Looking at pictures of Tiffany for this week got me a little hot and bothered, shall we say. It’s always fun to dig up the Playboys in the attic, isn’t it? Just like Nolan Thomas last week, another interesting story follows our last artist of the post this week, and for the first time an artist tells her own story! This week’s entry is one of my personal favorites from the entire series, so enjoy more songs from the lower three-fifths of the Billboard Hot 100 chart during the 1980s.
Chris Thompson & Jennifer Warnes
”All the Right Moves” — 1983, #85 (download)
Chris Thompson was the vocalist for Manfred Mann’s Earth Band. Jennifer Warnes is the female Kenny Loggins, with the vast majority of her major hits being movie themes. ”All the Right Moves” was the theme to the Tom Cruise flick that also starred Craig T. Nelson and Lea Thompson. I love the MP3 for this one, complete with record warp just two seconds in. We’ll hit Jennifer up in a couple months again and talk more about her successful soundtrack career.
Robbin Thompson Band
”Brite Eyes” — 1980, #66 (download)
Robbin Thompson released his first album in 1976 and has continued to release albums sporadically over the years. ”Brite Eyes” comes from his 1980 disc Two B’s Please, which is the only one he released as the Robbin Thompson Band. Background vocals on the majority of the cuts on the record, including this one, were provided by Rick Roberts of Firefall and Timothy B. Schmit. This is the album cut; the single version chops off more than two and a half minutes and gets rid of some of the awesome guitar work at the end.
Thompson Twins were always hit or miss for me. I really enjoy their major hits, but the minor ones that have fallen through the cracks, I’m perfectly fine to leave for dead. ”Love on Your Side” is my buddy’s favorite Thompson Twins track though I find it a slight bit awkward. ”You Take Me Up” and ”The Gap” were the third and fourth singles from Into The Gap — the latter being kind of catchy with the former pretty dull. ”Nothing in Common,” the title track of the Tom Hanks-Jackie Gleason dramedy, is probably the worst of the Thompson Twins’ singles.
”Live Every Minute” — 1980, #42 (download)
Ali Thomson was a Scottish singer that recorded just two albums in the early 80s. ”Take A Little Rhythm” actually went to #15 on the Billboard Hot 100 which is the only other time he’d chart. ”Live Every Minute” has always sounded very Supertramp-ish to me and that’s even before I realized he was the brother of Dougie Thomson, the bassist for Supertramp!
George Thorogood & the Destroyers
”Willie and the Hand Jive” — 1985, #63 (download)
Blues rock was never my thing, but I have immense respect for George Thorogood & the Destroyers, who put out some decent albums over the years and have stuck to their guns with their sound. Amazingly, ”Willie and the Hand Jive” is the only track of theirs to crack the Hot 100. ”Bad to the Bone” somehow only hit the rock charts. ”Willie and the Hand Jive” is a Johnny Otis original (updated by Thorogood to include pop culture references like MTV in the lyrics) off their 1985 album Maverick.
3 Man Island
”Jack the Lad” — 1988, #94 (download)
There’s not a whole lot of information out there on 3 Man Island. I believe the group consisted of three guys, Nigel Swanston, Tim Cox and Mike Whitford and they released only a handful of club singles. If they ever released an album, I’ve yet to read anything about it or see it being sold. And they did write and mix songs for other artists, but this seems to be their biggest success.
”Boy Toy” — 1987, #97 (download)
Another pretty obscure singer is the artist known just as Tia. She released three HI-NRG singles in the 80s, the first one, ”Baby Talk” (a cover of the Alisha song from ’86) on a label called Jonathan Records, then ”Boy Toy” and ”Cupid” on RCA. The former fizzled out quickly, the latter didn’t chart at all and then Tia seemingly vanished off the face of the earth. That is until recently where she’s reinvented herself as a rocker.
I’ve always liked “Boy Toy,” so I thought I’d try something different — with a little help from reader Nasty G, I got in touch with Tia and asked her to tell us a little bit about herself and the song. And so, 91 posts in, we finally have a song’s backstory as told by the artist herself …
I was about 18 when the whole thing started. I used to go dancing four to five nights a week. If you wanted to know where I was, look for the middle of the floor — a partner was not necessary. One night in particular I went out in an outfit I put together, half bought, half sewn up from other clothes. I was at a club in Merrick, Long Island, called Escapes. Jim Chopper Cohn, a well-known DJ back then, was spinning. His wife, Kathy, was with him in the booth, and they spotted me doing my thing. They approached me later to become part of their entertainment company.
I used to hang with Kathy a lot. She was like a big sister to me, so I was always at the house. One day Jim pulled me into his home studio and asked me to lay down some vocal tracks. I’d never done it before. I learned the parts, and opened my mouth and sang. I was kind of like, Whatever. But listening to the playback, I knew I wanted to do more. We recorded “Boy Toy” soon after. The next thing I know I’m touring clubs in my area, song climbing up the charts …
I remember the first day I heard it on the radio. There’s nothing that compares to that feeling. Tingle, stomach flip, big smile spread across my face, adrenaline kicking around my body. The hilarious thing was, the car I drove was falling apart, I lived on my grandmother’s couch, and I didn’t have a steady job. Kids I went to high school with would come see me play, amazed that the quiet little freakish girl they knew was the same one bounding all over the stage.
