Bottom Feeders: The Rock End of the ’80s, Part 36

Another week, another full letter as we check out the letter “O” with songs that hit the Billboard rock charts in the ’80s — but only those that didn’t also cross over into the hot 100. Share your stories about the songs and and enjoy the Wednesday morning mix.

Ric Ocasek
“Jimmy Jimmy” 1983, #25 (download)

Ric has such a unique voice that it’s really hard not to immediately think about the Cars even when listening to his solo material. I guess it doesn’t hurt in the least bit that this definitely has a slight Cars vibe to it as well, though in the end, it’s a relatively dull song.

The Ocean Blue
“Between Something and Nothing” 1989, Modern Rock #2 (download)
“Drifting, Falling” 1989, Modern Rock #10 (download)

I actually remember the actual release of their self-titled debut back in 1989, probably because they were from the nearby chocolate capitol of Hershey, PA. However, weirdly enough I didn’t remember any of the songs from the record until I heard both of these. I have a feeling I was in Hershey when the album was released and I saw them in concert or something like that. I’m not 100% sure but for not listening to them and not owning an album, I seem to have more vivid memories of them than I do other like artists.

Sinead O’Connor
“Jump in the River” 1988 Modern Rock #17 (download)

I’d bet that I may be only one of maybe 3 or 4 people that are reading this or commenting that hasn’t bothered listening to I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Gotand I have zero desire to. Owning “Nothing Compares 2 U” is all I need from it – even this I could certainly do without. It’s no doubt the Prince cover is a total classic but otherwise, I just don’t get the draw to Sinead.

Oingo Boingo
“Winning Side” 1988, Modern Rock #14 (download)

“Winning Side” is a great song from Danny Elfman and the gang in Oingo Boingo off an odd double disc compilation called Boingo Alive. The album consisted of previously unreleased songs such as this one, mixed with re-recordings of their greatest “hits”, “live” on stage but without an audience and of course without the one song everyone knows from them, “Weird Science.”

Mike Oldfield
“Magic Touch” 1988, #10 (download)

Here’s a weird one because I’m not even sure this is the version that charted. Mike Oldfield recorded this song with GTR singer, Max Bacon. However, because Bacon wasn’t on the same label he wasn’t given permission to be on the disc and thus the song was released in the UK with some dude named Jim Price on vocals. The US version included Mr. Bacon and was the one that charted. So what version is this one I’ve got posted? I don’t really know. I don’t know who the hell Jim Price is and I couldn’t pick Max Bacon out of a lineup but this is the only version I know and the only version I could dig up on various websites. Some say this is Bacon and some say this is Price with Bacon on the background vocals. Any ideas?

(Edit: Thanks to multiple readers who sent me the Max Bacon version which apparently was not the track I had up. But HDH sent it to me first, so he gets the credit. The Bacon version is now featured here which sounds remarkably like the Price version anyway.)

Omar & the Howlers
“Hard Times in the Land of Plenty” 1987, #19 (download)
“Rattlesnake Shake” 1988, #36 (download)

Omar Dykes and the Howlers had been creating southern blues rock since 1980 but they didn’t sign a major label deal until 1987, when the title track from their 1987 album went to #19 and “Rattlesnake Shake” became their follow up track off 1988’s Wall of Pride.

Roy Orbison
“She’s A Mystery To Me” 1989, #26 (download)

The fun part about this series is that I get to come across tracks like this. Frankly, I always wondered why “You Got It” never had a big follow up hit when he had a who’s who of writers and producers on the Mystery Girlalbum. I don’t know if this should have been that big hit or not, but I’m surprised it wasn’t. “You Got It” was huge, Orbison had just recently passed away and the track was written by Bono and the Edge. Bono produced it but if he had lent his voice to the chorus it would have almost been a lock to go top 10.

“Telegraph” 1983, #32 (download)
“Genetic Engineering” 1983, #32 (download)

I’m assuming I’m like a lot of people and didn’t really get into OMD until “If You Leave” became a major hit. That’s about the time critics started hating them because they became pretty straightforward as compared to their first four or five albums which were much more experimental. I’ve since listened to everything except maybe the debut (not sure, but the track names don’t ring a bell to me) and apart from obvious tracks like “Enola Gay” and “Joan of Arc” I will still take “(Forever) Live and Die” any day over the earlier work including these two here.

Benjamin Orr
“Too Hot To Stop” 1987, #25 (download)

“Too Hot To Stop” was the first track off The Lace – Cars’ bassist Benjamin Orr only solo record. Good song, but nothing compared to the excellent “Stay the Night” which gave him his only big solo hit.

