This week we make a clean break from K, with a half post before we move to the 12th letter of the alphabet. Enjoy the tracks below from the ass end of the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the ’80s.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Puss ‘n Boots — These Boots (Are Made for Walking)Ã¢â‚¬Â — 1989, #58 (download)
We have our first-ever request at Bottom Feeders. A few weeks ago it was requested in the comments that I include Kon Kan’s “Puss ‘n Boots” in a future post — so here it is! Of course, that’s just the way the ball bounces, since you could pick up the Billboard Hot 100 book and predict every post of the rest of the series and write them up far better than I ever could, way before I do. Hey, don’t get any ideas now. Look me in the eyes. Mine. Mine. Got it?
“Puss ‘n Boots” was the third single from Kon Kan’s quite catchy debut Move to Move. The first single “I Beg Your Pardon” went to #15 and the second single “Harry Houdini” actually failed to chart in the US. No masking the samples used in this song, Mrs. Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made for Walking” and Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song.”
Kool & the Gang have to rank as the second-greatest R&B act of the ’80s, right behind Michael Jackson, and they’re not even that far behind. Over their career they’ve had 32 songs hit the Hot 100, with another ten for good measure if you count the R&B chart. The greatest thing about Kool & the Gang is that they didn’t really drop off like most R&B/funk artists did by the mid- to late ’80s. Cameo and the Gap Band really started creating crap and almost remaking their own tunes by the close of the decade while Kool & the Gang remained fresh throughout. Of these three “Steppin’ Out” is certainly the most recognizable of the group, though even “Holiday” and “Special Way” are well known. I could listen to Kool & the Gang all day, every day and never get tired of them. They are quite a high point for me in the ’80s.
Mohandas Dewese is his name, better known to the rap world as Kool Moe Dee. He was originally part of the Treacherous Three, which released one album in 1984 for Sugarhill Records. He released his self-titled debut in 1986; it included the lead track “Go See the Doctor,” which of course has spawned many other rap artists to release tracks about venereal diseases as well. You have to laugh every time Kool Moe Dee states that “The poontang was dope and you know that I rocked her / But three days later, go see the doctor.” (The Urban Dictionary defines “poontang” as “part of a female’s body located between her legs that is [the] reason why all wars are ever fought.” Amen.) The song would be sampled heavily in ’91 by Ice Cube for his song “Look Who’s Burnin’.”
“Wild Wild West” isn’t a hard song to remember if you were listening to radio in the ’80s and even more so once Will Smith remade it for the his movie of the same name in ’99. I don’t have a problem with Will like most people do, so I give him props for helping keep Kool Moe Dee’s name alive.
Even more so than his music, Kool Moe Dee was known for having one of the first real serious feuds with another rapper — LL Cool J. Dee was pissed that LL Cool J was calling himself the greatest rapper alive without paying his respects to the groundwork laid out before him, so he called him out on it. Dee’s second album, How Ya Like Me Now, had a picture of a car running over one of LL’s signature Kangol hats. And his frankness in the liner notes of the album is great: he says to the Beastie Boys, “We rappers have worked very hard to get rap to the level it’s at. Don’t mess it up. Keep the wild stuff on stage.” A great rapper and well respected. Unfortunately, in the ’80s that didn’t exactly mean hit records.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Let Me BeÃ¢â‚¬Â — 1980, #43 (download)
“Let Me Be” is a super rare track from what appears to be a one-and-done Korona, though this is a group that I know absolutely nothing about. The 45 seems to indicate there is a self-titled LP out there which I’ve absolutely never seen before. At least a few copies of the 45 float around now and again.
Krokus was one of those metal bands that got a bit of respect but never really broke it as big as people expected. The biggest problem with Krokus that for every really good hard rock album, there’s a piece of shit to go with it. One Vice at a Time (1982) was excellent, especially the track “Long Stick Goes Boom.” But both 1984’s The Blitz and 1986’s Change of Address were pathetic, which, typical of the ’80s, meant that their most generic, boring slop was what got them their only two charting hits in the U.S., the ones you see here.
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Best song: Kool & the Gang, “Steppin’ Out”
Worst song: Korona, “Let Me Be”
Next week we take a “Fantastic Voyage” into the letter L. See you then.