Bottom Feeders: The Rock End of the ’80s, Part 27

We may still be in the letter J this week but at least the flute solos are gone. We’ll finish up the 10th letter of the alphabet looking at tracks that hit the Billboard rock charts in the ’80s but never crossed over into the Hot 100.

Johnny & the Distractions
“Shoulder of the Road” 1982, #42 (download)
“Complicated Now” 1982, #25 (download)

Johnny & the Distractions were a short lived group out of Portland, OR led by Johnny Koonce who is still playing music today as Johnny & the Gas Hogs.  Both these tunes came off their album, Let It Rock. Neither one is very exciting and they certainly sound quite dated today.

Tom Johnston
“Madman” 1981, #54 (download)

Johnston left the Doobie Brothers in 1977 to pursue a solo career which only yielded a few minor hits, though “Madman” was the best of them from his second and final solo album Still Feels Good.

Jon & Vangelis
“The Friends of Mr. Cairo” 1981, #33 (download)

Once again, I’ve never really been a fan of either of these guys separately but Jon Anderson and Vangelis together were pretty damn cool. “The Friends of Mr. Cairo” is the title track to their second album together and is pays homage to ‘30s and ‘40s movies with the emphasis on the Maltese Falcon. The version here is the nearly 12 minute album cut.

Mick Jones
“Just Wanna Hold” 1989, #16 (download)

Of course every time you talk about Mick Jones you have to clarify it by saying “not the guy from the Clash.” This is the Mick Jones from Foreigner and this generic track is from his self-titled solo album – his only one. What’s amazing is that this piece of generic light rock took three talented people to write it (Jones, Ian Hunter and Mick Jagger) and features background vocals from Billy Joel. This is staggeringly poor based on the people involved.

Rickie Lee Jones
“Woody and Dutch on the Slow Train to Peking” 1981, #31 (download)
“Pirates (So Long Lonely Avenue)” 1981, #40 (download)
“Satellites” 1989, Modern Rock #23 (download)

I’m surprised I dig so much music from Rickie Lee Jones, as she definitely isn’t my type of artist but “Woody and Dutch” is a damn groovy song, probably the most upbeat song on her Pirates album which also featured the title track written about Tom Waits. And then eight years later she hits the modern rock chart with “Satellites” off Flying Cowboys, produced by Walter Becker.

Janis Joplin
“One Night Stand” 1982, #35 (download)

Unbelievably I like this too, although it’s a little easier to like the wail of Janis Joplin than most other females for me. “One Night Stand” came from the 1982 Columbia records release, Farewell Song. It included tracks from her time with Big Brother and the Holding Company, the Kozmic Blues Band and Full Tilt Boogie and is really more known for the fact that studio musicians supposedly were used to rerecord the Big Brother songs for the release.

Journey
“Dixie Highway” 1981, #30 (download)
“Stone in Love” 1981, #13 (download)
“Only Solutions” 1982, #22 (download)
“Ask the Lonely” 1983, #3 (download)
“Raised On Radio” 1986, #27 (download)

The rock charts bring us one of the rarer Journey hits in “Only Solutions.” It was featured on the Tron soundtrack and as far as I can tell only appears on CD in two places, 1992’s Time Cubed triple disc hits set and the 2006 CD remaster of Frontiers. So while it isn’t super rare any longer, as one point it was.

“Dixie Highway” comes from their 1981 live album, Captured. It was one of two new songs on the album, the other being the studio recording of “The Party’s Over (Hopelessly in Love).” “Ask the Lonely” appears on a lot of greatest hits discs but was originally released as part of the John Travola/Olivia Newton-John movie Two of a Kind.

“Raised on Radio” is really the only track I don’t enjoy here as it’s just a little too cheesy.

Judas Priest
“Heading Out to the Highway” 1981, #10 (download)
“Electric Eye” 1982, #38 (download)
“Some Heads Are Gonna Roll” 1984, #42 (download)
“Locked In” 1986, #25 (download)
“Turbo Lover” 1986, #44 (download)
“Johnny B. Goode” 1988, #47 (download)

I’m actually surprised to see so much Judas Priest here as true metal really didn’t do much on the charts, but Judas Priest made sounds that the masses could relate to. I mean “Heading Out to the Highway” has that great sing along chorus that makes it perfect for the radio.

“Electric Eye” is really the key tune here though, off the last great Judas Priest album, Screaming for Vengeance. The big hit was of course “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming” and while that was certainly a better radio tune than this, “Electric Eye” still rocks.

And I have to admit that I would have never expected to hear “Johnny B. Goode” covered by Judas Priest, but then again Megadeth did cover “These Boots are Made For Walking” so it wasn’t like something weird like this didn’t happen before.