Ozzy Osbourne
“Crazy Train” 1981, #9 (download)
“Flying High Again” 1981, #2 (download)
“You Can’t Kill Rock and Roll” 1982, #41 (download)
“Over the Mountain” 1982, #38 (download)
“Paranoid” 1982, #25 (download)
“Iron Man/Children of the Grave” 1982, #32 (download)
“Bark at the Moon” 1983, #12 (download)
“Rock ‘N’ Roll Rebel” 1984, #40 (download)

To this day I’ve avoided picking up the remastered versions of all Ozzy’s albums because of his choice to rerecord the original bass and drum parts on a few discs with Rob Trujillo and Mike Bordin. It’s probably no fault of his own and mostly Sharon’s doing but it just never sat quite well with me, Mr. Moral High Ground. But every time I go back and listen to Blizzard of Ozz or Diary of a Madman, I can’t help but think of what these tracks would be like with some true punch. The production is just so bad on these early ‘80s discs of his that despite having total classics such as “Crazy Train” and “Flying High Again” they just sound like you’ve put a pillow over the guitar and drums.

You hear the great difference in quality when you listen to the remastered MP3s of “Bark at the Moon” and “Rock ‘N’ Roll Rebel” (I just own the MP3s, not the album). The leads are dynamic and there’s true power and excitement in both of them. So now of course today (I really mean it, today!) I’m going to go get the remasters of every disc. I’m sure it’s completely worth my money to hear “Over the Mountain” kick my ass.

I’m not a big fan of Rudy Sarzo’s bass work on the live version of “Paranoid” but I do think the rendition of “Iron Man/Children of the Grave” is great – well, except for the drumming. The lineup consisted of Ozzy, Sarzo (Quiet Riot) on bass, Brad Gillis (Night Ranger) on guitar and Tommy Aldridge on drums – the only time this lineup would appear together on an Ozzy disc.

The Outfield
“Say It Isn’t So” 1985, #18 (download)
“Bangin’ On My Heart” 1987, #40 (download)

I love the Outfield’s output in the decade with their debut album, Play Deep being a pretty brilliant pure pop album. Each record after that sold less and less and the singles never quite lived up to the glorious “Your Love” but if you want a great example of pop music in the decade you could start in much worse places.

Quick Hits
Best Song: Ozzy, “Iron Man/Children of the Grave”
Worst Song: Ric Ocasek, “Jimmy Jimmy”

Also appeared in the Hot 100
Ric Ocasek (3): “Something To Grab For” “Emotion in Motion” “True To You”
Orion the Hunter (1): “So You Ran”
Benjamin Orr (1): “Stay the Night”
Ozzy Osbourne (1): “Shot In the Dark”
The Other Ones (1): “We Are What We Are”
The Outfield (6): “Your Love” “All the Love in the World” “Everytime You Cry” “Since You’ve Been Gone” “Voices of Babylon” “My Paradise”
Outlaws (1): “Ghost Riders in the Sky”

  • Thelegendaryboomboxg

    i love this feature. when it’s over will you do the 90’s?

  • jack

    “It’s no doubt the Prince cover is a total classic but otherwise, I just don’t get the draw to Sinead.” After this record, the rest of America agreed with you 100%. (Bet she never saw a threat from an elderly Frank Sinatra coming when she tore up the picture of the Pope on SNL!)


    Benjamin Orr is underrated — a remarkable singer who had a depth and darkness that Ocasek couldn’t come close to. He scuffed up the Cars’ early period stuff, then provided an important emotional underpinning during its subsequent MTV-era heyday — a period when the group was too often too slick. Ocasek, in almost every case, wrote the lyrics … yet Orr would usually own their interpretation. Good to see him on your list. Wish he had done more solo stuff before cancer struck …

  • Russ

    Ozzy’s entire career, going back to Black Sabbath, has been directed by Don/Sharon Arden so at this point saying Ozzy has nothing to do with it is a bit naiive. Three peas in a pod.

  • Anonymous

    Totally agree about the Blizzard & Diary Ozzy remasters. No offense to Bordin or Trujillo … but it’s just not right.

  • steed

    Thanks. It’s a thought. I can do it. I have all the music for it. Not really sure what direction this goes in after the Rock end but I still have a long time to figure that out.

  • David_E

    With you 100% on the Outfield’s first LP — for my money, it’s one of the few front-to-back masterpieces to come from 80s pop rock.

    And I’d wager that’s Max Bacon on the (dreadful) Oldfield song. Listen to the voice again, and think “When the heart rules the mind …”

  • David_E

    Oh, and what of “Dancing In The Canebrakes” from Omar & The Howlers? That song was terrific. Did it not chart at all? I swear that was a single … (umm … do you have it?)

  • steed

    I don’t know that I’m really saying he had nothing to do with it. The point I was trying to make was that I blame Sharon and not him. Now yes, that could also be a little naive and I get your point – but he lost his balls so long ago in that relationship that I would suppose he knows nothing other than to listen to whatever Sharon says. Could he have stepped up and told her he wasn’t doing it – sure. But does he even know how to say no to her at this point. Guess you could argue that’s his problem though.

