Howdy, everybody!Â Happy Halloween!Â Between Tina Turner’s hair and Eddie Money’s face, it’s quite a scary week here at CHART ATTACK!Â Take a look back at what singles were topping the Billboard Hot 100 on November 1, 1986!
10.Â All Cried Out — Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam with Full Force Amazon iTunes
9.Â Take Me Home Tonight — Eddie Money Amazon iTunes
8.Â Sweet Love — Anita Baker Amazon iTunes
7.Â When I Think of You — Janet Jackson Amazon iTunes
6.Â True Blue — Madonna Amazon iTunes
5.Â Human — Human League Amazon iTunes
4.Â Amanda — Boston Amazon iTunes
3.Â I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On — Robert Palmer Amazon iTunes
2.Â Typical Male — Tina Turner Amazon iTunes
1.Â True Colors — Cyndi Lauper Amazon iTunes
10. All Cried Out — Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam with Full Force
I have the weirdest memory of this song. I remember watching America’s Funniest Home Videos very early on in its run (I was 12, okay?), and they had a video of a guy who had done his makeup half as a bride, half as a groom.Â And his shtick was that he sang “All Cried Out” in profile to the camera, half as the woman and half as the man.Â That’s all I remember about this song; it wasn’t until I listened to it just now that I realized it was even a duet. Who’s the guy, anyway?Â I’m guessing he was in Full Force.Â According to Wikipedia, Full Force had two vocalists — Paul Anthony or Bowlegged Lou — so I guess it was one of those two.Â Please let it be Bowlegged Lou.Â I like the idea of someone named Lisa Lisa having a passionate lover’s quarrel with Bowlegged Lou.Â “You listen here, Lisa Lisa!”Â “Don’t talk to me like that, Bowlegged Lou!”Â And then, of course, later, they reconcile, and before you know it, the priest is going, “Do you, Lisa Lisa, take Bowlegged Lou…”
Why did Lisa Lisa need Full Force, anyway?Â Wasn’t having Cult Jam enough?Â Both sound like formidable teams, but a Full Force Cult Jam sounds like overkill.
Holy cow, here’s a “live” performance from 1986, and guess what? Paul Anthony and Bowlegged Lou sing to Lisa Lisa! It’s a Full Force threesome!Â Fast forward to 1:40 for the good stuff, and by “good stuff,” I mean “some seriously awful fashion decisions.”
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I personally find this song to be just another lame ballad, but apparently, I’m in the minority: listen to this crowd do all the singing at this performance from earlier this year. They’re loving this one, even without good ol’ Bowlegged Lou. By the way, I’m not saying that people can’t get older and maybe put on a few pounds, now she’s more like Lisa Lisa Lisa.
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9. Take Me Home Tonight — Eddie Money
Is it just me, or does Eddie Money kind of look like Benny Mardones?
If you don’t know which one’s which, I’m certainly not going to tell you.Â Okay, fine: Money’s the washed-up one on the left.Â Wait, no … the right.Â Wait … shit, they both got nothin’, okay?
PROS AND CONS REGARDING “TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT”:
– Good hook
– Ronnie Spector, people!
– Allowed Eddie Money to continue paying his mortgage
– Paying the mortgage allowed Eddie Money to record more albums
– Gave Phil Spector more money for guns with which to shoot people
– We couldn’t give Ronnie anything more than a chorus she’s song a million times?
I guess the pros win out, and the public agreed; with “Take Me Home Tonight,” Money had a “comeback” on his hands, charting at #4 (his highest appearance).Â And, like I said, anything that gives Ronnie Spector another chance in the spotlight works for me.
8. Sweet Love — Anita Baker (download)
“Sweet Love” served as Baker’s introduction to the Hot 100, peaking here at #8.Â The song also reached #2 on the R&B chart and #3 on the AC chart. It saddens me that she’s only had two hits in the Top 10: this one and “Giving You the Best That I Got.”Â I thought she had more, for some reason.Â “Just Because” came close at #14.Â Either way, the tune earned her a deserved Grammy for Best R&B Song.
Although I have very little use for jazz vocals, I love “Sweet Love.”Â It doesn’t even matter that I can’t make out any of the words past “sweet love.”Â I tend to sing it like this: “Love, sweet luuuuuuuuve, buh buh buh buh buh buh buhhhhhhh,” and nobody ever calls me on it.Â I don’t think anybody knows the words.
7. When I Think of You — Janet Jackson
Hey, remember when Janet Jackson knew how to have fun?Â Like, pure, unadulterated, innocent, non-calculated fun?Â If you don’t, this track serves as a good reminder.Â Listen for Jackson’s laugh during the last verse; it’s clear it’s completely spontaneous.Â I’m not sure she’d be able to laugh on a track anymore without it seeming obviously scripted.Â Kinda sad.Â Back in April, Dw. Dunphy wrote an excellent post on Ms. Jackson and the steps she might need to take to revive her career.Â I don’t know if she’s got a comeback in her, but hey, Eddie Money was able to do it, why not her?Â And I realize that this argument is really, really weak, but I just wanted to be able to say that I compared Janet Jackson to Eddie Money.
“When I Think of You” was Jackson’s first #1 on the Hot 100, which makes Janet and Michael the only siblings to have solo chart-toppers.Â I remember the song for its video, which appeared to have been shot in one long, continuous take.Â In fact, there are a few edits sprinkled around the video.Â Yeah, it’s a pretty cheesy video, but just like the song, you can’t help but smile at Jackson’s innocence and joy.
