If you’re new to this series, we’re taking an alphabetical look at the rock and modern rock charts from the ’80s, touching base on all songs that failed to cross over into the Billboard Hot 100. Week 13 brings us more from the letter D and one of my favorite sequence of tracks in the entire series so far. So enjoy more Bottom Feeders and keep those horns up for Mr. Ronnie James Dio.
“Sword and Stone” 1989, #27 (download)
Oh my lord, I forgot how ridiculously terrible this song is. Paul Dean was the lead guitarist and main songwriter for Loverboy and released his first solo album – Hard Core – in 1989. “Sword and Stone” sounds exactly like what it was intended to be – a Kiss track. Written by Paul Stanley, Bruce Kulick and Desmond Child, this was intended to be on Kiss’ Crazy Nights album in ’87 but never got past the demo phase. No one else should have climbed aboard this train though as it’s not like this was Kiss’ best period for music.
I’ve never heard the entire album from Dean, but I know he covers “Draw the Line” written by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance and done by Ted Nugent back in ’84 and also a song co-written with Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora in which Jon plays the harp. That’s not a typo. Jon Bon Jovi on the harp. And just for that, I need to locate this record.
“Computer One” 1984, #59 (download)
A relatively rare one these days, Dear Enemy were an Australian group that released just one album in their four (or so) years of existence. Their album Random Note was decent indie pop with a darker feel to it. They released a handful of tracks from the album, including the excellent “Computer One” and afterwards a few one-off singles before breaking up in 1988 with tracks for a second album stuck in contract limbo.
Deep Purple Mark IV had broken up in 1976 and then the Mark II lineup of Gillan/Blackmore/Glover reunited again in 1984 and put out two albums in the decade – 1984’s Perfect Strangers and 1987’s the House of Blue Light.
Neither album got critical praise right off the bat but take your time and listen to both of these as they will rock your balls off (ladies, I’m sorry I don’t know the equivalent of this for you). Perfect Strangers sounds like the ‘80s never begun – both the title track and especially “Nobody’s Home” still sounding very much like 1975 thanks in part to the organ. But both are pretty awesome.
“Bad Attitude” is the better of the two songs off the House of Blue Light, but “Call of the Wild” is a song I can’t get enough of. It’s very cheesy and probably not very good at all, but I just love it.
“Hush” is a new studio version of their classic track off their 1988 live album Nobody’s Perfect.
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“Let It Go” 1981, #34 (download)
“Too Late For Love” 1983, #9 (download)
“Comin’ Under Fire” 1983, #24 (download)
“Billy’s Got A Gun” 1983, #33 (download)
“Action! Not Words” 1983, #42 (download)
“Let It Go” was the only rock hit off High ‘n’ Dry – kind of funny how very different this sounds after you listen to it following the bigger, more polished songs.
The other four tracks were from Pyromania. None of them are as good as “Rock of Ages” or “Foolin’” but all are good. If I had to pick one, I’d choose “Action! Not Words” over any of the other tracks here.
Once Hysteria rolled around in ’87, every rock hit they had crossed over into the hot 100 up until their 1992 live cover of Alice Cooper’s “Elected” – 12 hits in all.
The Del Fuegos are another band that I’ve grown to love more after their inclusion in the Ass End a few years ago. They feature music of many different styles although they are mainly a pop-rock band. “Move With Me Sister” off Smoking in the Fields is a ridiculously good track – one in which I’m totally shocked I hadn’t heard until I listed to the songs that would make up this series. Being from Boston, I would have assumed their music would have made it down to Philadelphia for my radio listening pleasure, but I don’t remember hearing them at all. “Name Names” is the only track of the three that I’d pass on. It came from their third record – Stand Up – which is probably their weakest release.
“Everything Counts” 1989, Modern Rock #13 (download)
I’ve never liked live albums as a rule, but Depeche Mode’s 101 is as good as most of their studio records, if not better than most. This version of “Everything Counts” better than the studio recording on Construction Time Again, my least favorite Depeche Mode album of the decade.
“Emotion” 1983, #22 (download)
Doug and David Farage were the main members of the group hence the DFX2 (D.F. Times Two) moniker. Not much to say about this track that isn’t pretty obvious. Although they got lumped in with new wave bands, they are known for only “Emotion” which not coincidentally sounds a lot like “Emotional Rescue” by the Stones.
“Rainbow in the Dark” 1983, #14 (download)
“Holy Diver” 1983, #40 (download)
“The Last In Line” 1984, #10 (download)
“Mystery” 1984, #20 (download)
“Hungry For Heaven” 1985, #30 (download)
“Rock ‘N” Roll Children” 1985, #26 (download)
“I Could Have Been A Dreamer” 1987, #33 (download)
What metal fan hasn’t listened to some Dio in the past few months? All of these songs were always in the back of my mind as a heavy metal fanatic, but never more so than after Ronnie James Dio passed away in May.
There wasn’t a lot of true metal on the charts in the early to mid-‘80s so it’s really nice to see seven tracks from Dio here and there’s really no better way to start than with two tracks from the absolutely masterful Holy Diver debut album. The title track is one of the greatest tracks of the timeframe and the group as a whole was the most cohesive lineup that Dio would put together featuring Jimmy Bain (Rainbow) on bass, Vinny Appice on drums and a then relatively unknown Vivian Campbell on guitar.
The same lineup with the addition of Claude Schnell (Rough Cutt) on keys would record two more albums, 1984’s The Last In Line and 1985’s Sacred Heart. “The Last In Line” and “Mystery” come from the former with the title track totally kicking ass after that cheesy intro. “Mystery” isn’t a bad track, but I’ve never really liked Schnell’s work on it.
Sacred Heart contained both “Hungry for Heaven” and “Rock ‘N’ Roll Children”. “Hungry for Heaven” was a little too generic but “Rock ‘N’ Roll Children” is probably the best track on the record.
Vivian Campbell left the group before Dream Evil was recorded in 1987 and was replaced by Craig Goldy – also from Rough Cutt. He’s listed as a co-writer on “I Could Have Been A Dreamer” which is certainly noticeable with a vast difference in sound. With this record, all stability around band members was gone as the lineup would change drastically over the years. And although there were some really solid records after Dream Evil, it would definitely mark the end of this classic Dio era.
Best Song: Dio, “Holy Diver”
Worst Song: Paul Dean, “Sword and Stone”
Also appeared in the Hot 100
Chris DeBurgh (2): “Don’t Pay the Ferryman”, “High On Emotion”
Deep Purple (1): “Knocking At Your Back Door”
Def Leppard (10): “Photograph”, “Rock of Ages”, “Foolin’”, “Women”, “Animal”, “Hysteria”, “Pour Some Sugar On Me”, “Love Bites”, “Armageddon It”, “Rocket”
The Del Fuegos (1): “I Still Want You”
Devo (1): “Working In the Coal Mine”
Dexy’s Midnight Runners (1): “Come On Eileen”
Dennis DeYoung (1): “Desert Moon”
Diesel (1): “Sausalito Summernight”