Rob Jungklas
“Boystown” 1986, #41 (download)

This song is very good and Rob’s album Closer to the Flame could have been a hit, but “Boystown” would have had to be the greatest song in the history of the world to have overcome what may be the worst video ever made. The clip was shot by Godley & Crème who did a similar style video with Wang Chung’s “Everybody Have Fun Tonight” but that one was a least a bit slower. The video for “Boystown” is the most likely ‘80s video to cause seizures. Don’t say I didn’t warn you when you start twitching. This had to destroy any chance of a career that he had.

Junkyard
“Simple Man” 1989, #47 (download)

I never thought Junkyard was that great of a band, but even if they were, they almost certainly couldn’t live up to expectations. They were a dirty southern-rock based sleeze group signed to Geffen record almost certainly with the expectations of following in Guns ‘N’ Roses footsteps and obviously that didn’t happen.

Quick Hits
Best Song: Janis Joplin, “One Night Stand”
Worst Song: Mick Jones, “Just Wanna Hold”

Also appeared in the Hot 100
Don Johnson (1): “Heartbeat”
Howard Jones (8): “What Is Love?” “New Song” “Things Can Only Get Better” “Life In One Day” “No One Is To Blame” “You Know I Love You…Don’t You?” “Everlasting Love” “The Prisoner”
Journey (12): “The Party’s Over” “Who’s Crying Now” “Don’t Stop Believing’” “Open Arms” “Still They Ride” “Separate Ways” “After the Fall” “Only the Young” “Be Good To Yourself” “Girl Can’t Help It” “Suzanne” “I’ll Be Alright Without You”
Judas Priest (1): “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming’”
Rob Jungklas (1): “Make It Mean Something”




  • http://www.somethingelsereviews.com/2008/08/one-track-mind-journey-dont-stop.html NICK DERISO

    “Stone In Love” may be the last true attempt at a rock song from Perry and Co., though that almost-forgotten tune from Tron, listening just now, does bear a passing resemblance to an older, Rolie-era Journey song. You wonder, since they’re putting out a new Tron movie, if maybe they could get the band back together for another go on the soundtrack. Or a remake of their classic JOURNEY ESCAPE video game. That makes at least as much sense as … another Tron movie.

  • Rob

    I think I talked about it in an earlier post, but while I was working at U-68, NYC’s short-lived over-the-air equivalent of MTV, we interviewed Jungklas. He seemed embarrassed and somewhat apologetic about the video. Poor guy. You write a great song. You sign a deal and release a record. Then tou hire the most famous video team in history – the duo that launched all kinds of careers – and you get the worst video ever made. If that’s not one of the ultimate letdowns, I don’t know what is.

  • http://www.popdose.com DwDunphy

    Tron Legacy will have a Journey song, but it’s an older song, not anything new – In fact, it’s reported to be “Separate Ways,” so there you go…

  • smf2271

    I’m a big fan of early Rickie Lee Jones, her 1979 debut really still being her best I think. But check out 1984′s “The Magazine” – it has a greater proportion of upbeat songs than “Pirates” and an excellent quasi-power-ballad called “It Must Be Love” that should have been HUGE in a year when a similar song in feel (Cyndi Lauper’s Time After Time) was so popular, but she was yesterday’s flash in the pan by that point so the album never received much promotion. “The Real End” was on that album too, one of my favorite ’80s “bottom feeders.”

  • Anonymous

    A few months ago, when I found the Closer to the Flame LP at a nearby thrift store, I mentioned on Facebook that I could now hear “Boystown” at my leisure “without risk of vertigo or whiplash”. The post was accompanied by the video, natch. Never got around to digitizing the track, so I’m grateful for this. Duking it out with “The Friends of Mr. Cairo” for my Song of the Week pick. (I’m recovering from Joplin burnout, having grown up approximately a hundred miles from her hometown.)

    I recall the promo CD single bins in the indie record shop where I worked 20 years ago being clogged with copies of “Simple Man”…and “Satellites”, for that matter. My most lingering memory of the Rickie Lee cut is the snippet VH1 used for some ad campaign in the summer of ’89. (“SATELLites!”) I’d have guessed an AC showing for that one, but never Modern Rock. “Just Wanna Hold” was another VH1 mainstay of the time; never heard it on the radio.

    Surprise omissions of the week stem not only from the same artist, but the same album. “Freewheel Burning” and “Love Bites” got as much mileage in our market as “Some Heads Are Gonna Roll”. Plus “Freewheel Burning” had that cool video with the kid playing Pole Position.

