We continue this week with more artists whose names begin with the letter B, as we take a look at songs that hit the rock charts in the ’80s but failed to cross over to the Billboard Hot 100.

Pat Benatar
“Just Like Me” 1981, #15 (download)
“Take It Anyway You Want It” 1981, #32 (download)
“The Victim” 1982, #23 (download)
“Diamond Field” 1984, #20 (download)
“Don’t Walk Away” 1988, #44 (download)

Pat Benatar was a hell of a rocker. Despite my aversion to female artists, it’s hard to deny her importance to ‘80s rock.

“Just Like Me” is the best track of the five here, a cover of the Paul Revere & the Raiders track from ’66 from her album Precious Time. “Take It Anyway You Want It” ain’t half bad either – the fourth single from that album which was a nice raw rock record.

“The Victim” was her only non Hot 100 hit from her 4th record, Get Nervous, while “Diamond Field” was the lead track from her next studio record, Tropico.

“Don’t Walk Away” was the follow up to “All Fired Up” off the decidedly pop record Wide Awake In Dreamland, her final album of the decade.

Dickey Betts Band
“Rock Bottom” 1988, #11 (download)

Dickey Betts was co-lead guitar with Duane Allman in the Allman Brothers Band and became the sole lead when Allman passed away in 1971. For the Dickey Betts Band he played with Warren Haynes and Johnny Neel who also played with the brothers. “Rock Bottom” is a fantastic bluesy number from his album Pattern Disruptive.

B-52’s
“Cosmic Thing” 1989, Modern Rock #7 (download)
“Channel Z” 1989, Modern Rock #1 (download)

It’s time for you to get up and shake those honey buns! I’m kind of surprised the B-52’s didn’t have any tracks hit the rock chart in the early-to-mid ‘80s, though virtually every one of their singles before 1989’s Cosmic Thing hit the dance charts instead.

“Cosmic Thing” was actually released as a single in ’88 as part of the Earth Girls Are Easy soundtrack and titled “(Shake That) Cosmic Thing” originally. It was the lead track on the album that followed, which also featured “Channel Z”, “Love Shack” and “Roam”.

The Bible
“Crystal Palace” 1988, Modern Rock #26 (download)

I always use the Bible as an example of what a terrible band name is. How in the world can you name yourself the Bible and get away with it? And to get on stage and say “We are the Bible” – that’s just friggin’ terrible. The song itself is off their 1988 album Eureka.

Big Audio Dynamite
“Just Play Music!” 1988, Modern Rock #1 (download)
“Other 99” 1988, Modern Rock #13 (download)
“James Brown” 1989, Modern Rock #2 (download)
“Contact” 1989, Modern Rock #6 (download)

I have never even remotely understood the music of Big Audio Dynamite. I don’t think I could ever grasp that fact that the guitarist for the Clash could play such bizarre, scattered and strange tunes or in many cases have such a dance feel to his songs. Some of their songs like “Contact” are great and others like “James Brown” are quite odd. Their 1989 album – Megatop Phoenix – is the only one of their albums I can listen to from start to finish and even that’s pushing it. I know there’s a lot of fans out there but don’t count me as one of them.

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Big Bam Boo
“Shooting From My Heart” 1989, #21 (download)

Big Bam Boo was a short-lived UK group that put out one terribly named album, Fun, Faith & Fairplay which featured their only US hit, “Shooting from My Heart”.

Big Big Sun
“Stop the World” 1989, #50 (download)

Another one album wonder and another English group. Big Big Sun was better than Big Bam Boo at least, but barely. “Stop the World” was the title track from their only album which was meant to be a melodic pop record but lacked sufficient melodies to really make it worth while.

Big Country
“Look Away” 1986, #5 (download)
“King of Emotion” 1988, #20, Modern Rock #11 (download)

Since I wrote up Big Country pretty much two years ago in the original series I’ve went back and listened to all their ‘80s albums and realized that I don’t like them as much as I thought. Their best album is their debut, The Crossing. After that each consecutive album in the decade goes downhill. There’s nothing that generates more than a passing interest on 1986’s The Seer and 1988’s Peace In Our Time is actually a pretty bad album. It was slicked up by producer Peter Wolf which took most of the E-bow and overall Scottish feel out of their sound completely and made them a generic pop-rock group which did not suit them well at all.

Blackfoot
“Morning Dew” 1984, #55 (download)

Blackfoot was a southern rock band formed by two members of Lynyrd Skynyrd. After some poor album sales in the early ‘80s, the started to drop the southern rock sound and progress into more straight ahead rock. They also transformed their look to be more bad-ass, all of which did nothing to help them sell records. It might be because of incredibly dull songs like, “Morning Dew”. The only thing remotely interesting about this track is that it came off an album with the semi-risque title of Vertical Smiles.

Black ‘n Blue
“Hold On to 18” 1984, #50 (download)

Black ‘n Blue probably should have been bigger than they were but never amounted to much for some reason. They were a glam band with some real talent. Singer Jamie St. James had a great voice for the genre and their original guitarist was Tommy Thayer who’s currently working with Kiss. “Hold On to 18” is from their best album – the self-titled debut. They got much poppier on their second record and then enlisted Gene Simmons to produce both the third and fourth albums – Nasty Nasty (’86) and In Heat (’88) – both of which tried getting them back to their original sound with little success. And well, with a title like Nasty Nasty, failure was bound to happen. That’s not to say the band wasn’t good, they just never moved in quite the right direction for them to catch on.

Black Sabbath
“Turn Up the Night” 1981, #24 (download)
“Voodoo” 1981, #46 (download)

Ozzy era Black Sabbath may be how the band is defined, but the Dio era was spectacular as well. In 1981, Sabbath was Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Ronnie James Dio and Vinny Appice. Of course RJD goes down as one of the greatest metal voices even and despite his lyrics sometimes being a bit cliché and one dimensional, he delivers them so well that you can’t help but love him. Both these tracks are off Mob Rules which was the second and final album of the original Dio era. If you gave up after Ozzy left, do yourself a favor and listen to Heaven & Hell, Mob Rules and the 1992 reunion of these guys called Dehumanizer (a lot gem in their catalog).

Quick Hits
Best Song: Black Sabbath, “Voodoo”
Worst Song: Blackfoot, “Morning Dew”

Also appeared in the Hot 100
Adrian Belew (1): “Oh Daddy”
Pat Benatar (13): “Treat Me Right”, “Fire and Ice”, “Promises in the Dark”, “Shadows of the Night”, “Looking For A Stranger”, “Little Too Late”, “Love is a Battlefield”, “We Belong”, “Ooh Ooh Song”, “Invincible”, “Sex As A Weapon”, “Le Bel Age”, “All Fired Up”
Berlin (2): “Sex (I’m A)”, “No More Words”
B-52’s (2): “Love Shack”, “Roam”
Big Country (2): “In a Big Country”, “Wonderland”
Billy Satellite (1): “Satisfy Me”
Blackfoot (1): “Fly Away”
Blondie (1)” Rapture”

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About the Author

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.

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