It’s week number two of the letter R, as we continue to look at the bottom three-fifths of the Billboard Hot 100 chart during the 1980s.
â€œSeducedâ€ — 1981, #72 (download)
As if there werenâ€™t enough songs in this series that sound like they didnâ€™t belong in the decade, letâ€™s bring some good â€˜ol ragtime music into the mix. Iâ€™m not necessarily saying itâ€™s a bad song, but radio stations really played this? I mean, really? My God, how the musical climate has changed.
Most artists that are relatives of someone majorly famous seem to try to do anything they can to prove the point they are their own artist and get out of the famous relativeâ€™s shadow. But Otis Reddingâ€™s sons Dexter and Otis III as well as nephew Mark Lockett seemed to embrace it and work it to their advantage. While Otis is known for his sweet soul sounds, the Reddings brought more funk and disco elements into their songs early in their career. But they werenâ€™t ashamed to cover Otisâ€™s most famous song — â€œ(Sittinâ€™ On) The Dock of the Bayâ€ — either. However, even as a group they werenâ€™t nearly as talented as the big man and nothing really propelled them to stardom. They released six albums in the â€˜80s, but without the impressive lineage they would really be just another R&B group.
â€œI Canâ€™t Say Goodbye to Youâ€ — 1981, #88 (download)
Well, actually Helen did sort of say â€œGoodbyeâ€ to us, as this was her 21st and last charting song. I wish her well, and I hope I never ever hear from her again.
Red Rider falls into the category of groups that I need to go back and delve deeper into. Iâ€™m one of those strange birds that thinks Tom Cochraneâ€™s first solo record Mad Mad World is still excellent and doesnâ€™t mind hearing â€œLife is a Highwayâ€ over and over so I did go back and pay a little attention to his group Red Rider, though not very seriously. All the singles are very good, though: â€œWhite Hotâ€ and â€œYoung Dreams” as well as â€œHuman Raceâ€ and their most well-known song, â€œLunatic Fringe,â€ which only hit the rock charts. I have to go back and listen to full albums, but based on the singles it really seems like the U.S. missed out on a gem by not paying attention to Red Rider.
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â€œChinaâ€ — 1983, #53 (download)
Ted Asregadoo wrote up Red Rockers not that long ago during a 415 Records Mix Six and heâ€™s right on the money when he points out that â€œChinaâ€ doesnâ€™t sound like the rest of the albumÂ Good as Gold, which goes a long way to explain why these guys never had another hit. However, Iâ€™d venture I like this song a bit more than he does.
â€œShe Got the Goldmine (I Got the Shaft)â€ — 1982, #57 (download)
Youâ€™re probably going to be shocked to hear this, but Iâ€™ll take this song any day of the week. Thereâ€™s just something I still find quite funny about it and itâ€™s such a well done song that never seems to get old. It just missed being in my Top 80 of the â€˜80s list.
â€œHurtâ€ — 1984, #82 (download)
The group Re-Flex totally gets lost in my circle even to this day. I have to believe Iâ€™m not the only person in the world that has had someone in their life completely mistake who Re-Flex is. I mean, Iâ€™ve had so many conversations asking something like â€œdo you remember the group Re-Flex?â€ only to have people come back and talk about Frankie Goes To Hollywood (No, that was â€œRelaxâ€) or Duran Duran (No, that was the song â€œThe Reflexâ€). Unfortunately, Re-Flex was a hit the same time as Frankie and the Duran Duran track so in my world they kind of got lost in the shuffle. And I donâ€™t know a single person outside of collectors and â€˜80s freaks that can tell you the group that did â€œThe Politics of Dancingâ€ thought they all know the song. Itâ€™s a shame too as that song is very good, but â€œHurtâ€ is a gem. These guys actually released four more singles from their debut and only record The Politics of Dancing. Itâ€™s definitely worth tracking down and giving a spin or two if youâ€™ve never heard it – synthpop at its finest.
â€œRadio Free Europeâ€ — 1983, #78 (download)
â€œSo. Central Rain (Iâ€™m Sorry)â€ — 1984, #85 (download)
â€œFall on Meâ€ — 1986, #94 (download)
â€œItâ€™s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)â€ — 1988, #69 (download)
â€œPop Song 89â€ — 1989, #86 (download)
R.E.M. own the distinction of being the first band to get removed from my â€œmust haveâ€ list. Iâ€™m a completist, so if I find a band I really love, I get every album first day, no matter what. Prince, Nine Inch Nails, Neil Young, all on that list. R.E.M. was on that list for many years as I used to be a big fan, in fact I have Document ranked #6 on my top 80 albums of the â€˜80s list and Iâ€™m one of those bastards that think Monster is a brilliant record. But alas, 2004 rolled around and I got my third consecutive snoozer in a row –Â Around the Sun (2004), which followed Reveal (2001) andÂ Up (1998) — and I decided I no longer cared. But itâ€™s hard not to care about the groundbreaking â€œRadio Free Europeâ€ or the simply beautiful â€œFall on Me.â€
Itâ€™s kind of funny to think that Top 40 radio didnâ€™t really play â€œItâ€™s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine),â€ I suppose, as I remember seeing it every hour growing up. But maybe thatâ€™s just it — I saw it — so it was a bigger hit on MTV than on the radio.
â€œPop Song 89â€ is a weird one for me because I see the name on paper and I think itâ€™s a bit of a throwaway, but then I listen to it and love it. Hell, now Iâ€™m going to go and listen to Monster again. Love it with me, wonâ€™t you?
Rene Moore and Angela Winbush were a songwriting team that formed a group, got married, released a few records, broke up and then went their own way. Moore focused more on producing and writing while Winbush released quite a few successful records in the world of R&B.
There are artists I donâ€™t get and there are artists I hate. I detest REO Speedwagon mainly for being so douchey. I canâ€™t think of a better example of a major rock band with so little balls in their songs. And yet, millions bought into them to the tune of 15 Hot 100 hits in the decade, 13 of them hitting the Top 40. I guess I should be happy with only two songs here, or I wouldnâ€™t be able to just gloss over them and move on.
â€œIâ€™ll Be Youâ€ — 1989, #51 (download)
Hereâ€™s another artist you clearly are going to school me on, and Iâ€™m going to let you. I really know nothing about the Replacements at all. I know I should, but Iâ€™ve never had the desire to go and learn. I love â€œIâ€™ll Be You,â€ but Iâ€™m going to bet itâ€™s unlike the rest of their catalog, because if they’d had more songs this pop oriented, I would’ve expected them to be more than a cult favorite.
Best song: Jerry Reed, â€œShe Got the Goldmine (I Got the Shaft)”
Worst song: Helen Reddy, â€œI Canâ€™t Say Goodbye to Youâ€
TOP 40 ONLY
Ready for the World (3); Real Life (3); Dan Reed Network (1); Regina (1); Mike Reno (1)
Next week we get all chic over in Bangkok when we hear more songs from artists whose names begin with the letter R.