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”




  • jack

    I have always loved “Fisherman’s Blues.” I just makes me smile. And the beat reminds me of a train much more than a boat, but that is neither here nor there.

  • Anonymous

    Tossup for MIA of the week: The Waterboys’ “The Whole of the Moon” or Walsh’s “I.L.B.T.s” (which did get airplay down here, and daytime play to boot).

    Is 1987 a typo for “5:01 AM”? It’s easily my favorite of Waters’ 80s output. 1992’s Amused to Death is his best work outside Floyd.

    My first time to hear that Welch cut. I like it despite its pilferage of “Breakdown”.

  • TuffGong

    Here’s some useless music trivia, sparked by the Whitesnake entry this week.  As you noted, the tour/videos for the 1987 self-titled Whitesnake album featured Tommy Aldridge on drums and Rudy Sarzo on bass rather than the guys who played on the studio album.  Coincidentally, the first two solo Ozzy Osbourne albums featured Lee Kerslake and Bob Daisley on drums and bass respectively, but the live band featured…Rudy Sarzo and Tommy Aldridge.  I always found that kinky.

  • aaaaa

    Bob Welch’s Two to Do from that 1981 album Bubbled under the Hot 100, as did Waters’ Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking…..

  • http://www.grayflannelsuit.net/ Chris Holmes

    I share your sentiments on Joe Walsh, but I have to say that “The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get” is a damn fine record.

  • http://jackfear.blogspot.com Jack Feerick

    Would that be a hurtlin’ fever-train, crashing headlong into the heartland like a cannon in the rain? Because if so, then yeah.

  • Anonymous

    For the best of Joe Walsh, you have to check out his first three solo (well, non-James Gang) albums: Barnstorm, The Smoker You Drink…, and So What. I have only recently (well, the last few years) listened to those albums closely and they’re surprisingly accomplished and diverse, a little pretentious in places even, but Joe’s goofy personality leavened it. As his career went on, the goofy part began to overwhelm the accomplished diversity part, but You Bought It- You Name It (especially) and The Confessor (title track only #8? Wow. That thing was in constant rotation on FM radio in the day) are still fine albums.

  • Anonymous

    For the best of Joe Walsh, you have to check out his first three solo (well, non-James Gang) albums: Barnstorm, The Smoker You Drink…, and So What. I have only recently (well, the last few years) listened to those albums closely and they’re surprisingly accomplished and diverse, a little pretentious in places even, but Joe’s goofy personality leavened it. As his career went on, the goofy part began to overwhelm the accomplished diversity part, but You Bought It- You Name It (especially) and The Confessor (title track only #8? Wow. That thing was in constant rotation on FM radio in the day) are still fine albums.

  • Dk

    Ƨteed!  Sorry, been busy in recent weeks, so I haven’t had a chance to tell you that I think your surname would better be Gluepony, but whatever…
    Thank you for another nostalgic set, I have put off working this morning enjoying some Joe Walsh that I hadn’t heard in years and becoming re-appalled by the horror of “Pros & Cons of Hitchhiking”.   

    Both Walsh and Waters take me back to a time when I had a definite idea about what I liked in music, but sometimes was unsure if somehow I was “right” about it.  So, for example, “knowing” that “The Wall” was regarded as a “masterpiece” of a concept album, I immediately got hold of the Roger Waters follow-up and couldn’t believe how much I hated it at first listen, at second listen, at third.  I kept trying to like it, or at least appreciate its artistry, because I thought I was supposed to.  I remember my sense of relief when a day or two later I found Rolling Stone’s review, as well as a few others, and realized these arbiters of taste were on the same page as me.  In a similar, yet quite opposite way, however, I remember reading how most critics were dismissive of Joe Walsh, yet I found his guitar sound resonated with me along with his light-hearted humor.  And thus, I somehow knew I was “right”, despite the critics.

    And I’ve been a self-righteous baƨtard ever since…

    Which brings me to Whitesnake…  …back in the day, and again today, no amount of Tawny Kitten (or whatever her name is) could seduce me into listening to these clowns in their Stevie Nicks hair singing to the little whitesnake libidos of suburban middle school boys… …Steed, Steed, Steed… …how did I know that you’d tell us you were into them back then?

    As always, thanks for being there every Wednesday morning.  While other Popdose features have disappeared or tailed off, thanks for such consistent work.

  • smf2271

    A little bit of Whitesnake trivia that most people reading this probably know but I discovered very recently: the original recording of “Here I Go Again” from 1982 (which was a hit in the UK) has a markedly less-polished arrangement and one major lyrical difference: “Like a HOBO, I was born to walk alone!” 

    Love the whole “Fisherman’s Blues” album, there’s nothing else like it.  I’m also shocked that “The Whole of the Moon” (which was earlier, 1985 I think) didn’t make it on here.  Such a pity that there was no “modern rock” chart until 1988.  If Billboard were more of a progressive rag, there would’ve been a modern rock chart shortly after the advent of MTV.

    Only four weeks left!  I can’t wait to see what you have in store for us next (but if you don’t, you’ve provided us with enough fun to last a lifetime!)