  • steed

    Yeah, I was meaning to go back and put on the GTR album to compare but didn’t get the chance…I think so too in the end. I’d love to hear the other version if anyone has it. I can’t seem to locate that onlilne.

  • Anonymous

    All the music for the bottom end of the 90’s or the rock end of the 90’s?

    Or both?

  • grayflannelsuit

    I think I read recently that a new release of those albums is in the works, with Daisley and Kerslake’s parts restored.

  • steed

    It would only be the ass end (Hot 100). I don’t have all the rock tracks to do that.

  • Anonymous

    I did an A/B comparison with your file of “Magic Touch” and the longer of two versions I have on a promo Oldfield comp that ID Bacon as the vocalist. It’s sounding like you have the Price version here. The phrasing of the line “All that you need, it’s the finest hour” at 2:42 gives it away. Would you like the Bacon version via mp3?

    How about that…two solo Cars, and another one featured on yesterday’s First Bottom Feeders Rock Special on Sound Awake, which can be downloaded here, along with the second half of the first BF Ass End Special from August ’09. (Just call me Shameless M’Cool.) I did an even divide for this show…album rock (apart from the intro) in the first half, modern in the other. I might have to rethink that for the next special, with tracks like “Jimmy Jimmy” and either OMD entry more suited for the Club Hour.

    Speaking of OMD, I too get sick of the sellout accusations brought on by their later work (i.e. the A&M years in the US). I’m a fan of their 80s output as a whole; the A&M albums make up the bulk of my collection only because they’re more readily available. They’re playing our House of Blues in March and I plan to attend whether I find the reunion record disappointing or not as I never got to see them in their heyday.

    I believe it was Robert Christgau whose review of the first Ocean Blue album was simply “Echo of the Bunnymen”. Derivative as they were, they were still damn catchy, and you gotta admire a bunch of friends who get together to emulate the bands they see on 120 Minutes and wind up going toe-to-toe with those groups on the MR chart. I saw them open for the Psychedelic Furs in ’91 and they packed a punch.

    Just one year earlier and I’d wager Sinéad would have scored with “Mandinka” and “I Want Your (Hands on Me)” (both club hits down here) from her debut. There’s a 12″ mix of “Jump in the River” featuring performace artist Karen Finley that…well, why don’t you hear for yourself (NSFW):

    Thanks for the original Ozzys. I still can’t bring myself to own the remasters and I never see the older CDs in good enough shape. I gave my rant about the situation in the Ass End, I’ll abstain here.

  • steed

    Thanks man. Got the MP3 from a few people already. It’s so similar I’m not surprised it’s a big old mess of confusion.

    As long as that ain’t Sinead that’s NSFW….I’ll have to check it out when I’m not at work.

  • DwDunphy

    There is something that people who cry “sell-out” ought to consider about the ’80s band — The labels were the business back then, and if you didn’t perform, you weren’t doing business. So a lot of bands, even if they felt some internal code to ‘keep it real’, had to go more toward the pop-stream just to survive. If you did a random poll of people on the street and they even knew who OMD were, they’d know it by “If You Leave.” In terms of what you’re stuck being remembered by, that’s not such a terrible thing.

  • Keith

    Before you even think of the 90’s, you should talk to Rhino about taking your first two series and making a 100-disc box set (the liner notes alone could be a coffee table book), or perhaps your own satellite radio show. Such an entertaining series.

  • Keith

    So much good stuff in this week’s post. For anyone who likes The Ocean Blue tracks, I highly recommend tracking down their classic first two albums (The Ocean Blue and it’s dreamier follow-up Cerulean). The non-singles on these albums truly hold up to the more popular songs. Albums 3 and 5 (Beneath the Rhythm & Sound and Davy Jones’ Locker) are merely excellent and only “See The Ocean Blue” has the audacity to be very good. One highlight from an early single, their take on the Smiths “There is a Light”…

    As for Oingo Boingo – the “Alive” album is a gem – it’s an expanded, horn-heavy, arena ready victory lap of all of their hits. I prefer many of these versions to the studio originals – especially a truly sinister Dead Man’s Party. And a final plug for OMD – the new album “The History of Modern” is a wonderful return to form (almost as good as Devo’s recent triumph). I highly recommend the deluxe edition with bonus tracks from Amazon.Mp3 – and with a little googling, you can also find their winning version of VCR by the xx.

  • steed

    I would whore myself out in a heartbeat to make some cash off this series.

