Week #30 sees us closing out another letter as we’ve been travelling quickly through the middle of the alphabet over the few weeks. Enjoy some more tracks that hit the Billboard rock chart that failed to cross over into the Hot 100.
“Mercury Blues” 1981, #34 (download)
David Lindley is mainly noted as a prolific session musician and master of a million stringed instruments. He’s worked extensively with Jackson Browne over the years and has worked with others like Linda Ronstadt and Warren Zevon on multiple albums. Browne actually produced the record from which this song came – El Rayo-X.
The song is a cover of a 1949 blues number called “Mercury Boogie.” Steve Miller recorded it on his 1976 album Fly Like an Eagle, Lindley in ’81, Meat Loaf in ’03, Dwight Yoakam in ’04 but most notably by Alan Jackson which gave him a #2 country hit in 1993. Jackson’s version of the song was used in Ford commercials obviously changing “Mercury” to “Ford.”
If you want a taste of Little America you can get both “Walk on Fire” and “Where Were You” on one disc now as their self-titled record in ’87 and Fairgrounds in ’89 on Geffen have been repackaged as a 2-for-1 type deal. I’d personally be fine with the 0-for-0 deal as both these tracks from this Los Angeles AOR band are boring as hell.
“Rock and Roll Doctor” 1981, #34 (download)
“Hate To Lose Your Lovin’” 1988, #1 (download)
“Let It Roll” 1988, #3 (download)
“Long Time Till I Get Over You” 1988, #19 (download)
“One Clear Moment” 1989, #10 (download)
“Rad Gumbo” 1989, #23 (download)
Was Little Feat bigger and better than I think they are? I’m shocked there are six tracks from them here. They broke up after Lowell George died in 1979 and released an outtakes/live/unreleased compilation called Hoy! Hoy! in 1981 from which this alternate version of their 1974 track “Rock and Roll Doctor” comes from. But then somehow out of the blue with Craig Fuller taking over the lead vocals, they reform and release Let It Rollwhich shockingly generates four charting songs. Maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised though as it has some slicked up ‘80s pop songs on it. I do get why “Long Time Till I Get Over You” charted as it has that keyboard line that sounds like it came right out of Tony Banks’s vault. And “One Clear Moment” is right out of the Winwood catalog. I’m not terribly familiar with their ‘70s material but from what I know, the sound on Let It Roll has to be like listening to a completely different band. And I’m not a big fan of “Rad Gumbo” but since it’s from Road House I feel the need to call it out. Damn that soundtrack had a lot of hits on it.
My favorite of the tracks here is “Los Desaparecidos,” a protest song about the ‘70s and ‘80s forced disappearances in South Africa. At that time I guess it was a little different sound for Little Steven as most of the R&B influence from previous works was replaced by an arena rock sound with a noticeable typical ‘80s sounding keyboard laced throughout on his 1984 album Voice of America. “Trail of Broken Treaties” kind of scares me though as the opening drum beat gets me thinking I’m going to be listening to “Oh Sheila” by Ready for the World. His 1987 album Freedom – No Compromise is a dance-rock record that I think is safe to ignore.
Lords of the New Church
“Open Your Eyes” 1982, #27 (download)
Every time I hear this name I think to Leaders of the New School – the original group of Busta Rhymes. Post-punk, rap – what’s the difference, right?
These guys were considered somewhat of a supergroup with singer Stiv Batorscoming from the Dead Boys, guitarist Brian James from the Damned, bassist Dave Tregunna from Sham 69 and drummer Nicky Turner from the Barracudas – all pretty popular punk bands in their prime with the Dead Boys and the Damned of course getting the most recognition. “Open Your Eyes” was off their self-titled debut but a lot of people remember them more for their 1985 cover of “Like a Virgin.”
“Out with the Boys” 1989, #40 (download)
Complete throwaway hair metal/hard rock from this Texas group off their first album Deaf Gods of Babylon. The only really notable thing about Lord Tracy is that singer Terry Glaze was the original vocalist for then glam metal band, Pantera!
I was never really gung-ho about Los Lobos but it’s hard not to like them or at least give a great amount of respect to them for the influence they’ve had over the years on Latin and Chicano music.
“Don’t Worry Baby” is an excellent track off their major label debut, How Will the Wolf Survive? which is widely considered one of their best albums. The band co-wrote the song with the help of the album’s producer, T-Bone Burnett.
