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Jack Black Tag

The Chicago Blackhawks are one of the great sports turnaround stories. Yeah, they won the Stanley Cup, and we’re all happy about that here in Chicago, but the big story is how the team went from almost no fan base to a huge one. I was at the home opener in 2006 as a guest of the team’s old ad agency. There was hardly anyone at the United Center that evening. Three years later, the Hawks sold out every game.

What changed?

Here’s everything you need to know about the record business in 2010: It contains a not-inconsiderable number of people who thought you needed to hear a Meat Loaf concept album about the visions of a dying soldier who is seeing glimpses of his possible future lives.

Oh, and it’s called Hang Cool Teddy Bear.

And it’s 65 minutes long.

This is what happens when you’re a once-mighty star in a dying industry — people will write you checks just so they can put your name on a piece of product, no matter how asinine it is, in the hopes of refracting one of the last fading rays of your former glory. Of course, the labels have been pumping out shit for as long as there have been labels, but in the old days, they did it because they knew there was so much money in the marketplace that something like Having Fun with Elvis on Stage would turn a profit. These days, they do it because they’re desperate.

Hey everybody!  Just think: one week from now, you’ll probably be feeling full and somewhat nauseous from all the food you’ve ingested.  I say, why wait a week?  Get that nauseous feeling right now as we tackle the Billboard Top 10 from November 24, 1984!

10.  I Just Called to Say I Love You  — Stevie Wonder Amazon iTunes
9.  Penny Lover — Lionel Richie Amazon iTunes
8.  All Through the Night — Cyndi Lauper Amazon iTunes
7.  Strut — Sheena Easton Amazon iTunes
6.  Caribbean Queen (No More Love on the Run) — Billy Ocean Amazon iTunes
5.  Better Be Good to Me — Tina Turner Amazon iTunes
4.  Out of Touch — Daryl Hall and John Oates Amazon iTunes
3.  I Feel For You — Chaka Khan Amazon iTunes
2.  Purple Rain — Prince and the Revolution Amazon iTunes
1.  Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go — Wham! Amazon iTunes

10. I Just Called to Say I Love You — Stevie Wonder

I’m sorry. I know it’s cliché, but I have to.

It’s funny ’cause it’s true! There are, sadly, a lot of people out there who think of this song when they think of Stevie Wonder, and seriously, that pains me. You know who I’m talking about. You probably work with them.

Barry asks another important question here: “Is it, in fact, unfair to criticize a formerly great artist for his latter day sins?” No, it’s not. Stevie Wonder may be a musical genius, but it doesn’t mean I have to love everything he’s ever released. “I Just Called to Say I Love You” is actually a well-written song. It’s poppy, it’s catchy, and the sentiment is simple, yet original. However, none of this changes the fact that this is song comes nowhere near the caliber of his work from the ’70s. And I’m still on the fence as to whether I give him credit or points off for the cha-cha-cha ending.

When I hear this song today (and I try not to), this is what I usually think about:

9. Penny Lover — Lionel Richie (download)

When you’re on fire like Lionel Richie in 1984, you can do whatever the hell you want.  You can write a song called “Penny Lover,” which is not actually about somebody who loves pennies, or even about someone who loves girls named Penny.  And you can sit back and watch your song reach the Top 10, without batting an eye.  That being said, “Penny Lover” peaked at #8 and thus became Richie’s lowest-charting solo single to date.  This doesn’t seem so bad until you realize that he co-wrote the song with his wife, Brenda, and you just know that Lionel got the shit kicked out of him for that one.  “You write a song with ‘Tam bo li de say de moi ya” and it goes to #1, but my song stalls at #8?  Go outside and find me a switch!”