We’ve got another little half post this week so we can make a clean break from the letter H. Enjoy some more tracks from the ass end of the ’80s as we look at songs that charted below #40 two decades ago on the Billboard Hot 100.
â€œHoney, Honeyâ€ — 1980, #59 (download)
If David Hudson ever put out a full album, I can’t locate any info on it. This single was his second on Alston Records, which was associated with Atlantic, though it was made under the care of TK Records (KC & the Sunshine Band, George McCrae, etc.). It’s pretty generic, nondescript R&B, but the real problem for me is that I see the title “Honey, Honey” and all I can think about is “Sugar, Sugar” by the Archies.
â€œBring It All Backâ€ — 1989, #87 (download)
I very well may be the biggest Grayson Hugh fan in the world. Of course, that’s assuming Grayson Hugh has no other fans. Every chance I get to throw his big hit, “Talk It Over,” on a comp, I do. It’s probably the song most skipped over on my mix CDs, but that’s just because my friends have bad taste. Or maybe I do? Fuck, you’re right — it is me. Either way I’m still going to enjoy the hits off his excellent album Blind to Reason, and you all can go back to listening to your Milli Vanilli or whatever you listen to. Hmph.
â€œBeg, Borrow or Stealâ€ — 1982, #79 (download)
Eh. I know some people who hold the lone Hughes/Thrall album in high regard, but it’s a little sloppy, if you ask me. “Beg, Borrow or Steal” is pretty representative of the record: solid rock elements with a slight new-wave feel to it, but I’m thrown off by the frantic pace of the bridge. Slow it down a bit and “Beg” becomes a much better song.
The Human League are easily my favorite synth-pop group. Their first three albums — Reproduction (1979), Travelogue (1980), and Dare (1981) — are front-to-back listens for me, as is the Fascination! EP (1983). But Hysteria (1984) and Crash (1986) are hit-or-miss and contain cuts like the two featured here, which donâ€™t represent the group very well. With â€œThe Lebanonâ€ the Human League went back on the â€œno guitarsâ€ proclamation they made early in their career and created what seems more like a rock song than a synth-pop tune. â€œI Need Your Lovingâ€ was ripped apart in the press when it was released; the band was having some problems recording Crash, so they brought in Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis to produce a few tracks. The #1 smash â€œHumanâ€ was written by the duo, so it could’ve been worse, but â€œI Need Your Lovingâ€ sounds ready-made for a Janet Jackson record, not something the Human League should have been doing. I happen to like it, but itâ€™s way out of place in their catalog. The band seems to agree, since they make no mention of it these days.
â€œFool for a Pretty Faceâ€ — 1980, #52 (download)
Humble Pie had disbanded by 1975, but founding member Steve Marriott put together a new lineup in ’79, and â€œFool for a Pretty Faceâ€ was the song that got them a record deal with Atlantic. The new lineup lasted for only three years and two albums before Humble Pie broke up again.
I’m pretty sure there hasn’t been a single moment in my life up until now when I’ve thought, â€œYou know, one day Iâ€™m going to talk to thousands of people about Engelbert Humperdinck.â€ This might be the high point/low point of my existence.
Itâ€™s amazing to me that a person would ever choose to be named Engelbert Humperdinck, but you’ve got to admit it stands out when compared to his birth name — Arnold Dorsey. And who knows if he ever would’ve made it without the name change. The two songs here proved to be extremely hard to find; itâ€™s another case of the last few records of a longstanding artist’s career dropping off the face of the earth. My apologies for the shitty sound quality of â€œLoveâ€™s Only Loveâ€ — I had to take what I could get on this one.
â€œI Love Womenâ€ — 1980, #90 (download)
“I Love Women” is one of those songs that deserved to be a bigger hit. Jim Hurt made his living as a country songwriter, not as a performer, but this is a soulful and quite playful tune — definitely a hidden gem of the ’80s. It appears to be a one-off single on Scotti Brothers Records, but if anyone knows of a Jim Hurt album containing “I Love Women,” let me know. Thatâ€™s one Iâ€™d love to acquire.
Paul Hyde & the Payolas
â€œYou’re the Only Loveâ€ — 1985, #84 (download)
Having released four albums under the name Payola$, albeit with little $ucce$$, this Canadian band changed their name to Paul Hyde & the Payolas in 1985 and slicked up their sound a bit. “You’re the Only Love” was their only U.S. hit under that name, but they had four from the album Hereâ€™s the World for Ya chart in their native country. For their next record, they changed their name yet again to Rock and Hyde and put out their best song, â€œDirty Water,â€ which Iâ€™ll be revisiting a long time from now once we get to the letter R. The â€œRockâ€ in Rock and Hyde is Bob Rock, who later became something of a superproducer and will forever be known as the man who gave us the kinder, gentler Metallica.
Best song: Jim Hurt, â€œI Love Womenâ€
Worst song: David Hudson, â€œHoney, Honeyâ€
Thatâ€™s it for the letter H. Next week we tackle the first half of the letter I, which gives us the most badass pop singer of the decade.