If youÁ¢€â„¢re just joining us here, Bottom Feeders is a look at both the awesome and terrible songs that came out of the Á¢€Ëœ80s — each week we cover about 20 songs that peaked no higher than #41 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart that decade. WeÁ¢€â„¢re moving alphabetically from A to Z, so we still have a long way to go. After many weeks stuck on M, we finally move to the letter N and more songs from the ass end of the Á¢€Ëœ80s.
Á¢€Å“Innocent EyesÁ¢€ — 1986, #84 (download)
Ooofah. When I first heard this, I was shocked that this was the same Graham Nash that I knew. I donÁ¢€â„¢t blame the guy for trying to stay relevant, but his album that bears the same name as the single above is a crappy overdubbed jumbled mess. Á¢€Å“Innocent EyesÁ¢€ is definitely the best track on it and that may very well be because of the presence of Kenny Loggins on background vocals.
Á¢€Å“HolidayÁ¢€ — 1980, #87 (download)
Nazareth released a ton of records with very little success on the Billboard singles charts in the US. And while this single isnÁ¢€â„¢t the worst thing IÁ¢€â„¢ve ever heard, itÁ¢€â„¢s got no punch. Nice riff in the verses, but the chorus turning into light rock schlock just doesnÁ¢€â„¢t do it for me.
Á¢€Å“I Like YouÁ¢€ — 1986, #61 (download)
This was a #1 dance hit for Nelson, her only song to cross over to the pop charts in the US. Her earlier Á¢€Ëœ70s and Á¢€Ëœ80s appearances in music were mostly with disco oriented tracks so itÁ¢€â„¢s not a surprise she jumped on the mid-Á¢€Ëœ80s dance wagon for her 15 minutes of fame.
Á¢€Å“My Heroes Have Always Been CowboysÁ¢€ — 1980, #44 (download)
Pure country may not be my thing, but this is a really nice song off his soundtrack to Sydney PollackÁ¢€â„¢s The Electric Horseman. Gotta love it when Willie starts talking about picking up hookers in the middle of a track. IÁ¢€â„¢ve never paid attention to the Willie Nelson story in full but what a crazy trip his life must be. Close to 100 albums, been on probably hundreds more, smoked hundreds of pounds of weed — IÁ¢€â„¢m assuming this guy has had one crazy, eventful life.
Á¢€Å“Fade AwayÁ¢€ — 1983, #82 (download)
Loz Netto was the original guitarist for Sniff Á¢€ËœnÁ¢€â„¢ the Tears and performed on their first two albums. The day before the 1980 tour began, Netto broke his arm and that sort of got him on the path to a solo career. Á¢€Å“Fade AwayÁ¢€ is his only U.S. hit and super hard to find — the 45 easier to find than the full length Loz NettoÁ¢€â„¢s Bzar. Though, on his website heÁ¢€â„¢s since remastered it himself. I still want that original though!
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Á¢€Å“Somebody Like YouÁ¢€ — 1989, #63 (download)
IÁ¢€â„¢ve always liked Robbie NevilÁ¢€â„¢s writing style. You could hear the R&B influence in most of his songs, but he would toss a lot of pop, some calypso even a little reggae in on top. He had five solo hits in the decade, this being the final one off his second album A Place Like This. RobbieÁ¢€â„¢s written quite a few R&B songs for other artists and can be found writing music for the tween fans of High-School Musical and Hannah Montana these days.
Á¢€Å“Falling Out of LoveÁ¢€ — 1989, #91 (download)
The son of Aaron Neville (the most famous guy to have a milk-dud glued to his face), IvanÁ¢€â„¢s 1988 solo record If My Ancestors Could See Me Now is simply an awesome pop record and includes one of my favorite songs of the decade in the #26 hit Á¢€Å“Not Just Another Girl.Á¢€ These days IvanÁ¢€â„¢s in a damn fine funky jam band with his son Ian called Dumpstafunk.
HereÁ¢€â„¢s another band that could be used to define this series. Two cover songs that certainly arenÁ¢€â„¢t better than the originals and a fine example of hair metal gone wrong. The cover of ZepÁ¢€â„¢s Á¢€Å“Black DogÁ¢€ is an ear-bleeder and the cover of TreatÁ¢€â„¢s Á¢€Å“Rev It UpÁ¢€ was never a good song to begin with. I mean those cheesy lyrics Á¢€Å“hit the streets/have a wild night/rev it up/and never see a red lightÁ¢€ are just over the top.
