Bottom Feeders: The Rock End of the ’80s, Part 21

We move on to the letter H this week, which begins with solo recordings from artists that were in some pretty major groups. Enjoy some tracks here as we take a look at songs that hit the Billboard rock charts in the ’80s but failed to cross over into the Hot 100.

Sammy Hagar
“There’s Only One Way To Rock” 1982, #31 (download)
“Baby’s On Fire” 1982, #35 (download)
“Can’t Get Loose” 1982, #49 (download)
“Fast Times at Ridgemont High” 1982, #21 (download)
“Remember the Heroes” 1983, #6 (download)
“I Don’t Need Love” 1983, #24 (download)
“Boys’ Night Out” 1987, #15 (download)
“Returning Home” 1987, #20 (download)

I don’t care what any of you say, the “Red Rocker” is the man. My interest in listening to Sammy Hagar has increased ten-fold since the Chickenfoot record came out last year and I’ve since went back and listened to all his solo material in the ‘80s as well as the Van Hagar records again. Sadly there is no solo disc better than any of his Van Halen material, but each one has enough moments on it that kick ass that they are all totally worth your money.

Standing Hampton got mixed reviews over the years, but I think it’s his best solo album in the decade. It’s the least cheesy and most rockin’ of the five of them and includes the great “There’s Only One Way To Rock,” the slow burner “Baby’s On Fire” and one of his better ballads in “Can’t Get Loose.”

Three Lock Box came next in late ’82 and to me marked his transition from a ‘70s rock sound to more of an ‘80s feel. “Remember the Heroes” is a relatively weak track which features Mike Reno from Loverboy on vocals. “I Don’t Need Love” was a little better but didn’t seem right as a single. I would have rather seen the title track or “Remote Love” as a hit.

After that came VOA which of course contains his most talked about (often laughed about) song “I Can’t Drive 55”. Although he only had two hits from the album both hit the hot 100 and the album was strong.

1987’s Sammy Hagar (renamed I Never Said Goodbye after a contest was held to name it) was his only solo record while he was a member of Van Halen and was recorded quickly simply to fulfill a contractual obligation to Geffen record that they agreed on in order to release him to join the group. As is the case with most albums like this, it’s not the strongest thing in the world, though “Returning Home” really isn’t that bad.

And finally there’s the title track from the excellent Fast Times at Ridgemont High soundtrack. It’s not my favorite track on the double LP, but it works well when you listen to the album as a whole.

HSAS
“Top of the Rock” 1984, #15 (download)
“Missing You” 1984, #37 (download)

Since I was called lazy last week, I’m going to be that way for HSAS and only type out their actual name of Hagar, Schon, Aaronson, Shrieve once.

The one HSAS album — Through the Fire — really wasn’t that great in the end but to me the interesting part is that for many years I didn’t realize it was a live album. The album was apparently recorded live and then in the studio they put in guitar overdubs and took out the crowd noise. If it’s noticeable that it’s live, I can’t hear it.

Haircut One Hundred
“Favourite Shirts (Boy Meets Girl)” 1982, #50 (download)

Although this did bubble under at #101, I’m a little surprised this didn’t crack the Hot 100, though it doesn’t really have a commercial sound. However, since “Love Plus One” was a decent hit for them climbing into the Top 40 you would have thought the excellent “Favourite Shirts” would have made at least a dent, but maybe it was just a little too off kilter to hit.

George Harrison
“Teardrops” 1981, #51 (download)
“Devil’s Radio” 1987, #4 (download)
“Cloud 9” 1987, #9 (download)
“This is Love” 1988, #17 (download)
“Cheer Down” 1989, #7 (download)
“Poor Little Girl” 1989, #21 (download)

I was never a Beatles fan (remember I like very little before the ‘80s) but I did like the solo material from John, George and Paul in the ‘80s. The thing I’m very curious about with all these songs is how many will show up in Mark Feldman’s Fixing a Hole series which even as a non-Beatles fan I find fascinating. George’s biggest hit “Got My Mind Set On You” seems a bit silly to show up and “When We Was Fab” probably wouldn’t have been recorded if they were still together.