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6. True Blue — Madonna
I don’t profess to know Sean Penn personally, but can’t you just imagine Madonna coming home and being like, “I wrote this for you, Sean!” and him throwing a dish at the wall?
“True Blue” peaked at #3 — one of the few singles from the True Blue album that didn’t reach the #1 spot. Personally, I like the song because it’s fairly different from the rest of Madonna’s singles, and because of the video, which features Debi Mazar in tight pants. Did you know that the “True Blue” video was directed by James Foley, who also directed Glengarry Glen Ross? The fact that Foley has worked with Kevin Spacey, Jack Lemmon and Debi Mazar in tight pants just leaves me green with envy. Of course, Foley also directed Who’s That Girl, but we won’t hold it against him.
Here’s the video. I can’t stand Madonna’s haircut from this era, but again, Debi Mazar in tight pants.
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5. Human — Human League
“Human” marked Human League’s return to the Top 10 for the first time since 1983’s “Keep Feelin’ Fascination,” and the band’s first chart-topper since “Don’t You Want Me” in 1982. Written and produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis (who were essentially assigned to work with the band by their record label), “Human” surrounds a guy asking his girl for forgiveness after cheating on her, and then, in a spoken-word section, she admits she’s also been cheating, and since they’re already talking about being human and all, maybe he should forgive her too. How original. It’s like they don’t even remember “Part-Time Lover.” See, I think this song would have really stood out if the guy was a complete hypocrite and got all pissed off at the woman for admitting she cheated. Y’know, sing “fuck you” instead of “human.” Ideas like these are generally why nobody asks me to produce records.
In 2003, “Human” experienced a mild resurgence, as British producer Ian Widgery remixed the song for the Asian music market. The result was “Human (The Chinese Whispers Mix),” which incorporated Chinese instruments, and an entire chorus in Cantonese. I’m not making this up. Here’s the video, complete with history on the band and thoughts from Widgery, but if you’d like to just hear the remix, you can skip to 3:30.
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4. Amanda — Boston
We discussed “Amanda” a couple of years ago, and honestly, I don’t have much to add.Â I will say that I still find “I’m gonna say it like a man, and make you understand, Amanda” to be an extremely funny line — especially since right after he says it, he gently whimpers, “I love you.”Â I mean, if he’s going to try and be all stupid manly and shit, shouldn’t he have at least sung something like, “Get over here and cook me dinner”?
3. I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On — Robert Palmer
Part of the great 1986 comeback by Robert Palmer, “I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On” was only Palmer’s second entry into the Top 10, shortly after “Addicted to Love,” and was actually a cover of the song released by Cherrelle in 1984 (Cherelle’s version didn’t make much of a dent in the Hot 100, but was a #8 hit on the R&B charts).
I love the instrumentation on Palmer’s version; he gives it a darkness missing from the Cherrelle version.Â Somewhat reminiscent of his work with Power Station, actually.Â If you like this song, here are a few extended mixes.
2. Typical Male — Tina Turner (download)
Wow, this song reached #2? Really? I mean, it’s fine and all, but … I consider this one to be a “gimme” from the industry. Look at it this way: pretend that 1984 never happened. Would you consider “Typical Male” a single deserving of “comeback status” from Tina Turner? I know I wouldn’t. Well, who cares what I think; the song, another hit Tina single written by Terry Bitten (who also co-wrote “What’s Love Got to Do With It” and “We Don’t Need Another Hero”), clearly did quite well on the charts, peaking here at #2.Â I guess I just don’t get it.Â And why does “Typical Male,” gender specifics aside, seem to me like it could easily be a Rod Stewart song? There’s something in the chorus that reminds me of “Love Touch.”
1. True Colors — Cyndi Lauper
Once again, it’s time to welcome back CHART ATTACK!’s favorite songwriting duo, Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg. If I’m not mistaken, this marks their fifth mention in this column, having written songs like “So Emotional,” “Eternal Flame,” “Like a Virgin” and “I Drove All Night.” Steinberg originally wrote the song for his mother, but with much help and encouragement from Kelly, re-wrote the song to give it a more universal feel. In fact, at one point, Steinberg had given up hope on the song, but somehow, George Martin heard the work-in-progress demo and encouraged the duo to continue work on it. Fascinating, right? This story, and many others, are featured in a fantastic Songfacts interview with Steinberg.Â Here’s one of my favorite parts:
In “True Colors,” more than any other song, Cyndi Lauper came up with a very, very creative departure from our demo. The demo was sort of rooted in the Gospel ballad tradition of a song like “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “Let It Be” or “Lean On Me,” that sort of thing with the piano. Cyndi completely dismantled that sort of traditional arrangement and came up with something that was breathtaking and stark. Tom and I were both elated when we heard her record of it because it was so much more adventurous than our demo, and to her credit, she produced it and did a beautiful job. That song, more than any other song I’ve written, has had tremendous life.
Here’s a beautiful version of “True Colors” from Cyndi’s 2005 album The Body Acoustic.
Cyndi Lauper — True Colors (acoustic) (download)
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And that’ll do it for another week of CHART ATTACK! Come by next Friday as guest writer J.A. Bartlett takes us back to 1970! Thanks for reading!