  • Anonymous

    I’d also like to see a revival of Journey’s Frontiers-era arcade game. That was sweet.

  • el bandito

    Surprised “Memphis Thing” by Jungklas didn’t make the cut – that got a lot of airplay in my market. Saw him play at some free show that year and it was a good show, but he seemed uncomfotable the entire show.

  • el bandito

    Surprised “Memphis Thing” by Jungklas didn’t make the cut – that got a lot of airplay in my market. Saw him play at some free show that year and it was a good show, but he seemed uncomfotable the entire show.

  • el bandito

    Surprised “Memphis Thing” by Jungklas didn’t make the cut – that got a lot of airplay in my market. Saw him play at some free show that year and it was a good show, but he seemed uncomfotable the entire show.

  • breadalbane

    What a difference a border makes — here in Canada, “The Friends of Mr. Cairo” was an across-the board legitimate #1 pop smash. And although there was a single edit, many stations (even the pop ones) played the full version.

    Here’s the Canadian top 50, the week “Friends of Mr. Cairo” hit #1: http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/rpm/028020-119.01-e.php?&file_num=nlc008388.0415&type=1&interval=20&PHPSESSID=ff3274lo7t9atk8uluss63v064

  • http://www.grayflannelsuit.net/ grayflannelsuit

    Man, Turbo-era Judas Priest was rough. I will argue, however, that Painkiller is their last great album.

  • Rob

    Besides being vintage RLJ with a great brass section, “Real End” also had a fun video. I agree that both “It Must Be Love” and “Real End” should have been massive hits (“It Must Be Love” was used fairly prominently in “thirtysomething,” though.)

  • Ozarkmatt

    Sometime in the past on some music blog (hell, it might have been the original Jefitoblog) there was a post about a extended dance mix of “Turbo Lover.” Yes you read that right. Seven and a half minutes of guitar syth and sampled drum awesomeness.

    I still crank that up once in a while.

  • Vulvalover69

    love judas priest…LOVE chuck berry…priest doing berry…is just wrong.a big ol’ huge serving of fart biscuits.atleast megadeth pulled off “boots”.

  • Anonymous

    Looks like our own…er, their own David Medsker gave that remix a moment in the sun (to roast) about 2.5 years ago. Alas, this was before I discovered the ‘dose, so Medsker, if you see this, you have my email.

  • The Clone Ranger

    cool paragrah, as always, Mr Steed :-)
    Couple of guilty pleasures in here again… I must admit I still remebmer that Mick Jones album only for ‘I Just Wanna Hold’, which I never found poor. I always took it for what it is… a catchy pop tune, even if one could expect a little more from a Billy Joel collaboration back in those days. Btw: You make me feel damn old, as the Clash’s Mick Jones has always been the one that I referred to the “other” Mick Jones ;-)

    Well.. and JOURNEY *sigh*… I was totally committed to their professional way of making music back in the 80′s. For that reason, I still dont’t count them as a guilty pleasure though by a neutral point of view they surely must be…
    And I totally agree with you that ‘Raised on Radio’ ist the weakest track in here… And I’m still proud to admit that in fact it’s the only track I don’t enjoy from the album of the same name.

    Lastly, I’m surprised how well the two Priest tracks from Turbo have aged. My only memory of that album is that I’ve judged it of being too much over the top at first listen (though Painkiller even went one step further). So I must have stopped following them by the time they released ‘Defenders of the Faith’. Anyway, lately I started to rediscover them (I might be one of the few people who really dig ‘Nostradamus’). Seems like I’ll have to give Turbo another chance shortly….

  • breadalbane

    Wow…that Jungklas video is quite literally unwatchable.

    I mean that without a trace of hyperbole. I lasted about 7 seconds before my eyes threatened to spontaneously combust to protect me from the videos utter unwatchablity. No power on Earth could compel me to attempt that again.

  • breadalbane

    Wow…that Jungklas video is quite literally unwatchable.

    I mean that without a trace of hyperbole. I lasted about 7 seconds before my eyes threatened to spontaneously combust to protect me from the videos utter unwatchablity. No power on Earth could compel me to attempt that again.

  • breadalbane

    Wow…that Jungklas video is quite literally unwatchable.

    I mean that without a trace of hyperbole. I lasted about 7 seconds before my eyes threatened to spontaneously combust to protect me from the videos utter unwatchablity. No power on Earth could compel me to attempt that again.

  • Anonymous

    The Journey arcade game is awesomer than you remember:

  • Anonymous

    I had no idea it was so reviled, and yeah, just repeating the same games to infinity (ha!) seems monotonous in retrospect. But it looked and sounded cool, and it had a tie-in to an actual rock group. Sold.