Another week of Bottom Feeders and another complete letter of the alphabet as we get all of the letter N this week — and it’s a very eclectic group too. Enjoy more tracks from the Billboard rock charts that failed to cross over onto the Hot 100.
“Love Leads To Madness” 1982, #19 (download)
Yuck. By the time 1982’s 2XS rolled around, Nazareth were a shell of their former selves and the album spawned just this tepid AOR junk. The album did boast some decent riffs courtesy of Bottom Feeders frequenter, Billy Rankin. However, overall it was a picture of a group that was starting to tail off.
“Shakin’ the Tree” 1989, Modern Rock #9 (download)
I really don’t know anything about Youssou N’Dour beyond the fact that Peter Gabriel is a big fan. The original version of “Shakin’ the Tree” has more traditional African rhythms and didn’t feature Gabriel, but when Peter jumped in and replaced N’Dour’s vocals with his as well as adding a higher pop quotient, the song became much more radio friendly.
“Fine Time” 1989, Modern Rock #3 (download)
New Order is another group that probably would have had a page to themselves had the modern rock chart started earlier in the decade. Either way, “Fine Time” is a fantastic song off Technique, their final album of the decade. The version here is the 7” edit which chops off about 1:15 from the album version.
“Edge of Seventeen (Just Like the White Winged Dove)” (Live) 1982, #26 (download)
“Enchanted” 1983, #12 (download)
“I Will Run To You” 1983, #35 (download)
“Nothing Ever Changes” 1983, #19 (download)
“Violet and Blue” 1984, #19 (download)
“Long Way To Go” 1989, #11 (download)
Man, was I shocked to see a total of 16 hits for Stevie Nicks on the rock charts. She only had four albums in the decade and despite the fact that she’s had a very successful solo career I think of her more of the Fleetwood Mac front woman. I like her solo albums too, I mean The Wild Heart is a killer record. Interestingly enough though, I guess I like it more as a whole because just listening to “Enchanted,” “I Will Run To You” and “Nothing Ever Changes” as standalone songs here, they don’t quite hit me like I remember. Actually, the only one that does was the one off live single of “Edge of Seventeen” which has a bit of fire to it. “Violet & Blue” is one that you don’t hear very often – a single off the Against the Odds soundtrack.
“Rumours in the Air” comes from Midnight Madness so I’m surprised it’s really remembered at all as it certainly didn’t fare as well as what that album was known for producing – “Sister Christian.” It’s a pretty typical sound for the record though – not better than “(You Can Still) Rock in America” but worth a second listen. I can do without “Reason To Be” although it still is one of the few redeemable moments on ‘89s Man in Motion.
“Golden Down” 1981, #55 (download)
This is the only song I’ve ever heard from Willie Nile but based on this very Springsteen sounding rhythm and the words I’ve read about him, he might have had a legit shot at “making it” had record companies not taken a decade away from him. He released two critically acclaimed solo records in the early ‘80s and then couldn’t release another for a decade thanks to record company bullshit. “Golden Down” is a great song and since this was only the beginning of his career, you have to think he hadn’t hit his peak yet. Nile is still putting out albums sparingly though over the last four years he’s released three of them – prolific for him.
Nine Inch Nails
“Down In It” 1989, Modern Rock #16 (download)
I always love going back and listening to Pretty Hate Machine as it’s so different from the rest of Trent Reznor’s work. It’s certainly no transition like Ministry made from a pure synth pop group to harsh industrial but it’s still quite different when you listen to Broken next. Of course Pretty Hate Machine is a classic and “Down In It” is a great song to start off a career with.
“Control I’m Here” 1989, Modern Rock #25 (download)
“Control I’m Here” is one of Nitzer Ebb’s most recognizable songs in America as it was the highest charting rock song for them. They had better success in the club with “Join in the Chart” and “Fun To Be Had” but “Control” was the one played on rock radio. This is one of the moments where I wish I had a better memory, to think back to the days where this was on the radio and what it was played between. I can’t imagine how this fit into any rock playlist. Though maybe it was played after “Down in It.” That would totally make sense.
