Itâ€™s the penultimate week of Bottom Feeders, with just one post for the 25th letter of the alphabet. Enjoy more tracks that failed to crack the Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart during the 1980s.
â€œSummertime Girlsâ€ — 1985, #55 (download)
The band was known as Yesterday & Today until 1981 when they shortened it to simply Y&T for the arena-rock crowd. â€œSummertime Girlsâ€ was from 1985â€™s Down for the Count, the first album to really mark a downward turn in quality for the band. The first few albums in the decade were solid slabs of rock, but both the aforementioned album and 1987â€™s Contagious were slicked-up retread pop crap.
â€œWeird Alâ€ Yankovic
â€œRickyâ€ — 1983, #63 (download)
â€œKing of Suedeâ€ — 1984, #62 (download)
â€œI Lost on Jeopardyâ€ — 1984, #81 (download)
â€œLike a Surgeonâ€ — 1985, #47 (download)
â€œFatâ€ — 1988, #99 (download)
How do you say that â€œWeird Alâ€ Yankovic is one of your favorite artists of all time with a straight face? I havenâ€™t figured that out yet, but he definitely is one of my all time favorites. Iâ€™m constantly amazed at how well known he is, how much respect he gets and how many hits a parody maker has had over the years.
â€œRickyâ€ is a parody of Toni Basilâ€™s â€œMickeyâ€ off his debut self-titled record. It was the only song to chart off the debut and probably the weakest of the singles. â€œAnother One Rides the Busâ€ and â€œI Love Rocky Roadâ€ both bubbled under.
1984â€™s â€œWeird Alâ€ Yankovic in 3-D yielded his first big hit with â€œEat Itâ€ going to #12. The follow-up, â€œKing of Suedeâ€ (a parody of â€œKing of Painâ€ by the Police), peaked at #62, and the Greg Kihn parody â€œI Lost on Jeopardyâ€ stalled at #81.
After that came his real breakthrough album, Dare to Be Stupid, though that only yielded one charting single in the â€œLike a Virginâ€ parody â€œLike a Surgeonâ€. Five more singles were actually released including the polka medley (â€œHooked on Polkasâ€) an original â€œThis is the Lifeâ€ and some style parodies (â€œDare To Be Stupidâ€ parody of Devo) for the first time. This album really put him on the map and made him a household name.
1986â€™s Polka Party didnâ€™t do much of anything on the charts, but his 1988 album Even Worse was another big hit and featured a parody of Michael Jacksonâ€™s â€œBadâ€ , called â€œFatâ€ â€“ continuing with his food theme.
Over the years heâ€™s had a few more songs bubble under and had his biggest hit in 2006 when â€œWhite & Nerdyâ€ (parody of Ridinâ€™ by Chamillionaire) hit #9.
â€œWeird Alâ€ is still one of the very few artists that I look forward to new music from and have to purchase it the day of release.
Iâ€™m curious what your favorite â€œWeird Alâ€ track is because well, everyone has at least one. Mine is the 11-and-a-half-minute opus â€œAlbuquerqueâ€ that closes out his 1999 album Running with Scissors. “You’ve got weasels on your face.”Â How about yours?
Calvin Yarbrough & Alisa Peoples were recruited by Uncle Charlie Wilson of the Gap Band and released their first record in 1980. Their biggest hit was their first, â€œDonâ€™t Stop the Musicâ€ from their debut record and pretty much the only song from the duo that people know. Itâ€™s understandable too, as while they werenâ€™t a bad group at all, they didnâ€™t have anything unique to break them free from dozens of other bands that sounded the same in the early â€˜80s. Yarbrough & Peoples released their last album in 1985, got married and now live in Texas.
Yazoo (Yaz was their U.S. name) was Alison Moyet and Vince Clarke. They had a nice career making synthpop tunes in the UK, but only these two songs were hits in the US. â€œSituationâ€ was actually the B-Side of â€œOnly Youâ€ in the UK and was never even released as a single. They had two more #1 dance hits in the U.S. with â€œDonâ€™t Goâ€ off their debut Upstairs at Ericâ€™s and â€œNobodyâ€™s Diaryâ€ from their second and final record, You and Me Both.
Yazz & the Plastic Population
â€œThe Only Way Is Upâ€ — 1988, #96 (download)
Yazz was London singer Yasmin Evans. She released her debut album Wanted in 1988 and has released music here and there over the years. â€œThe Only Way Is Upâ€ was her only charting single in the US. Itâ€™s a cover of an Otis Clay song from 1982.
â€œOh Yeahâ€ — 1987, #51 (download)
Yello are a Swiss duo known for their unusual musical samples and the deep voice of its singer. Theyâ€™ve had 15 songs crack the dance charts from their first in 1979 to their last in 1997. But only â€œOh Yeahâ€ crossed over to the pop charts. The reason for the success was the inclusion in the movie Ferris Buellerâ€™s Day Off, but itâ€™s since been in a billion other things, like movies The Secret of My Succe$s and Soul Plane, itâ€™s the theme song for Duffman from the Simpsons and has been in what seems like a billion commercials.
