Thanks for joining me for Bottom Feeders, where we take a look at approximately 20 songs each week that charted no higher than #41 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the ‘80s. We continue with artists whose names begin with the letter M, in our trek through the ass end of the decade.

“Kayleigh” — 1985, #74 (download)

marillionAlthough I believe the album in which “Kayleigh” originates, Misplaced Childhood, is quite good, I never really got into Marillion. So let me instead direct you to their official website which not only is extremely well put together but gives you a wonderful look at the album from the makers themselves.

In a weird one, in May alone, my iPod shuffled to this song six times. So what, you say? Here’s the thing, I probably listen to my iPod on shuffle two hours every weekday — one hour at work and the 30 minute ride to and from work and I listened to the new Marilyn Manson record on that drive for a week straight. So I’m going to estimate that I’ve shuffled for 34 hours that month. I have 9,230 songs on my iPod. Given a generous 12 songs per hour that’s 408 songs played or just a little below 4.5 percent if every song was unique. And “Kayleigh” has come up a whopping six times! Meanwhile I have over 2,000 songs that haven’t ever been shuffled to once even though I’ve owned it for two years. Why this fascinates me, I don’t know, but it does.

Marshall Tucker Band
“It Takes Time” — 1980, #79 (download)

It may sound silly, but I like the Marshall Tucker Band if for no other reason than the fact that there is no one named Marshall Tucker in the band (and yes, as I edit this, this really does sound quite silly). According to their website, Marshall Tucker was actually the man that rented their home right before the band moved in. I’m about to move in the next year or so. I think I’ll leave my name around the house with hopes that the next person will be some aspiring doom metal guitarist with no name for his band. If you see a band from Pennsylvania popping up in the next few years called Electric Steed — I’m that guy!

Eric Martin
“Information” — 1985, #87 (download)

Eric Martin has a great voice, doesn’t he? He started out with the Eric Martin Band (not named after a former tenant obviously) and released one album in 1983 called Sucker For a Pretty Face. After touring constantly for the record, when they finished the group broke up and Martin ended up putting out two solo records, his self-titled release containing the excellent “Information” you hear above. Of course it was 1989 when Eric Martin really made a name for himself when he formed Mr. Big and then had a #1 hit in 1991 with “To Be With You.”

Mary Jane Girls
“Wild and Crazy Love” — 1985, #42 (download)
“Walk Like a Man” — 1986, #41 (download)

mary-jane-girlsHow could you not love Rick James naming his group of “sexy” ladies after the ganja (I put “sexy” in quotes because that’s really quite debatable with these ladies)? In reality it was Rick James that got them a deal and made them successful for a few years, but it was also Rick and his numerous problems in general and with Motown that really caused the breakup of the band. The group was really a spotlight for the lead singer Joanne “Jojo” McDuffie as it’s come out over the years that the other ladies in the band were there for harmonies and show really. Both of these tracks are very good, “Wild and Crazy Love” being the third single from their final album Only For You and their cover of the Four Seasons’ “Walk Like a Man” was on the soundtrack to A Fine Mess.

Dave Mason
“Save Me” — 1980, #71 (download)

This is an impossible oversight by U.S. radio. “Save Me” is a great song from the friggin’ guitarist from Traffic who already had six solo hits to his credit — and it’s a duet with Michael Jackson! I mean, someone went majorly wrong somewhere because everything about this screams major hit record.

Vaughn Mason & Crew
“Bounce, Rock, Skate, Roll” — 1980, #81 (download)

This really isn’t a great song, but it’s pretty damn tough to locate and I know a few DJs who will cream themselves if they can fit this into their retro-roller-skating block almost simply to say, “ha, look what I have.” You can get the same vibe in that block though by choosing better songs from Chic and maybe “Bounce to the Ounce” by Zapp instead.

Wayne Massey
“One Life to Live” — 1980, #90 (download)

Wayne Massey played country music singer Johnny Drummond on the TV show One Life to Live from ’80 to ’84 so, it only made sense for him to record this song. It was hit only solo hit to hit the Billboard Hot 100.

