We’ve got a ton more from the letter C this week, as we take a look at the songs that hit the rock charts in the ’80s but never crossed over to the Billboard Hot 100.
Definitely one of the best rock groups on this planet, I haven’t been able to get their 1988 hit “Ghost Town” out of my head for months now for reasons that still escape me. I’m hoping “Let Go” which was the first charting single from Lap of Luxury, will help me switch gears a bit. “Up the Creek” from the movie of the same name is however never on my radar. If I remember correctly back in “the ass end” it got some chatter in the comments section and I think there’s a lot of people out there that really dig it more than me.
“Harder than Diamond” 1982, #33 (download)
The first time I opened up the Billboard Rock charts and saw Chubby Checker in there, I must admit that I thought it was one of those rumored plants to make sure that no one is copying the book word for word. I of course only know him from “The Twist” (and thanks to the Fat Boys) and wasn’t expecting a rock song at all. There’s not a chance in hell I would have ever been able to tell you this was Checker either. Guitarist from a ‘70s light rock band, sure – but Chubby Checker?
“Harder than Diamond” was from his album The Change Has Come and bubbled under at #104.
“How Much Is Too Much?” 1984, #50 (download)
This is a great song and why shouldn’t it be based on the status of the members of this supergroup;
Vocals: Michael Des Barres. Ex-husband of Pamela Des Barres, played Murdoc on McGyver, singer in Detective and touring vocalist for Power Station in 1985.
Guitar: Tony Sales. Played with Todd Rundgren and Tin Machine.
Guitar: Steve Jones. Founding member of the Sex Pistols.
Bass: Nigel Harrison.
Drums: Clem Burke. Both the backbone of Blondie.
I’m a little surprised that only this one song charted but then again, I don’t believe I’ve heard their only self-titled album, so while I can’t imagine how this couldn’t have been a success, maybe as a whole they sucked. I’m sure you can tell me, right?
“Don’t It Make You Feel Good” 1982, #48 (download)
Having only a slight familiarity with Chilliwack I was a bit shocked to hear this much rock out of the group that gave us “Whatcha Gonna Do” and “My Girl (Gone, Gone, Gone)”. I might have to go back and listen to Opus X and get myself reacquainted after this gem.
“Stupid Kids” 1989, (Modern Rock) #26 (download)
Another stupid band name, this was Christmas’ only hit single off their album Ultraprophets Of Thee Psykick Revolution.
“Reptile” 1988, #27 (download)
I never really got into the Church, though they were a decent band. “Reptile” was the follow up to their #24 hit “Under the Milky Way”. I didn’t listen to anything from them after the ‘80s, but if I’m not mistaken, the Church are still together and putting out music.
“Shake Me” 1986, #41 (download)
Man, the more I listen to Cinderella, the more I love them. I always thought they were good and growing up in their hometown of Philadelphia, PA it was hard to get away from them in the ‘80s and early ‘90s but I think now working on the second installment of Bottom Feeders is when I’ve really started to understand exactly how talented they were compared to most of their peers.
“Shake Me” was the first single off their debut Night Songs, which included the monster hit, “Nobody’s Fool”. Even though “Shake Me” wasn’t really their breakthrough tune, it was the best track on the album.
“Rita Mae” 1981, #18 (download)
“Catch Me If You Can” 1981, #23 (download)
“Blow Wind Blow” 1981, #24 (download)
“Ain’t Going Down” 1983, #32 (download)
“She’s Waiting” 1985, #11 (download)
“It’s In the Way That You Use It” 1986, #1 (download)
“Tearing Us Apart” 1986, #5 (download)
“Miss You” 1987, #9 (download)
“Run” 1987, #21 (download)
“After Midnight” 1988, #4 (download)
Eric Clapton really isn’t a guy I go back to a whole lot and I think Popdose has convinced me that he’s wasting his talents, but I still seem to like some of the records that most people don’t, like 1983’s Money and Cigarettes, which is a really fun pop record.
I guess it all depends on what you’re looking for from him. If you think he’s wasted talent, then some of the banal pop rhythms that he spit out in the decade are understandably disappointing. But for me, having not grown up listing to his early stuff, the Yarbirds, Cream or Blind Faith, there really aren’t any expectations other than creating good music.
The first three tracks here are credited to “Eric Clapton and His Band” and can be found on 1981’s Another Ticket. I really like “Rita Mae” the most out of the three but his cover of Muddy Waters’ “Blow Wind Blow” is for those who like the straight up Clapton blues.
“Ain’t Going Down” was off the aforementioned Money and Cigarettes album. It’s one of my favorite Clapton songs along with the bigger hit from the album, “I’ve Got A Rock ‘N’ Roll Heart”.
“She’s Waiting” is an otherwise boring track from the more guitar oriented Behind the Sun. Clapton put some great guitar solos on the album but it was also quite slicked up and synth-filled as you hear on this track thanks to a slew of superstars guests – like the producer and drummer on this one – Phil Collins.
Then there’s “It’s In the Way that You Use It” originally from the Color of Money but then put as the lead track off his 1986 album August. It’s always used as my example of the most known track that never hit the Hot 100. If I didn’t know it, I would certainly have figured this was a top 10 hit for him, but in reality it didn’t even bubble under, but at least hit #1 on the rock chart.
The other three songs from August that hit the rock charts were also produced by Phil Collins, “Tearing Us Apart” with Tina Turner really being the only one that’s worth listening to. “Miss You” and “Run” are relatively generic.
And finally “After Midnight” is a new version of his classic hit – the very last track on the four disc Crossroads box set of all his best work.
We talked about it back with Big Audio Dynamite that I just either never liked or never really “got” the Clash. Songs like “Police On My Back” written by Eddy Grant were cool but as a whole I just never found enough stuff enjoyable – a perfect example being “Hitsville U.K.” which just has zero appeal to me.
“This Is Radio Clash” was a one-off single that was never included on a studio album but has appeared on greatest hits sets throughout the years. I’ve often heard it referred to as the U.K’s first hip-hop song.
Best Song: Eric Clapton, “It’s In the Way That You Use It”
Worst Song: Eric Clapton, “Run”
Songs That Also Appeared in the Hot 100
Cheap Trick (6): “If You Want My Love”, “Tonight It’s You”, “The Flame”, “Don’t Be Cruel”, “Ghost Town”, “Never Had A Lot To Lose”
Chicago (2): “Stay the Night”, “Along Comes A Woman”
Chilliwack (2): “My Girl (Gone, Gone, Gone)”, “Whatcha Gonna Do”
Toni Childs (1): “Don’t Walk Away”
Choirboys (1): “Run To Paradise”
The Church (1): “Under the Milky Way”
Cinderella (6): “Nobody’s Fool”, “Somebody Save Me”, “Gypsy Road”, “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)”, “The Last Mile”, “Coming Home”
Eric Clapton (5): “I Can’t Stand It”, “I’ve Got a Rock N’ Roll Heart”, “Forever Man”, “See What Love Can Do”, “Pretending”
The Clash (2): “Should I Stay Or Should I Go”, “Rock the Casbah”