Bottom Feeders: The Rock End of the ’80s, Part 31

Written by Bottom Feeders, Music

Dave Steed takes a look at the letter M on the Billboard rock charts and features Ziggy Marley and Richard Marx. Yeah, M’s not starting out too well.

This week’s Bottom Feeders is going to be slightly shorter than most weeks for various reasons. The holiday season is definitely catching up to me and I’m finding myself with less free time (though I haven’t missed a week of BF yet and I don’t plan to either) the music to start out the letter M just doesn’t do much for me and the unexpected last artist of this week’s post kind of floored me.  All those things lead to a few less songs than usual and a little less glitz overall, but you still get more than a CD’s worth of music to rock out to for the rest of the week.  So enjoy some tracks from the letter M, as we continue the trek through the ’80s rock charts.

Yngwie J. Malmsteen’s Rising Force
“Heaven Tonight” 1988, #19 (download)

“Heaven Tonight” off of 1988’s Odyssey is pretty much the last time Yngwie had any chance of hitting the charts. This little glam rock ditty was one of the only listenable moments on the disc as it’s one of his poorest releases. At least Joe Lynn Turner’s vocals are bad ass on this one and the solos aren’t too overwhelming. After this it’s pretty much just Malmsteen wackin’ off on his guitar. By default I have to love this simply because he wrote an actual song here instead of 10,000 solos strung together.

Manfred Mann’s Earth Band
“For You” 1981, #15 (download)
“Rebel” 1984, #34 (download)

“For You” was one of the singles off the decent but not spectacular Chance, released in 1980. It bubbled under at #106 and was a Springsteen cover. Shocker!

If you own the Somewhere in Afrika LP, you may or may not have “Rebel” as it was only included on the North American version of the album however it was also later placed on the 1986 disc — Criminal Tango — in single form. Too, too ‘80s. Way too ‘80s. And somehow that’s a bad thing here.

Marchello
“First Love” 1989, #46 (download)

I always have to look back to see that this is really 1989. Seems impossible after you listen to this. “First Love” is so dated that I’m surprised it got any airplay at all, especially with those cheesy AOR keyboards all over it. 1984 maybe, 1989 – not a chance.

Marillion
“He Knows, You Know” 1983, #21 (download)
“Lady Nina” 1986, #30 (download)
“Incommunicado” 1987, #24 (download)
“Hooks In You” 1989, #49 (download)

Since prog-rock has never been my thing, Marillion has never wowed me. I’ve grown to like 1985’s Misplaced Childhood, but little else (at least in album form) interests me very much. Now, if you cut it down to just singles, “He Knows, You Know” is a damn fine track from their debut – Script For a Jester’s Tear. The other three I couldn’t care less about. I do understand that most of you will probably not have the same opinion as me.

Frank Marino
“Strange Dreams” 1982, #9 (download)

Frank Marino was the leader of Mahogany Rush. This was his only charting solo singer, from Juggernaut (of which that album definitely was not).

Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers
“Tumblin’ Down” 1988, #43 Modern Rock #5 (download)
“Look Who’s Dancing” 1989, Modern Rock #2 (download)

I just don’t know about this one. Ziggy Marley is rock? Reggae, sure. Pop, sure. I don’t know about calling the band rock music though. But compared to the artist just a few steps down the road here, they are certainly much more worthy. “Tumbin’ Down” comes from Conscious Party which spawned the excellent “Tomorrow People,” while “Look Who’s Dancing” was a #2 modern rock song from One Bright Day.

Marshall Tucker Band
“Silverado” 1981, #60 (download)

There’s no Marshall Tucker in the Marshall Tucker band. However, that’s nothing new to you, I’m sure. But Mr. Tucker did exist as the owner of the building the band rehearsed in. Wonder if he makes any money off the name?

“Silverado” was their only rock hit, from their 1981 album, Dedicated.

Eric Martin Band
“Sucker For a Pretty Face” 1983, #42 (download)

Eric Martin was pretty cool before forming Mr. Big in 1988 and although I had never heard of him before that, now that I go back and listen to Sucker For a Pretty Face, I see the dude had quite a bit of talent.

Richard Marx
“Have Mercy” 1987, #17 (download)
“Nothin’ You Can Do About It” 1989, #12 (download)

I probably should have kept going after Richard Marx and added more to this blog, but the inclusion of him in this sent me for a loop. He’s definitely more rock than say Bananarama which appeared a long time ago but so barely that he still doesn’t even register on the rock thermometer. A few harder licks like in “Nothin’ You Can Do About It” doesn’t make a rock artist and while you could try to make a case for both these songs I suppose, it’s really hard for me to believe that “Endless Summer Nights” is a rock song and even that “Don’t Mean Nothing” went to #1 on the rock charts. Number One? Must have been a slow week.

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Quick Hits
Best Song: Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, “For You”
Worst Song: Marchello, “First Love”

Also appeared in the Hot 100
Madness (1): “Our House”
Manfred Mann (1): “Runner”
Marillion (1): “Kayleigh”
Ziggy Marley (1): “Tomorrow People”
Marilyn Martin (1): “Night Moves”
Richard Marx (4): “Don’t Mean Nothing” “Should’ve Known Better” “Endless Summer Nights” “Satisfied”