Johnny Mathis
“Simple” — 1984, #81 (download)

This is Johnny’s last Hot 100 single. This is included on his album A Special Part of Me, which is a brutal listen for a non-Mathis fan like me, but I’d assume even a diehard wouldn’t pick this one up too often.

Christopher Max
“Serious Kinda Girl” — 1989, #75 (download)

It’s weird to me that there’s an artist that charted as late at 1989 that I really don’t know anything about. I have no idea who this guy is. I own the album this came from, 1989’s More Than Physical, but the rest of the Christopher Max story will be new to me if any of you know something.

“Love Is the Key” — 1983, #80 (download)
“Back in Stride” — 1985, #88 (download)

There’s a lot of people that can claim to have been a member of Maze at one point or another, but Maze was really a project of Frankie Beverly. Forget about “Love Is the Key” here, as “Back in Stride” is the signature Maze song. It spent two weeks at #1 on the R&B charts and if I had a top 80 funk songs of the 80s list, this would definitely be somewhere near the top. (Hmmm, that sounds like something I need to work on.)

Mac McAnally
“Minimum Love” — 1983, #41 (download)

mac-mcannalyFirst, I must apologize for the bad recording of the song posted here, I’ve just never been motivated enough to go find a better version. So if you’re on disc 100 or something of your Bottom Feeders box set, you might want to locate this one yourself. Mac McAnally will always be at the back of my mind, not for any of his music mind you, but because a former employee once sent around a picture of Mac’s debut album cover and claimed it was me as a kid. Now, I may have the red hair and the beard but it ain’t knowhere near as mountain man-ish as what you’re seeing here, nor does my pretty face come close to his ugly mug. Hmpf.

Paul McCartney
“Tug of War” — 1982, #53 (download)
“Stranglehold” — 1986, #81 (download)
“This One” — 1989, #94 (download)

There’s this guy named McCartney that seems to be nominated every single year now for a Grammy and consistently doesn’t win. This appears to be the same guy. Seriously now though, these are probably three of the lesser known singles from Sir Paul, but aren’t they still just awesome? I think “This One” is the best of the three here, from his album Flowers in the Dirt and “Stranglehold” is one of the highlights from Press To Play, an album that didn’t sell a whole lot and wasn’t that well received but actually grew on me over time.

Delbert McClinton
“Shotgun Rider” — 1981, #70 (download)

Honestly, I wasn’t even aware that Delbert McClinton had a follow-up hit to the totally awesome “Givin’ It Up for Your Love” in 1980. “Shotgun Rider” is actually going to appear again in this series later on as Joe Sun missed McClinton’s peak by one spot, taking his version to #71 a year earlier.

Michael McDonald
“I Gotta Try” — 1982, #44 (download)


Ralph McDonald and Bill Withers
“In the Name of Love” — 1984, #58 (download)

This is a really smooth, laid back song from McDonald and Withers, who won a Grammy a few years prior for writing the very similar sounding “Just the Two of Us” performed by Withers and Grover Washington Jr.

McGuffey Lane
“Long Time Lovin’ You” — 1981, #55 (download)
“Start It All Over” — 1982, #97 (download)

We end this week on a couple of decent country songs. I would have assumed the poppier “Start It All Over” would have been the bigger hit of the two as it’s a much better song than “Long Time Lovin’ You.” From what I know about McGuffey Lane it seems they never made it bigger because the label and band wanted to go in different directions. The band wanted to be marketed more towards the country charts, while the label wanted to exploit the pop side and push them to the Hot 100. They did end up having four more minor hits on the country charts before breaking up.

Best song: Maze, “Back in Stride”
Worst song: Wayne Massey, “One Life to Live”

Next week, tell your friends — it’s the Holy Grail.

About the Author

Dave Steed

Dave Steed is all about music; 80's and metal to be exact. His iPod will shuffle from Culture Club to Slayer and he won't blink an eye. He's never heard Astral Weeks but thinks "Dazzey Duks" by Duice is the bomb. It's an odd little corner of the world he lives in.

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