I recorded a full-length record, which was never released here in the U.S., but from what I understand, it’s made its way around Europe. I believe it recently became available — Absolutely Tia, under Ascott or something like that. You’d have to check the facts.
(Discogs.com says it was released in January on the French label Musiques & Solutions. —DS)
The experience was great. I wish I’d had a bit more business sense back then, but I was too caught up in the moment and the fun to notice responsibility.
As I mentioned, Tia is now a rocker. She was in a band called BlueScream for a while and is now working on a new project called Sinsanity, for which she writes and plays guitar. Check out some of her new music and see the video for “Boy Toy” below.
Tia, many thanks for your contribution!
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/ljHVz-LIDmw" width="600" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
Tierra is a Latin American R&B band that had three hits in the early 80s. In most circles they are considered a one hit wonder thanks to the #18 hit ”Together” but they had two follow up tracks to their one major hit chart as well. If you read the bio on their website they claim to have opened the doors for a lot of Latinos, including bands like Los Lobos. I wasn’t hip to music back in 1980 at the ripe old age of 4 so I can’t really verify that and I’m assuming they did have some hand in bringing more Latin flavors to the charts, but I have to think someone like Carlos Santana opened a few more doors than Tierra. A track like the Delfonics cover ”La La Means I Love You” doesn’t really have any latin flair to it at all even.
”Feelings of Forever” — 1988, #50 (download)
What the hell is ”Feelings of Forever”? I don’t ever remember hearing this song before — and I was totally sprung on Tiffany back in the day, so I’m sure I would have been all over this. This was actually the dreaded fourth single from her debut record after her previous three all went Top 10 — including ”I Think We’re Alone Now” and ”Could’ve Been” going to #1.
And I guess I should clarify this here: I was a little horny kid back in 1988 and loved my little shopping-mall sensation, but good Lord, how incredibly boner-ific is she now?
”Back to the 60’s” — 1981, #89 (download)
Using the words Tight Fit right after lusting over Tiffany is interesting. Tight Fit were actually two different groups in the 80s. Producer Ken Gold put together a lineup of studio musicians (one of which was Martin Page) to record a dead-on, straight forward medley of 60s tunes. In 1982, three different musicians came together to form the ”same” but different group Tight Fit. The version posted here is one of the 12-inch versions (there are at least two versions, each one featuring a different order for the songs in the medley).
Awesome songs from an awesome group. It’s a shame they were only around for three albums. Clearly, many people heard and saw the talents of singer Aimee Mann as the group worked with Matthew Sweet, Elvis Costello, Jon Brion and others during their brief four year run. ”Looking Over My Shoulder” was from Voices Carry which was pretty much a new wave record. The next two records — 1986’s Welcome Home and 1988’s Everything’s Different Now – moved in more of a pop direction but weren’t any less good. In fact, it’s a shame that ”(Believed You Were) Lucky” wasn’t a bigger hit as it’s probably my favorite song from the group.
As most of you know by this point, I love Morris Day and the motherfuckin’ Time, a.k.a. Prince’s Bitch. As a huge Prince fan, it’s hard not to, as supposedly all the music was played by Prince, with only Morris Day getting studio time on most songs. It was the excitement of the live performances with Jerome Benton, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, Jesse Johnson, Jellybean Johnson and Monte Moir (and Morris of course) that made the Time what they are though.
”Cool” is off the debut record and is here in album form which is the only way to listen to the track as so much ”cool”ness is lost when you chop off half the song. ”777-9311″ was the only charting single off the second album, What Time Is It? This one I actually think is better in the three-and-a-half minute 7″ edit here.
As much as I love ’em, neither of the first two albums really stand close to the third, Ice Cream Castle. That of course gave us both “Jungle Love” and “The Bird” as well as classic Time tracks like “My Drawers” and “If the Kid Can’t Make You Come”. But songs like “Get It Up” from The Time and “Gigolo’s Get Lonely Too” from What Time Is It? are must listens for any prince fan. All three albums were exactly six tracks long – only the 1990 reunion album – Pandemonium – broke the mold with 15 tracks (11 songs).
The Time reunited in 2008 for the Grammys and then went on tour in 2009. Early in 2009 Jesse Johnson stated he was working on a new Time album. I sure hope to see that in my lifetime.
”Doctorin’ the Tardis” — 1988, #66 (download)
One of my favorite songs of the decade if only because it’s so shitty even the band doesn’t like it. The story behind the song is so much better than the song itself really. The Timelords are Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty who became the KLF after this. They deliberately set out trying to create a #1 record and realized in the middle of mixing the Doctor Who theme and Gary Glitter’s ”Rock and Roll (Part Two)” together they had it and thus just decided to go for just the simplest thing possible from that point. And I guess technically they didn’t even make the song. According to the cover for the song, it was created by the police car on the front (which speaks of course). After the song went to #1 in the UK, the guys wrote a book called The Manual (How To Have a Number One the Easy Way) which is a step-by-step instruction on how to create a #1 hit with no skill and no money. There was even at least one more great success that came from reading the book, Edleweiss’s shittastic ”Bring Me Edleweiss.” Wonderful.
Best song: The Time, ”Cool”
Worst song: The Timelords, ”Doctorin’ the Tardis”
TOP 40 ONLY
Timbuk 3 (1)