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Bottom Feeders: The Rock End of the ’80s, Part 56

Just four weeks left until the end of the Bottom Feeders series. Get your ’80s fix while you can by listening to more songs that hit the rock charts in the decade but failed to cross over into the Billboard Hot 100.

Joe Walsh
“Things” 1981, #36 (download)
“Rivers (of the Hidden Funk)” 1981, #35 (download)
“Waffle Stomp” 1982, #20 (download)
“I Can Play That Rock & Roll” 1983, #13 (download)
“The Confessor” 1985, #8 (download)
“The Radio Song” 1987, #8 (download)
“In My Car” 1987, #14 (download)

Over the past year or so, my opinion on Joe Walsh has changed. The Eagles were always okay in my book but they were never a must listen for me. And Walsh’s solo stuff always seemed a little too basic and/or kind of silly at times. Maybe it’s simply the songs here are the best of his solo catalog or maybe I’ve changed but I’ve started to dig tunes like “Things” or “Rivers” and even the somewhat ridiculous lyrics of “Waffle Stomp.” Once I got to thinking that not everything has to be groundbreaking, Walsh’s songs kind of hit me differently. I still don’t know if I’d ever pull out say, ‘87s Got Any Gum? voluntarily but I’m closer to doing that than I ever was before.

The Waterboys
“Fisherman’s Blues” 1988, Modern Rock #3 (download)
“World Party” 1989, #48 (download)

A lot of people think the Waterboys’ 1988 album Fisherman’s Blues is their best recording but it also threw some people for a loop as it was their first album that really brought both traditional Scottish music and folk to the forefront of their recordings. Both of these tracks come from that album. Keyboardist Karl Wallinger co-wrote “World Party” before leaving the group in ’85 to form yep, World Party.

Roger Waters
“5:01 AM (The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking” 1987, #17 (download)
“Radio Waves” 1987, #12 (download)
“Sunset Strip” 1987, #15 (download)

Unlike Joe Walsh growing on me, I don’t think there’s a chance in hell that Roger Waters solo material will. Pink Floyd is hit or miss for me but none of Waters’ solo material in the decade is very good in my opinion. I’ve only gotten through 1984’s The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking once as I as was listening to my entire collection from start to finish and I have no desire to ever pick it up again.

“Radio Waves” and “Sunset Strip” come from Radio K.A.O.S. which is at least a better album than the previous one. For the type of music I like, the former isn’t a bad song at all. Actually neither is “Sunset Strip” – but it’s better within the context of the story told on the album rather than as a standalone.

Bob Welch
“It’s What Ya Don’t Say” 1982, #45 (download)

“It’s What Ya Don’t Say” was the only single off the 5th solo record from the former Fleetwood Mac guitarist.

Whitesnake
“Slow An’ Easy” 1984, #14 (download)
“Love Ain’t No Stranger” 1984, #33 (download)
“Judgment Day” 1989, #32 (download)

I will certainly admit that I liked both the earlier period of Whitesnake but also when they slicked up and went totally commercial. Looking back now, the “Here I Go Again” period really wasn’t that great but at the time you couldn’t have told me that.

“Slow An’ Easy” and “Love Ain’t No Stranger” both come from Slide It In which was an okay album but at least according to the band members at the time, the lineup just wasn’t right. And that led to Cozy Powell’s departure, Colin Hodgkinson being fired and Micky Moody and Mel Galley leaving the band.

The 1987 band from the self-titled record was completely different other than David Coverdale, with John Sykes on guitar, Neil Murray on bass and Aynsley Dunbar on drums. But they were all fired by Coverdale before the album was released and the tour for the album featured the superstar lineup of Vivian Campbell, Rudy Sarzo, Tommy Aldrige and Adrian Vandenberg.

Another case of “musical differences” led Campbell to leave the band after the tour and opened the door for Steve Vai to join for 1989’s Slip of the Tongue, which is probably the weakest album of the decade for the group.

Quick Hits
Best Song: The Waterboys, “World Party”
Worst Song: Rogers Waters, “The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking”

Appeared in the rock chart and Hot 100
John Waite (7): “Change” “Missing You” “Tears” “Restless Heart” “Every Step of the Way” “If Anybody Had A Heart” “These Times Are Hard For Lovers”
The Waitresses (1): “I Know What Boys Like”
Wall of Voodoo (1): “Mexican Radio”
Joe Walsh (2): “A Life of Illusion” “Space Age Whiz Kids”
Wang Chung (5): “Don’t Let Go” “Dance Hall Days” “To Live and Die L.A.” “Everybody Have Fun Tonight” “Praying To A New God”
Warrant (3): “Down Boys” “Heaven” “Big Talk”
Was (Not Was) (1): “Walk The Dinosaur”
Wax (1): “Right Between the Eyes”
White Lion (4): “Wait” “Tell Me” “When the Children Cry” “Little Fighter”
Whitesnake (5): “Still of the Night” “Here I Go Again” “Is This Love” “Give Me All Your Love” “Fool For Your Loving”