Yellow Magic Orchestra
â€œComputer Gameâ€ — 1980, #60 (download)
Although I had never heard of them before listening to this single a few years ago, the band is considered pioneers of Japanese technopop. Part of that almost certainly comes from producer and score creator Ryuichi Sakamoto being part of the group. I might be wrong, but it appears the single length track for â€œComputer Gameâ€ never appeared on an album. Their debut album has two â€œtheme songsâ€ called â€œComputer Gameâ€ but no full length track appears on a album.
â€œIt Can Happenâ€ — 1984, #51 (download)
I was never a Yes fan so thereâ€™s not much on my mind about this song. It was the third single from 90125 and had none of the radio friendliness of the first two singles, â€œOwner of a Lonely Heartâ€ or â€œLeave Itâ€. Actually, â€œLeave Itâ€ wasnâ€™t that radio friendly either. Good for Yes fans, bad for people like me that simply like catchy pop songs.
â€œDarlinâ€™â€ — 1980, #68 (download)
Yipes were a short lived band, I believe from Wisconsin. They were led by Pat McCurdy and released two albums of power pop songs. â€œDarlinâ€ comes from their second record, A Bit Irrational, and is a Beach Boys cover.
Neil Young is one of my favorite artists ever. If youâ€™ve been following the series youâ€™d know this sounds a bit weird since I really donâ€™t like music made before say, 1979. But I own every one of Neilâ€™s albums all the way back to his debut solo record in 1968 to the gadzillion live albums and shitty music about cars heâ€™s putting out these days.
As far as the â€˜80s go, the majority of the decade was considered a dead period for Neil, and rightfully so as he released the laughable rockabilly Everybodyâ€™s Rockinâ€™ in 1983 and the critically shit on Landing on Water in 1986 (I happen to like it). And the two songs here come from two albums that are not considered his best work; â€œSouthern Pacificâ€ from Re-ac-tor, which featured a nine-minute song (â€œT-Bone”) repeating the lyrics â€œGot Mashed Potatoes/got no T-Boneâ€ for the entire time.
â€œLittle Thing Called Loveâ€ comes from his follow up Trans which was also poorly received but really isnâ€™t a terrible record. There are nine tracks on the record, five of which Neil uses a vocoder on which critics didnâ€™t really like, but in reality the melodies on the record are pretty good and his vocoder filled remake of the Buffalo Springfieldâ€™s â€œMr. Soulâ€ is excellent.
His biggest hit in the decade, â€œRockinâ€™ in the Free Worldâ€ in 1989 only hit the rock charts but went to #2 and he had 11 other hits make the rock charts in the decade.
â€œWherever I Lay My Hat (Thatâ€™s My Home)â€ — 1983, #70 (download)
â€œLove of the Common Peopleâ€ — 1984, #45 (download)
â€œEverything Must Changeâ€ — 1985, #56 (download)
â€œSome Peopleâ€ — 1986, #65 (download)
Paul Young is another one of my favorite voices of the decade. Young released three albums in the decade â€“ 1983â€™s No Parlez, 1985â€™s The Secret of Association and 1986â€™s Between Two Fires. The first two records are very good slabs of pop and light rock and while Between Two Fires isnâ€™t his strongest album, itâ€™s a grower that holds up better now than it did back in the day I think. His cover of Marvin Gayeâ€™s â€œWherever I Lay My Hat (Is My Home)â€ is one of my favorites from him, not only because itâ€™s a great song but because it reminds me of my wife who arrives home from work puts something down and it never moves again until she needs it. I constantly say the phrase â€œWhere I Lay My Hatâ€ to her. Kind of funny to me, pisses her off though. Sorry honey.
â€œLove of the Common Peopleâ€ was also a cover off of No Parlez, originally recorded by Waylon Jennings in the â€˜60s, but English singer Paul Young probably covered it from the reggae cover in 1970 by Nicky Thomas which climbed pretty high on the UK charts.
â€œEverything Must Changeâ€ is a bit dull for me, but the upbeat â€œSome Peopleâ€ off Between Two Fires is a pretty great song.
â€œLove Lightâ€ — 1981, #81 (download)
Yutaka was a Japanese smooth jazz artist. I believe his Love Light album was his only US release and it was anchored by â€œLove Lightâ€ the song which featured Patti Austin on vocals.
Best song: Yaz, â€œSituationâ€
Worst song: Yes, â€œIt Can Happenâ€
TOP 40 ONLY
Young MC (2)
Next week — *sniffle sniffle* — the last installment. Don’t forget to visit early next Wednesday, as we’ll have some Bottom Feeders trivia with an awesome ’80s-related prize to give away!