (2): “Kiss Me Deadly”, “Close My Eyes Forever”
Foreigner (9): “Urgent”, “Juke Box Hero”, “Waiting for a Girl Like You”, “I Want To Know What Love Is”, “That Was Yesterday”, “Reaction to Action”, “Say You Will”, “Heart Turns To Stone”, “I Don’t Want To Live Without You”