Bottom Feeders: The Rock End of the ’80s, Part 38

In the midst of record miles of blizzards, ice storms and shitty weather across the country, one thing is certain — without fail we bring the rock!  More songs from the letter “P” this week that hit the Billboard Rock Chart but didn’t cross over into the Hot 100.

Pere Ubu
“Waiting For Mary” 1989, Modern Rock #6 (download)

“Waiting For Mary” is the only charting song Pere Ubu had in the US. Labeled as sort of an avant-garde new wave, “Mary” came from their 1989 album Cloudland which is considered one of their most straightforward albums.

Phantom, Rocker & Slick
“Men Without Shame” 1985, #7 (download)
“My Mistake” 1986, #33 (download)

This trio consisted of Slim Jim Phantom and Lee Rocker from the Stray Cats and Earl Slick from Silver Condor (played with Bowie on some albums and tours as well). I was never a big fan of the Stray Cats but Silver Condor was decent – put the two together and the music is pretty enjoyable.

Both of the tracks here are from their self-titled debut. “Men Without Shame” is a decent rock ‘n’ roll song but they kick it up a notch on “My Mistake” which features Keith Richards on guitar!

Sam Phillips
“Holding On To the Earth” 1989, Modern Rock #22 (download)

Sam Phillips was a Christian artist through 1988, known by her birth name of Leslie Phillips. But then she switched from the Christian label Myrrh records over to Virgin, married T-Bone Burnett and changed her name to Sam. This ‘70s influenced song was her only hit.

Pink Floyd
“Money” 1981, #37 (download)
“Not Now John” 1983, #7 (download)
“Your Possible Pasts” 1983, #8 (download)
“The Hero’s Return” 1983, #31 (download)
“On the Turning Away” 1987, #1 (download)
“One Slip” 1987, #5 (download)
“The Dogs of War” 1987, #30 (download)
“Sorrow” 1988, #36 (download)
“Comfortably Numb (Live)” 1988, #24 (download)
“Time (Live)” 1988, #34 (download)
“Another Brick in the Wall Part II (Live)” 1988, #42 (download)
“Learning To Fly (Live)” 1988, #45 (download)

I’m maintaining that the letter “P” is the best letter we’ve had so far in the Rock End and Pink Floyd is a big part of that reasoning. That might sound odd since most of you know that I’m no fan of the Floyd. But maybe that’s all in my mind. Or maybe it’s age. On Super Bowl Sunday I turn 35 and as the years go by I see my tastes changing. Strangely enough, listening to a lot of metal has really mellowed me out on the other end and I’m getting into slower groovier things. That said, there are 12 Pink Floyd songs here and I like every one of them which should be impossible since I claim to not like them. So from now on, I will no longer be saying that.

“Money” is a 1981 rerecording of the song for the useless compilation A Collection of Great Dance Songs. Capitol records wouldn’t allow Columbia to use the original on this disc so David Gilmour went back in the studio and rerecorded all the parts himself except for the saxophone.

“Not Now John,” “Your Possible Pasts” and “The Hero’s Return” come from the Final Cut which would be the last album with Roger Waters at the time. “Not Now John” is a killer tune with David Gilmour on lead but the rest of the tracks on the album were sung by Waters. The album is a bit of a mess as David Gilmour didn’t bring a whole lot of writing to the table so Waters took a bunch of songs that didn’t make the cut for The Wall and recycled them for this album. Gilmour has since come out and said that he doesn’t really like the album. If nothing else, it’s certainly not a cohesive album as the majority of Pink Floyd discs are.

“On the Turning Away,” “One Slip,” “The Dogs of War” and “Sorrow” are all from the massively popular A Momentary Lapse of Reason which has sold more than four million copies in the US. At this point it was just Gilmour and Nick Mason as part of the core band and I have to think because of that the music was a little more accessible to the masses, led by their only Hot 100 hit in the decade, “Learning To Fly.” “On the Turning Away” is a damn great song though with fantastic solos, one of the rare few that went to #1 on the rock charts but didn’t cross over to the Hot 100 (they would do it again in 1994 with “Keep Talking” which spent 6 weeks at #1). “The Dogs of War” is a pretty fantastic song as well, dark and creepy.

And then there’s the three million selling Delicate Sound of Thunder, their live album recorded in 1988 with Gilmour on all the vocals. The songs are culled from a five day stint at the Nassau coliseum in New York with their biggest hits on it and a lot from Momentary Lapse.

Pixies
“Monkey Gone To Heaven” 1989, Modern Rock #5 (download)
“Here Comes Your Man” 1989, Modern Rock #3 (download)

Would you believe I was never into the Pixies? A few of my buddies at my college radio station couldn’t live without them but I just never really dug them. Here and there, okay. But I don’t feel I need to own any Pixies record. That’s inevitably something I’m probably very wrong about but it is what it is. I do like “Here Comes Your Man” (hard not to) and “Velouria” in ’90 but the rest I can listen to or not, doesn’t really matter to me. Never got into Frank Black’s solo stuff or the Breeders either.

Planet P Project
“Static” 1983, #24 (download)
“What I See” 1984, #25 (download)

Planet P Project was founded by German producer Peter Hauke who then enlisted Tony Carey as his singer. This ended up being a group for the more experimental side of Carey. I mean, “Static” wouldn’t sound terribly out of place in the Pink Floyd catalog. “What I See” was the only single off their second album, Pink World. After a 20+ year break, Planet P put out a trilogy of albums starting in 2005.

Robert Plant
“Worse Than Detroit” 1982, #10 (download)
“Slow Dancer” 1982, #19 (download)
“Far Post” 1982, #12 (download)
“Other Arms” 1983, #1 (download)
“Horizontal Departure” 1983, #44 (download)
“Sixes and Sevens” 1985, #18 (download)
“Heaven Knows” 1988, #1 (download)
“Dance On My Own” 1988, #10 (download)
“The Way I Feel” 1988, #46 (download)
“Walking Towards Paradise” 1988, #39 (download)

I’ve always enjoyed Robert Plant’s solo records though it took me a little while to get into all the nuances and twists and turns of his material. After much scrutiny and mind changing I’m sure, I now think the first album (Pictures At Eleven) is the most rockin’ and most consistent of his albums. “Worse Than Detroit,” “Pledge Pin” and “Slow Dancer” are rockers.

The Principle of Moments is damn fine as well with “Other Arms” going to number one on the rock charts. “Big Log” and “Horizontal Departure” make that record though.

Shaken ‘N’ Stirred is the one album I really don’t like from him, though “Sixes and Sevens” has a bit of a different feel and is one of my favorites from it.

I used to think Now and Zen was the best but I’m not so sure now. Sure, “Tall Cool One” is a great song but “Dance On My Own” and “The Way I Feel” are a bit too slicked up.

Quick Hits
Best Song: Pink Floyd, “Money”
Worst Song: Robert Plant, “Dance On My Own”

Also appeared in the Hot 100
Pink Floyd (1): “Learning To Fly”
Planet P Project (1): “Why Me?”
Robert Plant (7): “Burning Down One Side” “Pledge Pin” “Big Log” “In the Mood” “Little By Little” “Tall Cool One” “Ship of Fools”

Dave Steed
Dave Steed is all about music; 80's and metal to be exact. His iPod will shuffle from Culture Club to Slayer and he won't blink an eye. He's never heard Astral Weeks but thinks "Dazzey Duks" by Duice is the bomb. It's an odd little corner of the world he lives in.