My apologies for less songs than normal and shorter write-ups this week. I’ve been under the weather for a little bit and the motivation level just isn’t there. But I haven’t missed a week yet and don’t plan too either, so we’ll start J with a smaller post and get a bigger one next week. In addition, I’m including Icicle Works’ “High Time” and Iron Maiden’s “Flight of Icarus” at the top as well as issues behind the scenes prevented me from fixing the links for streaming or download. So with that, enjoy more tracks from the ’80s Billboard rock charts that failed to reach the Hot 100.
(Steed note: My apologies for the delay in posting this morning. We had an issue with the songs being streamable so I wanted to get them working first. Thanks!)
“High Time” (download)
“Flight of Icarus” (download)
The Jack Rubies
“Be With You” 1988, Modern Rock #18 (download)
The Jack Rubies were a London based band named after Jack Ruby, the guy that killer Lee Harvey Oswald after he assassinated President Kennedy. Their 15 minutes of fame in the US came from “Be With You” off their first major label album Fascinatin’ Vacation. According to discogs they released only one more album after this.
I know Joe Jackson is loved around these here hills, but neither of these tracks do much for me. “Right and Wrong” comes from Big World while “Nineteen Forever” is the better track from the less than stellar Blaze of Glory record.
Listening to Jagger in the ‘80s is kind of depressing. Maybe I just don’t get it, but most of the Stones material in the decade was mediocre and Mick’s solo material was just as boring. Pete Townshend’s guitar work doesn’t save “Lonely at the Top” and “Say You Will” is straight by-the-book pop taking all the excitement out of Jagger’s vocals.
“Town Called Malice” 1982, #31 (download)
I think at some point this week I’m going to go back and dig up the Jam records and give them another shot. We talked in the original series about my hatred of the Style Council but the Jam never had anything cross over into the Hot 100. I can’t rag on “Town Called Malice” as it’s one of the best cuts on their final album, The Gift. Maybe I’m a little sour on the Jam because The Gift is the first album I heard from them and that probably isn’t a great representation of what they were capable of. Allmusic gives the previous three albums a full 5-stars each, so I think it’s time I give them another chance.
“Voodoo Thing” 1988, #30 (download)
Colin James is a Canadian artist that started out in ’88 as a blues rock artist like you hear with “Voodoo Thing” off his self-titled debut. He had some mild success with his next album (Sudden Stop) which generated a #7 rock hit in 1990 with “Just Came Back.” But that was about it for James in the US and over the years he’s switched up his sound quite a bit making straight blues albums, swing records and even a soul album or two.
“Why Won’t You Stay (Come In, Come Out of the Rain)” 1987, #17 (download)
Way back when in the original Ass End of the ‘80s when J rolled around, one of my faithful readers sent me some Melvin James and that was really the first time I had heard him as I hadn’t listened to my rock collection in full at that point. I really dug this track then and I still do even though in the back of my mind I keep saying it’s way too basic. His album — the Passenger — is much more of this type of music.
“Jane Says” 1988, Modern Rock #6 (download)
You could call “Jane Says” Jane’s Addiction’s most famous song even though it was never released as a single. I’ve actually never been a fan of the Nothing’s Shocking version of the tune preferring the much more dynamic live version over this.
Here’s more of that cowpunk genre that I’m really quite unfamiliar with. However, I do own the albums from which both of these tracks come from (Lost & Found and Still Standing respectively) and both are pretty cool, upbeat and energetic. I like “Golden Ball and Chain” was more than “White Lies” though as I just find the latter a little awkward.
“Planes” 1989, #24 (download)
Let’s start with Jefferson Airplane and get that atrocity out of the way. Five of the six members of the classic lineup reunited (Marty Balin, Paul Kantner, Grace Slick, Jack Casady and Jorma Kaukonen) with drummer Spencer Dryden being asked by Kantner to stay away. The resulting self-titled album was miserable. Some of the songs were performed live years earlier by the KBC band but most of the album sounds like completely dated — early ‘70s rock with the most cheesy parts of the ‘80s lumped on top in piles. Stay away!
I did go back about two months ago and listened to Modern Times, Winds of Change and Nuclear Furniture from Jefferson Starship though and Winds of Change is really the only one that is relatively solid. That’s not reflected here though as “Sorry Me, Sorry You” off Nuclear Furniture is the best of the four tracks above.
Best Song: Melvin James, “Why Won’t You Stay”
Worst Song: Jefferson Airplane, “Planes”
Also appeared in the Hot 100
Joe Jackson (2): “Steppin’ Out” “You Can’t Get What You Want”
Michael Jackson (3): “Beat It” “Thriller” “Say Say Say”
The Jacksons (1): “State of Shock”
Mick Jagger (6): “Just Another Night” “Lucky In Love” “Dancing in the Street” “Ruthless People” “Let’s Work” “Throwaway”
Jefferson Starship/Starship (13): “Find Your Way Back” “Stranger” “Winds of Change” “Be My Lady” “No Way Out” “Layin’ it on the Line” “We Built This City” “Sara” “Tomorrow Doesn’t Matter Tonight” “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” “It’s Not Over (‘Til It’s Over)” “Wild Again” “It’s Not Enough”