Mojo Nixon & Skid Roper
“Debbie Gibson Is Pregnant with My Two Headed Love Child” 1989, Modern Rock #16 (download)
A great take off on “Great Balls of Fire” you’ve got Nixon and Gibson “stark raving naked in the fornication nation.” We confirm that “Rick Astley is a panty waste” and that Spuds McKenzie and Debbie Gibson never got it on, “they only watched TV.” It’s good to have a little fun in this series now and again.
The Northern Pikes
“Things I Do For Money” 1987, #37 (download)
I just don’t get the draw to this song. “Things I Do For Money” is incredibly boring musically and the lyrics are kind of stupid. Virgin records certainly heard something though as this was from their major label debut, Big Blue Sky.
“Back on the Streets” 1988, #34 (download)
Although he’s not one of the more recognizable names in the world of ‘80s arena rock guitarists, John Norum gave us “The Final Countdown.” Yep, he was lead guitarist for Europe until he decided to quit mid-tour during the peak of Europe’s success. He then went solo and let off with an underrated solo album which featured this track, the better version of “Back on the Street” which was written by Kiss guitarist Vinnie Vincent and released by the VV Invasion just a year earlier.
“Monkey On Your Back” 1983, #12 (download)
The more I listen to Aldo Nova, the more I feel he got the shaft. He’s a total shredder and released some pretty great rock tracks like “Monkey On Your Back.” “Fantasy” is one of those great tracks that you know for sure but need someone to remind you who recorded it.
When I hear the name Novo Combo I think of lots of keys, new-wave, Heaven 17 sounding stuff. Even though I know what’s coming, I’m still always shocked to hear this brand of power pop coming through my stereo. The name just doesn’t match the sound. But the sound is good! Both “Up Periscope” and “Tattoo” were both on their self-titled debut. Tell me “Up Periscope” couldn’t be a Police song?
The band featured Pete Hewlett who would later go on to be in Billy Joel’s band, Stephen Dees who put in some work with Hall & Oates and Tony Carey as well as drummer Michael Shrieve.
“The Flying Lip Lock” 1981, #36 (download)
“Jailbait” 1981, #56 (download)
“Land of a Thousand Dances” 1981, #47 (download)
“Tied Up In Love” 1984, #41 (download)
“Little Miss Dangerous” 1986, #22 (download)
I still can’t quite believe that Ted Nugent was in the Damn Yankees, but that really has nothing to do with these tracks. The first three are live tracks from the absolutely blistering rock and roll headfuck known as Intensities in 10 Cities. I don’t recall seeing too many other times where three tracks from a live album charted so it’s a testament to how great it was.
After 1980’s Scream Dream though, it was all downhill for the Nuge. It’s tough to find more than two or three good tracks from each album going forward. “Tied Up In Love” is one of those two or three off Penetrator though – probably the best track of the period for him. “Little Miss Dangerous” is sad though.
Best Song: Nine Inch Nails, “Down In It”
Worst Song: Ted Nugent, “Little Miss Dangerous”
Also appeared in the Hot 100
Naked Eyes (1): “Always Something There To Remind Me”
Graham Nash (1): “Innocent Eyes”
Nena (1): “99 Luftballons”
Ivan Neville (1): “Not Just Another Girl”
Randy Newman (1): “It’s Money That Matters”
New Order (1): “Round & Round”
Juice Newton (1): “Angel of the Morning”
Stevie Nicks (10): “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” “Edge of Seventeen” “Leather and Lace” “Stand Back” “If Anyone Falls” “Nightbird” “Talk To Me” “I Can’t Wait” “Rooms on Fire”
Night Ranger (10) “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me” “Sing Me Away” “You Can Still Rock in America” “Sister Christian” “When You Close Your Eyes” “Sentimental Street” “Four in the Morning” “Goodbye” “The Secret of My Success” “I Did It For Love”
Aldo Nova (1): “Fantasy”