Á¢€Å“Jam on ItÁ¢€ — 1984, #56 (download)
IÁ¢€â„¢m surprised Newcleus werenÁ¢€â„¢t the founders of Wikipedia. When you give a listen to some of their tunes, at first glance it appears that every one of them is based around them saying Á¢€Å“wikki-wikki-wikki-wikki.Á¢€ Their debut album, Jam on Revenge, included this and the title track with a parenthetical of (The Wikki Wikki Song). Then thereÁ¢€â„¢s about 12,000 different remixes and extended versions of both of these songs floating around. Á¢€Å“Jam on ItÁ¢€ is a cool song, no doubt Á¢€” but they tried to extend their 15 minutes of fame a little far. At least the group had a life together outside of music as members Lady E and Cozmo D are married and so are the other two participants Nique D and Chilly B.
Á¢€Å“Candy GirlÁ¢€ — 1983, #46 (download)
Á¢€Å“Is This the EndÁ¢€ — 1983, #85 (download)
Á¢€Å“Count Me OutÁ¢€ — 1985, #51 (download)
Á¢€Å“With You All the WayÁ¢€ — 1986, #51 (download)
Á¢€Å“YouÁ¢€â„¢re Not My Kind of GirlÁ¢€ — 1988, #95 (download)
Á¢€Å“Can You Stand the RainÁ¢€ — 1989, #44 (download)
Á¢€Å“Candy GirlÁ¢€ may be the greatest song of this series if only because it gets an interpolation credit as the chorus to a Bottom Feeders favorite, D4LÁ¢€â„¢s Á¢€Å“Laffy Taffy.Á¢€ One wonders if back in 1983, Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky and Mike ever thought their song would be used in a tune about loose vaginas? Bobby Brown was 14 at the time so itÁ¢€â„¢s definitely possible they were thinking about the vajayjay, but probably not like this.
New Edition were always very hit-or-miss for me. Their big hits like Á¢€Å“Mr. Telephone ManÁ¢€ and Á¢€Å“Cool It NowÁ¢€ were excellent. But I also thought that some of the more minor hits like Á¢€Å“Is This the EndÁ¢€ are almost unlistenable. For me this is especially true of the early ballads where the kiddie crooning could just be ear piercing. IÁ¢€â„¢m not sure any LP from New Edition is worth a full listen, but I prefer their last from the golden era, 1988Á¢€â„¢s Heart Break which was a Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis record. And I also think the branches that spawned from the group, Ralph Tresvant, Johnny Gill and Bobby Brown solo as well as Bel Biv Devoe were all better than New Edition as a whole. I have to give it up though as without New Edition we might not have gotten Á¢€Å“My Prerogative.Á¢€
HereÁ¢€â„¢s both of Randy NewmanÁ¢€â„¢s Á¢€Ëœ80s hits. Á¢€Å“The BluesÁ¢€ is a duet with Paul Simon off NewmanÁ¢€â„¢s Trouble in Paradise album. Á¢€Å“ItÁ¢€â„¢s Money That MattersÁ¢€ is from his next album, 1988Á¢€â„¢s Land of Dreams and features Mark Knopfler on guitar.
Whether you like dance music or not, you have to give credit to New Order for being a pioneering act that influenced so many bands. Á¢€Å“Round & RoundÁ¢€ has an interesting story behind it as itÁ¢€â„¢s about tension with Tony Wilson who owned their record label Á¢€” Factory Records. Wilson actually chose this as a single though New Order didnÁ¢€â„¢t want it released. Á¢€Å“Blue Monday 1988Á¢€ is the 7Á¢€ version released as a standalone single and on the Best of New Order (1994).
Best song: Ivan Neville, Á¢€Å“Falling Out of LoveÁ¢€
Worst song: Newcity Rockers, Á¢€Å“Black DogÁ¢€
Next week we get a few rare tunes, visit three of the major female artists of the decade, and listen to a trivia question designed just for me.