  • Anonymous

    I wouldn’t classify myself as a Sinead O’Connor fan, but “(I Want Your) Hands on Me” (from her 1987 debut) is one of my favorite songs, um, ever. The album version (–BTW, Nightmare on Elm Street 4?!? I’ll admit, the version with MC Lyte is kind of weird (

    Regarding the late Ben Orr, I have 4 words: “Just What I Needed” (

  • Anonymous

    “She’s a Mystery to Me” was a hit in the UK as I discovered in my recent research of the UK charts in the 80s. I don’t remember how high it got but I want to say top 20.

    I love the Ocean Blue’s self-titled debut album start to finish. I would guess that a tune called “The Office of a busy Man” made the modern rock chart in early 1990, as I used to hear that on the radio quite a lot at that time. Unfortunately their next 2-3 albums pretty much just duplicated the sound of the first one so I gave up on them eventually.

  • JT

    The Ocean Blue sounds abit like the Smiths..

  • Elysium

    Thanks for the local OMD show update, turns out they are doing several shows at South by Southwest the same week, which sometimes turn into “Bottom Feeders Live” if you plan it right (or wrong).

  • smf2271

    Forgot to mention – that’s unbelievable that Say It Isn’t So didn’t chart in the Hot 100! Especially considering that three other songs from Play Deep did. And I definitely heard it on the local mainstream pop station back in those days. It’s still my favorite song of theirs, but they’re all good.

    I also had no idea that all the stuff on “The Essential Ozzy” from those early ’80s LPs was rerecorded. I inherited the newer compilation from a used ipod I bought a year or so ago, and was pleasantly surprised at how much of it I liked given that I’m not usually into that sort of stuff. But I can’t wait to hear it as it was originally recorded, even if the production wasn’t so good.

  • Todd

    Hey Dave, how can you say you don’t get the draw to Sinead O’Connor when you haven’t listened to her disc(s)? In my very humble opinion she is one of the most passionate and fearless singers out there. Her voice (and it’s range) and the subjects she tackles are huge draws for me.

    She may no longer be part of the multi-platinum club but I credit that to the controversy surrounding her comments and the non-commercial nature of most of her subsequent music. Her follow up to the commercial cd was an album of standards (e.g. Don’t Cry For Me Argentina). She also subsequently released reggae, celtic, spiritual cds. When she does release “commercial” music it is not the spoon-fed pop that so many people long for.

    Anyhow, thanks very much for a great blog. I look forward to reading it every week.

  • Annie Zaleski

    Here’s a Smiths cover they did:

  • Annie Zaleski

    Ocean Blue covering the Smiths:

    Also, they are still touring and even recording. I think they’re huge in South America, weirdly enough, as they have live footage from a 2006 show in Peru on YouTube. Also, sez Wikipedia:

    “In December 2010, the band’s website announced that a new record may be released in 2011. The website also offered a free Christmas download of a newly recorded cover version of the ancient Basque Carol “The Angel Gabriel From Heaven Came”, by David Schelzel and Don Peris.”

  • Annie Zaleski

    Ocean Blue covering the Smiths:

    Also, they are still touring and even recording. I think they’re huge in South America, weirdly enough, as they have live footage from a 2006 show in Peru on YouTube. Also, sez Wikipedia:

    “In December 2010, the band’s website announced that a new record may be released in 2011. The website also offered a free Christmas download of a newly recorded cover version of the ancient Basque Carol “The Angel Gabriel From Heaven Came”, by David Schelzel and Don Peris.”

  • Hawk

    “But every time I go back and listen to Blizzard of Ozz or Diary of a Madman, I can’t help but think of what these tracks would be like with some true punch.”

    For the best remastered versions of the original recordings, you should track down the 1995 “22-Bit SBM Digital Re-Master” editions of “Blizzard of Ozz” and “Diary of a Madman” or the 1997 release of the compilation “The Ozzman Cometh.”

    For the future, Wikipedia shows: “Just recently announced was the 2010 Sony Music Entertainment re-releases of Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman, featuring Randy Rhoads, with the original bass and drum tracks restored. These will be 2 disc Deluxe 30th Anniversary Editions with demos, rarities and previously unreleased live material. A limited Super Deluxe Edition of Blizzard of Ozz will be released in the U.K. only and features a newly designed DVD sized Digipak case with the 2 CD’s, a 65 minute DVD featuring never-before-seen live concert footage & interviews with Ozzy and the band, 3 Fender guitar picks, stickers, a faux invitation to the resurrection of Alistair Crowley and an 18cm by 12cm glossy 58-page booklet. Release dates have yet to be announced, but now appear to be pushed back to 2011.”

  • steed

    That’s cool. Thanks for the info. The 22-bit remasters might be the way to go. – I wouldn’t mind spending the money to hear these albums in their top quailty.

  • Bobby

    Wow. This is a first. Never heard a negative comment about Tommy Aldridge’s drumming before.