So it’s been at least nine months, if not more, since I stopped buying ’80s albums. I made a conscious effort to stop spending the cash on records once my son was born last September. But I was recently writing up a future track by a group called Millions Like Us when I realized I knew nothing about them, and my lone 45 didn’t tell me anything either. So I ended up purchasing the CD for a simple penny over at Amazon. Let me tell you how good it feels to not only get “new” music but to get it for a measly little cent. Of course, my ears perk up as I hear cheap CDs calling me, so I end up purchasing like 40 CDs to help me complete my rock and R&B collections. In reality I don’t know how many people would get excited over this mailbox full of CDs I opened on Friday: Joe Cocker’s Unchain My Heart, David Crosby’s Oh Yes I Can, Michael Anderson’s Sound Alarm, .38 Special’s Strength in Numbers, Extreme’s Extreme, and Pete Bardens’ Speed of Light, but damn if it doesn’t get me tingly inside. Ah, the geek in me.
This week we finish up the letter L with another half post to make a clean break. Enjoy these tracks from the ass end of the Billboard Hot 100 chart during the ’80s.
Love and Money
â€œHalleluiah Manâ€ — 1989, #75 (download)
Love and Money were this funky and soulful Scottish band that was only able to manage this one hit in the US. This was the lead track off their second album Strange Kind of Love. If it wasn’t for the little rap-like breakdown in the middle of the song, it would be easy to mistake this for a Tears for Fears song.
Love and Rockets
â€œNo Big Dealâ€ — 1989, #82 (download)
“No Big Deal” comes from the self-titled 4th album from Love and Rockets, which is all the members of Bauhaus minus Peter Murphy. As opposed to the first three Love and Rockets records, this one is a bit of a mess as Daniel Ash wrote the more poppy songs and David J had more experimental tracks. The mish-mash of sounds makes for a pretty uneven listen and it seems that Love and Rockets understood this as well, as they broke off for solo careers after touring for the album.
Loverboy provided me with one of my favorite moments in TV history when they appeared on the 2005 show Hit Me Baby One More Time and the host announced them repeatedly as “Louverboy!” To this day, anytime we hear Loverboy my wife and I both turn to each other and say “Loooooooverboy!” It’s much funnier than it seems on paper.
Loverboy’s entire hit making career managed to stay in this decade as they had 13 Hot 100 hits starting with “Turn Me Loose” in 1981 and ending with “Too Hot” in 1989. The weird thing for me is that I think they made some pretty excellent albums, but I can really only remember their major hits. I couldn’t have identified the artist of “Dangerous” or the strangely new-wave “Lead a Double Life” if you put a gun to my head. I’ve listened to all of their albums numerous times, but there’s just something about them that doesn’t stick in my head. I do however recognize “Too Hot” which was their final single from the 1989 Greatest Hits record called Big Ones.
â€œI Knew the Bride (When She Used to Rock & Roll)â€ — 1985, #77 (download)
An absolutely fucking brilliant song by a hell of a songwriter. Nick Lowe strangely enough didn’t have much of a “solo” career as even in his native England he only had four charting singles. In the U.S. this was his second and final charting song after “Cruel to Be Kind” in 1979. He gets most of his recognition as a songwriter and producer for Elvis Costello (okay, that may just be how I recognize him most).
â€œCars With the Boomâ€ — 1988, #54 (download)
Along with Paul Lekakis’ “Boom Boom,” “Cars With the Boom” is the other guilty pleasure of the mine in the letter L (I guess I like the boom). There’s nothing good about this song, L’Trimm or the Miami Bass scene that these ladies were a part of but for some reason I can’t turn this damn song off when I hear it. C’mon sing it with me â€“ “We like the cars / The cars that go boom / We’re Tigra and Bunny and we like the boom.”
â€œIf I Were Youâ€ — 1981, #44 (download)
You know, I can’t even put together words for Lulu after listening to L’Trimm. I’m sure you’ll listen if you care at all about her final hit song.
Two very different sounds here for Cheryl Lynn. “Shake It Up Tonight” is a disco tune produced by Ray Parker Jr. “Encore” is a pure ’80s club hit and if you can’t tell by the opening bars, was written by Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis.
â€œVideo!â€ — 1984, #85 (download)
Here’s the only charting track for Jeff Lynne under his own name. “Video!” features the ELO frontman’s unmistakable sound and was a tough one to find for my collection, as it was only released on the Electric Dreams soundtrack. Naturally, I couldn’t go without providing the video for “Video!”:
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Best song: Nick Lowe, “I Knew the Bride (When She Used to Rock & Roll)”
Worst song: Lulu, “If I Were You”
Next week we marvel at the magnificence of the letter M.