1987’s By the Light of the Moon was a damn fine album produced by Burnett as well and generated both “Shakin’ Shakin’ Shakes” and “Set Me Free (Rosa Lee)” the latter of which is simply a fantastic track.
Love and Rockets were Bauhaus members Daniel Ash, David J and Kevin Haskins after Peter Murphy embarked on a solo career. Their sound changed over the course of the ‘80s originally mixing some of the Bauhaus goth-rock with post-punk before moving on to both a glam and psychedelic sound.
“No New Tale To Tell” is the most interesting song here in my opinion as it was the only hit from Earth.Sun.Moon and was the most psychedelic hit they had. And is it me or does it completely sound like another song (I’m thinking some combo of Radiohead from the Bends and Camper van Beethoven’s “Pictures of Matchstick Men)?
Their self-titled 1989 album is an oddball. It’s really rewarding if you have the time to really listen to it but at this point Ash and J were writing solo and thus you get an album that goes back and forth from Ash’s pop tunes to J’s more experimental harder work, so you get an extremely disjointed album with almost no flow at all. That doesn’t mean it’s bad, but it takes an interesting mindset to really enjoy the disc as a whole. Just listen to “Motorcycle” and “Rock and Roll Babylon” back to back to understand. They weren’t consecutive tracks on the disc but it’s a decent representation of how the album moves from start to finish.
I think I mentioned it somewhere recently that I’m very excited to see that British host of Hit Me Baby One More Time hosting Skating with the Stars all because he provided the great moment of calling this group “Louverboy” on a few occasions when they performed on the former show. Little things clearly make me happy.
Both “Lucky Ones” and “Take Me to the Top” are from Get Lucky. The latter isn’t really anything special but I can’t really explain with “Lucky Ones” didn’t cross over into the Hot 100. Maybe the lyric of “only the lucky ones get lucky,” was just too intellectual for all of us to handle?
Then the other question is, how did “Strike Zone” never get used in a movie (or maybe it has – oh, Kelly…)? Over the top riff, cheesy keys, terribly clichéd lyrics and a title just screaming out for Slyvester Stallone flick and yet, I can’t seem to find it on any of his soundtracks.
“It’s You, Only You” 1982, #51 (download)
Is Lene Lovich the woman that’s bat-shit crazy now? She kind of looked bat-shit crazy back in the day. If not, she definitely was a little quirky though “It’s You, Only You” from No-Man’s-Land is pretty straight forward.
“Stick It Where the Sun Don’t Shine” 1982, #43 (download)
I don’t know why Nick Lowe is never on my radar to listen to. I love “I Knew the Bride,” “Cruel To Be Kind,” his work with Rockpile and his work with Elvis Costello. “Stick It Where the Sun Don’t Shine” sounds a lot like the Knack of which Get the Knack is one of my favorite albums ever. I’m going to have to go back and listen to 1982’s Nick the Knife again and find out why I never bother with it.
Man, Skynyrd (the last time I type this damn name out) was so beloved that a demo could chart. “Truck Drivin’ Man” was from Legend which featured demos recorded in the early years of the group before the plane crash in ’77. “Swamp Music” was from the 1988 Tribute Tour VHS/CD concert album.
Best Song: Los Lobos, “Set Me Free (Rosa Lee)”
Worst Song: Little America, “Walk On Fire”
Also appeared in the Hot 100
Little River Band (2): “The Night Owls” “Playing To Win”
Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul (1): “Forever”
Living Colour (3): “Cult of Personality” “Open Letter (To A Landlord)” “Glamour Boys”
Kenny Loggins (6): “Don’t Fight It” “Footloose” “I’m Free” “Vox Humana” “Danger Zone” “Nobody’s Fool”
Lone Justice (2): “Ways To Be Wicked” “Shelter”
Los Lobos (3): “Will the Wolf Survive” “La Bamba” “Come On, Let’s Go”\
Love and Rockets (2): “So Alive” “No Big Deal”
Loverboy (11): “Turn Me Loose” “The Kid Is Hot Tonight” “Working for the Weekend” “When It’s Over” “Hot Girls In Love” “Queen of the Broken Hearts” “Lovin’ Every Minute Of It” “Dangerous” “This Could Be the Night” “Notorious” “Too Hot”
Nick Lowe (1): “I Knew the Bride”