  • Julie S

    Popdose did a nice article on all of the variations of “Here I Go Again” :
    http://popdose.com/death-by-power-ballad-whitesnake-here-i-go-again/

  • http://www.bastardradio.com steed

    Hey, I’ve never been shy about saying I was into hair metal or arena rock back in the day. I look back to Whitesnake now and think it’s all kind of silly but it was impossible to get away from “Here I Go Again” for me. I think that’s why I like the ’80s so much – even if my tastes have changed a bit now, I was and maybe still am, the silly dork that would rock out to a band like this. I admited it back in the day too – though it took me many many years after high-school to admit that I was a Bon Jovi fan too.

  • http://www.bastardradio.com steed

    Hey, I’ve never been shy about saying I was into hair metal or arena rock back in the day. I look back to Whitesnake now and think it’s all kind of silly but it was impossible to get away from “Here I Go Again” for me. I think that’s why I like the ’80s so much – even if my tastes have changed a bit now, I was and maybe still am, the silly dork that would rock out to a band like this. I admited it back in the day too – though it took me many many years after high-school to admit that I was a Bon Jovi fan too.

  • http://www.bastardradio.com steed

    The sad part is, I still like the polished version better. I like the majority of the early albums a lot more than the star-studded records but I do think he chose the right songs to remake if nothing else. I think it bothered me more that he remade his own tunes, a long time ago. Now that everyone does it, it doesn’t seem like a big deal.

  • http://www.bastardradio.com steed

    Typo – yes, that should be 1984 when the album came out.

  • smf2271

    I guess I like the polished version better too, but the album polished version, as opposed to the single polished version (which cuts out the keyboard at the beginning and has a watered down guitar solo).

  • jack

    Ha! Well that’s what I get for just singing the chorus and listening to the melody all these years! That man does not enunciate.

  • http://www.popdose.com jefito

    It’s true. Countless features have come and gone, but Steed has been our rock.

  • Chadwicktron

    I like Roger Water’s “Amused to Death” too, but that Marv Albert sports analogy in the middle sucks. First, Marv was in his own kinky sex scandal at the time, and second, that whole announcer thing reeks of Meatloaf “Bat Out of Hell.”

  • Old_Davy

    “Things” by Joe W. is terribly, terribly underrated.  The lyrics are hilariously clever.  And “Rivers” rocks like his best early stuff.  I even have a soft spot for “In My Car”, and “The Confessor” is classic Joe.  I remember the song coming on and everyone going ape-crazy for it, saying how Joe had returned to form.  The others here are good to fair, but yeah, you really do need to go back to those three ABC/Dunhill albums (“So What” in particular).  I’ll also recommend “But Seriously Folks” which is his best Asylum release.  I’ve never heard “Waffle Stomp” before – was that a single only release?

    I always imagined the players on “Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking” performing in the studio and looking at one another thinking “what is this crap?”

  • The Clone Ranger

    Great edition this week, Dave!
    It’s nice to see that you finally came to appreciate at least some of Joe Walsh’s solo output.There’s a lot more of the same quality in his catalog, which is really worth exploring every once in a whikle.
    But beware! If you start to like these songs you might finally have to review your opinion about Steve Miller some day :-)
     
    As for Roger Waters’ solo output I can’t agree more. I even take it a step further by counting most of ‘The Wall’ and the entire ‘The Final Cut’ to Mr Waters’ solo catalog.
    Anyway I agree that Radio KAOS stands out, escpecially as it has some great guitar moments by Jeff Beck on it.
    Radio Waves is one of the songs that I know I shouldn’t like but that oddly appeared regularly on my mixtapes over the years (the other one being Roger Glover’s “The Mask”)

  • http://www.bastardradio.com steed

    I’ll go back and listen to some more Joe Walsh – that’s something I have no problem with at all. Even if I don’t like it, I know that’s something I’ll at least be able to get through.

    “Waffle Stomp” was from the Fast TImes at Ridgemont High soundtrack.

    And, “Pros and Cons” is one of the more listenable pieces of junk on that record from what I remember. Unlike Joe Walsh, I don’t think I could make it through that disc again.

  • http://www.bastardradio.com steed

    I’ll go back and listen to some more Joe Walsh – that’s something I have no problem with at all. Even if I don’t like it, I know that’s something I’ll at least be able to get through.

    “Waffle Stomp” was from the Fast TImes at Ridgemont High soundtrack.

    And, “Pros and Cons” is one of the more listenable pieces of junk on that record from what I remember. Unlike Joe Walsh, I don’t think I could make it through that disc again.

  • http://www.bastardradio.com steed

    I’ll go back and listen to some more Joe Walsh – that’s something I have no problem with at all. Even if I don’t like it, I know that’s something I’ll at least be able to get through.

    “Waffle Stomp” was from the Fast TImes at Ridgemont High soundtrack.

    And, “Pros and Cons” is one of the more listenable pieces of junk on that record from what I remember. Unlike Joe Walsh, I don’t think I could make it through that disc again.

  • http://www.bastardradio.com steed

    Haha. Well then, maybe I shouldn’t listen to more Joe Walsh.  I really, really don’t want to have to change my opinion on Steve Miller.