I think “Devil’s Radio” and “This Is Love” have a definite shot at making it, but really I’m just looking forward to Sir Paul’s “Spies Likes Us” on a disc. Ha.

As far as these songs go, “Teardrops” bubbled under at #102, but ‘87s Cloud Nine was the big solo hit for Harrison with the four songs mentioned above and the title track all being hits of some sort. “Cheer Down” has a similar feel to those but was put on the Lethal Weapon 2 soundtrack instead of on the album (George Harrison and Lethal Weapon? Not something you probably would have ever thought you’d hear together). All of the songs were of course produced by Jeff Lynne, which I’m sure is enough to make a lot of people hate them just for that fact alone.

“Poor Little Girl” was one of two new tracks he recorded for the Best of Dark Horse compilation in 1989.

Jerry Harrison
“Rev It Up” 1988, #7 (download)

Jerry Harrison was of course the keyboardist for the Talking Heads. He ended up releasing three solo records, the first was back in 1981 called the Red and the Black. He followed that up in ’88 with Casual Gods and then his final album was Walk on Water in 1990 credited to Jerry Harrison: Casual Gods.

The music on Casual Gods was near enough to some of the earlier Talking Heads material and Jerry Harrison has similar vocal tones as David Byrne that you could definitely know it was from that camp. However, the album is also good enough to not even need the Talking Heads name associated with it to be interesting. “Rev It Up” isn’t the best song on the disc but there’s not much in the way of singles on it, so it was the best choice to go to radio.

Deborah Harry
“Liar, Liar” 1988, Modern Rock #37 (download)
“I Want That Man” 1989, Modern Rock #2 (download)
“Kiss It Better” 1989, Modern Rock #12 (download)

As we discussed in the first series, I wasn’t a big fan of Debbie Harry’s solo stuff throughout the ‘80s. Some songs were good and others were extremely cheesy. “Liar, Liar” is one of those pretty cheesy tunes but I can’t fault her because it’s a cover of the Castaways tune from 1965. The song shows up on the Married to the Mob soundtrack.

Going with Deborah Harry for her 1989 album Def, Dumb & Blonde both “I Want That Man” and “Kiss It Better” are a little less quirky than some of the stuff she came up with and that could very well be because both tracks were written by Tom Bailey and Alannah Currie from the Thompson Twins. The former went to #2 on the rock charts, but “Kiss It Better” is the better of the two tracks.

Quick Hits
Best Song: George Harrison, “Devil’s Radio”
Worst Song: Sammy Hagar, “Remember the Heroes”

Also appeared in the Hot 100
Sammy Hagar (7): “I’ll Fall In Love Again”, “Your Love Is Driving Me Crazy”, “Two Sides of Love”, “I Can’t Drive 55”, “Winner Takes It All”, “Give To Live”, “Eagles Fly”
HSAS (1): “Whiter Shade of Pale”
Haircut One Hundred (1): “Love Plus One”
Daryl Hall (1): “Dreamtime”
Hall & Oates (10): “Kiss On My List”, “You Make My Dreams”, “Private Eyes”, “I Can’t Go For That”, “Maneater”, “Say It Ain’t So”, “Adult Education”, “Out of Touch”, “Method of Modern Love”, “The Way You Do the Things You Do/My Girl”
John Hall Band (2): “Crazy (Keep on Falling)”, “Love Me Again”
Jan Hammer (1): “Miami Vice Theme”
George Harrison (3): “All Those Years Ago”, “Got My Mind Set On You”, “When We Was Fab”




  • Russ

    Everything Hagar did up through Standing Hampton was good. The quality starting to nosedive with Three Lock Box, seemed like he was doing his shtick instead of coming with decent material. If that HSAS record hadn’t been recorded live, it could’ve been his best record since leaving Capitol.

