Bottom Feeders: The Rock End of the ’80s, Part 18
Part 18 is a short one in order to make a clean break from the letter F, but most of the songs are quality and that’s what counts, right? Enjoy some more tracks that hit the rock charts in the ’80s but failed to cross over onto the Billboard Hot 100.
The ‘80s were certainly not kind to Peter Frampton. He released four studio albums in the decade with 1981’s Breaking All the Rules being the most listenable of the group. 1982’s Art of Control is a hot mess and 1986’s Premonition and 1989’s Where All the Pieces Fit were only slightly better.
I actually like “Breaking All the Rules” very much, even though on the album it gets buried as the last cut. But “Holding On To You” is total slicked up bullshit.
Franke & the Knockouts has always been the most surprising entry to keep seeing in this series, not because their music isn’t any good (because it is) but they are a group that I swore I’d never heard of before collecting and yet I definitely knew their big hit “Sweetheart.” Franke Previte and the boys had way more hits than I expected and that’s because they were a damn fine band.
I don’t think I know why they were only able to release three albums in their short lifespan because it certainly couldn’t have been because of the songs as everything I’ve heard from them including both of these tracks is pretty awesome. And Franke has had even bigger hits having written “I’ve Had the Time of My Life” and “Hungry Eyes” both of which were huge in Dirty Dancing. “Hungry Eyes” even appears as a Franke & the Knockouts song on their 1984 finale, Making the Point.
“Fine Fine Line” 1984, #43 (download)
I’m kind of torn on this track. Bubbling under at #101, this was off Fraser’s album of the same name. After leaving Free in the ‘70s, he didn’t find a heck of a lot of success as a solo artist and this might be his best single. But even so, it’s a little cheesy even if it fits in with the times pretty well.
“Into the Night” 1987, #27 (download)
“Into the Night” comes from Frehley’s Comet, an extremely underrated album in the decade. I’m not a Kiss fan at all, but this album doesn’t get the respect it deserves. It’s filled with great rockers and more musicianship than any Kiss record of the period.
“Into the Night” is a cover of a Russ Ballard tune which appears on his The Fire Still Burns album two years earlier. Also on the record is a cover of 707’s hit “Mega Force” which has different lyrics and a new title, ‘Calling To You”.
I’m not a fan of Glenn Frey’s No Fun Aloud album from which both these tracks come. Neither track is terrible, but not very exciting either. They actually sound better as standalone tracks than within the context of the album, but they still don’t represent his best work.
“Round and Round” 1988, #44 (download)
Frozen Ghost were essentially Arnold Lanni and Wolf Hassel, both former members of Sheriff in the early ‘80s. All their music is in the lighthearted alt-pop vein like you hear with “Round and Round”. Nothing really stands out about either their debut self-titled record or “Nice Place to Visit”, the album from which this song came making both of them and the duo pretty much the middle ground.
“Self!” 1989, Modern Rock #16 (download)
I actually like “Self!” quite a bit, but the story behind the song and the group kind of makes this all bullshit. They were an all female quartet original known as We’ve Got A Fuzzbox and We’re Going To Use It which had a pop-punk feel to their music. When they got a record deal in the US with Geffen, that became the title of their debut album and the group name was shorted to just Fuzzbox (making it kind of sexual now) and the sound of the group for the second album was transformed into a dance-pop group like you hear with “Self!”. Supposedly, the girls only did the singing and nothing else on the record which went against the punk vibe they started out with. So the end result is that this track is more of a manufactured record label song than anything else but at least it’s good.
Best Song: Peter Frampton, “Breaking All the Rules”
Worst Song: Peter Frampton, “Holding On To You”
Also appeared in the Hot 100
Peter Frampton (1): “Lying”
Franke & the Knockouts (1): “Sweetheart”
Frankie Goes To Hollywood (1): “Two Tribes”
Aretha Franklin: (1) “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”
Glenn Frey (5): “I Found Somebody”, “Smuggler’s Blues”, “The Heat Is On”, “You Belong To the City”, “True Love”
Frida (1): “I Know There’s Something Going On”
Frozen Ghost (1): “Should I See”