    One thing that might’ve hurt Favorite Shirts was that it was released on 2 different US 45’s.

    Dug that Casual Gods record if for no other reason than Chris Spedding plays on it.

  • smf2271

    Wow, I’ve never been name-dropped in a blog before! Thanks for plugging “Fixing a Hole” – I’ve been pleasantly surprised with how much people are commenting on it. I won’t reveal which of those George Harrison songs show up and which don’t yet, but I will at least reveal that “Spies Like Us” does not make the series.

    I agree that Sammy H. does not the respect he deserves, and can’t wait to hear some of the tracks above (if they’re as good as I’ll Fall In Love Again or Your Love is Driving Me Crazy then that would be more that enough for me!). The first three “Van Hagar” albums are all very enjoyable listens of hard rock-ish pop, and would probably be held in much higher regard were they some other group’s first three records. To compare them to what came before is just unfair, kind of like saying “Genesis” just doesn’t measure up to “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway.” Of course it doesn’t, but it’s still a kick-a$$ record. I make no excuses for “Balance” though.

    Haircut 100’s “Pelican West” album is also a fun listen.

  • Fenton
  • http://www.bastardradio.com steed

    Haha. That’s pretty damn funny.

  • jamesballenger

    The reason George is on the Lethal Weapon soundtrack is because the awesome Michael Kamen was responsible for the music. The first soundtrack had Clapton and Sandborn as well. That’s also where (the good version not on Sting’s album) “It’s probably me” came from for the 3rd LW soundtrack.

  • Anonymous

    We need to initiate a new award for those songs most people would have thought cracked the Hot 100 at least. “There’s Only One Way to Rock” fits that bill for me, though it appears there was never a commercial single. I guess the Geffen brass figured the line about mental masturbation wouldn’t fly at Top 40.

    Rate Your Music lists HSAS as Just that, so you’re no lazier than they are. (And while we’re at it, 16 Lovers Lane currently has the highest average RYM rating at 4.02. The Internet is rank with sloth!) “Top of the Rock” was a Houston AOR staple alongside “Whiter Shade of Pale”. I think I want this album.

    What’s always bugged me about “Favourite Shirts” is that Nick and the boys seem to be playing it extra fast so you don’t have time to notice there’s not much of a song there. This doesn’t stop me from giving it the occasional Club Hour spin. Can we expect anything from Mr. Heyward’s solo career in part 22?

    This has been a week for post-Beatles Beatles, in between John’s 70th-birthday reissue campaign and the George goodies here. I would have also pegged “This Is Love” for the Hot 100; there was a single release, and I heard it on the radio often enough, but it didn’t even bubble under…nor is it included in that Best of Dark Horse comp. Compensate, Mr. Feldman.

    Casual Gods is the only Jerry Harrison solo album I’ve never owned. I took a cheap chance with Walk on Water, which did little to impress me, and The Red and the Black sits in my LP files. Looks like it’s been available to download for almost six years, color me surprised.

    I’m on the lookout for the CD maxi-single of “I Want That Man”, it’s probably my favorite of Ms. Harry’s solo hits. 1989 was a good year for the collective pens of Bailey and Currie (see also “Sugar Daddy”) even if the opening line of “Kiss It Better” sounds oddly familiar. (BTW, I assume the 1984 listing for “Liar Liar” is a typo.)

  • Anonymous

    We need to initiate a new award for those songs most people would have thought cracked the Hot 100 at least. “There’s Only One Way to Rock” fits that bill for me, though it appears there was never a commercial single. I guess the Geffen brass figured the line about mental masturbation wouldn’t fly at Top 40.

    Rate Your Music lists HSAS as Just that, so you’re no lazier than they are. (And while we’re at it, 16 Lovers Lane currently has the highest average RYM rating at 4.02. The Internet is rank with sloth!) “Top of the Rock” was a Houston AOR staple alongside “Whiter Shade of Pale”. I think I want this album.

    What’s always bugged me about “Favourite Shirts” is that Nick and the boys seem to be playing it extra fast so you don’t have time to notice there’s not much of a song there. This doesn’t stop me from giving it the occasional Club Hour spin. Can we expect anything from Mr. Heyward’s solo career in part 22?

    This has been a week for post-Beatles Beatles, in between John’s 70th-birthday reissue campaign and the George goodies here. I would have also pegged “This Is Love” for the Hot 100; there was a single release, and I heard it on the radio often enough, but it didn’t even bubble under…nor is it included in that Best of Dark Horse comp. Compensate, Mr. Feldman.

    Casual Gods is the only Jerry Harrison solo album I’ve never owned. I took a cheap chance with Walk on Water, which did little to impress me, and The Red and the Black sits in my LP files. Looks like it’s been available to download for almost six years, color me surprised.

    I’m on the lookout for the CD maxi-single of “I Want That Man”, it’s probably my favorite of Ms. Harry’s solo hits. 1989 was a good year for the collective pens of Bailey and Currie (see also “Sugar Daddy”) even if the opening line of “Kiss It Better” sounds oddly familiar. (BTW, I assume the 1984 listing for “Liar Liar” is a typo.)

  • Anonymous

    Did you see the link to the article that preceded it? Just look at the title and you’ll know.

  • Anonymous

    Did you see the link to the article that preceded it? Just look at the title and you’ll know.

  • breadalbane

    ”Casual Gods” is the best of Harrison’s three solo albums. Not that its gonna make you forget about Talking Heads, but it’s a good, solid listen.

  • breadalbane403

    And you’re right — “Liar, Liar” was released in ’88, not ’84.

  • http://www.bastardradio.com steed

    Whoops. 1984 must have been on the default copy/paste. I’ll adjust. No Mr. Heyward – only one single charted in 93.

  • The Man I Used To Be

    You wrote: “I was never a Beatles fan (remember I like very little before the ‘80s) but I did like the solo material from John, George and Paul in the ‘80s”…. Does this mean you came to your sense and realized that they (The Beatles) are the Alpha/Omega of every type of musical sound you heard in 80’s Pop? You really need to spend some time with 60s Pop/Rock. Take 1966 and start there….amazing (and this is coming from someone your age and raised in the same area as you). Some great writer once wrote “What’s Past Is Prologue”.

  • http://www.bastardradio.com steed

    Yep, I saw it. Hmmm….

  • http://www.bastardradio.com steed

    Absolutely no interest in going back to the ’60s. I have everything on the chart if I ever want to but it just doesn’t interest me. And it’s not really about coming to my senses at all – I realize what the Beatles meant/mean to music and understand the direct influences on ’80s pop – but I still don’t like ‘em.

  • Leroy Grey

    “Over the Top” never hit the charts? Drag…

  • Anonymous

    Nick Heyward’s “Whistle Down the Wind” — featured in Sixteen Candles, 80s movie buffs —

    SHOULD BE HUGE. what a monster song.

    “When It Started to Begin” is rather, er, Style Council-y

    but isn’t bad either. and “Kite” is unstoppable, the ’93 hit. Apparently his first CD, North of a Miracle, is being rereleased this year by Cherry Red.

  • Fenton

    Looks like a bitter collector.

  • smf2271

    “Whistle Down the Wind” was huge (or at least reasonably huge) in the UK – it reached #13. It also reached #20 on the US “contemporary” chart, whatever that means. But I never heard it back then; I didn’t discover it until the amazing “Just Can’t Get Enough” Rhino series in the mid-’90s. I’ve been going through the British charts in the early ’80s and come across all sorts of monster songs that didn’t make it over here, some of which I already knew (like Whistle Down the Wind) but many of which I didn’t.

  • Anonymous

    The import 12″ of “Tell Me Why” (from 1988’s I Love You Avenue) was a high-dollar item in Houston for years. I don’t think most of the club-heads who sought it out knew of his Haircut 100 connection.

  • Rich

    You are so right.